The National Academies

NCHRP 14-09(6) [Completed]

Professional Development of Maintenance Engineers and Managers

  Project Data
Funds: $174,998
Research Agency: University of Maryland
Principal Investigator: Dr. Everett C. Carter
Effective Date: 2/1/1991
Completion Date: 1/31/1993

Transportation-maintenance engineers and managers face increasingly complex challenges because of environmental issues, rapidly changing technologies, infrastructure deterioration, and budget and resource constraints. To meet these challenges, maintenance professionals rely upon on-the-job training supplemented by infrequently available courses and workshops. More formal educational programs and opportunities are needed to assist today's maintenance professional meet the demands.

Educational opportunities must also be created or identified to familiarize, attract, and prepare people to pursue professional careers in maintenance. There are few educational opportunities available to the aspiring maintenance professional. As the complexities of highway maintenance and the magnitude of the problems continue to increase, the development of highly skilled and trained professionals will increase in importance.

The ultimate goal is to enhance the profession of transportation maintenance engineering and management. As the emphasis shifts away from new construction to maintaining and rehabilitating the infrastructure, properly trained professionals are needed to make more efficient and effective use of limited resources.

As a first step in correcting this neglected area of civil and transportation engineering, an educational framework must be designed to encourage and guide universities, the professional community, and others in implementing programs to assist both existing and aspiring maintenance professionals. The framework must include model curricula for the transportation maintenance professional as well as guidance for implementation.

The objective of this research is to design an educational framework and an implementation plan for the professional development and enhancement of highway-maintenance engineers and managers. Emphasis will be placed on programs and courses for maintenance professionals who are, or will be, serving within highway and street departments of state and local governments. The framework should address, but not be limited to, engineering, personnel, and resource management. To accomplish this objective, the following tasks must be performed as a minimum.

Task 1. Identify and describe common responsibilities and knowledge requirements for professionals involved in highway-maintenance engineering and management at state and local levels.

Task 2. On the basis of the results from Task 1, develop a classification structure of education and training needs for highway-maintenance engineering and management professionals. This classification structure should include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Maintenance types (e.g., preventive, routine, repairs, rehabilitation, disaster preparedness and response, and traffic services).
  • Functional areas (e.g., roadsides, pavements, structures, and traffic control).
  • Engineering and management issues (e.g., personnel, materials, equipment, environmental concerns, contract administration, financial matters, legal issues, public and employee safety, maintenance management systems, public relations, design and execution of maintenance operations, productivity, and quality assessment, assurance, and control).

Task 3. On the basis of the results of Task 2, develop the educational framework for enhancing the education of highway-maintenance engineering and management professionals. This framework should include, but not be limited to, alternatives consisting of new or existing programs that are fully described and address the following areas:

  • Curricula and training programs (e.g., university/college programs, and continuing education programs).
  • Training delivery methods (e.g., classroom instruction, seminars, workshops, self-paced studies, video tapes, textbooks, and handbooks).
  • Implementation mechanisms (e.g., national institute, professional societies, and agency training programs).
  • Evaluation and feedback mechanisms (e.g., committee reviews and student evaluations).

Task 4. On the basis of the framework developed in Task 3, evaluate and recommend implementation plans and strategies. The potential for and interest in various strategies shall be assessed by approaching individuals or organizations that would have the ultimate responsibility for successful implementation.

Task 5. Prepare a final report on the total research effort.

All work has been completed, and the final report has been published as NCHRP Report 360, "Professional Development of Maintenance Engineers and Managers."

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