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Center Identification Number: 415-06

Project Title: Teleconferences and Other Communication Technologies

Co-Principal Investigators: 

Philip L. Winters, TDM Program Director

Amber Reep, Research Associate


Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South
Florida Tampa, Florida

External Project Contact:

I. Project Objective

To expand the reach and impact of NCTR research projects using a variety of communication mediums, including teleconferencing, webcasting, and other distance learning methods.

II. Project Abstract

The cost (in time and money) for attending conferences and reading the massive number of reports, newsletters, and trade journals that cross one's desk are limiting the effectiveness of traditional methods of technology transfer. This project will use a variety of technologies and techniques to facilitate the transfer and exchange of information.

III. Task Descriptions

Task 1 Identifying Teleconference Needs of Researchers and Other Key Users

In this task, the investigators will develop methods for identifying and communicating the various options available to NCTR researchers and stakeholders/customers. In particular, this step will include assessment of technology capabilities and plans at a sample of public transportation agencies and state departments of transportation.

Task 2 Implementation of Advanced Technology

NCTR researchers plan to use several different methods to broaden the audience for transit research results and assistance. This project will also seek methods of improving the communication with and among the public transportation community (e.g., Listservs, threaded discussion sites, etc.) Under a net conferencing method, participants will be able to interact real-time with the moderator via an 800 number, or they can use traditional e-mail to communicate questions to the moderator during a live Net Conference call (when the moderator is connected to the internet during the call). The moderator would then answer these questions on the actual standard conference call. This type of interaction allows the moderator to selectively choose the questions to answer (and in what order) versus a standard teleconference that only allows real-time Q & A. Using the pre-recorded method, short presentations (<15 minutes) will be recorded and converted into video/audio stream for playback later. Whenever practical, CUTR will use existing university facilities and support to record, edit and convert for viewing later. Outside speakers may be used for symposia.

We also will investigate the development of web-based instruction using USF-supported software (WebCT or CourseInfo) and the development of CD-ROM summaries or instruction.

NCTR researchers will remain flexible and adaptable in choosing the method and the technology for the delivery of the material. For example, an examination of how to integrate this method of capturing and transmitting information in real-time (e.g., speakers at a conference) will be made.

Task 3 Final Report

A summary of the various techniques, course evaluations and other feedback mechanisms will be developed. It is not our expectation that a single method of transferring information will be used. However, we will determine how to provide the information in the format(s) most appropriate for the material and the audience. The final report will provide guidance to other NCTR researchers on what to consider as technology transfer options.

IV. Student Involvement

Graduate students will be used to compile and analyze the technology needs and requirements of public transportation agencies and state departments of transportation.

V. Relationship to Other Research Projects

This is an extension of a current NCTR project. Transportation Research Board has begun to examine similar approaches. Current technology capabilities (e.g., browser capabilities, firewalls, standards, etc.) pose a challenge in finding a single technology that has broad reach and usefulness.

VI. Technology Transfer Activities

This information will be promoted extensively through existing NCTR and CUTR journals, newsletters, and Listservs.

VII. Potential Benefits of the Project

The benefits of the project include the broader dissemination of research results and increase the penetration within existing public transportation agencies and state departments of transportation.

VIII. TRB Keywords

Public Transit, transportation demand management, technology, netConferencing


National Center for Transit Research at the Center For Urban Transportation Research University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 Tampa, FL 33620-5375 (813) 974-3120 (813) 974-5168 Comments: