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					                                                                                                                              April 2011

Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration

                                                                                     Responsible Senior Program Officer: Gwen Chisholm-Smith

Research Results Digest 100
                                    PROGRAM FOR THE TRANSIT INDUSTRY
                                    The research reported herein was performed under TCRP Project J-06,
                                    Task 72 by McGlothin Davis, Inc., in association with Phoenix Rising
                                    Consultants. The research focused on the development of potential
                                    strategies to deploy and maintain voluntary professional development
                                    certification and credentialing programs in the transit industry. Mary J.
                                    Davis, President/CEO of McGlothin Davis, Inc., was the Project Director
                                    and Principal Investigator. Gwynn Simpson, of Phoenix Rising Consultants,
                                    served as Associate Researcher.

                                    INTRODUCTION                                      opment certification and credentialing pro-
                                                                                      grams for the transit industry.
                                         The digest was prepared as a resource             TCRP Project J-06,Task72 was con-
                                    for the American Public Transportation            ducted as Phase 1 of a potentially two-phase
                                    Association’s (APTA) workforce develop-           study. With four objectives guiding the
                                    ment initiatives. APTA’s Workforce Devel-         six-task project, four outcomes resulted:
                                    opment Blue Ribbon Panel was established          (1) identification of the range of existing
                                    to develop a 5-year plan to ensure public         certification and credentialing programs
                                    transportation has a sustainable workforce        available for transit professionals; (2) iden-
                                    for the future. In 2010, the panel issued its     tification of gaps discovered in the existing
                                    final report, including 32 recommenda-             programs related to the identified needs of
                                    tions, that was accepted by APTA’s Execu-         transit professionals; (3) development of a
                                    tive Committee. The panel also published a        framework for a voluntary transit profes-
                                    final report of APTA’s Preliminary Skill          sional development certification or creden-
                                    Development and Training Needs for Tran-          tialing program; and (4) preparation of a
                                    sit Employees Survey. This survey captured        comprehensive work plan for the devel-
Introduction, 1
                                    APTA members’ perspectives of the indus-          opment and implementation of a certifica-
Section 1 The Study and Its         try’s current and projected professional and
Importance, 2                                                                         tion and credentialing program(s) for tran-
                                    skill-building needs. The results provide         sit professionals.
Section 2 Research Approach, 3
                                    data to better plan for, identify, and address         The report structure is as follows:
Section 3 Literature Review
and Documentation of Findings
                                    workforce development needs. One of the                Section 1: Introduction to the Study
and Conclusions, 4                  significant findings was over one-third of          and Its Importance. The study’s relevance
Section 4 Potential Framework       respondents to the survey have earned a pro-      is discussed in terms of the importance of
and Strategy to Deploy and
Maintain a Transit Industry
                                    fessional certification, and two-thirds are in-    addressing the critical shortage of trans-
Certification and Credentialing      terested in professional certification oppor-      portation professionals who need to be ready
Program Development Process, 11
                                    tunities. As a next step, members of the Blue     on day one to fully perform the job.
Summary, 13
                                    Ribbon Panel asked TCRP to fund a “scop-               Section 2: The Research Approach.
References, 14                      ing study” to identify strategies to establish    The methodology used to conduct the re-
Author Acknowledgments, 14          and maintain voluntary professional devel-        search is described in detail, including the
manner in which findings from literature were used              By all accounts growing in popularity, there are
to analyze data collected from primary sources, such       over 1,200 certification programs registered in the
as survey data.                                            country today. Certification programs, most often
    Section 3: Literature Review and Documen-              voluntary in nature, tend to share one goal in com-
tation of Findings and Conclusions. The summary            mon: to define standards for practice—what a profes-
of main findings from the literature review from            sional should aspire to—and to confirm credentials
transportation-related and other pertinent secondary       and professional achievement.
sources as well as findings from primary data sources           Certification normally requires assessment, in-
are outlined. A gap analysis of the efficacy of four       cluding testing and evaluation of education and/or ex-
transit-specific professional development programs is       perience and has been called a “marker of excellence”
detailed. Also included is a discussion of the manner      of professionals who strive for it. Advocates for cer-
in which relevant voluntary certification programs are      tification believe that it defines a profession’s identity
implemented in a number of industries.                     and is an important part of the quality improvement
    Section 4: Potential Strategies to Deploy and          movement. Certification applies merit criteria as a
Maintain a Transit Industry Certification and              standard for obtaining the credential and excludes
Credentialing Program Development Process.                 those without adequate preparation. Sometimes it is
Using research findings from the study, the team           misunderstood as licensing, which is mandatory and
offers a potential framework and an approach to de-        is administered usually by state agencies for public
ploy and maintain voluntary professional certifica-         health or safety reasons.
tion programs for the transit industry.                        Throughout this report, the term certification(s)
    Summary. The study results are summarized              is used to denote credentials acquired through vol-
and potential next steps are presented.                    untary professional certification programs. The fol-
                                                           lowing definitions from organizations that offer
                                                           voluntary credentialing programs provide additional
SECTION 1 THE STUDY                                        clarity about the use of the term:
                                                               Certification is a voluntary action by a professional
     The American Public Transportation Associa-               group to establish a system to grant recognition to
tion’s (APTA) 2007 Member Needs Assessment Sur-                professionals who have met a stated level of train-
vey results revealed that respondents wanted one ben-          ing and work experience. Certified individuals are
efit above all others: the availability of a voluntary          usually issued a certificate attesting that they have
professional development certification and credential-          met the standards of the credentialing organization
ing program. The 2007 survey uncovered two stark re-           and are entitled to make the public aware of their
alities, which were confirmed in the 2009 APTA Skill            credentialed status, usually through the use of ini-
Development and Training Needs Survey. Baby-                   tials (i.e., PHR or SPHR after their names) (Re-
boomer middle and senior managers are expected to              trieved from Society of Human Resource Manage-
retire in large numbers over the next decade. This im-         ment website at
pending talent crisis in the public transportation in-         Certification is a process whereby an individual is
dustry has consequently gained the attention of transit        evaluated in order to determine their mastery of a
agency leaders around the Nation. The focus on cre-            specific body of knowledge. Professional certifica-
dentialing and certifications in these two surveys was          tion provides personal satisfaction for attaining a
apparently driven by the perception that certifications         recognized level of achievement within one’s pro-
and credentials communicate achievement beyond                 fession. It means commitment to the requirements
basic knowledge and experience, thereby distinguish-           of the job and participation in additional training to
                                                               exemplify the dedication to do the best possible
ing one professional from another. While a number of           job in the community transportation field. (Re-
sources provide definitions of certification and cre-            trieved from the Community Transportation Asso-
dentialing, most are similar. The following summa-             ciation of American website:
rizes definitions of professional certification: often
called simply certification or qualification, it is a des-   Initiatives to Enhance Professionalism
ignation earned by a person to assure qualification to      Within the Transit Industry
perform a job or task. Certifications are usually earned
from a professional society and are intended to be            The Transportation Research Board has, since
portable to all places a certified individual might work.   1994, sponsored the International Transit Studies Pro-
gram, with a goal to promote the professional devel-       practice communication, teamwork, mentoring, and
opment of U.S. public transit managers by providing        teambuilding skills.
them with unique opportunities to learn about transit           Another university-based program is the Gradu-
systems abroad. Each study mission of 12 transit           ate Studies in Transportation at Texas Southern Uni-
agency nominees is designed to provide participants        versity (TSU). This interdisciplinary program is
with a broader perspective on public transportation        designed to prepare students for careers in transporta-
and to allow them to come home with new ideas for          tion planning and management. For students with
improving their own agencies. More than 450 tran-          career goals in planning, the TSU program provides
sit professionals having participated to date.             foundations in traffic operations, transportation plan-
     Each year since 1997, a class of 25 upwardly          ning, public transportation, and Intelligent Trans-
mobile transit professionals has been selected for         portation Systems (ITS). Students pursuing manage-
and has participated in Leadership APTA, a year-           ment careers receive foundations in transportation
long professional development program led by tran-         principles, economics and finance, and transporta-
sit executives and other thought leaders. As a result,     tion policy and management.
a number of program graduates have been promoted                The Mineta Institute at San Jose State University
into general manager, executive director or other          specializes in policy studies related to surface trans-
senior management positions.                               portation, offers the Masters of Science in Trans-
     The Eno Transportation Foundation’s Center for        portation Management (MSTM), which is accred-
Transit Leadership (CTL) Transit Executive Semi-           ited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools
nar focuses on the critical competencies and issues        of Business (AACSB). The Institute also offers a Cer-
necessary to lead today’s transit agencies. The pro-       tificate in Transportation Security and Management
gram is tailored specifically for senior-level managers     (CTSM) and a Certificate in Transportation Manage-
in public transportation agencies and in companies         ment (CTM). Each program, offered with the support
that serve the transit industry. The intensive week-       of the San Jose State University College of Business,
long course is held twice a year in two different cities   follows an established series of accredited course
with 25 to 27 participants in each group.                  requirements to achieve the designated degree or
     The National Transit Institute (NTI) at Rutgers       certification.
                                                                While each program described above is making
University, funded by the Federal Transit Adminis-
                                                           important contributions to the preparation of transit
tration, offers a 3-day Senior Leadership course for
                                                           professionals, the span of their impact is limited for
future senior leaders in transit. Participants are mid-
                                                           a number of reasons. Current delivery methods pose
dle- or upper-middle managers who have recently            access challenges for many professionals interested
advanced to higher level positions or will do so in        in taking advantage of these development opportuni-
the near future. According to the NTI website, the         ties. The focus of the programs has been primarily on
Senior Leadership program provides a unique train-         individuals in or aspiring to go into leadership posi-
ing and educational opportunity for upper level tran-      tions, with little focus on other professionals in the
sit managers through teaching comprehensive and            transit industry. In addition, traveling to distant loca-
integrated information that is necessary for success-      tions, in some cases several times during the program,
ful executive careers.                                     may make time requirements and costs prohibitive.
     Several universities, designated as USDOT Uni-             This study brings to the forefront how the pro-
versity Transportation Centers (UTC), provide transit-     grams described above provide a starting point for
specific degree and professional development pro-          making sure the public transportation industry has
grams. For instance, the North Carolina State              processes in place by which professionals around
University Institute for Transportation Research and       the nation can be recognized as having the knowl-
Education’s Transit Leadership Development Pro-            edge and skills needed to fill the gaps expected over
gram is an example of a state-sponsored leadership         the next decade and beyond.
development initiative. North Carolina’s program
is designed to give transportation professionals an
                                                           SECTION 2 THE RESEARCH APPROACH
opportunity to significantly improve their decision-
making and leadership skills. The 12-week self-study           TCRP Project J-06,Task 72 was conducted in a
program gives participants a framework by which to         six-task process. Each task is described in the fol-
shape their own leadership styles as they learn and        lowing paragraphs:

     Task 1: Form of an “expert panel” to help facil-           TCRP Report 77: Managing Transit’s Workforce
itate the work of the research team and that will pro-     in the New Millennium (2002) this study assessed the
vide input throughout the study. The panel provided        transit industry’s workforce needs and prospects for
ongoing input and guidance. Panel members included         the future. The research concluded that the challenges
professionals with diverse expertise and views and         transit agencies face, whether large or small, could
included the following:                                    be attributed to a number of factors. One study found
                                                           that little research has been conducted to address the
     • Transit chief executives with current responsi-     issue of workforce readiness within the transit indus-
        bilities for managing transit systems and senior   try at any level which lends credence to the impor-
        staff members in diverse settings;                 tance of conducting the current study.
     • Transit industry executives with experience              TCRP Synthesis 47: Corporate Culture as the
        managing transit systems, employees, and proj-     Driver of Transit Leadership Practices (2003) reports
        ects in public and private sectors;                that transit agencies were just beginning to identify
     • Transit system human resources executives           core competencies—measurable patterns of knowl-
        who have responsibility for workforce plan-        edge, skills, behaviors and values—required for suc-
        ning, recruitment, and retention; and              cessful leadership team performance. While agency
     • Executives responsible for conducting needs         chief executives were able to identify core compe-
        assessments and for developing and execut-         tencies required of successful leaders, this knowl-
        ing programs designed to develop transit           edge was typically not translated into concrete plans
        professionals.                                     for leadership development.
                                                                TCRP Report 97: Emerging New Paradigms—
     Task 2: Conduct a literature review.                  A Guide to Fundamental Change in Local Public
     Task 3: Implement research approach; the major        Transportation Organizations (2003) includes infor-
outcome is a gap analysis that focuses on how pre-         mation on how public transportation organizations
pared graduates of four different transit-specific pro-     have entered an era of fundamental change; how they
fessional development programs are.                        are responding to dramatic and new expectations;
     Task 4: Prepare a memorandum that summarizes          and what factors have triggered the emergence of a
the results of Task 3 and suggest strategies to deploy     “new paradigm” industry-wide. The study identified
and maintain voluntary professional development            four key elements of the emerging paradigm that
credentialing and certification programs.                   may be particularly relevant to the types of leaders
     Task 5: Meet with the Working Group to discuss        and skill sets that will be required in the future.
the findings.                                                    TCRP Report 103: Public Transportation Oper-
     Task 6: Based on Tasks 1 through 5 and the            ating Agencies as Employers of Choice (2004) em-
Working Group comments received at the meeting,            phasizes that at a time of sharply increasing demand
prepare a final report that summarizes the findings,         for services, public transportation is facing serious
draws conclusions, documents results, and presents         problems in recruiting, developing, and retaining a
potential strategies to deploy and maintain voluntary      qualified workforce.
professional development certification and creden-               TCRP Synthesis 71: Paratransit Manager’s Skills,
tialing programs.                                          Qualifications, and Needs (2007) documents the
                                                           skills, knowledge, abilities and other qualifications
                                                           needed for the position of paratransit manager. Since
SECTION 3 LITERATURE REVIEW                                the position of paratransit manager is relatively new
AND DOCUMENTATION OF FINDINGS                              to the public transportation industry, the research
AND CONCLUSIONS                                            concludes that there is not a consistent career path to
TCRP Studies                                               becoming a paratransit manager.

    At the outset of the study, the research team con-
                                                           Additional Pertinent Public Transportation
ducted an exhaustive review of the literature, in order
                                                           Research Study Results
to identify relevant research and reports related to
the project objectives. Initially, the review examined         TRB Special Report 275—The Workforce Chal-
relevant research reports published as part of the         lenge: Recruiting, Training and Retaining Qualified
TCRP Program, including the following:                     Workers for Transportation and Transit Agencies

(2003) addresses how public transportation agencies        programs can also be an evaluation process that
can adjust to their workforce challenges and labor         tests and confirms mastery of knowledge and skill.
market realities through specific human resource ac-        Common benefits cited in professional certification
tions. Success depends in large part on identifying        brochures include the following:
the strategic needs and applying a diverse mixture of          • Allows for professional recognition in special-
measures to meet those needs.                                    ized areas and third-party affirmation of per-
     Recruitment, Selection and Retention of Com-                sonal and professional achievement;
munity Transportation System Personnel—A Toolkit               • Enhances status within the professional com-
(2004) includes strategies focused on developing a               munity;
toolkit to improve human resource management at                • Acknowledges expertise and encourages pro-
rural and small urban transit systems to provide con-            fessional growth; and
sistency in practices throughout the state. The pri-           • Promotes better quality of practice and service.
mary product from the study was a toolkit of effec-
tive practices to support community transportation             Some writers advise caution in establishing a
systems in performing these tasks.                         new certification program. These individuals state
     Each study report gave credence to the importance     that such a program is not easy and may not be eco-
of the current study and provided a foundation for con-    nomically affordable. By most accounts, certification
sidering how a voluntary certification program may          is a massive undertaking, demanding considerable
provide an additional resource for ensuring readiness      time and resources. Others argue that certification is
of a pool of transit professionals in the future.          not an assurance that the holder is more competent to
                                                           perform on the job than the noncertified individual.
Institute for Credentialing Excellence
                                                           Other Research Documentation
    A non-profit organization, the Institute for Cre-
                                                           and Findings
dentialing Excellence (ICE), is dedicated to provid-
ing educational, networking, and advocacy resources             Following approval of the research plan, the study
for credentialing organizations. The organization’s        team proceeded to complete subsequent tasks within
accrediting body, National Commission for Certify-         the time allotted for the project. The first major task
ing Agencies (NCCA), evaluates certifying organi-          was a gap analysis that focused on how prepared
zations for compliance with the NCCA Standards for         graduates of four transit-specific professional devel-
the Accreditation of Certification Programs.                opment programs (Leadership APTA, ENO Transit
    The organization provides several resources that       Executive Seminar, NTI Senior Leadership, and In-
help organizations planning to implement certification      ternational Transit Studies Program) feel they are to
programs move through the development process.             advance their career goals. Contacts made with ad-
One such resource, available on its website, is a          ministrators of each program helped to facilitate ac-
10-page booklet titled Defining Features of Quality         cess to and responses from graduates of the programs
Certification and Assessment-Based Certification           through online surveys. Online surveys were also
Programs. The purpose of this document is to aid           conducted of a sample of CEOs of agencies in which
stakeholders in gaining a better understanding of the      these graduates are employed to determine their per-
distinctions between assessment-based certificate pro-      ceptions of the adequacy of these programs. Addi-
grams, certificates of attendance or participation, and     tional data collection included an online survey of a
professional or personnel certification programs.           sample of small, medium, and large public transit
                                                           agencies to determine the types of certifications held
Benefits and Potential Pitfalls of Certification             by current staff and to identify past and current posi-
                                                           tions held by those with these certifications. A com-
Programs Found in Literature Review
                                                           parative analysis was conducted on the career paths
    The review of business literature revealed that        of individuals in these agencies to determine similar-
the benefits of certification are potentially immense.       ities and differences in practices within and among
Many feel strongly that it contributes to the identity     these organizations. Using these data, along with
of a profession. In addition, a well-thought-out cer-      input from the expert panel, the team conducted the
tification program may help management establish            gap analysis to determine what benefits a certification
precise job criteria that define clear expectations. Such   program may provide to the transit industry.

     The research team drew from two major sources:        class members with world-class leaders and respected
information retrieved from the Internet and other          leadership and industry experts. The program includes
sources about professional certification and creden-        a combination of specialized workshops, sessions,
tialing programs, and experiences of transit profes-       class research projects, teleconferences, online events,
sionals who hold credentials in their professional         and APTA conferences that address the challenges,
disciplines. Research focused on attempts to identify      demands, and key topics of the transit industry.
existing frameworks for voluntary certification pro-             Program graduates are expected to develop
grams from which transit professionals have already        and deepen understanding of the transit industry;
gained certifications, as well as in disciplines not typ-   strengthen and refine core competencies as transit
ically found in transit agencies. The goal of this re-     leaders and build networks of professional colleagues
search segment was to determine the theoretical            and friends; engage in activities that connect them
constructs these voluntary credentialing and certifi-       with world-class leaders and respected leadership and
cation programs have in common.                            industry experts; learn and grow as leaders through
     The gap analysis for the study focused on how         customized sessions, focused workshops, team as-
prepared professionals who have completed four             signments, online venues, site visits, and leadership
transit-specific professional development programs          projects; have the opportunity to be featured speakers
(Leadership APTA, Eno Transit Executive Seminar,           at APTA conference sessions, meetings, workshops
NTI Senior Leadership, and International Transit           and events; and identify leadership challenges facing
Studies Program) feel they are to advance their career     the transit industry today and be part of teams that
goals. The analysis also included feedback for CEOs        identify and recommend solutions that take the pub-
of participants of these programs about their views on     lic transportation industry into the future.
the efficacy of the programs in preparing transit lead-         The three-day NTI Senior Leadership course,
ers of the future. Descriptions of the programs, their     taught to upper-level transit executives, places em-
purposes, intended audiences, program structures,          phasis on providing a comprehensive and integrated
and expected outcomes are summarized herein                set of information necessary for successful execu-
     Eno Transit Executive Seminar, which is taught        tive careers. Presented from both academic and em-
to senior transit executives in classroom settings by      pirical perspectives, the course is taught by practi-
subject matter experts, consists of individual consul-     tioners, academics, transit agency executives, and
tation, small-group leadership workshops, and class-       government officials.
room instruction.                                               Individuals completing the course are expected
     Individuals completing the program have oppor-        to have broadened their professional capabilities and
tunities to develop competencies in multiple areas:        understanding of the requirements and challenges of
gain self-knowledge, including seeking feedback,           executive management positions in eight areas:
questioning assumptions, and aligning strengths to         understanding what makes a leader; building man-
the context of the chief executive of an organization;     agerial and leadership skills; working in a public
experience personal change in the way problems are         environment; succeeding in the transit industry;
considered and solved, and expand thinking habits to       thinking strategically and conceptually; mastering
include reflective, critical/analytical, conceptual, and    external dynamics; implementing change success-
creative thinking; articulate the social and economic      fully; and confronting evolving issues.
benefits of transit; capture the complexities of becom-          The International Transit Studies Program is
ing a chief executive; demonstrate insight into the        designed to provide participants with a broader per-
competencies, skills, and perspectives of the chief ex-    spective on public transportation and to allow them
ecutive, in contrast to those required in current func-    to come home with new ideas for improving their
tional areas; expand current conceptions of ways to        own agencies. Each study mission focuses on one
partner with transit boards and consider methods to        transit-specific theme, and has a professional transit
build effective board teams; recognize the continuous      leader and a contract program coordinator.
nature of learning and the role of feedback, as one             Online surveys were designed to gather data on
leads a transportation organization; and recognize the     participant experiences, specifically related to the
importance of and begin to build a “kitchen cabinet”       expected outcomes. Each survey included multiple-
to provide feedback throughout one’s career.               choice questions based on the expected outcomes of
     Leadership APTA, with a focus on professional         the individual programs. In addition, open-ended
development of emerging transit leaders, connects          questions were included in a number of areas: most
beneficial aspects of the program; program weak-          the four subject programs. Initial attention was given
nesses; what the respondent would want prospective       to responses to questions related to established pro-
program participants to experience; what the respon-     gram outcomes, the research team determined that
dent has done differently as a result of the program     program graduates are satisfied that expected out-
experience; how the program has helped to expand         comes are being met, with a few exceptions. Clearly
thinking, skills and understanding of leadership style   respondents feel that the information and activities
and competence; and finally, an invitation to add any     incorporated in the programs have contributed to ad-
other information about the program. Demographic         vancing their knowledge of the transit industry. As
information requested was in six areas: year pro-        aspiring and, in some cases, accomplished transit in-
gram was completed, position title, title of position    dustry leaders, they viewed the mastery of leadership
respondent reports to, approximate number of em-         skills and the understanding of strategic and tactical
ployees in her or his organization, number of employ-    factors that determine a transit system’s success as im-
ees respondent supervises, and a list of professional    portant program components.
certifications the respondent has earned.                     Several comments related to program pace and
                                                         timing show that participants were fully engaged
CEO Surveys Regarding Professional                       during their time in the program and desired to see an
Development Program Outcomes                             increase in program length to allow expanded partic-
                                                         ipant interaction and inquiry. All groups particularly
    In addition to conducting surveys of graduates of    value the camaraderie gained through networking
the four professional development programs, the          experiences, the presentations of top-level transit ex-
research team sent online surveys to a sampling of       ecutives and planned small group interactions. Pro-
chief executives in organizations that have spon-        gram graduates view these activities as avenues for
sored employee participation in these programs. The      not only assimilating program content during the
purpose of the CEO surveys was to determine their        program but also as methods for marketing and sus-
perceptions of the adequacy of these programs. For       taining their professional competencies throughout
the most part, CEOs were selected from organiza-         their careers in transit.
tions that had sponsored the participation of several        Respondents in all groups expressed an interest
employees in one or more of the programs.                in additional avenues for applying knowledge and
    Recognizing how busy these individuals were          skills gained from the learning they experienced
likely to be, the research team contacted the project    while enrolled in the program. Quite a number were
expert panel for recommendations on the most effec-      concerned about being able to practice what they
tive approaches to surveying transit chief executives.   learned after completing the program. The frequency
On each survey, the executives were given three op-      with which comments were made about the need for
tions to respond to the impact he or she perceived the   formal follow up to defined program activities sig-
programs have had on one particular employee who         nals a possible area for consideration of adjustments
had completed one or more of the programs. The ex-       in program design.
ecutives were given the option of answering “im-             Respondents appear to place high value on hav-
proved,” “not sure,” or “not improved” to each state-    ing a chance to demonstrate their learning and skills
ment on the survey. A total of 16 CEO responses were     within the broader transit industry. In the case of
received. CEOs generally agreed that employees had       Leadership APTA graduates, the chance to present
shown improvements in areas of expected program          team project results to captive audiences of industry
outcomes following completion of the programs.           leaders at major conferences was cited as an impor-
                                                         tant possible springboard to future advancement.
                                                             When asked to make suggestions about experi-
Conclusions of Gap Analysis
                                                         ences they felt future program participants should
    The gap analysis focused on how prepared grad-       have, respondents also spoke about those aspects that
uates of four transit-specific professional develop-      should remain the same as well as aspects they feel
ment programs feel they are to advance their career      need some adjustments. Responses indicate how
goals as a result of program participation. Additional   significant skills sets in certain areas are perceived
feedback was solicited from CEOs of several agen-        as important to transit leaders. For instance, Leader-
cies that have sponsored employee participation in       ship APTA graduates feel that there should be more

attention to labor-management and operational is-           their professional disciplines, and human resource
sues. Eno Transit Executive Seminar participants            professionals in transit agencies. Research focused
expressed a desire for more time to fully assimilate        on attempts to identify voluntary certification pro-
all of the content presented in a short period of time.     grams from which transit professionals have already
This group also suggested having additional focus           gained certifications, as well as in disciplines not typ-
on how all of the pieces fit together from a CEO per-        ically found in transit agencies.
spective of organization design and operation. The              Data collection to achieve the goal of suggesting
NTI Senior Leadership course graduates expressed            strategies to deploy and maintain voluntary profes-
a need for a better balance between theory and more         sional development credentialing and certification
specific examples from transit agencies. This group          programs was accomplished in three steps. The first
also suggested the possibility of activities such as peer   step was to request that respondents to the Eno Tran-
review or work exchanges with other transit agencies        sit Executive Seminar, Leadership APTA, NTI Se-
as enhancements to the program. International Tran-         nior Leadership course, and International Transit
sit Studies Program participants spoke about the need       Studies Program surveys identify certifications they
for more time between locations and the need for            possess. The second step in gathering data about cer-
more interaction between participants and presenters        tifications that transit employees possess was to ask
as well as the need to learn more about the cultures of     the three human resource executives on the expert
the countries visited prior to the mission.                 panel to identify certifications required or preferred
     Several questions related to program design and        for specific positions in their agencies. The third step
administration may be worthy of consideration if the        was to conduct an online survey of a sample of
return on investment in the programs is to be maxi-         small, medium, and large public transit agencies
mized. How can program design ensure sustained              (using the APTA HR Committee list) to determine
connectivity with industry leaders, mentors, and peer       the types of certifications held by current staff and to
groups for participants? What commitments other             identify past and current positions held by those with
than paying for the program and allowing time off to        these certifications.
participate should be part of the agreement from                The frequency distribution of the combined list
sponsoring agencies? What follow-up actions should          of certifications by all survey respondents, with two
be in place for participants to facilitate leadership       or more identifying each certification, is provided in
career path development? How much exposure to               Table 1.
leadership opportunities can program participants               The information from the professional develop-
realistically expect from program activities designed       ment respondent surveys and human resource expert
to create a sense of awareness about major issues in        panel member feedback was used to structure a sur-
any of the three programs?                                  vey (the third step) to assess the range of certifications
     As stated earlier, CEO respondents for the most        preferred or required within the organizations of
part, indicate that employees from their agencies have      APTA Human Resources Committee members em-
demonstrated improvements in the areas identified as         ployed in public transit agencies. The data received
expected outcomes for each program. Responses to            from this survey give a fairly comprehensive view of
the open-ended questions, while quite limited, were         what these Human Resources professionals consider
positive in regards to the value of the programs in         professional certifications as well as the range of cer-
preparing future transit leaders.                           tifications within transit organizations. The summary
                                                            of the survey of this group is included as Table 2.

Data Gathering Regarding                                    Summary of Inquiry Into Current Certifications
Professional Certifications                                  in Transit Agencies
    In order to recommend a framework and strategy              Data collected in the three-step process provided
to deploy and maintain voluntary professional devel-        insight into the range of professional certifications
opment credentialing and certification programs, the         possessed by transit employees. Eno Transit Execu-
research team drew from three major sources: infor-         tive Seminar, Leadership APTA, NTI Senior Lead-
mation retrieved from the Internet and other sources        ership course and International Transit Studies Pro-
about professional certification and credentialing pro-      gram participants identified the professional engineer
grams, transit professionals who hold credentials in        credential as the certification most frequently held.
Table 1 List of certifications identified by respondents to Eno Transit Executive, Leadership APTA,
NTI Senior Leadership, and International Transit Studies Program surveys.
Certification/Certifying Agency                                                            Number of Responses
Professional Engineer (registrations or licenses issued by individual states)                       16
  Note: There is a question as to whether the P.E. qualifies as a certification
  as defined in this study.
AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners)                                                      10
CPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants)                                              4
PHR (Society for Human Resource Management)                                                          4
Certified Community Transit Manager (Community Transit Association of America)                        4
FTA-TSI Safety Management Certification (Federal Transit                                              2
Administration—Transportation Safety Institute)
Certified Safety and Security Director (World Safety Organization)                                    2

In some states, this credential is identified as a reg-     ing of core certifications offered or sponsored by
istration, in others a license. Certainly, while some      these organizations is provided in the following list.
engineers practice as professionals without being a        All information was retrieved from the websites of
P.E., there are some functions that can only be per-       the sponsoring groups.
formed by individuals who hold this credential. Other          American Association of Airport Executives
credentials identified included are those held by plan-     (AAAE) offers three certifications: Certified Member
ners, professional accountants, transit managers and       (C.M.), Airport Certified Employee (ACE) Program,
human resource professionals.                              and Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF).
     The survey of APTA HR Committee members                   Association of Certified Fraud Examiners of-
yielded valuable information on which certifications        fers the Certified Fraud Examiners certification.
are required or preferred for specific positions in tran-       American Planning Association (APA) spon-
sit agencies around the nation. A total of 72 surveys      sors the American Institute of Certified Planners
were emailed to committee members, with specific            (AICP) certification.
attention to not duplicate surveys sent to any single          American Public Transit Exams Institute
agency. Ten members responded for a response rate          (APTREX) offers six certifications: Certified Tran-
of 14%. The data provided gave insight into the fre-       sit First Line Manager (CTFM), Certified Transit
quency with which the responding agencies specify          Control Center Manager (CTCCM), Certified Tran-
certain certifications as preferred or required to qual-    sit Section Manager (CTSCM), Certified Transit
ify for positions. The survey included a list of posi-     Division Manager (CTDVM), Certified Transit De-
tions identified by the project Human Resources ex-         partment Manager (CTDM), Certified Executive
pert panel members and through research by the             Manager (CTBM).
research team, It also allowed respondents to add              Community Transportation Association of
other preferred or required certifications in their         America (CTAA) sponsors three transportation cer-
transit agencies.                                          tifications: Certified Transit Program Administrator
                                                           (CTPA), a cooperative venture between CTAA and
                                                           (American Association of State Highway and Trans-
Overview of Ten Voluntary
                                                           portation Officials (AASHTO); Certified Community
Certification Programs
                                                           Transit Supervisor (CCTS), and Certified Commu-
    Another aspect of data gathering about volun-          nity Transit Manager (CCTM).
tary certification programs involved reviewing ten              Employee Assistance Professionals Association
organizations offering voluntary certification pro-         (EAPA) sponsors the Certified Employee Assistance
grams. These programs were reviewed in prepara-            Professional (CEAP) certification program.
tion to complete the task of making suggestions on             International Public Management Association
how to deploy and maintain a voluntary professional        (IPMA) certifies project managers world-wide, using
certification program for the transit industry. A list-     a four-level certification system: Certified Project

Table 2 Summary of APTA Human Resources committee survey results: preferred and required
professional certifications in transit agencies.
Number of Respondents: 10
                               Number of   Number of   Positions for which           Typical past positions
Name of Certification/          Agencies    Agencies    required (R) or               held by individuals who
Certifying Organization        Required    Preferred   preferred (P)                 meet the qualification
CPA (American Institute            1           5       Dir. Finance, Sr. Accoun-     Dir. Finance, Controller,
  of Certified Public                                     tant, Executive Vice           Sr. Accountant, Sr.
  Accountants)                                           President, Auditor,            Auditor, Financial
                                                         Intern Accountant              Analyst
CIA (The Institute of              1           4       Auditor, Audit Mgr., Vice     Internal Audit Job Fam-
  Internal Auditors)                                     President, Internal Audit      ily, Vice President,
                                                         Job Family                     Auditors, Mgrs. of
                                                                                        Audit, external auditors
PHR (Society for Human             0           6       HR Mgr., HR Dir., HR Job      HR Job Family, HR Dir.,
  Resource Management)                                  Family, HR Generalist           HR Mgr., HR Gener-
                                                                                        alist, HR Specialist
CCP (World at Work                 0           4       Dir. Compensation, Mgr.       Compensation Job
 Society of Certified                                     Compensation, HR               Family, Director/Mgr.
 Professionals)                                          Specialist/Compensation,       Compensation, Bene-
                                                         Benefits Specialist in HR       fits Specialist in HR
PMP (Project Management            1           5       Construction Project Mgr.,    Construction Project
 Institute)                                              Sr. Project Mgr., Project      Mgr., Project Manage-
                                                         Management Job Family,         ment Job Family,
                                                         Project Management             Project Management
                                                         Officers IT, Project and       Officers IT, Applica-
                                                         Program Management             tion Administrators,
                                                         positions, Planner,            Project and Program
                                                         Analyst, Engineers             Managers, Project
                                                                                        Coordinators, Planner,
                                                                                        Analyst, Engineer,
AICP (American Institute           1           2       Transportation Planner,       Planners, Manager of
  of Certified Planners)                                  Manager of Transit-            Transit-Oriented
                                                         Oriented Development,          Development
CEAP (Employee Assistance          1           0       Employee Assistance Staff     Employee Assistance
  Certification                                                                         Staff
DAPC (Drug and Alcohol             1           3       Drug and Alcohol Testing      Manager of System
  Professional Certification                              Staff, Safety Profession-    Safety
  by U.S. DOT)                                           als, Drug Testing Profes-
                                                         sionals, Training Super-
                                                         visor, Manager of
                                                         Employment Support
NICET (National Institute of       0           1       Construction Inspector        Construction Inspector
  Certified Technologies)

Director (IPMA Level A), Certified Senior Project          (WSO-CSS); WSO-Certified Safety-Security Direc-
Manager (IPMA Level B); Certified Project Manager          tor (WSO-CSSD). The WSO Entry Level Certifica-
(IPMA Level C); and Certified Project Management           tion; and WSO Certified Governmental Safety and
Associate (IPMA Level D).                                 Environmental Officers.
    Society of Human Resource Management                       The core strategies used by the organizations
(SHRM) offers three core certifications: Professional      listed above are summarized in Table 3.
Human Resources (PHR), Senior Human Resources
Professional (SPHR) and Global Professional Human         SECTION 4 POTENTIAL FRAMEWORK
Resources (GPHR).                                         AND STRATEGY TO DEPLOY AND
    Transportation Safety Institute (TSI), which          MAINTAIN A TRANSIT INDUSTRY
falls under the parent organization of the Research       CERTIFICATION AND CREDENTIALING
and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)           PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
offers certifications in the four areas: Aviation, Traf-
fic Safety, Multi-Modal Safety and Transit Safety          Suggested Framework Considerations
and Security.                                                 The transit industry, through the APTA Standards
    World Safety Organization (WSO) offers cer-           and Oversight Council (SDOC), a 29-member group
tification programs related to the functions of safety,    comprised of transit, business and FTA representa-
occupational and environmental safety, and health         tives, may already have an excellent starting point
and related disciplines: WSO-Certified Safety Ex-         for determining voluntary professional certification
ecutive (WSO-CSE); WSO Certified Safety Man-               standards for the industry. The APTA website in-
ager (WSO-CSM); WSO-Certified Safety Specialist            cludes the following information: SDOC was created

Table 3 Core strategies used to manage ten voluntary certification programs.
                                             Certification              3rd Party
                Organization Governing       Commission/Board          Management of
                Board Manages                Manages Certification      Certification             Application and
Organization    Certification Program         Program                   Program                  Exam Fees
AAAE            AAAE Board of Directors                                                         Application fee
ACFE            ACFE Board of Regents                                                           Exam fee
APA                                          AICP Commission           Testing outsources to    Application fee
APTREX                                       APTREX International                               Exam fee
                                               Transit Certification
                                               Review Board
CTAA                                         CTAA National                                      Application and
                                               Certification Council                               exam fees
                                             Employee Assistance
EAPA                                           Certification                                     Application and
                                               Commission                                         exam fees
IPMA                                         Certification Validation   Third party assessment   Exam fee
                                               Management Board
SHRM                                                                   Human Resources          Application and
                                                                         Certification             exam fees
                                                                         Institute manages
                                                                         total program
TSI                                          Programs coordinated                               Non-FTA
                                               by RITA                                            grantees
                                                                                                  pay fees
WSO             WSO Board of Directors                                                          Application fee

to promote the support for and use of standards in the     cation program that will affect overall program costs.
public transportation industry. The Council, working       While the organization would not attempt to estimate
in concert with existing APTA standards develop-           the cost for setting up a voluntary professional cer-
ment policy and planning committees, coordinates           tification program for the transit industry, the staff
and oversees the development of standards in the in-       stated the primary start-up costs would be for certi-
dustry. In this role the committee establishes priori-     fication test item preparation, pilot testing and vali-
ties for standards programs at APTA, coordinates the       dation of tests and setting up the information tech-
standards development activities of APTA’s modal           nology to manage the program. According to ICE
groups, and develops and manages the standards an-         staff, at least $100,000 would need to be committed
nual work plan and budget. In describing work that         to cover start-up costs. The staff provided the fol-
has already been done related to developing indus-         lowing list of considerations:
try standards, the website points out that “hundreds
                                                               • Format and length of the certifying exam(s)
of industry volunteers serving on numerous working
committees have developed standards for bus, rail                (multiple choice, essay, oral, etc.);
                                                               • Exam administration (paper and pencil, com-
transit and commuter rail operations, maintenance,
procurement, and ITS.”                                           puter based);
                                                               • Number of exam forms the organization will
     With this structure in place, whether SDOC
should be the body with ultimate authority to deter-             need/want to develop each year;
                                                               • Candidate application review processes;
mine voluntary certification standards, it certainly
                                                               • Number of examinations to offer per year; and
has the potential to provide a model for how indus-
                                                               • Number of candidates to test each year.
try leaders can collaborate in developing standards.
Recognizing its value would prevent the transit in-
dustry from starting from a zero-base position in          Suggested Certification Program
responding to members’ expressed interest to have          Start-up Strategy
access to a certification program.
     The research team suggests that SDOC or an-               A review of one area in which standards have been
other designated group become familiar with a re-          completed—procurement—suggests a case business
source that many organizations contemplating a certi-      case for using those standards as a test case to deter-
fication program consult: Institute for Credentialing       mine knowledge, skills, abilities, and other (KSAOs)
Excellence (ICE). Headquartered in Washington DC,          characteristics one must possess to be certified in the
ICE is dedicated to providing educational, networking      field. Presented below is a potential approach.
and advocacy resources for credentialing organiza-             1. Because SDOC already has oversight for stan-
tions. The organization’s accrediting body, NCCA,                 dards development, it could be charged with
evaluates certifying organizations for compliance with            establishing the APTA Credentialing and
the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certifi-               Certification Commission. The Commission
cation Programs. The organization provides several                would have the authority and autonomy within
resources that help organizations that are planning to            the confines of the standards that have been
implement certification programs move through the                  agreed to by SDOC. The Commission would
development process. One such resource, available on              be comprised of individuals with the KSAOs
its website, is a 10-page booklet titled Defining Fea-             needed to work collaboratively in designing
tures of Quality Certification and Assessment-Based                and managing the credentialing process.
Certification Programs. The purpose of this resource            2. The SDOC could work with the Transporta-
is to aid stakeholders to gain a better understanding of          tion Research Board to request allocation of
the distinctions between assessment-based certificate              research funds that would be used to conduct
programs, certificates of attendance or participation,             the research needed to develop certification
and professional or personnel certification programs.              standards based on the established procure-
The document focuses on 12 key aspects of certifica-               ment standards. Reviews of previous relevant
tion and assessment-based certificate programs.                    TCRP research reports would be a key ele-
     At the suggestion of the TCRP Working Group,                 ment in this discovery process.
the research team contacted ICE to gather data on              3. Following this review process, the work can be
their services. Data collected from ICE staff reveal              done with the guidance of individuals with ex-
there are many factors that go into starting a certifi-            pertise in credential program design. This work
     should incorporate the best thinking within the            Commission Institute for approval to become
     industry about how to assess readiness to go               a third-party provider of training and/or test-
     through an assessment process. Involving                   ing center, where online testing and scoring
     one or more of the 33 UTC institutions in the              can be available.
     process may be a cost-effective approach to             8. Once approved curricula are approved, work-
     developing testing and other assessment cri-               shops could be held at APTA conferences, as
     teria, questions, and processes.                           well as onside at the provider locations.
4.   A key element in the design and development
     phase would be to involve APTA’s member-
     ship as much as feasible throughout the             SUMMARY
     process. Feedback received during the meeting            Over the past two decades, transit industry leader-
     with the TCRP Working Group to review the           ship has been successful in making the business case
     study’s draft final report revealed a number         that increased resources are needed to prepare the
     of questions and, in some cases, reservations       transit workforce of the future. As evidenced in the
     about the need for and efficacy of deploying a      four programs reviewed in the gap analysis con-
     transit industry certification program. The di-      ducted during this study, much has been achieved in
     versity of views expressed during the meeting       preparing a corps of leaders for the industry. The
     is likely reflective of the types of questions and
                                                         current programs, while substantive and open to the
     reservations the membership will want ad-
                                                         entire industry, have limited capacity to reach sig-
     dressed before giving its support to program
                                                         nificant number of professionals annually. In addi-
     deployment. Therefore, a communication plan
                                                         tion, costs, delivery mechanisms, locations, and other
     that ensures extensive two-way communica-
     tion with the membership should be developed        variables have made these programs less than ad-
     at the early stages of work and executed in a       vantageous to a large segment of the industry.
     consistent and responsive manner.                        Recent feedback for APTA members has indi-
5.   Once certification standards have been final-         cated an interest in the availability of a program
     ized, the APTA Credentialing and Certifica-          that reaches and is accessible to the masses that
     tion Commission could send them to various          provide public transportation services nationwide.
     UTCs such as the Mineta Institute at San Jose       This feedback, given through the APTA 2007 Mem-
     State University or the National Center for         ber Needs Assessment and more recently the 2009
     Transportation Management, Research and             APTA Skill Development and Training Needs Sur-
     Development at Morgan State University,             vey, signals a desire for additional attention to a cre-
     and the Institute for Transportation Research       dentialing process by which transit professionals
     and Education at the North Carolina State           can communicate achievement beyond basic knowl-
     University. In some cases, the route to take        edge and experience. Credentialing is generally rec-
     may be an adaptation of current curricula to        ognized as a means by which the achievements of
     meet the SDOC-approved standards.                   one professional can be distinguished from those of
6.   Other resources available for possible prepa-       another.
     ration for certification include an assessment            This study revealed that numerous professions
     of how the three programs reviewed during           have addressed the matter of credentialing through
     this project can be resources for qualifying for    voluntary professional certification programs. Tran-
     certification. For instance, NTI already offers      sit has a number of substantive resources and mech-
     a four-course series on procurement for FTA         anisms in place to facilitate inquiry into the feasibil-
     grantees: Orientation to Transit Procurement,       ity of making a certification program a reality. Most
     Basic Cost and Price Analysis and Risk As-          notable is the APTA Standards and Oversight Coun-
     sessment, RFPs and Competitive Contract             cil, which coordinates and oversees the development
     Negotiations, and Contract Administration.          of standards for the industry. With resources such as
     Tuition for the course is waived for federal,       the International Transit Studies Program, Eno Tran-
     state, and local government employees who           sit Executive Seminar, Leadership APTA, NTI Senior
     work in transportation or related areas.            Leadership course, and workforce development pro-
7.   These entities would send the proposed curric-      grams at several University Transportation Centers,
     ula the APTA Credentialing and Certification         much of the groundwork has been laid for serious
consideration of a certification program. As described    AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
in the suggested strategy presented herein, additional
                                                           The work presented herein was guided by the
resources and research are needed if the idea is to
                                                         TCRP J-06 Task 72 Working Group:
move from the conceptual stage to program design
and implementation.                                      Doran J. Barnes, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA
REFERENCES                                               Al Byam, University of Massachusetts Transit
                                                             System, Amherst, MA
     1. McGlothin Davis, Inc. (2002), TCRP Report        Mary Ann Collier, Swayzer Engineering, Inc.,
        77: Managing Transit’s Workforce in the New          Dallas, TX
        Millennium. Transportation Research Board of     Deborah A. Dawson, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid
        the National Academies, Washington, DC.              Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA
     2. Davis, M.J. (2003), TCRP Synthesis 47: Cor-      Barbara K. Gannon, Eno Center for Transportation
        porate Culture as the Driver of Transit Lead-        Leadership, Gloucester, MA
        ership Practices: A Synthesis of Transit Prac-   Kimberly Haynes-Slaughter, Metropolitan Transit
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        National Academies, Washington, DC.              Diane James, Women’s Transportation Seminar,
     3. Stanley, R.G. (2003), TCRP Report 97:                Washington, DC
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        damental Change in Local Public Transporta-          Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA
                                                         Michael P. Melaniphy, Motor Coach Industries,
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        Board of the National Academies, Washing-
                                                         Gregg A. Moser, Krauthamer & Associates, Inc.,
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     4. Watson Wyatt Worldwide (2004), TCRP              Robert H. Prince, Jr., AECOM Consulting Trans-
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        Washington, DC.                                  Christopher Zeilinger, CTAA Liaison
     5. Potts, J. and M. Marshall (2007), TCRP Syn-
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        Practice. Transportation Research Board of
        the National Academies, Washington, DC.          David Armijo, CEO, HARTline, Tampa, Florida
     6. Committee on Future Surface Transportation       Peter Cipolla, Vice President, Rail and Transit,
        Agency (2003), Special Report 275: The               Hatch Mott MacDonald, Monterey, California
        Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training,       Mary Ann Jackson, Assistant General Manager,
        and Retaining Qualified Workers for Trans-            Operations, MARTA, Atlanta, Georgia
        portation and Transit Agencies. Transportation   Paul Larousse, Director, National Transit Institute,
        Research Board of the National Academies,            New Brunswick, New Jersey
                                                         Nancy Malecker, Human Resources Manager, Utah
        Washington, DC.
                                                             Transit, Salt Lake City, UT
     7. Cook, T. and Lawrie, J. (2004), Recruitment,     Tawnya Moore-McGee, Assistant General Manager,
        Selection and Retention of Community Trans-          Human Resources, Port Authority of Allegheny
        portation System Personnel—A Toolkit.                County, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
        Transportation Research Board of the National    Alma Scott-Buczak, Assistant Executive Director,
        Academies, Washington, DC.                           Human Resources, New Jersey Transit, Newark,
     8. Institute for Credentialing Excellence (2010),       New Jersey
        Defining Features of Quality Certification and     Matthew Tucker, CEO, North County Transit
        Assessment-Based Certification Programs.             District, Oceanside, California
        Institute for Credentialing Excellence. Wash-    Phillip Washington, General Manager/CEO, Re-
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