LTAP: A primer

Michele Regenold
Webmaster/Editor
Center for Transportation Research and Education (Iowa LTAP)
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Maybe you've been reading about a new technique for resurfacing streets. Maybe you've got a few new people on your staff who need some training related to street maintenance and roadwork safety. Or maybe you'd just like to get an engineer's opinion about a problem. Where can you turn? To your Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP).

Each state has an LTAP, including Puerto Rico (and for tribal governments there are regional Tribal Technical Assistance Programs, or TTAP). The primary mission of LTAP/TTAP is to help local transportation providers improve their knowledge and skills through training, technical assistance, and technology transfer.

LTAP's services are a bargain. They're free or low-cost, including training workshops. Workshops are often held at locations throughout the state to help agencies keep their travel costs down. Some training can even be brought to your door. Many LTAPs have a safety circuit rider on staff. This safety trainer travels throughout his/her state providing on-demand workshops in agencies' own shops and offices. Some LTAPs are also exploring distance training options such as video conferencing and online courses.

The Roads Scholar program is another free service of many LTAPs. It offers a structured curriculum of transportation-related training with periodic recognition and rewards for individuals achieving various levels of training.

To get resources for your agency's in-house training or to bone up on a transportation-related subject, contact your LTAP's librarian coordinator. Each LTAP runs a transportation library with publications and videos for loan. The librarian can make suggestions about resources for training as well as locate the materials you need or refer you to someone who can help. To find out what materials a library has, you can request a library catalog or look on the Internet. Many LTAPs have their library catalogs online. The Illinois LTAP is going one step further. It has started to digitize some non-copyrighted videos and will be making them available as streaming videos from their website.

To learn about new library acquisitions, upcoming training events, and new techniques and materials for transportation-related maintenance and construction, get on your LTAP's mailing list for its free quarterly or bimonthly newsletter. The newsletters are written specifically for people maintaining city streets and county roads.

To find out more about your state's LTAP, you can look it up online via the national LTAP organization's website: www.ltapt2.org. Give your LTAP a call. They'd love to help.

Alternatively you could contact your local APWA chapter. Many local chapters already have partnerships with their LTAP to offer joint training and share resources. In fact, APWA and LTAP have an agreement to encourage the formation of these local partnerships. Fostering a safe, efficient, environmentally sound transportation system is APWA's and LTAP's common goal.

Michele Regenold can be reached at (515) 296-0835.