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Tolling Points

IBTTA's Virtual Maintenance, Engineering and Roadway Operations Workshop Makes Us 'Stronger Together'

By: 
Bill Cramer

With less than three weeks to go before sessions get under way, the excitement is building for a revamped, reconfigured Maintenance, Engineering and Roadway Operations Workshop July 12-14 that responds to two key pieces of the pandemic experience: the multiple ways in which the tolling industry is stepping up in a moment of crisis, and an online format that allows our community to keep learning, interacting, and growing together.

“We’re doing something completely different,” says IBTTA Deputy Executive Director Wanda Klayman. “But the most important elements remain. It’s still the annual maintenance workshop. It’s still about the hands-on skills, tools, and techniques that keep our facilities in peak operating condition. And, it’s still about giving our maintenance, engineering, and operations teams and vendors a forum to share their very best practices and learn from each other.”

The workshop was originally scheduled for July 12-14 in Louisville, Kentucky, until the pandemic made large, face-to-face gatherings ill advised. IBTTA is responding with 10 hours of content – general sessions, smaller meet-ups, exhibits, and informal breaks, to deliver the same mix of learning and networking that put our face-to-face meetings at the center of the industry’s annual event calendar.

“This year, the workshop is free for IBTTA members. We’re all looking forward to the day when we can see each other in person again,” Wanda says. “But we’re learning together how much we can do on virtual platforms, and our goal with this workshop is to deliver an exciting online experience for everyone.”

Responding to the Pandemic

The workshop begins and ends with general sessions on the tolling industry’s response to the pandemic. The opening session at 10:30 AM ET, July 13, will include a special visual thank you to the Heroes of the Highway who’ve kept our roadways, bridges, and tunnels operating and safe under extreme circumstances. Then, a number of tolling experts will share their reflections on the specific steps the tolling community put in place over the past three months.

“We’ll hear stories about how, overnight, the pandemic changed business routines, traffic operations, toll operations, procurements, maintenance activities, communications, board meetings, and administrative activities,” Wanda said. “Panelists will reflect on lessons learned, great ideas, bad ideas, successes and failures.”

The closing session at 1:45 PM ET, July 14, will begin mapping the new and improved tolling facilities that are already beginning to emerge from the pandemic experience. We’ll be covering topics such as new and ongoing capital programs, changing traffic and toll operations, procuring materials and services differently, allowing employees to work remotely, and instituting new health and safety measures.

The Tolling Maintenance Community: Stronger Together

Maintenance and roadway operations teams have always been a strong, distinct community within the IBTTA family. The webinars and meet-ups (track breakouts) that make up the rest of the workshop program will get at the management and technical challenges that tolling agencies confront every day to deliver a safe, reliable driving experience and give attendees the chance to participate in the conversation.

The technical track will look at the latest engineering and technological advances in areas ranging from pavement inspection and weather monitoring to landscaping and supply chain management, along with new trends in engineering design and innovations in asset management. The management track will dive into asset management, as well as new opportunities for process efficiencies and the growing use of roadway and customer data to drive better decisions.

As any veteran of past Maintenance and Roadway Operations Workshops will tell you, the networking at this event is just as important as the session content, a chance for participants to catch up with old friends and meet new colleagues to get a sense of the state-of-the-art products and services available. Jim Wilson, Southeast Tolls Program Director at TransCore, will lead an hour-long virtual vendors’ forum at 10:00 AM ET Tuesday, July 14. The program includes several other opportunities for interaction and we’re building a virtual exhibit hall that’s also free to member-exhibitors.

“We know this workshop is essential to every IBTTA member because maintenance is at the heart of every toll facility,” Wanda says. “It’s been incredibly exciting to see our Meeting Planning Group step up under extreme circumstances and deliver a dynamic, varied program that will leave us all stronger together.”  We hope to see lots of attendees at the Virtual Maintenance Workshop and that everyone gives us lots of feedback as we move to the next BIG virtual meeting – the 88th Annual Meeting & Exhibition.

Register today for IBTTA’s Maintenance, Engineering and Roadway Operations Workshop, July 12-14, 2020.

Newsletter publish date: 
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 09:00

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