Archives: April 2017
April 28, 2017
There is a great deal of untapped potential on Iowa’s rail transportation system. That’s just one of the major findings of the Iowa State Rail Plan.
The recently finalized plan updates a previous 2009 effort. Amanda Martin, of the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Office of Rail Transportation, said, “Every state DOT is required by the Federal Railroad Administration to prepare a rail plan. Here in Iowa, we don’t own any of the railroads or the infrastructure that railroads operate on, but we support rail safety and serve in an advocacy role to promote rail.”
April 27, 2017
April 26, 2017
“I wonder what happens if…??” That’s the way Khyle Clute approaches his work in the methods section of the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Office of Design. That way of thinking is also one of the reasons Clute was nominated by three co-workers and chosen to be the 2016 Outstanding Design Employee.
Clute, a transportation engineer who started his Iowa DOT career in 2008, says working in the methods section brings a host of challenges and opportunities. The section traditionally has been a support system for highway designers, working on defining standards and details for roadway plans. Clute sees the boundaries of that traditional definition expanding.
April 24, 2017
In all of 2016, 13 people died in crashes in Iowa work zones. Twelve of those killed were motorists and one was a construction worker. Already in 2017, we’ve lost two construction workers in these types of crashes. One of the leading causes is people who don’t pay attention and slow down when they see the signs signaling a work zone. Work zones are carefully set up to protect both the motorists and the workers, but the best laid plans aren’t effective if they aren’t followed.
The next time you are traveling through a work zone, take a deep breath, slow down, and have a little patience with those folks who are trying to make your future trips safer, smoother, and more enjoyable.
April 20, 2017
Information provided by the Office of Employee Services
April 17, 2017
How do you connect with your co-workers and customers? Many of us automatically turn to the telephone, email, or Yammer. While these tools are great, the addition of Microsoft Office 365® has provided us with Skype® for Business as a new option with expanded opportunities to collaborate easily and many times, more effectively. For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to refer to this tool simply as Skype.
Just like the other Office 365 applications (e.g., Outlook® and Yammer®), you can set Skype to launch automatically when you log on to your computer. You might be asking why we need another communication tool. Roger Parker, Information Technology Division’s Office of Systems Support director, said, “Skype offers our employees a quicker and more collaborative way to stay connected. New employees coming the Iowa DOT often come from organizations using these collaborative tools every day. To attract and retain great people, we need to up our game. For those of us who have been around awhile and who used the previous instant messenger application, this works very similarly, but it has updated features like video chat and file and screen sharing.”
April 17, 2017
When reddit asked the question of “Why?” to “People who don’t use your turn signal,” these are some of the responses.
- I don't care.
- I forgot to use it.
- I didn’t know I was supposed to.
So what’s the big deal about not signaling? According to a study by The Society of Automotive Engineers, turn signal neglect in the United States causes about two million crashes per year.
April 10, 2017
April is known for lots of things, including a concerted effort to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. Every year the National Safety Council mounts a campaign to call employers’ attention to the dangers of distracted driving, but you don’t have to be a boss to get behind the effort.
Getting accurate data on exactly how many people are injured or killed by distracted drivers is not easy. Even when texting is suspected as a cause in a crash, law enforcement sometimes doesn’t report it or they may be restricted from checking the offending driver’s phone to verify.
April 7, 2017
Last year, 13 people died in crashes in Iowa road work zones. In every crash, there is usually more than one specific cause, but nearly 94 percent of all fatal crashes can be attributed to one or more actions taken by the driver.
To reduce the number of work zone crashes and fatalities and improve traffic flow, four years ago the Iowa Department of Transportation began a Traffic Critical Projects program Part of that program includes deploying a number of “intelligent” work zone safety features on construction projects in areas with high traffic volumes. Those efforts will be continued and enhanced this summer with the deployment of intelligent work zone features on about 30 of the more than 500 work zones anticipated on state-managed highways this year.
April 5, 2017
It seems like there has been a lot of gloom and doom in the media lately about the condition of our country’s roads and bridges. While it’s true that the need to improve our infrastructure in Iowa is outpacing the funds available to repair or replace every bridge quickly, having accurate data displaying in a way that’s easy to understand is critical to being able to accurately understand the condition of our infrastructure.
The Iowa Department of Transportation’s bridge condition story map helps explain how bridge condition in the state is trending. It’s an interactive way to present data that allows users to see layers of information on state, county, and city owned bridges. Each layer indicates the total number of bridges in that area and a breakdown of the condition, serviceability (or usefulness based on current design standards), and weight restrictions in place. In addition, the map allows you to zoom in and get detailed information for any individual bridge in the state.