A Look Into the Future

I had dinner last night with my 7 year old grandson. He often tells me he is going to be an engineer when he grows up. I’m not sure where that came from but I encourage it.

He likes to tell me about products he plans to invent when he gets older. Last night it was a self driving space ship. I told him that by the time he gets his drivers license that will already be standard in new cars.

I tend to kid him a lot – that’s what grandfather’s are for, right? So he asked, “Do you know that Poppa? Or are you just saying that?” I told him I know that. I went on to tell him what we are developing for work zones. And I shared some of the other features I expect to be common in 10 years.

I enjoyed discussing the future of transportation with this budding engineer. He got into it and suggested some other products and services – some plausible and some less so. But I liked the way his mind worked.

Afterward it struck me that the thought of him as a  new driver seemed much farther away than the idea of automated and autonomous vehicles.

And yet his 17th birthday will arrive in the blink of an eye. But so will self driving cars. And isn’t it wonderful that he will be learning to drive in a much safer environment?

Work Zone Impacts and Strategies Estimator Software (WISE)

I just listened to a webinar on Work Zone Impacts Strategies Estimator (WISE) software.  Toward the end of the ninety minute session the speaker mentioned the goal, as part of EDC3, to speed the adoption and understanding of this software. To do so they are offering up to four grants of as much as $250,000 each for proof of concept pilots.  Agencies who win these grants will demonstrate support for the use and development of the software as part of their grant application. But they are also looking for agencies who make good use of other impacts analysis tools.

It would be great if one or more agencies included the evaluation of work zone ITS systems in their application. WISE could be used to estimate the affect of a particular system on a project or corridor level, then measure the actual affect once construction begins. That data could then be used by future software users who are considering the use of work zone systems. This would improve the WISE software and make better use of our systems going forward – a “win – win” for everyone!