Professional Capacity Building (PCB) for Communications Update - July 7th, 2020


UPDATE: Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

The project research team has started work on a 5th phase of the Professional Capacity Building (PCB) for Communications project. The Kick Off meeting was held via teleconference with the Project Technical Advisory Panel (PTAP) on April 23rd, 2020. Those who participated in the meeting were:

  • Jeremiah Pearce, Caltrans District 2, PTAP
  • Sean Campbell, Caltrans DRISI, PTAP
  • Steve Hancock, Caltrans Traffic Operations, PTAP
  • Leann Koon, Western Transportation Institute, Principal Investigator
  • Jose Perez, Caltrans DRISI, Contract/Task Manager

To set the stage for the project’s 5th phase, the research team reviewed what has been accomplished in the prior four phases, including the curriculum and the coursework that has been delivered. The group then reviewed and discussed the Scope of Work, goals, objectives, and timelines for Phase 5. As with the previous project phases, Phase 5 will have an educational and professional capacity building focus and its primary goal is to have leading subject matter experts provide a hands-on learning experience in communications for rural ITS engineers and technicians. The specific objectives are to:

  • Re-examine and update the curriculum scope and sequence developed in Phases 1-4 of this project.
  • Select Rural ITS communications courses that address Caltrans’ needs and build the professional capabilities of rural ITS engineers for designing, deploying, and maintaining reliable and robust communication networks for rural ITS field equipment.
  • Organize, administer, and deliver five to six full days of new training on communication systems for Rural ITS.
  • Assist Caltrans in procuring five courses directly.
  • Evaluate the training / courses in light of the comprehensive training curriculum.

The project team and the PTAP will work first on developing and conducting a needs assessment and gap analysis since it has been five years since the last assessment. During the Kick Off meeting the group focused on how to revise and update previous assessments to best identify and meet the training needs of Caltrans ITS engineers and technicians. It was noted that this project aims to develop and deliver training related to ITS data communications and related technologies. For the needs assessment in this project phase, the group will survey Caltrans district senior management personnel to identify each district’s highest priorities for ITS data communications training. An interactive meeting with the PTAP and the senior district managers is tentatively planned.

Based on the results of the needs assessment and gap analysis, the PTAP / project team will select the topics that will be the focus of this project’s training development and delivery efforts. The research team will work to develop and procure five to six full days of new training. Caltrans will procure up to five courses directly from vendors based on the training delivered in phases one through four of the PCB project.

Potential training could focus on entirely new topics than what has been delivered in the past or may look at advanced level training in subjects/topics already addressed. Some topics up for consideration include:

  • Central Systems Management
  • RF System Design (revised)
  • Structured Cabling
  • Machine to Machine Networks
  • Ethernet / Networking Troubleshooting
  • Enterprise Linux, e.g., Red Hat
  • Video Distribution
  • Optical Fiber

The PCB training courses are designed to include interactive lectures as well as a significant amount of time spent working on relevant laboratory exercises and hands-on, practical problems. You can see some pictures and read about previous courses in the following updates:

Look for another project update or two later this year as the needs assessment and gap analysis are conducted and completed. In the meantime, take a look at the PCB project’s Impact page to see what students have to say about the value of the PCB training courses and how they are implementing what they learned.