Monday, February 23, 2009

US House hears about transportation R&D and priorities for reauthorization

On February 12 the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation held a hearing to review the research, development, and deployment activities of the Department of Transportation (DOT). The hearing also focused on research priorities to incorporate in SAFETEA-LU reauthorization. Subcommittee Members heard testimony regarding the funding, planning, and execution of current research initiatives and how these efforts will fulfill the strategic goals of both federal and state departments of transportation, metropolitan transportation organizations, and industry.

Economic news

The White House went live with, which lets the public track how the $787 billion economic stimulus package is being spent. FHWA has established a website to provide information concerning the economy recovery legislation that you may find of interest at

Which brings us to critical issues

What are the critical issues facing transportation and technology transfer in these days of recession and credit crunch? How will the economic stimulus’ emphasis on transportation change how we do business? What does all this mean for the ways we transfer technologies in transportation? And, how does this affect transportation worldwide? Comments are appreciated (click comments) or even better click the little letter below to forward this to a colleague.

Blogs, blogs, blogs

Before starting this blog for the T2 Committee I did some research and thinking about blogs in general and blogs for technology transfer in particular. Yes, blogs have come a long way since people started Web logs to tell the world about their inner thoughts, interests and what they had for breakfast or how long their daily run was. Blogs are now used by reputable organizations, such as Law Professors Blog, which I’ve used for their valuable information on various law topics. They even have corporate sponsors.

What I like about blogs

Blogs can provide valuable information. Bloggers often spend time researching and keeping up with news on their particular topic. If you want to hear anything and everything about the TV show Project Runway go to Blogging Project Runway. This blog counts no information too trivial to report. But, if you want to know what’s going on with the show and/or contestants go there.
Blogs are personal. One thing I love about blogs is that most people write them about their personal or professional passion. They also give me their unique insights, which can be more valuable than just the facts. They have they own unique perspective and speak with their own voice. Blogs can also be about the narrowest of topics and offer in depth commentary. Someone somewhere is interested and blogs about any topic.

What I don’t like about blogs

I hate the corporate/government blogs which read like press releases. These blogs often spend a lot of time saying nothing and offer nothing of interest. Either that, or the blogger gushes about his/her experiences doing their job every day. Boring!

And, yes, I don’t like the blogs that go into infinitesimal detail on the blogger’s day/run/pets/meals/opinions, etc.

How can we use blogs for technology transfer?

Blogs could be used to report on research projects as well as a research program. This can be done either behind a firewall to internal audiences or to the general public in a public site. Using a blog, rather than a report, can be more personal and allow the researcher to show his/her enthusiasm more than in a formal report. Blogs would also allow researchers to show through photos research in progress. But, the blog should be interesting, updated regularly and encourage comments.


Speaking of encouraging comments, what blogs have you found useful? Have you used a blog to transfer technology? Or, do you think blogs are only good for pictures of pets and rants? Comment away!