The National Academies

NCHRP 20-55 [Completed]

TRB Study on Future Surface Transportation Agency Human Resource Needs: Strategies for Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Personnel

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000 (NCHRP contribution to multi-sponsored study)
Research Agency: Transportation Research Board
Principal Investigator: Stephen R. Godwin and Walter J. Diewald
Effective Date: 9/5/2000
Completion Date: 3/31/2003

Background: The public agencies that build, maintain, and operate the nation's transportation assets are experiencing a fundamental change in the human resources they require. Agency missions are evolving, and the work being performed is increasingly complex and technical. Transportation agencies are also now dealing with more complex environmental compliance procedures and a broader range of decision-makers and stakeholders than before. Such agencies are also shifting toward taking a more multimodal perspective regarding the movement of people and freight. Transit agencies and contractors to public agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain skilled operators of buses, trains, and heavy equipment as the labor force ages and as the demand for such skilled labor in the private sector continues to expand.

In many agencies, existing training programs focus on traditional missions and traditional fields. Many of the colleges, universities, and technical institutes that train the engineers, planners, and potential administrators for public agencies have curricula designed around these traditions as well. It is possible that both internal training programs and university and college curricula will need to evolve to satisfy future needs. Training for bus drivers and heavy equipment operators is typically provided through a wide variety of training institutes, which are also a primary source for training and certifying truck drivers. Such workers are in short supply.

Objective: This study will assess the likely human resource needs of surface transportation public agencies over the next two decades and will make recommendations for recruiting, training, and retaining needed personnel. The study will address both professional and nonprofessional staffing needs for state and local highway and transit agencies and for the private-sector organizations that provide contracted services to these agencies. The study will focus on strategies that agencies can use to ensure that they stay abreast of their changing needs and on approaches that universities and training organizations can take to address agency staffing needs.

Status: The study is completed.

Product Availability: The final report has been published as TRB Special Report 275, The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit Agencies

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