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Developing Highly Qualified Personnel for Road Authorities: A Gap and Solutions Analysis in the Era of Connected and Automated Vehicles

Project Summary

Status

In development

Last Updated

May, 2019

Responsible Council / Committee

Workforce Development Council

Expected Duration

12 months

Total Funding Estimate

$95,000

Staff Contact

Abstract

Road transportation technology is entering into a new era. Building on the decades-old foundation of intelligent transportation systems (ITS), rapid advances in connectivity, automation, artificial intelligence and sensing technologies will enable major leaps forward in the safety, efficiency, accessibility and mobility enabled by road transportation.

Because many of these technologies are outside the scope of traditional transportation engineering, road authorities are challenged to assess, integrate and deploy them. Legacy systems tend to be electro-mechanical and on closed networks, while new systems are cyber-physical and online. So, while road authorities must remain able to maintain legacy systems (many of which have expected life spans of several decades), they must also understand the cybersecurity implications of the new field equipment being deployed and its associated vulnerabilities. They must also assess the vulnerabilities of legacy equipment that is brought online, because it may not be adequately secure.

Road authorities are also being called upon to actively prepare for connected and automated vehicles. According to the Automated and Connected Vehicles Policy Framework (Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety, 2019), “In preparing for AV/CVs, governments will have to rethink traditional forms of mobility and urban planning. We need to monitor potential impacts of AV/CV technologies to help us plan in the long term. Being proactive will help governments do their part to prepare the public domain for the promises of AV/CVs.”

In order to address this challenge, road authorities require access to highly qualified personnel (HQP) whose skillsets range from traditional civil and transportation engineering to computer and software engineering, and who offer expertise in data analytics, radio communications, and cybersecurity. Road authorities must take an active role in fostering an HQP talent pipeline.

OBJECTIVES

The goals of this study are to understand the skills gap faced by road authorities, and to propose measures to address that gap. The study will identify the types of training and academic programs that are needed, and that could be implemented by Canadian stakeholders over the next few years.

The study will:

  • Examine technology and mobility trends impacting road authorities over the next 10 to 40 years, in order to provide the context for the skills gap analysis
  • Outline and assess the HQP skillsets that road authorities will require in order to design, manage and maintain road infrastructure systems, possibly creating new “job categories” or adding new skillsets to existing job categories
  • Inventory university, college and professional training programs in Canada, as they relate to the HQP skillset requirements, to help understand to what extent Canada is able to develop the talent domestically
  • Examine how leading Canadian and international jurisdictions are approaching the skills gap (e.g. through training programs or academic collaboration)
  • Recommend actions to address the skills gap in Canada, with a particular emphasis on domestic talent development

Consultation will be a major element of this project, and will involve selected representatives of academia, domestic and international road authorities, associations, and industry. The consultation will be focused by the results of a literature review and online research.

The main project deliverable will be a research report with analysis and recommendations.