The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) held its 2019 Fall Meeting on November 19, 2019 in the NJDOT Multi-Purpose Room. The STIC Meeting Agenda was distributed to the attendees along with several handouts that provide examples of NJ STIC innovative initiatives and how STIC incentive funding grants have been used.
After his Welcome and Opening Remarks, Asst. Commissioner Michael Russo and Assistant Division Administrator for the FHWA NJ Office, Valeriya Remezova, informed attendees that the New Jersey STIC was one of three STICs nationwide to receive an AASHTO 2019 STIC Excellence Award. FHWA's Center for Accelerating Innovation and the AASHTO Innovation Initiative partner to promote innovations and recognize excellence within a STIC. The STIC Excellence Award recognized the NJ STIC for:
“…developing a culture of innovation with broad stakeholder participation, shared metrics, and an engaged leadership. The STIC established processes to identify and move new technologies into practice, including an online portal to solicit potential ideas. The STIC also created three teams—Infrastructure Preservation, Safety, and Mobility and Operations—to champion innovations. A new web page features information on the STIC's innovation initiatives and a searchable innovation database. New Jersey's STIC is advancing unmanned aerial systems for bridge inspection and traffic incident monitoring, including developing guidance and specifications. To improve motorist and responder safety, the STIC is promoting the use of crowdsourcing applications to notify the public where NJDOT Safety Service Patrol vehicles are working on roadsides."
Following a brief celebratory award presentation, the FHWA's Helene Roberts provided a recap of the topics discussed during the national STIC meeting held on October 24th, 2019. The meeting was recorded and pre-meeting presentation slides from the national meeting are available through the FHWA Center for Accelerating Innovation portal for National STIC meeting recordings.
Tom Harman, Director of the FHWA Center for Accelerating Innovation, provided an engaging presentation, Towards a Culture of Innovation, inviting participants to consider seven key attributes of an innovator. His discussion of innovation explored key elements of why and how an innovation may be adopted, or diffused, within an organization or community. He also highlighted some possible barriers, or challenges, that key opinion leaders and leadership may wittingly or unwittingly place that impede the adoption of innovation within a large-scale organization. He pointed to select state DOTs that are leading the way among STICs nationally in promoting a favorable culture for adopting innovations, noting how agencies and individuals can be differentiated in part by their tolerance for the risk of failure and the time it takes to adopt an innovation.
Mr. Harman’s talk touched upon various Federal program funding vehicles available within the Center for Accelerating Innovation, highlighted select innovations that are being widely adopted throughout the nation, and shed some light on the "innovations of interest" currently being considered for innovation funding in the next round (i.e., EDC-6), or through some other renamed or rebranded program vehicle. He encouraged attendees to share their ideas for possible future innovations.
Mr. Harman was also joined by Karyn Vandevoort, Program Manager Analyst from FHWA’s Pennsylvania Division who helped facilitate discussion among the NJ STIC participants during Mr. Harman's talk as well as offered some remarks on the proceedings of a recent conference on innovation held in Pittsburgh.
Ms. Roberts from the FHWA NJ Division Office also provided a brief update of the status of New Jersey's progress on Every Day Counts (EDC-5) Innovative Initiatives. Short presentations were given by the three Core Innovation Area (CIA) Teams—Safety, Infrastructure Preservation, and Mobility & Operations—reporting on the activities planned and underway. More detail on the innovative initiatives can be accessed here.
Amanda Gendek, Manager of the NJDOT Bureau of Research, described recent communications and technology transfer efforts to raise awareness of the NJ STIC and its mission, including several recent Lunchtime Tech Talks, webinars and a video product. The recently completed video, Drone Technology at NJDOT, was also shown to the attendees. The video highlights some of the accomplishments of the UAS Program and how the adoption of the technology delivers benefits that are changing how DOT performs various operations.
The meeting closed with a Roundtable discussion that highlighted how the NJ STIC is evolving and using its outreach and communications tools (e.g., website, videos, trainings and workshops, and Tech Talk events) to further disseminate innovative practices among its diverse set of stakeholders.
The schedule of STIC meetings for 2020 was presented. The Winter Meeting is scheduled for February 5, 2020.
The NJ STIC Fall Meeting Presentations can be found in sections below.