Featuring developments in Federal highway policies, programs, and research and technology.
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|Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 73 · No. 1 > Guest Editorial|
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-09-005
Introducing . . . Office of Technical Services
The Nation faces tough challenges ahead, addressing the impacts of climate change, tackling growing traffic congestion, and improving the Nation's aging infrastructure. All these areas offer real opportunities for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to step up and provide leadership. It is the people of USDOT, with the critical support of partners and stakeholders across the country, who are the keys to success.
Within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), one example of providing leadership and value to partners and stakeholders is the recent reorganization of the Office of Technical Services (OTS). By bringing together the Resource Center, the National Highway Institute (NHI), and the Technology Partnership Programs under one office, FHWA has strengthened its ability to advance the agency's goals and objectives and to deliver critical services more strategically. The work each office was doing before will continue-from developing and delivering training to providing technical assistance and helping to deploy new technologies. But the reorganization will generate new opportunities to work collaboratively, form stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively with partners and stakeholders, all while continuing to provide excellent customer service.
The new OTS already is successfully supporting a variety of agency priorities. The Resource Center's Technical Service Teams are providing invaluable support by helping develop and deliver a series of seminars aimed at local agencies, providing staff for the national review teams, and assisting with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise requirements. The Resource Center also joined forces with NHI to support a combined safety and operations disciplines seminar.
NHI recently developed a cus-tomized course to help ensure that recent hires can hit the ground running. The pilot, which combined aspects from three NHI courses—Federal-Aid Highways 101, Highway Program Financing, and Contract Administration Core Curriculum—was delivered in a week-long session to 25 new employees from the western divisions. As State travel budgets continue to shrink, NHI is focused on converting existing courses into Web-based or other distance-learning opportunities.
The Technology Partnership Programs continue to focus on enhancing partnerships and supporting the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) centers. A recent effort involved creating a workgroup that developed a safety toolbox, which will reside on the LTAP/TTAP clearinghouse Web site. The Technology Partnership Programs also are reaching out to community colleges to help provide transportation workforce development.
At the end of the day, whether housed at USDOT headquarters, in a division office, or in the OTS, by maintaining the "all on the same team" perspective, the department's future will be as successful as its past and continue to make a difference for the American people.
Amy C. Lucero
Director, Office of Technical Services
Federal Highway Administration
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