Transportation design and construction industry executives must go beyond their own echo chamber to tout industry “innovation” success stories and help achieve passage of a robust, multiyear highway/transit authorization bill. In so doing, the industry can help create a new, national transportation program that is performance-based, accountable and with a transparency that fuels innovation and economic growth.
Those were the words of American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane at a Jan. 27 panel presentation during the Transportation Research Board (TRB) annual meeting held in Washington, D.C.
“Every man and woman in the transportation design and construction business has a fundamental responsibility to tell their story,” Ruane said. “The industry excels at showcasing innovations to construction industry media, but we do not translate this into education and outreach to local business groups, elected officials and other mainstream media outlets.” He said ARTBA was launching an effort to challenge industry professionals to expand their local-level advocacy and communications about the use of innovation and state-of-the-art technology.
“We must celebrate examples of innovation, and our role as a cutting-edge industry to engender public support,” Ruane added. “This support can be leveraged to help move Congress to pass the 15-month overdue federal highway/transit authorization bill.”
Ruane used the TRB forum to announce ARTBA’s creation of an industry-first educational workshop, “TransOvation 2011—Fostering Innovation in Transportation Design and Construction.” The Sept. 7-9 event, held at the Lansdowne Resort near Dulles Airport in Virginia, will target young professionals with educational sessions led by Ted Zoli of HNTB Corp., a 2010 MacArthur “Genius Award” winner; and 2010 Engineering News-Record “Award of Excellence” winner John Hillman of Teng & Associates, among others.
Ruane said the “TransOvation” workshop, along with other ARTBA and joint industry programs such as the Transportation Construction Management conference scheduled for Feb. 7-10 in Orlando, Fla., and the Federal Highway Administration “Every Day Counts” initiative, were examples of an industry-wide focus on innovation.