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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Public Roads - July/August 2003

Training Update

What Can Telecommunications Technologies Do for Your Highway?

The National Highway Institute (NHI)

Whether building roads, installing traffic signals, or deploying intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies, virtually everything transportation professionals do today involves communication. The telecommunications network provides the backbone for collecting, analyzing, and sharing transportation data—both within the industry and with the traveling public. But, according to Bill Jones of FHWA's ITS Joint Program Office, since technical information becomes outdated quickly, many transportation professionals are not familiar with the newest technologies available on the market.

The goal of a recently updated course offered by the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) National Highway Institute (NHI) is to bring transportation professionals up to speed with the latest telecommunications technologies. The course, ITS Telecommunications Overview (#137005A), is part of the core curriculum established by FHWA's ITS Professional Capacity Building program. The 1-day course provides transportation professionals with a broad introduction to the latest telecommunications technologies—including new high-speed techniques available through wireless and in- and above-ground cable systems—and offers practical lessons learned in the application of ITS technologies.

Upon completing the course, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Explain the fundamentals of telecommunications at a basic level
  • Define some of the key terminology and concepts used in transportation telecommunications
  • Recognize current issues with developing, designing, operating, and managing transportation projects using telecommunications technologies and infrastructure
  • Plan and conduct requirements analyses to match devices and components to telecommunications technologies
  • Use regional ITS architectures for telecommunications planning

Those likely to benefit most from the class include transportation professionals in the public and private sectors who are involved in transportation planning and ITS deployment, such as project planners, engineers, managers, senior technicians, and systems integrators at metropolitan planning organizations, transit agencies, other municipal offices, State highway agencies, FHWA Division and Resource Center Offices, and the Federal Transit Administration.

"Every transportation engineer in the field today should be familiar with the jargon of the people working in the telecommunications industry," says Bill Jones, technical director for wireless and telecommunications in FHWA's ITS Joint Program Office. "The main objectives of this course are to give engineers a speaking knowledge of the latest technologies in the field and to demonstrate how they can be used in transportation applications."

For technical information about the course, contact William S. Jones at 202-366-2128, To learn more about transportation-related training courses available from NHI, consult the course catalog at or contact NHI at 4600 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22203; 703-235-0500 (phone); or 703-235-0593 (fax). For scheduling, contact Danielle Mathis-Lee at 703-235-0528 or