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SHRP 2 L32(B) [Active]

e-Learning for Training Traffic Incident Responders and Managers

  Project Data
Funds: $525,000
Staff Responsibility: Reena Mathews and Ralph Hessian
Research Agency: University of Maryland
Effective Date: 10/19/2012
Completion Date: 3/31/2014

Reliability Focus Area
The major objective of SHRP 2 Reliability research is to greatly improve the reliability of highway travel times by reducing the frequency and effects of events that cause travel times to fluctuate unpredictably. The results of the research program should help local, state, and national agencies reduce travel time variability for travelers and shippers. The Reliability research plan addresses both recurring and nonrecurring congestion with an emphasis on nonrecurring congestion. The following seven potential sources of unreliable travel times (i.e., events that cause variable travel times) were identified: traffic incidents, work zones, demand fluctuations, special events, traffic control devices, weather, and inadequate base capacity.
 
The Reliability focus area targets travel time variation—that frustrating characteristic of the transportation system that means you must allow an hour to make a trip that normally takes 30 minutes. Not only is reliability an important component for travelers and shippers, it is also an area of the congestion problem in which transportation agencies can make significant gains even as travel demand grows. The seven sources of unreliability account for approximately half of the total delay. Reducing reliability-related delay will also result in fewer crashes, reduced vehicle emissions and fuel use, and other benefits. These benefits can be realized through a mix of leading-edge research into a better understanding of strategies and their consequences, new technology and practices, and reducing institutional barriers so that our existing knowledge can be more fully exploited.
 
The goals of the Reliability focus area are built around the first five of the seven sources mentioned above. Work on weather-related issues will be coordinated with the Road Weather Management R&D program under way at the Federal Highway Administration. Related research on inadequate base capacity being undertaken in the SHRP 2 Capacity focus area and elsewhere will be closely coordinated by SHRP 2 staff.
 
Project Background
 
The L12 Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Train-the-Trainer program is the product of a recently completed SHRP 2 Reliability research project. The training program consists of state-of-the-art TIM training and course curriculum materials and is geared to meet critical training needs of traffic incident responders and managers from many disciplines. Proposals are being solicited for the following three projects based on results from the core research of the L12 project:
 
·       L32-A: Conduct "Train-the-Trainer" Pilot Courses for Incident Responders and Managers   The objective is to conduct five pilot workshops of the train-the-trainer course and curriculum material and to further refine the course material based on the lessons learned at the pilot sessions.
·       L32-B: e-Learning for Training Traffic Incident Responders and Managers
This project will develop and implement an e-learning system that is primarily an electronic version of the classroom training and course curriculum material developed in the L12 project and further refined in project L32-A.
·       L32-C: Interdisciplinary Train-the-Trainer Post-Course Assessment Tool
The objective is to provide an interactive assessment tool for agencies to assess the effectiveness of lessons learned from L32-A and L32-B and other national-level practices employed.
 
The L32-B contractor will work closely with the SHRP 2 L32 project team consisting of SHRP 2 staff and the L32 Technical Expert Task Group (TETG) along with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and other public-sector and industry representatives. It is mandatory that the L32-B project contractor closely coordinates with the other L32 project efforts as those projects are developed and deployed. The L32-B contractors will also need to coordinate with other national TIM training initiatives, including but not limited to those sponsored by FHWA, the I-95 Coalition, and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute. The details of the SHRP 2 L12 project, including reports and the classroom training material, will be made available to the prospective contractor.
 
As appropriate, the L32-B contractor is expected to explore and add other suitable and appropriate modules beyond those currently used in projects L12 and L32-A.   The L32-B contractor will work with the TETG to determine the types and extent of such additional components and recommend whether these additional components should be fully developed as part of the L32-B project scope or be scoped as placeholders for future e-learning enhancements. For those components identified as placeholders, the contractor would provide concepts of application and system functional requirements. 
 
Project Objectives
 
Project L32-B has two principal objectives:
1.     To develop and implement an e-learning system for traffic incident responders and managers. The developed e-learning system will be in a modular format similar to the modular training units used in the classroom version as developed in project L12 and further refined in project L32-A (see Project Background).
2.     To explore and add other suitable and appropriate modules above and beyond the modular units currently used in projects L12 and L32-A.  The L32-B contractor will work with the TETG to determine the types and extent of such additional components.  
 
Some of the preliminary possibilities of such additional modules are identified below for guidance and potential contractors are encouraged to suggest other choices for consideration as part of L32-B:
 
o    A short introduction to TIM (primarily a first-step for trainees who are scheduled for the entire TIM course, classroom or electronic version, and for other TIM training programs, such as those offered by FHWA)
o    Overview of TIM (focusing on key L12/L32 principles for individuals who may not participate in the entire course) 
o   A built module within the proposed e-learning domain to provide links, resources, and other forms of support for TIM trainers and TIM train-the-trainer programs
o   Tools for TIM stakeholder organizations to provide reinforcing tips/information for responders and managers through the organization’s computer system(s) for management and administration, such as the use of Solid Realistic Ongoing Verifiable Training by law enforcement agencies
Please Note: A pre-bid webinar will be held within the next two weeks to discuss the desired outcomes of Projects L32-B and L32-C and to provide opportunity for potential proposers to ask questions. Registration for the free webinar will be available on the SHRP 2 website and announcements will be made as soon as a date is selected. Please check the site beginning March 22 for the registration announcement.
 
Statement of Work
This statement of work describes the key tasks to be performed for SHRP 2 project L32-B. It should be noted that the task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. SHRP 2 is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that realistically can be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meet the research objectives.
 
Tasks
The proposal must use a task structure to describe the approach and must provide a cost estimate for each task in the proposal. A brief description of possible tasks to be performed for project L32-B is provided in this section of the Statement of Work. The objectives reflected in the following tasks are considered essential, but proposers are invited to suggest different approaches that would accomplish the same objectives more effectively or efficiently. Also, proposals should identify and describe sub-tasks where appropriate (particularly for project activities under Task 4). Following are the task descriptions:
 
Task 1: Coordination with L32 TETG and L32-A and L32-C Project Contractors
It is mandatory that the L32-B project contractor closely coordinates with the L32-A and L 32-C project efforts as those projects are developed and deployed. The L32-B contractor is required to interact with other SHRP 2 L32 contractors relative to the content and delivery of the training material as well as web-based tools such as online registration for training, issuing certificates for completed training, assessment tools, and maintaining and using trainee databases. The L32-B contractor will work closely with the SHRP 2 L32 project team consisting of SHRP 2 staff and the L32 Technical Expert Task Group (TETG) along with FHWA, AASHTO, and other public-sector and industry representatives.
 
Task 2: Literature Review
Review in depth the SHRP 2 project L12 reports and training materials and the L32-A project tasks and deliverables as they become available. In addition, to help understand and assess the context for the e-learning system, review other TIM training programs resources, initiatives, and reports that are pertinent to SHRP 2 L12 training material. These include but are not limited to the following:
 
·       Federal Highway Administration, “Develop National Traffic Incident Management Training Standardization Effort and TIM Technical Training Needs Assessment,” and other FHWA materials
·       National Traffic Incident Management Coalition (NTIMC), “National Unified Goal,” “Benefits of Traffic Incident Management,” and other NTIMC materials
·       “The Many HATS of Highway Incident Management”
·       I-95 Corridor Coalition, “Incident Management Core Competencies Training Module,” “Incident Management Virtual Training for First Responders,” “Quick Clearance Toolkit and Workshop,” and other Coalition training/education programs
·       Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI), “Ten Cones of Highway Safety,” “Watch Out Behind You,” and other ERSI resources
·       International Association of Chiefs of Police, “Your Vest Won’t Stop This Bullet”
·       Towing and Recovery Association of America, “TIM Training Program for Entry Level Towers” and “Vehicle Identification Quick Reference Guide”
·       Ohio DOT, ”Ohio QuickClear,” Professional Responders Guide for Safe and Effective Highway Incident Management
·       Wisconsin Department of Transportation, “Emergency Traffic Control and Scene Management Guidelines Overview and Training Program CD”
·       Washington State DOT, Washington State Patrol, and Washington Fire Chiefs, “Joint Operations Policy Statement”
·       North Florida TPO, TIMe4Safety video series and handbook
All of the above topics are easily accessible on the web. During this review of existing resources the contractor will identify and catalogue images, video, audio, animation, and other resources that might be used to supplement the PowerPoint materials developed in the L12/L32-A project.
 
Task 3: Review of Other Pertinent e-Learning Systems
Review current e-learning applications, tools, and products within the primary stakeholder groups (i.e., transportation, law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, towing and recovery, emergency communications, and emergency management) and identify opportunities and constraints for the L32-B e-learning system as well as models of successful e-learning. Examples of such applications include but are not limited to: (a) the AASHTO Winter Maintenance Computer Based Training program, (b) National Incident Management System (NIMS) training courses offered through the FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI),  (c) the Florida DOT’s Maintenance of Traffic for Incident Responders, (d) the Responder Safety Learning Network being developed by the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association with a FEMA grant,and (e) outreach modules currently being developed by the U.S. DOT.  
Deliverables
Based on Tasks 1, 2, and 3, prepare a working paper that synthesizes (a) the current TIM training programs, resources, and initiatives, (c) the current use of e-learning among TIM stakeholder groups, and (d) identifies significant opportunities, constraints, and other implications for the subsequent tasks in L32-B. 
 
Task 4: Conduct a Project Workshop
The proposer will organize and conduct a two-day working session with TETG members, liaisons, and SHRP 2 staff, and up to 2 other subject matter experts. At this workshop the proposer will present a coordinated work plan for this project, results from the Tasks 1 and 2 and seek clarity and guidance for the subsequent tasks as necessary. In addition to validating and improving the Task 1 and 2 findings, the work session will serve as means to address topics such as:
·       The overall objectives of the e-learning system and the specific objectives of each L12/L32-A module vis-à-vis the objectives of the instructor-led modules
·       Adaptations or additions to L12/L32-A modules needed to accomplish the e-learning objectives
·       Targeting specific audiences with the most effective e-learning tools
·       Determining whether any of the modules need to be tiered or specified as prerequisites for other modules
·       Taking advantage of opportunities identified in Tasks 1 and 2
·       Matching target audiences with appropriate modules and/or other components  
·       Brainstorming to identify innovative approaches to TIM e-learning that should be included in subsequent tasks 
·       Coordinating with L32-C relative to any student testing that needs to be incorporated in the e-learning products
Deliverables
 Prepare a technical memorandum on workshop findings for TETG review and comments.
Task 5: Develop e-Learning System Functional Requirements and Architecture
Prepare a report recommending a set of interrelated components and functional requirements for the e-learning system, including the extent to which each component of the system will be developed as part of L32-B.  The report should also describe the e-learning system architecture and development process for transforming the L12/L32-A training course into L32-B e-learning modules and for developing any additional components of the e-learning system. The contractor must provide a clear plan indicating the milestone events in Task 6 and must propose a review process to ensure consistent and effective input from the L32-B TETG members on critical tasks performed under Tasks 6 and 7.

Task 6: Develop Test Plan for e-Learning System
Develop a plan for testing the proposed e-learning system, including the use of expert focus groups and interaction with the other L32 contractors.
 
Deliverables
 Based on the work performed in Tasks 5 and 6,prepare technical memoranda for TETG review andapproval on:
a.      e-learning system architecture and functional requirements
b.     test plan for e-learning system
 
Task 7: Build and Test the e-Learning System
After TETG approval of the Task 5 report, build the e-learning system for multidisciplinary training for traffic incident management and test the proposed e-learning system in accordance with the approved plan. 
 
Deliverables
 Prepare a report to the TETG on the test results and any proposed changes in response to user feedback. (Any operational problems must be fixed prior to proceeding to the next task.)
 
Task 8: Revise, Operate and Maintain
Make the final changes and then operate and maintain the e-learning system for the duration of the contract (12 months).  Additionally, the contractor is required to host the L32-B e-learning system on a contractor-managed IT system and to make this tool available for public use as required by the L32-B TETG, SHRP 2, FHWA, and AASHTO until a permanent arrangement is made to host the L32-B e-learning system elsewhere, a period not to extend beyond March 2015.
 
Task 9: Draft and Final Reports
Prepare and submit for review by the ETG a draft final report that includes a concise summary of the project along with technical and system operations information for the e-learning system in sufficient detail to allow seamless transfer of the system from the contractor to another host or hosts. Revise the report in response to comments and submit a revised Final Report. SHRP 2 ends in March 2015. Our goal is to have all final deliverables in hand one year before this termination date to allow for editing and publication. This contract period allows 9 months for carrying out the project and preparing the draft final report. Three additional months are allowed for review of the draft and delivery of the final report.   
If a specific host agency(ies) has (have) been identified, provide hands-on support for transfer and implementation.  
 
Special Notes
·       The proposer or contractor may contact the responsible staff officer to acquire the relevant project L12 reports and training materials and the L32-A project tasks and deliverables as they become available.
·        The L12 training material was developed and tested with multidisciplinary classroom audiences (i.e. with representatives of transportation, law enforcement, fire services, and other disciplines in the same audience), allowing interaction during each block of instruction and during “table top” exercises. Further, the L12 audiences frequently included personnel with different levels of experience and from different levels of management, also allowing for face-to-face interaction. The L32-A classroom audiences will be similar. The L32-B proposal should address the implications for the e-learning system and describe any experiences the proposer has with similar situations. 
·       The L32-B contractor will be expected to interact with other SHRP 2 L32 contractors relative to the content and delivery of the training material as well as web-based tools such as online registration for training, issuing certificates for completed training, assessment tools, and maintaining and using trainee databases.              
·       The e-learning system should meet the generally accepted standards for students to receive CEU and/or PDH credits for successful completion of the training.  
·       The e-learning system should use an array of audio/visual tools and innovative approaches to learning.
·       The recommended e-learning system and the various components should be based as much as possible on off-the-shelf software and equipment that is readily available to government agencies through existing contracts or standard bidding procedures. In selecting software for the e-learning system, the contractor should seek to minimize ongoing licensing and maintenance costs without compromising functionality.  
·       The standard SHRP 2 proposal selection criteria will be used. These include: understanding of the problem, quality of the proposal, experience and qualifications of the research team, a plan for participation by disadvantaged businesses, and adequacy of facilities (if special facilities are needed). In addition, the following criteria will also be applied:
o   Significant expertise and experience in developing e-learning systems and tools for adults, especially for the types of users responsible for traffic incident management, including the application of innovative tools and methods (e.g., animation, video, scenarios, and other interactive features)
Deliverables
The L32-B project deliverables include:
 
·        Detailed work plan for the project, including a time line with tasks, budget, delivery dates, and proposed series of opportunities for consultation with and input by the L32-B TETG
·        Task reports as specified
·        The final L32-B product must include a beta-tested version of the core component, the L12/32-A course, ready for full-scale implementation. The other components will be developed to the extent agreed to by the contractor and the TETG. (See Task 3 above).
·        All of the components must be readily adaptable for changes in the content of the training material and other features such as instructions to users, links to other sources, software updates, and movement to different host systems.
·        The final product must be suitable for operation and maintenance using software and equipment that is readily available to public agencies and nonprofit organizations.  Potential contractors should explain how they will address efficient transition to the ultimate host(s) of the L32-B products.

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