Impact of Legislative Mandates on Transportation Workforce Capacity

Principal Investigator: Tom O’Brien | California State University, Long Beach

The transportation industry faces future workforce challenges. A combination of factors contribute to this including the retirement of baby boomers and a lack of trained personnel in fields such as engineering, construction management, and intelligent transportation systems (ITS). The public sector will be particularly hard hit. It faces the threat of attrition at senior levels as skilled workers move to the private sector.  Most of the studies done to assess the impact of these changing trends on the transportation workforce have looked at the problem from a national or statewide perspective (Poister, 2004; Warne, 2003; Gee, 2009). However, local and regional agencies are heavily involved in not only planning and forecasting, and budgeting and financing, but also operations. Furthermore Metropolitan Planning Organizations have become more involved in program implementation in areas such as ITS as a result of directives contained in federal highway legislation like ISTEA and TEA-21. This research will identify the impact on metropolitan level planning agencies of legislative mandates such as SB375 and builds upon preliminary research assessing the changes in job functions and use of outsourcing to complete the SCS at MPOs in California. The proposed project will use online surveys and interviews with members of Councils of Governments and MPOs to consider a broader set of issues, including the relationship between environmental-related planning mandates and  recruitment, funding, and the role if in-service training at the MPO level.  Findings will contribute to our knowledge of workforce development needs as well as the potential for policy responses at the federal, state and local level.

Status: In Progress
Funding: $95,000
Sponsors: US DOT

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