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37 CHAPTER FIVE NEEDS There are highly effective and productive technology trans- that 17 of 38 respondents had been in their positions for fer activities throughout the nation, particularly in the public- 5 years or less, training in technology transfer could be a high- sector transportation community--LTAP/TTAP centers and payoff activity. It is worth noting that LTAP/TTAP centers universities, state DOTs, and federal agencies. Many organiza- consider technology transfer training as one of their lower tions have efficiently run programs and are well supported by ranked needs. It is most probable that the LTAP/TTAP cen- their stakeholders and customers. However, although this may ters view these skills as existing strengths and do not place a be so, many technology transfer or implementation activities priority on further enhancing these skills in place of address- have challenges to overcome. ing other needs. This is a result of their experience and excel- lence in this activity. State DOTs may be able to gain some The surveys asked respondents about their needs as they insight into the conduct of technology transfer from the saw their organizations fulfilling two main roles: (1) that of LTAP/TTAP centers. pushing technology out of their unit to another unit or orga- nization; for example, a research unit and its efforts to facil- Figure 11 shows that LTAP/TTAP centers consider addi- itate implementation of its research program's results or an tional funding the most important need. The centers also LTAP/TTAP center's activities to transfer knowledge and did not consider dedicated funding a high-rated success fac- skills to local government to improve, for example, its work tor (see also Figure 3); however, as with the state DOTs, zone safety practices; and (2) that of pulling technology in funding for LTAP/TTAP is a priority and ranks first among for use from other units or organizations external to the orga- these needs. The other needs rated by more than half of the nization; for example, a state DOT research or operating unit LTAP/TTAP respondents are greater management support that wants to apply a technology that is currently being used by for technology transfer, more trained staff, greater access another DOT or through AASHTO TIG or an LTAP/TTAP to technical expertise, and assistance for management and center that is seeking to find applicable innovations for its administrative responsibilities associated with technology customers with particular needs. transfer. These needs support some of the challenges the LTAP/TTAP centers expressed about staffing (see chapter The following sections discuss the needs encountered three). Such needs also show the difficulty centers have when state DOTs and the LTAP/TTAP centers fulfill the two encountered in acquiring talent for their many and diverse roles of pushing technology out or pulling technology in. activities. For the state DOTs that indicated they could benefit by PUSHING TECHNOLOGY OUT having assistance with those management and administrative responsibilities associated with technology transfer, a choice The top three needs of state DOTs were: (1) more time to per- of five items was presented. Figure 12 provides the ranking of form technology transfer, (2) additional funding, and (3) tech- these items. All of the suggested items were accepted as viable nology transfer training, as shown in Figure 10. More than approaches for assistance to the state DOTs. Note that imple- half of the respondents indicated these three items as needs. mentation plans and evaluation or assessment procedures were Many states have fewer employees and increasingly larger the top two areas for assistance. Similarly, LTAP/TTAP workloads than previously. It is not surprising to see that the centers were asked about the types of help they would like if research managers need more time for technology transfer they had indicated a need for management and administrative activities, because technology transfer is time intensive. It assistance for technology transfer. takes dedicated time of the best technical employees to per- form technology transfer well. Although the state DOTs did Examining the experience levels and the needs for train- not consider dedicated funding as the highest ranked element ing provides additional insight for addressing how to build for success (see Figure 3), funding is still important and nec- capacity and skill for technology transfer and implementa- essary. Thirty of 38 research units determined that additional tion of research results. State DOT respondents with 5 years funding was a need to be addressed. Another outcome of the or less experience indicated by a two to one margin that they survey is that the state DOTs believed that they could use needed training for technology transfer. This group was less training in the processes of technology transfer. Recalling open to including new technology in projects and a majority
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38 Time for T2 Additional Funding T2 Process Training Need Senior Management Support T2 Process Mgmt. Assistance Openness to Use in New Projects n = 38 Access to Technical Expertise 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Number of Responses FIGURE 10 Needs--Pushing technology out--State DOTs. (Multiple responses were permitted.) T2 = technology transfer. Additional Funding Greater Sr. Mmgt. Support for Tech. Transfer More Trained Staff Greater Access to Tech. Expertise Need Tech. Transfer Mgmt./Admin. Assistance Tech. Transfer Process Training Openness to Use of New Technology n = 22 More Time for Tech. Transfer 0 5 10 15 20 Number of Responses FIGURE 11 Needs--Pushing technology out--LTAP/TTAP centers. (Multiple responses were permitted.) Implementation Plans Type of Assistance Evaluation or Assessment Procedures Executive Briefing Models Scheduling and Tracking Methodologies n = 18 Marketing Plans 0 5 10 15 20 Number of Responses FIGURE 12 Type of helpful management assistance--State DOTs. Responses based on indication of need for management and administrative assistance from Figure 10. (Multiple responses were permitted.) of the respondents in this group indicated that they did not technology transfer administrative assistance. Those with the need technology transfer management and/or administrative most experience (15 years and more) reported that they were assistance. nearly equally divided on needing technology transfer train- ing and nearly 40% of this group was open to including new State DOT respondents with 6 to 14 years of experience technologies in projects, and the same percentage reported expressed different needs than those with less experience. Of that they did not need technology transfer management and/or these respondents, 63% determined that they did not need administrative assistance. technology transfer training. They were very open to includ- ing new technologies in projects (75% of the respondents in Further review of all three of these different experience this group), and were equally divided regarding the need for groups (less than 5, 6 to 14, and 15 or more years) shows that