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Chapter 2
Organizational Environmental Stewardship Practices
2.8. Environmental Training and Certification

If an organization is expected to succeed in its environmental objectives, it must develop the capabilities to support it. These capabilities reside in the staff a DOT employs and the training, awareness, and the cultivation of competence it requires and supplies.


2.8.1 Competency-Based Training Systems
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NCHRP Report 360, "Professional Development of Maintenance Engineers and Managers," took a first shot at identifying and describing common responsibilities and knowledge requirements for professionals involved in highway-maintenance engineering and management and developed a classification structure of education and training needs for highway-maintenance engineering and management professionals. Some transportation agencies have developed their own competency-based approaches to assessing and addressing the training needs of their own workforces.

PennDOT's Transportation University

PennDOT created a Center for Performance Excellence (CPE) for managing employee development and linking education to strategic goals. [N] One of CPE's main programs is PennDOT's Transportation University, a virtual university on the corporate learning model. Its as lead positions are filled by senior DOT staff, Bureau Directors, and Deputy Secretaries. Experts throughout the agency provide most of the instruction. The Transportation University is focused on competency-based training and employees' professional growth. Necessary tasks, skills, and competencies for each job classification are identified by a team of top performers in each job class, and training has been structured around those competencies. The CPE works with instructors, training coordinators and subject matter experts to develop the courses and tracks associated with particular knowledge. PennDOT feels this approach ensures maximum return on invested training monies by focusing on relevant competencies and required skills for advancement of the trainee.

Specialized schools and colleges cover various areas of expertise, and are supported by a team of volunteer experts from throughout the Department. Each school has an operating committee of agency leaders and volunteers that meets three times a year to develop and align needed learning experiences to identified competency needs and ensure that courses are evaluated at the appropriate level. Non-traditional learning approaches such as on-the-job training and combination approaches supplement traditional training courses. For example, the School of Transportation Professions is looking at giving credit for winter operations preparation such as the winter dry run.

Of particular interest to construction and maintenance professionals is PennDOT's College of Transportation Professions, which serves the Design, Operations, and Construction communities as and includes a School of Technical Specialties and a School of Workforce Development. The College of Transportation Trades includes Schools of Equipment Repair, Graphic Design, Motorcarrier Enforcement, and Specialty Trades. Other Colleges address Human & Organizational Development, Information Systems & Technology, Leadership & Executive Management, Professional Administration, Administrative Support, and Customer & Partner Services. More information on PennDOT's Transportation University may be found online.

PennDOT is developing Position Analysis Workbooks for 90 percent of the positions in the agency. The Position Analysis Workbooks detail all the job duties and tasks, and the skills, knowledge, and competencies required to perform them. Tasks and competencies are also linked to courses that PennDOT has available and courses that need to be developed. The workbooks are used by the Transportation University and training committees as a guide for developing educational opportunities targeted to workplace needs. Training and other learning experiences are also required to support agency strategic objectives. Employees are able to use the workbooks as a planning tool for their own professional development, cross-training experiences and promotional opportunities. Supervisors, mentors and coaches can use the workbooks to orient new employees and to ensure employees receive appropriate learning experiences. Position analyses have already been developed for Assistant Maintenance Managers, Diesel Mechanics, Transportation Equipment Operators, and Quality Coordinators.  Position analysis workbooks will be available over the next year for the following professions of potential interest to Construction and Maintenance managers: Training Coordinators, District Safety Coordinators, Construction Inspectors, Equipment Operators A, Equipment Operators B, Highway Maintenance Worker, Laborer, Semi-Skilled Laborer, Equipment Operator Trainee, Equipment Operator Instructor, Automotive Mechanic, Tradesman Helper, Motor Carrier Enforcement Officer, Highway Foremen, Receptionists, Clerks-various categories, Welders, Customer Service Leadership, Managing Partners, Tunnel Maintainer, Maintenance Repairman (includes Building Trades - Carpenter, Electrician, Mason, Painter), District Equipment Managers, County Equipment Managers, and Equipment Body Repairer & Painter.

PennDOT also developed an internet-based learning management system that provides an online resource for employee training records, official transcripts, course and program catalogues, out service and on-the-job training information, class schedules and current enrollments. Working with their supervisors, employees are able to schedule training courses as part of their individual development plans using this tool, which the agency calls Training Partner 2000.

Caltrans Work Breakdown System

Caltrans has also taken a work competency approach to designing training for employees, but only in particular areas of the agency. In 1994, Caltrans issued the first version of the Department's Capital Outlay Support (COS) Standard Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The Capital Project Skill Development Plan originated with Caltrans' 1998 Strategic Plan and is modeled on a similar workforce development plan at the Oracle Corporation. Caltrans' structure breaks down the content of capital project work into 491 discreet products and activities (or deliverables) and the roles necessary to complete those activities. A task force of subject matter experts specified the ‘roles' that employees play in producing the particular deliverable. Caltrans assessed the knowledge, skills, tools and competencies necessary to achieve those deliverables and fill identified roles.

Caltrans also developed estimates of the number of current employees who play each role and the degree to which they needed training in the knowledge, tools, and skill areas. Caltrans quantified needs via a gap analysis by comparing the needed knowledge and skills with the actual workforce capabilities. They further identified those employees who urgently needed specific training and those having a moderate need. Task force members identified specific classes to teach the required knowledge and skills. Caltrans initiated a Long-Term Training Plan, a re-defined and re-focused blueprint for ensuring its 11,000+ capital projects employees can accomplish the 491 WBS deliverables.

Courses designed to support the competencies list learning outcomes, WBS deliverables, types of employees needing each course, and estimated audience size. By focusing on roles rather than job classification, Caltrans used a bottom-up approach that enabled the task force to specifically describe the skills necessary for each role. The group designed 579 courses to support the 491 deliverables. Of those, 337 courses were already available, and 242 needed to be developed. Additionally, the task force prepared cost estimates to develop and implement each course.

Once program managers approved and prioritized the courses for each functional area, they developed a funding plan for FY 2000-2001. The plan identified high-priority training needs based on currently available courses and those to be developed. The California Legislature committed $15.1 million to Capital Project skill development for each year from 2000 to 2003. The range of courses available through the program covers the gamut from a 2-hour course on Engineering Service Center Outreach to the 8-week Bridge Design Academy. Caltrans also uses a blended approach to training, incorporating internet- and computer-based training, classroom sessions, and self-study. Classes are taught by Caltrans staff, contract trainers, and vendor-generated materials. The Capital Project Program is currently the only Caltrans program using the WBS, but the Department is exploring additional use of the process. [N]


2.8.2 Environmental Training for Construction and Maintenance
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In a 2002 survey by the author, almost half of the 50 state transportation agencies indicated they have begun to train maintenance staff on environmental regulations, issues, and BMPs. As one example, the Colorado DOT new orientation and refresher training for maintenance staff includes a brief overview of environmental and water quality issues in maintenance. In 2002, twenty-four state DOTs reported performing general natural resources sensitivity and/or regulatory training for engineers and/or construction. [N] Approximately 60 percent offered engineers and construction staff general training in NEPA, public involvement, the DOT's environmental process, and BMP maintenance and water quality considerations. At NYSDOT, for example, Engineers in Charge (EICs) receive training from lead construction and environmental staff in environmental considerations in construction, along with other supervisory topics. Just Connecticut, Florida, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington reported offering training on environmental stewardship/enhancement projects for engineers. [N] While almost half of state DOTs introduce engineers to context sensitive design or context sensitive solutions (CSD or CSS), Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah were able to boast having trained over 90 percent of their engineers in context sensitive design. [N] North Carolina has recently undertaken similar training in CSD for engineers conducted by the Center for Transportation and the Environment.

Environmental training for construction staff is receiving attention as well. Mass Highway's new environmental compliance program within Construction offers an environmental component in each district's winter training program. Annual training to all construction field personnel covers environmental regulations and permits, erosion and stormwater control, contractor responsibilities, and pre-construction meetings. Utah DOT's training for Construction Environmental Control Supervisors is described in the section below, as it was combined with training for contractors.

Alabama DOT's Waste Management and Hazardous Materials Awareness Training

Alabama DOT (ALDOT) started a training program for ALDOT employees and trained 407 personnel in Hazardous Materials Awareness and 371 in Waste Management Awareness. Another 150 personnel will be trained in Hazardous Materials Awareness as part of the accelerated university. The training program emerged from ALDOT's evaluation of DOT processes, using EMS as a guide. An oversight committee including one from each Division and selected Bureaus reviewed departmental processes that were of concern; 18 subcommittee meetings then examined issues such as training, product purchasing, waste paint, wash water, construction storm water, and universal waste (used oil, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, etc.). To support this effort, ALDOT also established a product purchasing program to try and determine what hazardous materials are purchased, who are the purchasers, the amounts purchased, and other information. ALDOT's goal is to reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated by limiting purchases of products that may ultimately become hazardous waste. ALDOT also committed $10 million in improvements to Lands and Buildings, with the goal of improving all facilities that manage or store hazardous materials which could significantly impact the environment should there be a spill of those chemicals. [N]

Oregon DOT Environmental Outreach and Training for Maintenance Staff

ODOT has an extensive outreach/training program for its maintenance personnel on environmental issues. Elements of this program include environmental orientation for new employees, monthly/quarterly manager team meetings, winter pass foremen annual meetings, annual field visits, hazardous materials training, erosion and sediment control training, fish passage training, and training on ODOT's Resource and Restricted Activities Zone maps for district roads. The department also relies on participation in professional symposiums/conferences and videos it has developed, including "Road to Recovery: Transportation Related Activities and Impacts on Salmon," and a new video being made on calcium magnesium acetate (CMA): "CMA: A valuable tool for winter operations and total storm management." ODOT also trains staff through continuing education classes and systematic trials of new products.

Montana (MDT) Environmental Training for Maintenance Field Staff

The Montana Department of Transportation is actively training field personnel identify ramifications of maintenance their work on all aspects of the environment. The most recent and on-going training is for winter maintenance to identify PM-10, TMDL and Endangered Species issues. [N]

Caltrans Environmental & Equipment Training for Construction and Maintenance

Caltrans has developed the following environmental training modules and resources for construction personnel, focused on minimizing stormwater impacts. Caltrans Stormwater Pollution Prevention Training resources are available in multiple media - video, DVD, PowerPoint presentations, hard copy, and on-line, as follows.

Caltrans has also developed and implemented similar training for Maintenance personnel, including Maintenance Staff Guide and Storm Water BMP Training Presentations in non-linear DVD and PowerPoint formats.

Caltrans also tracks and provides information on continuing education courses available at universities and community colleges around the state, that are recommended for staff; these include: Erosion & Sediment Control, Water Pollution Control, Regulations, Asbestos/Lead Abatement, Water & Natural Resources Management, Land Use Management, Water Quality Sampling, Hazardous Materials Management, and Emergency Response. [N]

Caltrans includes some environmental training in classes for maintenance forces, which include orientation, a variety of Hazardous Materials handling courses, Lead Paint Removal and Abatement, Herbicide/Pesticide safety, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans, and Water Treatment Certification. Of particular interest to other DOTs may be Caltrans' Equipment Management Responsibility course, taught as part of Caltrans' Maintenance Equipment Training Academy (META) to maintenance leadworkers, with an expanded version for supervisors and superintendents. Caltrans Maintenance Equipment Training Simulator (CMETS) program is offered on a traveling basis in an 18-wheeler statewide. CMETS was developed in an effort to reduce vehicle accidents, extend equipment life (and thus reduce resource usage), and enhance the overall safety of field maintenance employees. The primary target audience consists of new-hires with little truck driving experience, although experience has shown that employees from all skill levels can be challenged in the simulator. CMETS can simulate almost any engine and transmission combination found in the Caltrans fleet, with truck types including 5- and 10-yd dump trucks, and tractor-trailer combinations. Road types include city streets, freeways, secondary roads, dirt and gravel roads, as well as snow covered roads. Instructor controlled inputs include volume and behavior of autonomous traffic, day or night, clear or fog, wind gust, ice patches, and specific autonomous vehicle behavior. Simulated failures to own equipment include tire blowout, loss of oil or air pressure. Driving parameters that are measured and recorded for each student include number of gear shifts, number of gear grinds, number of transmission failures, speed control, following too close, brake temperature, riding the clutch, turns or lane changes without signaling, collisions, and others. Caltrans hoped that the use of simulation in the initial stages of training would reduce the frequency and severity of repairs attributed to poor shifting technique as well as operator induced repairs in general. Of note, since the inception of simulator training, no transmissions have been damaged during subsequent META training in Sacramento, saving significant resources. [N]

VTrans Regional Environmental Training Workshops for Construction Staff

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) has begun to offer Environmental Training workshops for Construction staff on a regional basis. Topics covered include general environmental permits, erosion control and what responsibility field personnel have (changes in specifications, flowchart, payment, etc.), waste area information submittal and clearance, archaeological site discovery, stormwater management - illicit discharges and changes to drainage. [N]

VTrans Environmental Training for Maintenance

VTrans has also begun to offer environmental support for maintenance, complimented by planning, training, and staffing support. The training includes:

  • Introduction to VTrans environmental responsibilities and roles of the Environmental Section and the Districts:
    • Understanding the need to comply with State and Federal regulations.
    • Roles and responsibilities of Environmental Section personnel.
    • Environmental responsibilities, roles and goals identified by the Districts.
    • Support capabilities and preferred contact protocols, including guidance and information available in District offices and on the web, development of environmental checklists, etc.
  • Guidelines for Environmental Review of Maintenance Projects: Distribution and discussion of the Guidelines, including an explanation of the purpose of environmental review and the list of exempt and non-exempt projects.
  • Basic introduction to Environmental Resource identification and assessment: How to use indicators such as types of landforms, topography, water resources, land use, plant and animal habitat features, physical structures and types of property likely to be significant; as well as guidance on how to conduct a review, estimate resource sensitivity and document information; plus examples of resources found in different regions of Vermont.
  • Archaeology:
    • Discussion of the Guidelines for Environmental Review of Maintenance Projects: including the list of exempt and non-exempt projects and some training on environmental review of some of each.
    • Basics about determining archaeological sensitivity, such as general area landforms likely to contain significant sites, information needed to conduct a review, and examples of sites found in Vermont.
    • PowerPoint presentation elaborating on the above (tailored to address situations identified by District staff).
  • Historic:
    • Historic Preservation Law - a discussion of the laws and regulations, including Federal Section 106, Section 4(f) and Vermont Title 22.
    • What is the National Register? - a discussion of what it is, what it includes and what National Register status means.
    • Identifying Historic Resources - Historic Districts, Buildings and other structures and resources.
    • What You Need to Know - following the Guidelines for Environmental Review of Maintenance Projects plus Examples and Case Studies
  • Biology:
    • Discussion of Natural Resource Considerations for District Transportation Projects.
    • Use of resource maps, GIS and other reference sources.
    • Identifying resources in the field, types of wetlands, functions and values of wetlands, buffers etc.
    • Wetland and waterway regulations, the ANR and the COE.
    • Avoidance, minimization and mitigation in project design and permit acquisition.
    • Construction issues and procedures.
    • Enforcement and Monitoring.
  • Stormwater Management:
    • Introduction to Draft Illicit Discharge Policy. Introducing the concept that VTrans is responsible for the quality of water that leaves our ROW before it discharges into a surface water.
    • Introduction to Stormwater Management Systems and Protecting Vermont's Streams. How District Techs. can plan for erosion prevention and sediment control as they plan projects.
    • Training in Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control pertaining to maintenance activities. How District forces can help protect water quality on a daily basis.
  • Wildlife Awareness: Introducing VTrans Wildlife and Habitat Connectivity Initiative and how Maintenance can be contribute to its success.

Mississippi DOT Maintenance Training for Facility Environmental Compliance and Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination

Mississippi DOT is developing training for all maintenance employees as part of a proactive facility environmental auditing program, to ensure that environmental standards are maintained. Topics will include shop "housekeeping" practices, grounds, stockpiles, hazardous material disposal and storage, recycling, and other maintenance practices. MDOT has also developed training courses for maintenance pertaining to erosion control and illicit discharge detection and elimination. MDOT is scheduled to start an inspection plan for locating and eliminating illicit discharge coming onto MDOT right of way in nine counties in the state, as part of NPDES Phase II compliance. [N]

WSDOT Environmental Training for Construction Inspection and Maintenance

WSDOT has an environmental training program that encompasses all WSDOT staff. For the purposes of this report the focus will be on environmental training for construction inspectors and maintenance staff. The training program for construction staff supports inspectors tasked with oversight of environmental compliance issues on project sites. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) Maintenance Training Program gives maintenance staff the skills to stay in compliance while performing maintenance activities on the roadway. The WSDOT Environmental Policy Statement and the WSDOT Environmental Management System guide the environmental training program. The Policy, among other things, commits WSDOT to comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations as well as to provide staff with appropriate training targeted to the Department's environmental responsibilities.

Environmental Training Opportunities for Construction Staff:

  • Temporary Erosion & Sedimentation Control Certification
  • Wetlands Recognition, Regulations, Resource Value
  • Overview of Environmental Permits
  • Spill Prevention Program
  • Environmental Compliance Training for Inspectors (available late Winter 2005)
  • General Environmental Awareness (under development)
  • Environmental Considerations for Bridge: A Training Series on Bridge Programmatic Permits (under development)
  • Drainage Inspection (a construction course that environmental information was added)
  • Excavation and Embankment Inspection (a construction course that environmental information was added)

Maintenance Endangered Species Act 4(d) Training Program

  • ESA 4(d) Executive Summary
  • ESA 4(d) Field Maintenance Crew Overview
  • ESA 4(d) Sediment and Erosion Control
  • ESA 4(d) Emergency Response
  • ESA 4(d) Roadside Landscape Maintenance
  • ESA 4(d) Channel Maintenance
  • ESA 4(d) Snow and Ice Control
  • ESA 4(d) Bridge and Urban Tunnel Maintenance
  • ESA 4(d) Stormwater Facilities
  • ESA 4(d) Slope Repair
  • ESA 4(d) Traffic Services
  • ESA 4(d) Support Operations

Nova Scotia Department of Transportation & Public Works Short EMS Toolbox Meetings

The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation & Public Works (TPW) EMS Toolbox consists of course outlines for construction and maintenance staff in the following topic areas:

  • Orientation to EMS
  • Chemicals
  • Waste
  • Salt and Sand/Salt
  • Liquid Bulk Containment
  • Sewage Systems
  • Erosion & Sedimentation Control
  • Integrated Vegetation Management

These guides are meant to be used by district implementation teams and/or supervisors as they inform employees at each TPW site about the Department's Environmental Management System. The toolbox meetings are intended to be about 15 minutes long and are meant to be an overview of each chapter in the agency's EMS manual.

WSDOT Training Partnership with Local Governments and Other Transportation Professionals to Deliver Statewide Training and Certification

The Washington State Technology Transfer Center ( WST2 Center) is one of 57 Technology Transfer Centers that make up the national Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) . As a partnership between WSDOT, FHWA & Washington State local agencies, the Center provides a coordinated technology transfer program that is responsive to local agencies. The goal of the WST2 Center is to enhance the technical and management skills and knowledge of local agencies staff so they can use resources more efficiently and effectively through sharing and coordination of technical expertise, training, technical materials, technical advice, and services.

KYTC Environmental Leadership Training

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has been using a three-day Environmental Leadership Workshop (developed by the FHWA Southern Resource Center) to train staff to address environmental issues of all activities. Secretary Codell has led a corresponding series of "culture talks" in conjunction with its own one-day environmental leadership training course for all employees. KYTC has also become a national leader in CSS/CSD training, which the agency has incorporated into its construction activities.

Contractor Outreach and Training

Utah DOT Joint Training for Contractors and Construction Environmental Supervisors and Maintenance Staff

In the mid 1990s the Utah DOT (UDOT) decided the agency needed to try to enhance contractors' understanding of environmental issues in construction. UDOT put together a two-day class on temporary erosion and sedimentation control and other environmental issues that may arise in construction. UDOT has now condensed the class to one day. The class includes an overview of UDOT's environmental process and Clean Water Act and water quality regulations in particular. UDOT introduces contractor to erosion and sediment control basics and the standard drawings and BMPs UDOT has available, as well as the agency's erosion and sediment control manual. Contractors practice developing their own SWMPP and review inspection points.

While the class spends the most time on water quality, it also addresses, NEPA, threatened and endangered species issues, and what to do if the contractor encounters a cultural resource. Archaeological and prehistoric sites, cultural and paleontological clearances are covered. Contractors and staff are familiarized with the 18 species on Utah's noxious weed list and expectations to minimize disturbance, reseed all disturbed areas promptly, regrading, and weed spraying.

These requirements and commitments are now contained in NEPA documents as well. UDOT also reviews hazardous materials practices, fuel storage, waste oil handling and environmental clearances required for off-site work proposed by the contractor but not included in the contract. The latter section addresses environmental permitting concerns for off-site contractor needs such as for material sites, staging areas, office sites, water lines, holding ponds, stockpile locations, slope flattening, etc. Floodplain, farmland, and air quality clearances are among those reviewed.

Contractors and UDOT construction crew inspectors are invited to attend the course, as are UDOT designers and maintenance staff. The contractor designates one person to be called an Environmental Control Supervisor and the UDOT crew designates one as well. Jointly, these supervisors discuss environmental issues on-site, and decide inspection schedules, changes, and needed clearances on additional sites. UDOT's ECS is responsible for:

  • Inspecting the project site for compliance with UPDES and other environmental permits.
  • Ensuring that environmental protection measures in the plans are implemented on the project.
  • Maintaining temporary erosion and sediment control measures.
  • Modifying the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan as required.
  • Obtaining additional environmental clearances for off-site work.
  • Coordinating with the UDOT construction crew's ECS.
  • Ensuring that all environmental mitigation commitments are followed on the project.

Further information on the program, slides, and hand-outs are available. [N]

NJDOT and NJ Associated General Contractors Partner to Convey Stewardship Practices

NJDOT is currently developing contractor training and meetings with its contractors to discuss good stewardship practices. The New Jersey Associated General Contractors has become an active participant in the Federal Highway Administration's National Quality Initiative program, signing quality initiative partnering agreements with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) with the goal of keeping transportation projects environmentally friendly and obtaining timely environmental permits. The AGC founded the Construction Industry Advancement Program to educate contractors about business issues, including designing environmentally friendly projects. [N]

Mass Highway Communicates Standards and Expectations to Contractors

Like NJDOT, Mass Highway has been reaching out to contractors to communicate standards and expectations. With recent years' changes to NPDES, EPA Region 1, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Mass Highway are providing a workshop on the NPDES Construction General Permit, regulatory requirements and DOT expectations for contractors. The workshop is being presented to Construction Industries of Massachusetts (CIM), an advocacy organization of construction contractors in Massachusetts. Like NYSDOT, Mass Highway is also reaching out to local organizations. Mass Highway has presented workshops at meetings of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (local wetlands regulators), identifying construction issues, methods, requirements, and successful erosion control BMPs in order to familiarize local regulators with Mass Highway work, so that permit conditions can meet both construction and environmental needs.

AGC and Illinois DOT Reach Out to Contractors on Erosion & Sediment Control

The Associated General Contractors of Illinois (AGCI) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) worked together in developing a seminar series on erosion and sediment control. The seminar was aimed at helping highway contractors and government employees understand the effects of the EPA's Phase II Stormwater Regulations. A total of ten one-day seminars were held, with over 1,400 people attending. The seminar series was especially effective because it tailored information to Illinois geography and IDOT best practices. Co-training highway construction contractors and state government employees in the same forum ensured that everyone heard the same message. Workbooks were developed for all participants with information from the presentations. This seminar series is one of several joint public/private training efforts undertaken by AGCI and IDOT. [N]

Pre-Construction Meetings

Mass Highway, New Jersey DOT (NJDOT) and Texas DOT (TxDOT) are among the many DOTs that now conduct pre-construction informational meetings covering environmental matters. TxDOT's pre-construction meetings with contractors sometimes include training on specific topics pertinent to the project at hand.


2.8.3 Train the Trainer Programs

Professional training by private providers can be expensive and time-consuming to give to entire teams. Train-the-trainer approaches train just one, two, or a few individuals in formal classroom settings, then arrange for them to train other team members in either classroom or on-the-job training sessions. As a result, training costs can be contained, and what is learned by the few is leveraged to train the many. DOTs typically rely on in-house trainers.

PennDOT's Instructor Development Program for Internal Subject Experts

PennDOT is one of the many state DOTs where over 90 percent of training is offered in-house, which has created substantial demand for on-staff (volunteer) trainers and train-the-trainer programs. PennDOT's Transportation University is supported by a team of hundreds of volunteer experts from throughout the Department. The bulk of TU's instructors are equipment operators. Center for Performance Excellence Transportation University support staff provide instructor development courses, including classroom skills and how to use visual aids.

NYSDOT's Training Pipeline for Environmental Coordinators, Construction, & Maintenance Staff

NYSDOT's 22 Construction Environmental Coordinators and Maintenance Environmental Coordinators are thoroughly trained and then in turn deliver a variety of training courses on the Regional level. Headquarters specialists at the Environmental Analysis Bureau deliver much of the initial training to CECs and MECs, who serve as trainers in the Regions and also receive some of the regular training for Construction and Operations staff, such as the agency's Paving and Snow Universities. Consultants assist in offering advanced courses in wetland identification and stream channel design, elements of which CECs and MECs can then teach to construction and maintenance staff on the job or in other training settings.

Table 7 : NYSDOT Maintenance and Construction Environmental Coordinators Recommended Training Priorities

Course Topic



General Environmental Overview



Hazardous Waste

Cultural Resources





Environmental Audit

1 Day

Environmental Analysis Bureau (EAB)

Operations Handbook: Application to Maintenance BMPs

1 Day

EAB & Maint.

Operations Handbook: Application to Construction


Waste Disposal


1 Day

Construction and EAB

Erosion and Sediment Control

Design Considerations



2 Days

Don Lake et. Al.

NHI Hazardous Bridge Coatings

Lead Health and Safety

Air Quality Monitoring/Lead


Hazardous Materials Manifests

Painting, etc.

5 Days


Snow University

2 Days


Health and Safety Awareness

Inspection Module/MURK

1C/Handbook/Lessons Learned

Haz Comm Manual

1 Day

Construction coor. With B. Gibney

Earthwork School

2 Days

Geotech. Engineering Bureau

Ad Hoc Inspector Modules/OJT


Regional Construction


ROW Herbicide Applicator Certification



Applicator Safety

Environmental Considerations


3 Days

Operations and DEC

Intro to Wetland Identification/Delineation

Intro - Wetland Identification

3 Parameter Method

1 - 2 Day(s)


Intro to Stream Restoration (Classification, Assessment, Restoration)

1 - 2 Day(s)

EAB and Greene Co.

Paving School

5 Days


Advanced Wetland Delineation

Wetland Identification/Function

Hydric Soils

Hydrophytic Vegetation


3 Parameter Method

4 Days



Advanced Stream Restoration

Stream Types/Functions

Classification System

Assessment Methods

Restoration Techniques

3 Days



Asbestos Inspector Certification

3 Days


Haz Waste Operations & Emergency Response

5 Days



Introduction to Software

Maintenance Program

1 Day


Stormwater Management


Site Considerations

Facility Design

Maintenance and Operation

2 Days

Don Lake

The CECs and MECs, trained as outlined above, then take the leading in developing training tailored to different audiences (e.g. inspectors, construction staff, and contractors) and opportunities for outreach. An example of a Training Schedule is listed in the Appendix of the training occurring in each of NYSDOT's Regions, frequency, audience and size, and how training is altered for different audiences and topics related to Construction and Environment.

Maintenance Environmental Coordinators offer a variety of training on the Regional level as well, to residency staff, inspectors, contractors, and sometimes even local watershed groups. In some cases, the Department of Environmental Conservation assists in teaching the course. MEC training offerings for Maintenance for 2003 included:

  • Environmental Initiatives for 2003 - Nest Boxes, Mowing, Web, etc.
  • Environmental Handbook (for different audiences) and GIS Applications
  • Hazard Tree Awareness, Identification & Management
  • Spring Herbicide Kick-Off Meeting
  • Deer Composting
  • Living Snow Fences
  • Erosion and Sediment Control
  • Watershed Approach, GIS, Natural Stream Design, Wetlands
  • General Environmental Sensitivity-2003 Herbicide Contract and Site Specific Environmental Sensitivity - 2003 Herbicide Contract
  • Annual Asbestos Awareness.

Available NYSDOT training presentations may be found at the sites for Training and Presentation Slides and at NYSDOT Training. In addition to several leadership and supervisory resources, including NHI's "Tools for Peak Performance: Motivating Maintenance Workers to Do Their Very Best," NYSDOT has the following training presentations available on-line at the time of this writing include the following: [N]

NYSDOT has also produced Equipment Training: Evaluation Guides for Skills Demonstrations - 4th Edition for skill demonstration on all categories of NYSDOT heavy equipment. NYSDOT awards certificates for internal NYSDOT purposes only. The points covered are also the teaching points used by the Equipment Operator Instructors who prepare employees for their skills demonstrations. In addition to teaching materials, the files contain maintenance checklists for each piece of equipment.

Qualities to Consider in Identifying and Growing Good Instructors

Subject matter experts that are already on-staff and frequently approached by other staff members for their advice are then tapped as potential trainers for others. Train the trainer approaches require careful selection of employee-instructors, preferably supported by growth and development opportunities. The Transportation Association of Canada recommends looking for the following additional qualities: [N]

  • Is accessible for questions
  • Knows how to give feedback - always positive and never uses sarcasm or ridicule
  • Holds respect for his colleagues and is respected by them
  • Can summarize ideas in a clear and precise way
  • Listens to the opinions of others and seeks their recommendations
  • Facilitates ideas and the sharing of new concepts or work methods
  • Is current on new methods and procedures

The LTAP program notes that instructors are often the most important variable for success in training. A good instructor can help participants leave with valuable knowledge, increased skills, and motivation to put the knowledge and skills into action when they get back to the job. LTAP offers the following suggestions to "help grow good instructors." [N]

  • Start by selecting subject matter experts. If experts are not experienced trainers, provide them with training on how to conduct training (train the trainer). The Nebraska LTAP Center has had much success with training motor grader operators to train other operators.
  • Keep the trainers up-to-date with the latest technology and training techniques. They can do this by reading journal and newsletter articles, attending LTAP meetings, participating in train-the-trainer sessions and practicing with new training techniques.
  • Involve instructors in workshop development. Instructors can bring real training experience, as well as knowledge of the target audience to workshop development.
  • Share training resources, such as videos, manuals and instructor's guides.
  • Show instructors they are appreciated. Honor volunteers.


2.8.4 Recommended Practices in Implementing Adult Learning Programs that Benefit Construction and Maintenance
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Adults bring their own experience to the learning process. This ‘frame of reference' provides the basis from which they relate to and gauge the value of all new things. As a result, adult learners have particular needs. It has been said that adults retain 10 percent of what they read, 20 percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they see, 50 percent of what they see and hear, 70 percent of what they talk over with others, 80 percent of what they use and do in real life, and 95 percent of what they teach someone else to do. [N] Many of the recommended practices below are adapted from LTAP Training Tools and a best practice overview by the Transportation Association of Canada. [N] According to recommended practice, training methods should:

Identifying Employees' Needs and Expectations
  • Address "what's in it for the employees," their needs and expectations. Jobs with motivating potential are meaningful/will make a difference to others, require a variety of skills, have responsibility and autonomy to make decisions about how to carry out the work, and involve feedback and learning about performance, preferably from doing the work itself.
  • Relate to learners' experience. Adult learners bring a wealth of experience to training. They want to relate the training to what they experience in their lives. They also come in a wide range of ages, backgrounds, interests, abilities, and learning styles. This characteristic can be useful because it allows trainers to tap into this diversity and depth of experience by allowing participants to share, analyze and learn from both their own and other's experiences. This characteristic can also be detrimental to trainers, as some participants do not go beyond their own experiences, becoming less enthusiastic about new ways of doing things. A creative and motivating organizational context entails a continuous dynamic between the expertise, skills, and creativity of individuals and teams and the management practices, resources, innovation, and organizational motivation of the larger organization/work environment. [N]
  • Tailor training to the needs of various staff groups. Accommodate their level of experience in classroom learning situations. The amount of training and the level of detail of training that is required by specific personnel will vary. For example, managers may not need to know how to calibrate a spreader or to plow a road in order to carry out their responsibilities. They should however understand the importance of an effective calibration program and what equipment is needed to optimize salt use. Operators that do not make salt application decisions may not have to understand much about the decision-support systems. However, they need to understand salt application policies, the chemistry and application of salt, the environmental issues, good housekeeping practices at maintenance yards, record keeping, equipment operation and relevant decision-support information. Workers at snow disposal sites that do not operate spreaders will need to be trained in snow disposal site operating procedures, the chemistry of salt, environmental issues and relevant equipment operations, but may not need a detailed understanding of decision-support systems for snow and ice-control.
  • Identify and seek to change existing workplace value systems where necessary. Apart from the cultural attitudes in the workplace each individual operator will have a perception of his/her role within the operations. Some will hold the view that acquiring knowledge of new systems or technologies is not their responsibility and they do not get paid to think about such things. They may perceive their role as followers of instructions. Their ‘locus of control' is ‘external' and they rely on others, such as their supervisor, to provide the appropriate conditions/features for them to carry out their work. The challenge for the trainer is to convince these individuals that there is something in it for them and to try to ‘internalize' their locus of control by stressing how important each individual's contribution is to the overall success of the initiative. External influences are too remote to make the best decision under the circumstance and their judgment is valued as the best available given their training, experience and local knowledge.

    For many operators who have been involved in winter control operations for more than the last few years, the standard of a job well done has been to see how much salt they can put down during their shift. Their value system said "More is Better" or "When In Doubt - Put It Out". Then along comes an initiative to optimize the amount of salt being used and the value system is changed to "Just the Right Amount and No More." The trainer should take the approach that operators have options to consider which only they as operators are in a position to make.

    Be aware of fears of the learner. Emphasize what is in it for them. It is important to get the "what's in it for me" issue on the table right away and for good answers to be provided. New York State DOT has tried to build on employee's positive impulses and concerns for the environment and has tried to keep messages simple and memorable. One example for maintenance staff has been: "Save Birds, Mow Less."
Engaging Employees in the Learning Process
  • Accommodate self-directed learners. Adults often want to learn what they want to learn at their own pace. They want to be involved in the training process, learning from activities and sharing their knowledge with others. They learn best when they voluntarily choose to learn.
  • Present material in a variety of ways, and enable learning by doing whenever possible. Include a combination of verbal and visual aids, group discussion and practical application.
  • Address immediate problems and concerns. Adults are motivated to learn if they think the new information or skills will help them solve the problems and challenges they encounter in their jobs.
  • Take advantage of any opportunity to have immediate and automatic feedback on whether the learner's actions are consistent with the learning goals. The more immediate the feedback, the more likely the learner will begin to self evaluate. They will begin to correct themselves once they recognize the gap between the stated objectives and their knowledge. It is estimated that 40 percent of skills learned in training are lost immediately, 25 percent remains after six months and only 15 percent remains after one year.
Packaging Materials Effectively
  • Provide opportunities to integrate new concepts immediately. Adults want to use the information presented now, or at least tomorrow, on the job.
  • Time training close to when learning can be implemented. For example, salt management trainings should be scheduled for each fall, close to the onset of the snow and ice control season.
  • Ensure training of all personnel who can affect the environment and the DOT's reputation. This often includes seasonal and contracted personnel. If the DOT is not going to provide such training, training requirements may be included in contracts.
  • Trainers should assemble a bank of local case studies, photos, and examples. Local examples bring the lessons home and reinforce learning goals.
  • Deliver training on location in different areas and take advantage of available down-times. Training opportunities should not be limited to formal classroom settings. Trainers should be aware of the workplace schedules, inclement weather policies, shift changes and shift downtime, for example, and take advantage of these windows of opportunity to present training modules. Depending on the regular duties of the staff there are also opportunities to provide training in informal tailgate sessions or in post-storm debriefing sessions.
Assessment and Learning Objectives
  • Verify minimum competency levels through assessment and certification. Some transportation agencies have included testing and a minimum passing grade in their training programs. In the absence of any industry certification standards, this type of internal agency certification may be advantageous to those transportation agencies wanting to provide an assurance of minimum competency levels.
  • Assess needs and develop learning objectives. Needs assessment helps ensure that training is targeted where it is needed. Learning objectives focus the training on what employees and contractors need to learn.
  • Identify second language/literacy skills issues and plan accordingly. It will be important that the trainer identifies those learners who may not be native English speakers and modifies the training and evaluation to accommodate their needs. When dealing with these learners the trainers should try not to bring undue attention to them in a classroom setting. It is advisable to ask their supervisors prior to the training if there are learners with these challenges.
  • Increase retention by incorporating as many of the following strategies as possible into the lesson:
    • Use realistic examples of how skills can be used.
    • Give learners real life context for the application of concepts rather than presenting theory without a practical association.
    • Use rich analogies.
    • Include practice of skills.
    • Use clear and effective visual aids.
    • Consider pre-training assignments.
    • Keep skills and concepts close to the work generally done by participants in the normal jobs.
    • Use post-training follow-ups.
    • Encourage sharing of anecdotal experiences through discussion sessions.
    • Utilize informal leaders and the natural culture of the workplace to the extent possible in delivering the message of the training.
    This reinforces the need for refresher training. Trainers should make available easy access to reference materials to permit the learners to refresh their knowledge in a comfortable, non-threatening way. Again, periodic tailgate sessions help to reinforce the learning goals.
  • Use reminders. The success of the training is the level of knowledge retained by the learner. Putting the key learning points in front of the learners in the workplace can enhance the level of retention and the rate of change in values. Key messages such as using the right material in the right amount in the right place at the right time can be promoted in the workplace. For example the application rates or spreader control settings can be posted in an area where the learners congregate such as lunchrooms or staging areas. Similarly, reminder signs with this information can be displayed in the truck cabs adjacent to the vehicle controls.
Gathering Feedback
  • Use feedback mechanisms. Statistical data can be used to provide regular feedback. If work management software systems are available in the workplace then year-to-year or year-to-date comparison information of salt use or salt costs can be posted or distributed so the operators can see what impact they have on the financial side of the operations as well as environmental impacts.
  • Informal sessions can help to reinforce the training especially if there is an opportunity for the internal champions to relate their experience with the equipment, the conditions and the decisions they made based on what they encountered.
  • Evaluate the training. PennDOT's Center for Performance Excellence makes suggestions for improving courses and trainers based on student feedback and environmental measures. Templates and reports are provided so that evaluations are performed in a standardized manner. This process includes gathering trainee reactions and opinions, measuring new knowledge through testing, surveying the effects on job performance within 60 to 90 days, and determining the training's return on investment.
  • Monitor the extent to which staff is performing with respect to expected learning goals. This should be done on an ongoing basis through observations of staff behavior. Any deficiencies in behavior should be identified and a plan developed to re-train in the appropriate areas.
  • Maintain up-to-date files of the training provided to each member of staff. It is advisable to include any certification and course description in the file to maintain a record of the worker's competency. The records should include the date, time, duration and subject of the training, as well as the source of the training and trainers. Records should be maintained summarizing the percentage of staff trained in target areas at each level of the organization.

A series of benchmarking teleconferences conducted by the author for the Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet culminated in the following recommendations from participating states to better support construction and maintenance staff in delivering environmental performance improvements:

  • Identify who within agency (usually environmental staff) can provide such technical assistance. Make sure their phone numbers are easily available to staff.
  • Have technical assistance staff take advantage of existing seasonal and annual meetings to let maintenance staff know they are out there and available to help.
  • Develop trust between the trainer and training participants. If maintenance staff feel they know the trainer, they will be more willing to call for help when needed.
  • Ensure maintenance staff is provided training on the necessary equipment.
  • Arrange for Designers to rotate into maintenance annually (suggestion was one month per year). Implementation of this suggestion has resulted in a variety of improvements, including maintenance getting access ledges for stormwater ponds. In contrast, recommending solutions without field assistance can lead to failures and higher expense.
  • Host a Design Academy once a year to train mid-level designers.
  • Work with project engineers on a project-by-project basis to design roadsides appropriately.
  • Reach out to/facilitate further training of Landscape Architects in DOT Regions or Districts, so they are on board with integrated vegetation management approaches and can assist with outreach to engineers.
  • Develop technical guides for Maintenance Operations, synthesized from construction manuals, specs, field manuals, manufacturers' guides, etc.
  • Develop and use a Product Acceptability List such as WisDOT's PAL, which is connected to specs and helps staff navigate unwieldy spec books. It is searchable on the web and streamlines and standardizes use of these materials.

Tailgate Resources: Pocket Guides and Bulletins

Fully half of all state DOTs report having developed simple field guides on BMP maintenance and water quality considerations for engineers and/or construction [see contacts], though many are out of print. Pocket guides are small, portable, and accessible to both DOT field staff and contractors, and are easy to carry on-site. Some examples include the following:

  • Caltrans Stormwater Pollution Prevention Bulletins for Construction, Post-Construction, and Maintenance are short, two-page resources covering commonly arising issues and can be used easily as field references.
  • Mn/DOT's Inspector's Job Guide for Construction includes guidelines for inspecting erosion control compliance, tree protection, disposal of wastes, culvert and storm sewer installation, seeding and finishing, and a variety of other construction activities.
  • Colorado DOT's 2002 Erosion Control and Stormwater Quality guide is a 40-page pocketbook that helps construction and maintenance workers adhere to CDOT's Erosion Control and Stormwater Quality Guidelines by providing details and diagrams on implementing and maintaining water quality Best Management Practices (BMPs).
  • Mass Highway is developing an Erosion and Stormwater Control Field Guide for Resident Engineers, due summer 2004, to accompany their NPDES Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Template and Guidance manual.
  • NJDOT's Environmental Management Practices Construction Industry Pocket Field Guide for Environmental Stewardship in New Jersey was drafted by the Construction Industry Advancement Program of New Jersey (CIAP). It is provided to all NJDOT construction personnel. The 34-page field guide highlights common construction activities and identifies related environmental issues and contacts for additional information.
  • TxDOT has developed pocket field guides for both projects and facilities addressing environmental compliance issues that may be encountered and how to address them, including contacts for more information. Scenarios include finding archaeological evidence during construction or having a chemical spill at facilities.

California, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas offer newsletters or internal bulletins addressing water quality considerations in construction or maintenance. In addition to Caltrans' notable stormwater pollution prevention bulletins for construction, post-construction, and maintenance, the agency offers a weekly one page newsletter on water quality issues located at Caltrans' on-line stormwater publications page.

Standards and Measures for Training, Awareness, and Competency Programs

The simplest and most common way that DOTs assess their performance with regard to staff training and competency is through accounting for attendance in various training programs. Training pre- and post-tests are also commonly used to test knowledge acquisition. A few state DOT programs, including PennDOT's Transportation University, are exploring re-evaluation months later to see if knowledge is retained and personnel can show competency.

ISO 14001 outlines several standards for organizations undertaking training related to environmental process improvement:

  • The organization identifies training needs relative to environmental commitments, objectives, and targets.
  • All personnel whose work may create a significant impact upon the environment have received appropriate training. This information is usually tracked in training records.
  • The organization establishes and maintains procedures to make the employees or members at each relevant function and level aware of:
    • The importance of conformance with the environmental policy and procedures and with the requirements of the environmental management system.
    • The significant environmental impacts, actual or potential, of their work activities and the environmental benefits of improved personal performance.
    • Their roles and responsibilities in achieving conformance with the environmental policy and procedures and with the requirements of the environmental management system, including emergency preparedness and response requirements.
    • The potential consequences of departure from specified operating procedures.
  • Personnel performing the tasks which can cause significant environmental impacts are competent on the basis of appropriate education, training and/or experience.
  • The organization has defined competency and is maintaining it through various means.
2.8.5 On the Job Training - Promoting Continuous Learning in the Workplace
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Researchers estimate that training provides 20 percent of the critical skills required to do a job and the remaining 80 percent is learned on the job. This implies that regardless of the effectiveness of the lesson plan, most of the learning will take place on the job outside the classroom setting. Fostering a workplace where operators are encouraged to share information, experiment with new concepts, and challenge old ideas is essential to change the approaches and behaviors targeted by more formal training methods. If the behavior has not changed, additional or follow up re-training is required. On-the job training is part of the mix of training offered by many DOTs, whether informally or more formally for credit, as PennDOT's Transportation University offers, for example. On-the-job training for construction crews at the Wyoming DOT (WYDOT) is supplemented by a video presentation on environmental compliance and awareness that stresses avoidance and minimization of environmental impacts. The training emphasizes WYDOT's mission statement and environmental policy and includes a statement by the Wyoming Contractors Association on the importance of environmental sensitivity during construction.


2.8.6 Contractor Certification Programs
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Due to the rapid influx of advanced technologies and the increasing reliance of DOTs on consultants and contractors for their engineering and technical services, state DOTs and professional organizations within the transportation industry are trying to provide assurance of professional competency. [N]

Some state environmental agencies are running contractor certification programs in erosion control inspection, with DOT participation. Contractor certification programs for Underground Storage Tank testing and removal are also among the more common.

Virginia DOT Specification and Certification for Erosion Control Contractors

In accordance with VDOT Road and Bridge Specification §107.14 (a), land disturbing activity which occurs within the VDOT right-of-way must be supervised by a certified Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) Contractor, who is required to be on-site at all times during that land-disturbing activity. Until 2001, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and VDOT sponsored a cooperative training for ESC Contractors. This training program was entitled DCR's Erosion and Sediment Control Contractor Certificate of Completion (DCR's Contractor Certificate) program. The former DCR Contractor Certificate program included a one-day training course followed by a one-hour examination. [N]

VDOT environmental monitor reports showed increases in project compliance levels from 30 percent in 1999 to 93 percent in 2001. [N] Likewise, VDOT's Construction Quality Improvement Program (CQIP) noted significant environmental compliance rating increases from 88.0 percent in fiscal year 1998/1999 to 93.4 percent in fiscal year 2000/2001. [N] VDOT believes the DCR Contractor Certificate program provided a key contribution to VDOT's project environmental compliance level. A new version of the program is administered by the Virginia Road and Transportation Builders Association (VRTBA) with VDOT providing the instructors and copies of the VDOT-developed manual. The goal of the course is to demonstrate to the contractor how implementation of VDOT's specifications and standards ensure compliance with environmental and property protection related laws and regulations and, synonymously, are critical elements of the quality and the economic integrity of road building/maintenance practices. The course introduces contractors to the Erosion and Sedimentation Control program, state and federal laws, the erosion process, minimum standards, vegetative practices, VDOT specs and standards, and VDOT contract enforcement. A certification exam proctored by the VRTBA enables those who pass to become certified to comply with VDOT Specification §107.14 (a), which stipulates that inspection for proper installation and deficiencies immediately after each rainfall, at least daily during prolonged rainfall and weekly when no rainfall occurs. [N]

Maine's Voluntary Contractor Certification Program

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has developed a non-regulatory, incentive-driven program to broaden the use of effective erosion control techniques. The DEP administers a voluntary contractor certification program to prevent nonpoint source pollution from construction activity by creating an incentive for Maine contractors to become educated on erosion and sedimentation control best management practices. The Voluntary Contractor Certification Program (VCCP) is coordinated by DEP's Nonpoint Source Training and Resource Center. The program requires attendance at two 6-hour training courses and the successful completion of a construction site evaluation during the construction season by local soil and water conservation district personnel. To maintain certification, a minimum of one 4-hour continuing education course within every two-year period after initial certification is required.

The certification entitles the holder to forgo the 14-day waiting period for Soil Disturbance and Stream Crossing Projects under the Department's Permit-by-Rule program, allowing certified individuals to start work on such projects earlier than contractors who are not certified. Certification also enables a contractor to advertise as a "DEP Certified Contractor," and DEP maintains a list of certified contractors that is posted on the agency's web site. This list is available for distribution to the general public, state agencies and other interested persons. All certified individuals can also obtain any publication from the Nonpoint Source Training and Resource Center Library at no charge. Under certain circumstances, certifications can be revoked. Revocation is likely if a formal enforcement action is taken against a certified contractor whose failure to employ satisfactory erosion and sediment control practices results in sedimentation of waterbodies or wetlands.

Tennessee DOT Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Training and Certification Program

Tennessee DOT has funded a research project to develop an Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Training and Certification Program consisting of three training courses: the Fundamentals of Erosion Prevention; the Design of Vegetative and Structural Measures for Erosion and Sediment Control; and a Train-the-Trainer Workshop. [N]

WSDOT Partnership with AGC to Deliver Statewide Training and Certification

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) requires contractors to participate in erosion control training. Restrictions by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) requiring erosion and spill control lead certification and triggered an increased demand for erosion control training. To meet this demand, WSDOT partnered with the education foundation of the Associated General Contractors of Washington to deliver a statewide training program for contractors and staff from federal, state and local agencies. An already-ambitious statewide program of 18 training events for 600 students was doubled due to high demand. The 12-Hour Certification course is taught to non-WSDOT parties through training partners and WSDOT only recognizes certificates provided through the organizations listed below:

WSDOT's on-line resources for WSDOT staff include:

New DOE requirements for written stormwater pollution prevention plans led to the addition of further courses. These programs have raised the construction industry's environmental awareness and helped protect the Washington environment. [N] Currently, WSDOT has made courses in Erosion and Sediment Control, Spill Prevention, Endangered Species Act available, with classes in the Clean Water Act and NEPA applications on the way.

Iowa DOT Certification for Construction Inspection, Material Testing, and Spill Prevention

The Iowa Department of Transportation Technical Training and Certification Program is responsible for ensuring that all technicians who perform material testing, hazardous spill prevention, construction inspection, and grade inspection and erosion control on construction projects in Iowa are qualified. Over 200 classes are held annually with approximately 3,000 individuals participating. The program is working toward reciprocity of technician certification between states, regional material development, uniform test procedures, and coordinated exchange of state information. The Iowa DOT also is using a new approach to dealing with a downsized workforce by using maintenance equipment operators to perform testing/inspection duties and construction, and materials inspectors to perform maintenance duties in their respective off-seasons, requiring additional of cross-training. [N] For maintenance employees, IDOT also offers training in roadside vegetation management and a certification program for herbicide application.

Certifications Provided by Private Associations

The Manitoba, Canada Heavy Construction Association (MHCA) developed and implemented a Safety, Health, and Environment certification program. The Certificate of Recognition (COR) program is a comprehensive approach to reducing human, financial and environmental costs of accidents and involves education, training, and implementation of standard safety, health, and environmental practices. [N]

The Safety, Health and Environment program was developed and implemented by the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA). The program provides a Certificate of Recognition (COR) and a comprehensive approach to reducing human, financial and environmental costs of accidents. It involves education, training, and implementation of standard safety, health, and environmental practices.

National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies

National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) certification takes some of the guesswork out of applicant screening by identifying those technicians who have acquired a minimum amount of relevant work experience and who have demonstrated their knowledge by meeting a rigorous exam requirement. NICET tools can also be used to diagnose staff training needs, by measuring skills and knowledge against an objective national standard.

For example, the Highway Maintenance certification program was designed for engineering technicians involved in the inspection/supervision of street and highway maintenance activities. It covers all aspects of routine roadway and right-of-way maintenance, including interpretation of plans and specifications; scheduling of projects and personnel; recordkeeping; knowledge of materials (asphaltic concrete, Portland cement concrete, soils, herbicides, etc.) and techniques for their proper use; familiarity with equipment and proper use of equipment and associated safety features; and traffic safety during maintenance operations. [N]

NICET offers four levels of certification for Highway Maintenance. The typical job duties and associated responsibilities of highway maintenance engineering technicians are broken down into discrete work elements which form the basis for an evaluation of the candidate's knowledge. Level I is designed for trainees and entry-level technicians who perform limited job tasks under frequent supervision, Level II is for technicians who perform routine tasks under general daily supervision, Level III is for intermediate-level technicians who, under little or no daily supervision, work with standards, plans, specifications, and instructions, and Level IV is for independent, senior-level technicians whose work includes supervising others. Certification at Levels II, III, and IV does not require prior certification at the lower level, but it does require meeting the certification requirements of the lower levels. [N]

Requirements for certification, the program detail manual, and applications are available for Bridge Safety Inspection, Highway Design, Highway Construction, Highway Materials, Highway Surveys, Traffic Operations, and Erosion & Sediment Control as well as Maintenance. Overviews of various NICET certification programs are available online.

Society for Protective Coatings Certification Programs

The SSPC Protective Coatings Specialist Certification (PCS) contractor certification program is based on consensus standards developed by industry professionals and is recognized as an independent contractor evaluation program, as well as a pre-qualification tool for facility owners. Each program reviews the industrial painting contractor's primary ability to provide quality work in accordance with applicable safety, health and environmental compliance standards. The program is divided into the following categories:

  • QP 1 evaluates contractors who perform surface preparation and industrial coating application on steel structures in the field.
  • QP 2 is a supplement to QP 1 that evaluates the contractor's ability to perform industrial hazardous paint removal in a field operation. Two categories of certification are available based on the type of equipment and containment.
  • QP 3 evaluates a contracting company's ability to perform surface preparation and protective coating application in a fixed shop facility. SSPC issues three categories of shop certification: enclosed shop, covered shop, and open shop; a certification for Inspection Companies whose focus is the industrial painting industry.
  • QP 5 evaluates an inspection company's ability to provide consistent quality inspection of coatings & linings for its clients.


2.8.7 Sources of Training, Materials, and Information
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Budget constraints are pressing states to design necessary training as efficiently as possible, while tailoring training to the needs of employees and state-specific conditions. As noted by AASHTO's Stewardship Demonstration Project, transportation agencies may look to adapting training from other states or national courses to their own needs, thereby reducing development costs, to initiating joint training efforts with other agencies and neighboring states, or to developing internal mentor-based on-the-job training programs. States also may find that non-traditional training approaches, such as distance learning, can provide the learning experience needed while minimizing costs in terms of staff time and travel expenses. LTAP facilitates sharing of a large collection of informational videos and other resources.

Many training resources are already available to maintenance and highway managers nationwide. To avoid "re-creating the wheel" in the development of training resources for environmental aspects of construction and maintenance, managers may want to contact some of the entities mentioned in the sections below.

State Transportation Agency Training Programs

Some state transportation agencies have developed extensive training programs. For example, PennDOT's Transportation University offers over 300 courses and Caltrans offers over 400. Caltrans offers trainings for Maintenance personnel. Stormwater Pollution Prevention Training is available in multiple media - DVD, PowerPoint presentations and PDF - on-line. [N] Some DOTs have developed extensive training programs on selected areas. For example, extensive erosion control and drainage channel maintenance materials have already developed by Mn/DOT's Dwayne Stenlund. Both the U.S. Forest Service and the Penn State Center for Dirt & Gravel Roads have developed a training program for maintenance of non paved roads. AASHTO's Stewardship Demonstration project website profiles training developed by WisDOT, NCDOT, and UDOT: [N]

Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to train staff, consultants, contractors, and utilities prior to the 2002 construction season on erosion control and stormwater management. The training objective is to help trainees develop and use more effective strategies for erosion control and stormwater management during and after construction. WisDOT continues to update and refine the training based on feedback from the course attendees.

North Carolina, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin are training their staff in context sensitive solutions (CSS). A number of states, including Wisconsin and Kentucky, have made the training effort a part of a larger CSS program.

Contact any of the above agencies or DOTs in adjacent states for assistance. Public agencies are usually willing to share materials.

Pooled Fund Cooperative (SICOP) and On-Line Programs

One of the most widely known pooled fund cooperative programs in construction and maintenance is SICOP, the Snow and Ice Pooled Fund Cooperative Program. It was developed by AASHTO (The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) under AASHTO Administrative Resolution 3-94. Training for supervisors and field operators in understanding the new processes and equipment used in these proactive snow and ice control techniques has been slow in developing; as a result lack of effective and scientifically based training has hampered progress in the implementation of anti-icing (AI) and road weather information system (RWIS) technologies from the SHRP and International Scanning Tours. [N] Nearly all of the snow-belt states and the American Public Works Association (APWA) and the National Association of County Engineers (NACE) contributed to this pooled fund. SICOP promulgates the Winter Maintenance Program, the goals of which are to 1) sustain or improve levels of winter maintenance service with significant benefit/cost improvements, 2) provide an enhanced level of environmental protection, and 3) place technology in service on operational maintenance sections within two winter seasons. [N]

The need for the development of an interactive computer-based, stand-alone, training program was identified during the AASHTO/Federal Highway Administration/Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) Implementation Program by the Lead States Team for the implementation of advanced AI and proactive snow and ice control technology. This task was subsequently handed off to SICOP. A Technical Working Group nominated by participating state DOTs was organized to guide development of the training program, which contains an online encyclopedia related to AI/RWIS. The RWIS/AI Computer-Based training utilizes a series of realistic scenario-based exercises and has been built as a self-paced, interactive, stand-alone, computer-based training program. SICOP intends for the program to be sufficiently flexible to provide training to equipment operators, first-line supervisors, and middle managers. To facilitate wide distribution, the program will use open-systems architecture and open standards for hardware and software. Generic training packages will be available for purchase from AASHTO. One of SICOP's prototype training package resembles a video game where equipment operators mix salt brine.

Another video-based training program was produced by a team of researchers at the University of Washington and funded by Transportation Northwest (TransNow), to teach basic rolling principles, techniques, and considerations without tying up equipment. A 3-D hot-mix asphalt compaction trainer, the program allows its user to train for the industry by playing a video game. Users experience simulated construction environments and receive real-time feedback based on their commands. It is adaptable to a variety of training situations, since instructors can set paving conditions and then guide students through interactive environments. The Xpactor can be downloaded for free at TransNow's Website. [N]

Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council

The Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TCCC) is a partnership of government and industry that is drawing on training resources nationwide to support training and certification of highway construction inspectors, technicians, and engineers - while minimizing duplication of effort and helping public agencies to maximize their training dollars. This partnership includes the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and its National Highway Institute (NHI), three American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Subcommittees, and five Regional Training and Certification Groups (the New England Transportation Technician Certification Program, Mid-Atlantic Regional Training and Certification Program, Southeast Task Force for Technician Training and Qualification, Multi Regional Training and Certification, and Western Alliance for Quality Transportation Construction) representing 46 State transportation agencies. Through these web links, the reader/user can access construction and maintenance certification courses that are available across the country.

TCCC works closely with the National Highway Institute, proposing new classes to develop and identifying existing resources. For example, a new NHI Bridge Construction Inspection course recommended by the TCCC draws upon two state resources, the New Mexico Quality Bridge Deck Workshop and the MDSHA "in-house" Bridge Construction Manual and identifies related NHI training materials that have already been developed.

National Highway Institute

The National Highway Institute (NHI) in FHWA's Office of Professional Development, trains current employees, nurtures some potential employees, and provides outreach and information exchange services. Students represent federal and state transportation agencies and private-sector groups. Last year, NHI presented more than 550 courses to 16,000 individuals. In an effort to improve its outreach and course delivery, NHI is also piloting Web-based distance learning courses. A complete list of NHI courses may be found on-line.

Environmental aspects are being incorporated into many of these courses. Focusing on the FHWA vision to "improve transportation for a strong America," NHI has placed particular emphasis on delivering courses to advance Administrator's "vital few" goals of safety, congestion mitigation and environmental stewardship and streamlining. Specifically, these courses advance current practices, incorporate new technologies, and keep abreast of current federal policies. This CD-ROM provides information about current training courses in structures, materials and pavements, design of traffic operations, construction and maintenance, hydraulics, ITS, financial management, civil rights, highway safety and other related topics, and the environment.

Local Technology Assistance Centers

There are 57 Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) centers: one in each state, Puerto Rico, and six regional centers serving American Indian tribal governments. The centers are located at universities or state highway agencies and are funded in part by federal LTAP funds, state DOTs, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, universities, local agencies, and by state legislatures. The LTAP centers were established to provide the flexibility needed to tailor programs to meet the varied needs of the local transportation work force. LTAP centers increase the skills and knowledge of local providers through training, technical assistance, and technology transfer, including program-building activities. The LTAP Clearinghouse Information Resources contains a searchable database with information on local roads resources, LTAP centers, and training resources. [N]

University Transportation Research Centers

The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) established 13 new university transportation centers (UTC), and reauthorized 14 existing UTC and 6 centers previously designated as university research institutes. The latter were originally funded under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). TEA-21 also added education as another primary objective of the UTC Program in addition to transportation research and technology transfer, which were established as primary objectives in ISTEA. A complete listing of the UTCs is available at the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC). [N]


Technology transfer has been significantly enhanced by the use of computers. A snow and ice mailing list ( has several hundred subscribers from around the world and provides a forum for the discussion of topics related to winter maintenance. Users state that it is a quick and easy way to find expertise in almost any area of winter maintenance or to find that the area of interest is one in which little or nothing is known.

The Center for Transportation and the Environment maintains a listserv on wildlife crossing concerns and issues. The Wildlife, Fisheries and Transportation Web Gateway contains information about best practices, policy issues, searchable databases, and related listservs. [N] FHWA maintains a listserv, called Re: NEPA - Federal Highway Administration, on which users can ask and have answered a variety of highway and environmental questions.


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Table of Contents
Chapter 2
Organizational Environmental Stewardship Practices
2.1 DOT Environmental Policies and Mission Statements
2.2 Environmental Strategic Planning at Transportation Agencies
2.3 Setting Objectives and Targets & Tracking Environmental Commitments
2.4 Environmental Management Systems - Benefits & Approaches
2.5 Operational Controls, Procedures, and Practices
2.6 Measuring Environmental Performance
2.7 Environmental Staffing, Roles, and Responsibilities
2.8 Environmental Training and Certification
2.9 Regional DOT Stewardship Practice Exchange & Discussion
Lists: Examples | Tables | Figures
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