What’s HappeningNewsThe Reviews are In: Learners discuss TAC’s new online road safety training

The Reviews are In: Learners discuss TAC’s new online road safety training

June 7, 2023

Last October, TAC launched “Road Safety for Canadian Practitioners,” the most in-depth online training program for road safety in North America.

Seven months later, more than 50 individuals have completed at least one of the five courses developed in partnership with ITE Canada. This group is truly diverse: about 40% work for municipalities, 35% for other levels of government, and 25% for consultants. Geographically, 40% come from the West, 40% from Central Canada, and the rest from the Atlantic provinces or the North.

In search of insights, TAC staff interviewed the first three people to complete all five modules. Their message? Our online training program is a solid investment for both individuals and their employers.

The first person to complete the entire program was Katie Sapieha, P.Eng., RSP1, a transportation engineer at the City of Saskatoon, SK. One big reason she signed up was to prepare for the examination that would accredit her as a Road Safety Professional, Level 1 – and that she ended up passing in early 2023 (congratulations!).

“It’s a really great set of courses,” Katie told us. “I wish there had been something similar for design engineering when I was in that role.”

The online, learner-driven format proved to be an advantage for her. “I liked going at my own pace. In the more challenging parts, the online format allowed me to read, review and rewatch.” Katie also appreciated the extensive list of additional resources – both readings and videos – that solidified her understanding of basic concepts and details.

In exchange for taking the course on work time, Katie was asked to give a one-hour presentation to her team on each module she completed – in effect, to build the technical capacity of her peers.

“For someone working in a smaller jurisdiction,” said Katie, “the training was very useful because we don’t necessarily have that knowledge base in-house.”

In addition, making those presentations helped her retain key course information.

And do the courses offer good value? “Yes, they do,” Katie replied. “After I finished Module 1, my manager said ‘It’s well worth it. You’re giving us so many ideas!’”

Another early learner was Mark Merlo, P.Eng., PTOE, a senior transportation engineer with McElhanney in Surrey, BC, whose first road safety education was in university.

“My graduate school training was heavy on the math side of road safety,” he observed, “but this course also includes human factors and higher-level material on planning and Vision Zero. Sometimes when people talk about road safety they focus on a single aspect, but it’s actually much broader.”

He noted that TAC’s courses would help him meet his province’s requirements for professional development hours, and made him more confident in addressing safety issues through his work.

“In traffic engineering, you may not know what you don’t know about road safety. These courses provide a good three-day foundation – they may not make you an expert, but at least you’ll know what’s out there and where to look for references.”

Mark also noted that “For junior employees, who would normally learn bits and pieces about road safety over time, this gives them a broad overview.” And Asif Saeed, an engineer in training with Yukon Highways and Public Works, is exactly that person. His current job involves roadside issues, but he wants to take on other aspects of road safety – and his manager suggested TAC’s online courses as a good starting point. As he got into the course material, Asif initially wondered how some would be relevant to him. “But eventually”, he said, “I realized that I could use much it in the future, if not today.”

Katie, Mark and Asif each registered for TAC’s online training for different reasons, and are using what they learned in different ways. But that diversity makes them representative of thousands of other Canadian transportation practitioners who recognize the rapidly increasing importance of road safety engineering as a core skill. Because of TAC’s online training program, they can now get up to speed at their own pace, and without leaving their home or office.

Visit TAC’s website for more information on “Road Safety for Canadian Practitioners,” or contact us at learning-apprentissage@tac-atc.ca.

Note: We’re working on French versions of our road safety courses. When they are ready we’ll give complementary registration to anyone who has paid for the English courses, but who would prefer to learn in French.