Rural transportation challenges have a significant impact on the safety, longevity, and sustainability of the highway system, which directly affects the United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) ability to meet the strategic goals of providing a safe and efficient national transportation network. Â The National Center for Rural Road Safety (Safety Center) was established to provide excellent rural transportation safety training tools and technology transfer that meets diverse stakeholders’ needs, recognizes multidisciplinary and systemic approaches to advance knowledge transfer, and delivers improved safety results. Roadway safety is impacted not only by road hazards and road user culture, but also by the decisions made by transportation agencies to address these factors to improve roadway safety. Effective decision-making is dependent on the knowledge and skill provided through participation in workforce training and education activities.
However, access to workforce training and education is dependent on the cultural environment of the organization, both in terms of the prioritization of roadway safety and support (readiness) for workforce training and education. In addition, the resources and infrastructure that guide and support the roles and responsibilities of the workforce (which define the operational environment) determine the capacity to access different forms of workforce training and education programs and tools.
This report summarizes research conducted by the Safety Center to better understand how the cultural environments within state departments of transportation (DOTs) may influence engagement in workforce training and education. First, a brief background section provides a foundation for the model that was used. Next, the objectives, methods, and results of the research are reviewed. Conclusions and recommendations are provided. Appendices include more detailed information.