T3 Webinar Overview

Educating Students for ITS Careers: Are Universities Meeting the Challenge?

View Webinar: link to this webinar's archive materials

Date:   Thursday, February 6, 2014
Time:  1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
Cost:  All T3 webinars are free of charge
PDH:  1.5   View PDH Policy

T3 Webinars are brought to you by the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Professional Capacity Building Program (PCB) of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (U.S. DOT) ITS Joint Program Office (JPO), Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). References in this webinar to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. DOT.


Facilitating the incorporation of ITS education into academic programs is an objective of the ITS JPO. In order to achieve this objective, the ITS JPO has been:

  1. Collecting information on ITS educational programs;
  2. Researching educational needs for the delivery of ITS learning;
  3. Identifying ITS knowledge needs for university students; and
  4. Developing new tools to advance ITS learning.

This webinar will feature speakers from two universities, who will discuss their ITS education programs as well as the educational needs for the delivery of ITS learning. In addition, two speakers from regional and State transportation agencies will discuss their perspectives on educational background needs for hiring entry level ITS engineers. Challenges, successes, ideas, needs, and future directions of university ITS education will be discussed.


Reza Karimvand, P.E., Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and
Nicolaas P. Swart, P.E., Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT)
The function of ITS professionals is complex and multi-disciplinary: they plan, design, and implement integrated signal systems, traffic information systems, incident management systems, traffic monitoring systems, and enabling communications systems. They do this through the application of knowledge in systems engineering, information technology, incident management practices, traffic engineering, and civil engineering. ITS presents challenges for traffic management operators to acquire “ready to go” staff resources, and to sustain these skill levels within a growing needs market. Part of the challenge is to educate human resource departments about the job requirements and market placements which do not follow either of the traditional civil engineering, traffic engineering or IT categories. Limited formal university educational programs and lack of ITS certification further compounds the issue.

This presentation focuses on the specific staffing challenges faced by State and local DOTs in the Phoenix metropolitan area to effectively manage the growing use of ITS technologies in traffic management. In the Phoenix metropolitan area ITS deployment has followed a mainly decentralized architecture which provides traffic management operators with a closer understanding and response to local traffic management needs, requiring skilled and capable staff to integrate and operate systems between agencies and across multiple agency boundaries. This presentation highlights the staffing needs from a DOT perspective and the role of the AZTech Regional Operations Partnership in identifying this critical issue.

Peter Martin, P.E., PhD, New Mexico State University
We have our problems. Our students come from a variety of background disciplines with differing skills and abilities. ITS is both commercially and technology driven and so changes dramatically over time. As ITS struggles to shape its own identity, lacking a nationally agreed set of core competencies, we are neither exciting nor motivating our students. When we try to teach to all-comers, we are tempted to avoid quantitative reasoning which can result in no more than the presentation of a series of “nice ideas.” We can address these challenges through better definition of learning outcomes.

This presentation will offer a core curriculum outline addressed to engineers. It will show how teaching ITS to engineers through problem solving can help to engage our students, encouraging them to become ITS professionals.

Mohammed Hadi, P.E., PhD, Florida International University (FIU)
This presentation will highlight the FIU experience in teaching ITS and related materials in graduate level courses and the FIU relationship with public agencies.

Learning Objectives

This webinar will:

Target Audience


Mac Lister, ITS PCB Program, ITS JPO, U.S. DOT RITA

photograph of Mac Lister

Mr. Mac Lister is the Manager of the ITS PCB Program of the ITS JPO. He has over 35 years of experience in the field of information systems. Before joining the ITS JPO, Mac was an ITS Specialist at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Resource Center. Before that, he worked as an IT manager for 25 years, the last 12 of which were for a public transit agency. His ITS areas of expertise are 511 technology, overall operations, national ITS architecture, ITS professional capacity building and workforce development, and systems engineering.

Mr. Lister has provided training, outreach, and technical support for the National ITS Architecture and Systems Engineering programs. He has also served as the team leader for the FHWA's National Field Support Team, the field co-chair for the FHWA Operations Council's architecture and systems engineering working group, and a member of the 511 Deployment Coalition Working Group.

Mr. Lister is a certified instructor and a master trainer for the National Highways Institute. He has taught courses in ITS software acquisition, systems engineering, and the national ITS architecture. He has also been an independent consultant to ITS America.


Reza Karimvand, P. E., Assistant State Engineer, ADOT

photograph of Reza Karimvand

Mr. Reza Karimvand joined ADOT Traffic Engineering Department in 1995. Prior to ADOT, he worked in the private sector in the transportation engineering field for more than 10 years.

Mr. Karimvand serves as an Assistant State Engineer for ADOT and leads the Transportation Technology Department at the Traffic Operations Center, which oversees all aspects of ITS statewide, including design, operations, and maintenance. Mr. Karimvand also serves as Co-Program Manager for AZTech, a partnership of local agencies with a goal to integrate transportation systems across jurisdictional boundaries through traffic management and ITS solutions.

Mr. Karimvand graduated from Louisiana Tech University and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Arizona.

Nicolaas Swart, P.E, Division Manager for Traffic Management, MCDOT

photograph of Nicolaas P. Swart

Mr. Nicolaas Swart is the Division Manager for Traffic Management, overseeing all aspects of traffic engineering and ITS for MCDOT. He started at MCDOT in 1998 and has been in his current position since 2006. Mr. Swart also serves as Co-Program Manager for AZTech, a partnership of local agencies with a goal to integrate transportation systems across jurisdictional boundaries through traffic management and ITS solutions.

Mr. Swart obtained a Bachelors of Science degree in civil engineering and a post-graduate degree in transportation engineering from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Prior to joining MCDOT, he worked for Associated Engineering Ltd., where he was involved in the design road projects and traffic planning. Notable projects include the Vancouver Island Highway. Before joining Associated Engineering, Ltd., he worked at Ninham Shand Inc. in South Africa, where he served as a project manager and design engineer for various transportation and road design projects.

Professional association memberships include: the State Board of Technical Registration of Arizona; the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia; the Intelligent Transportation Society of Arizona; and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Peter Martin, P.E., PhD, Civil Engineering Department Head, New Mexico State University

photograph of Peter T. Martin

Dr. Peter Martin earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Wales and practiced for 10 years working in both government and consulting. He taught at the British equivalent of a junior college while he earned his master's degree in transportation, part-time. He enrolled in the University of Nottingham, England, where he earned his PhD in transportation simulation. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1993, and after a short spell in California, he joined the faculty of the University of Utah to revive an ailing transportation group. Dr. Martin established the Utah Traffic Lab which has delivered more than 130 applied research projects for the Utah Department of Transportation and other State and Federal agencies. The lab developed an international reputation for advanced traffic adaptive signal systems research.

In the summer of 2013, he joined the faculty at New Mexico State University, where he heads the Department of Civil Engineering. He has graduated over 60 masters and doctoral students who collectively have co-authored more than 140 peer-reviewed journal papers and conference publications. He operates an online training service called “PEreview.net,” which focuses on preparing civil engineers for the Professional Engineer exam.

Mohammed Hadi, P.E., PhD, Associate Professor, FIU

photograph of Mohammed Hadi

Dr. Hadi has about 30 years of experience in transportation engineering (10 years in the private sector and the rest in academic and research institutions). His experience includes: ITS, simulation modeling/dynamic traffic assignment, signal control, performance measurement, data archiving and mining, benefit-cost analysis, transportation planning, and traffic operations. After receiving his PhD from the University of Florida in 1990, Dr. Hadi worked for five years as a post-doctoral researcher. Between 1995 and 2005, he worked as an industry consultant for public and private agencies from around the U.S. and Puerto Rico. As a consultant, Dr. Hadi's work focused strongly on ITS and simulation. Since joining the FIU Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in 2005, he has led the ITS program at the FIU Lehman Centre for Transportation Research.