Eastern TTAP at
Michigan Tech

Pathways Newsletter
Spring 2017

Program Director
John Velat

Scott Bershing

Web Developer
Chris DelReal

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Tribal Transportation Safety Management System Steering Committee
Adam Larsen
TTP Safety Engineer
The SMS Committee meeting was held in Long Beach, California in April 2016g.
The SMS Committee meeting was held in Long Beach, California in April 2016.
Safety Management System Steering Committee

In January 2016, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reestablished the Tribal Transportation Safety Management System Steering Committee (SMS Committee) with a formal charter.  The committee meetings provide a forum for communication and collaboration between federal agencies, TTAP, and the five committee members who represent Tribal governments.  Anyone who is interested may listen in on SMS committee meetings.  More information and past meeting notes are available on TribalSafety.org.  
Committee members serve 2-year renewable terms.  In summer 2017 the SMS committee will distribute a call for new members.  Any tribal employee with an interest in participating as a committee member should sign up for the mailing list at TribalSafety.org and watch for open positions to be announced.

Reports to Congress

“Congress finds that… without more accurate reporting of crashes on Indian reservations, it is difficult or impossible to fully understand the nature of the problem and develop appropriate countermeasures” according to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.  The SMS committee is contributing to the development of two reports to congress required by section 1117 of the FAST Act and the revision of a national Strategic Transportation Safety Plan for federally recognized Tribes.  

The first report to congress will describe the quality of safety data available to tribal governments. The report is heavily based on survey responses that represent 151 tribal governments and 22 states; the survey was developed and distributed by the committee.  The committee helped develop the draft report.  The final draft is currently under review by USDOT with publication anticipated in March 2017.

The second report to congress will describe options for improving transportation safety on public transportation facilities in Tribal areas.  This report will involve an update of the Strategic Transportation Safety Plan for federally recognized Tribes which was originally published in 2008.  This document will include a review of national safety databases, transportation safety plans that have been developed by tribes, and state strategic highway safety plans.  The report will identify trending emphasis topics and propose lists of countermeasures that can be used to address those topics.  This report will not only be presented to congress but will be a useful resource for tribes during safety planning.  A public draft is expected in May 2017 and will be distributed on the TribalSafety.org mailing list.  The anticipated publication date for this report is December 2017.


The SMS Committee has established a website at TribalSafety.org.  Posted on this website are the committee meeting notes, a copy of the charter, and contact information for all current committee members.  In addition, the TribalSafety.org website contains a catalog of resources, information about transportation safety funding sources, upcoming events, and a map of fatal crashes based on the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database.  Finally, you can register with the website to receive an email update when updates are made to TribalSafety.org.  The link to register for the SMS mailing list is: http://tribalsafety.org/News/Mailing-List-Form


The Tribal Transportation Safety Management System Steering Committee has been established to provide national leadership in the effort to reduce the impacts of transportation incidents in Tribal Areas.  You are encouraged connect with the SMS committee though TribalSafety.org, by listening to an upcoming committee meeting, or by contacting a committee member.   The current committee chairs are Janis Spear of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Robert Frazier of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Transportation, and Adam Larsen of the Federal Highway Administration Office of Tribal Transportation.

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25 CFR Part 170 Roll-Out Meeting Summary

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) recently held a series of roll-out meetings around the country to highlight and discuss the updates made to the Tribal Transportation Program (TTP) regulations at 25 C.F.R. Part 170. One of these meetings was hosted by the BIA Eastern Region Office (BIA-ERO) on February 22, 2017 at the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.

Bob Sparrow discusses changes and updates to the 25 CFR Part 170
Bob Sparrow discusses changes and updates to the 25 CFR Part 170 at the Nashville, Tennessee roll-out meeting.

The final rule was published on November 7, 2016, and went into effect on December 7, 2016. The TTP provides federally-recognized tribal governments with funding for the planning, design, and construction of surface transportation systems such as roads and bridges. Authorized at $475 million for Fiscal Year 2017, TIP funds are allocated to tribes nationwide based upon a statutory formula located at 23 U.S.C. § 202(b ).

The prior version of the final rule was published in 2004. Even though draft changes were in the works for a number of years, given administrative changes and the varying states of the different transportation bills and subsequent extensions, no revisions had been made since the rule was initially published. With the passing of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015, it was decided that the revisions that had been underway with 25 C.F.R. Part 170 should be modified to account for changes in the new transportation bill, and that it was time to go through the process to officially update the regulations.

The meeting highlighted specific changes to the regulations, including revisions for/to:

  • Comply with legislation governing the TTP;
  • Reflect changes in the delivery options for the TIP that are available to tribal governments;
  • Make technical corrections to clarify program-related responsibilities and requirements for tribal governments, BIA, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA);
  • Clarify the requirements for proposed roads and access roads to be added to, or remain in, the National Tribal Transportation Facility Inventory, which was formerly known as the Indian Reservation Roads Inventory;
  • Include the annual reporting requirements of23 U.S.C. § 201 (c)(6)(C) for obligations and expenditures; and
  • Certain sections of the previous rule published in 2004 that were provided for informational purposes. The revisions would remove certain sections that are no longer required by statute and add information to direct the reader to BIA or FHW A websites where additional information is available.

More specifics about what was added or changed, the publishing, comment, and review process, as well as responses to substantive comments received, can be found at:

An electronic copy of the final rule is available at:


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RIFDS Training Summary
Over 30 attenddees participated in RIFDS training in Nashville, Tennessee.
Over 30 attendees participated in RIFDS training in Nashville, Tennessee.

Over thirty participants representing tribal, local, state, and federal agencies participated in a Road Inventory Financial Data System (RIFDS) training February 23-24, 2017 at the USET headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. The training was conveniently held in the same location after the 25 C.F.R. Part 170 roll-out meeting. The training was hosted by the BIA-ERO and Eastern TTAP. Sheldon Kipp, Minerva Chavez, and Clarence Kie from BIA in Albuquerque led the training with assistance from BIA-ERO IT support staff.

The two-day training provided attendees with the background and history of RIFDS, discussed the steps needed to obtain access to the program, then progressed to using the program. Adding attachments, making changes to road inventory, adding and deleting routes, updating existing routes, submitting updates, and running reports were all demonstrated. Attendees were able to follow along with the instruction using laptops provided by the BIA.

The training served as an introduction for new RIFDS users, as well as a refresher for seasoned users. Keep an eye on ttap.mtu.edu for dates and locations of upcoming RIFDS training throughout the country.

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Eastern TTAP Online Learning

The Eastern TTAP (ETTAP) has recently added a couple courses to our online Learning Management System (LMS). We intend to begin building and adding more courses over the next year. Given the travel budget constraints that many agencies are facing, online learning provides both Eastern TTAP and our clients with a great opportunity to receive cost-effective, self-paced training without the need to travel.

We would first like to thank our colleagues from the Western Tribal Technical Assistance Program at the National Indian Justice Center in Santa Rosa, California for providing us with a Road Safety Audit course for us to use as a test course in our system. Though this course was written with their California clients in mind, but the information is applicable to anyone in tribal transportation.

Using the LMS
Getting started using the LMS is easy. The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have an account on our website at http://www.ttap.mtu.edu. If you don't have an account, click the "Create new account" link in the left-hand menu of the homepage, or simply navigate to http://ttap.mtu.edu/user/register and complete and submit the form by clicking the "Create new account" button at the bottom of the page. Once submitted, there is an approval process where ETTAP staff verifies your submission. You will receive an email confirmation. In addition to accessing the LMS, creating a user account allows you to easily register for events, request resources, receive communications, request training for your agency, and track prior requests and activities you have participated in.

Once you have created your account, enter your username and password in the left-hand menu and click the "Log in" button. Once logged in, access the LMS by hovering your mouse over the Training pull-down menu under the page header as shown below.

Once you are in the system, you will see the the choices of classes that are available. For now we have two courses: TTAP Website Tutorials, and Safe Journeys: Tribal Road Safety Audits. For this example we will use the Safe Journeys: Tribal Road Safety Audits course. Select the course title, and you will be taken to a page that will allow you to enroll in the course.

Once you are enrolled in the course, you will receive a confirmation email, and you can begin browsing the content.

Courses typically have a mix of online and downloadable content. You can browse the content using the menu along the left side of the screen, or by simply scrolling on the page. The left-hand menus provide easy navigation to course chapters or topics, quizzes, other courses, course grade history, etc.

For the RSA course, there are three quizzes, each covering different areas of the course content. Each quiz must be completed and submitted before the course is considered complete. After clicking the link for Quiz 1, a screen will appear prompting if you would like to "Attempt quiz now", or go "Back to the course".

After clicking the "Attempt quiz now" button, the first bank of questions will appear.

Answer each question, then click on the "Check" button to see if you answered correctly. It will indicate whether you've answered correctly. If you answered incorrectly, you can try again and resubmit your answer. There will be a penalty to your score if you do not answer it correctly on the first attempt.

Once you've answered and checked each of the questions in the quiz, click the "Finish attempt" button in the lower right portion of the screen below the questions. You will then see a Summary of attempt screen showing the status and score of each question in the quiz. You can either return to the quiz, or click the "Submit all and finish" button to submit the quiz. A Confirmation pop-up will appear. Click the "Submit and finish" button to submit and close the window.

Once you have read through all the content, and completed and submitted all the quizzes, you can view your grades and total grade for the course.

For many of the classes we will be offering, you will not have to complete the course in one sitting. You can start, leave, and resume at your convenience. Once you have enrolled in a course, it will automatically show up when you log into our website in the right hand panel.

Eastern TTAP is in the process of developing more courses, and we are looking for topic suggestions. If you have any suggestions for online courses, feel free to let us know at ttap@mtu.edu.

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2017 National Tribal Transportation Conference - Save the Date
September 25-29, 2017
Tuscon, Arizona

The 2017 National Tribal Transportation Conference will be held September 25-29, 2017 in Tuscon, Arizona.

Click Here to register for the conference.

The draft schedule can be found at http://www.ttapnttc.com/schedule/

If you are interested in speaking, visit the Call for Presentations tab for more information.

Click Here to Please visit www.ttapnttc.com for more information.

NTTC Save the Date card

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EDC-4 Innovations (2017-2018)

FHWA announced the topics for the 4th round of Every Day Counts, a state-based initiative to deploy proven innovations to shorten and enhance project delivery. Visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation/everydaycounts/edc_4 for more information.

The list of EDC-4 Innovations is as follows:

Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPMs)

Highway agencies typically rely on complaints or manual data collection to identify the need for signal retiming projects and their outcomes. These projects are typically scheduled on a 3- to 5-year cycle, at a cost of approximately $4,500 per intersection. The costs and effort associated with collecting performance data translates into congestion, reduced safety, and increased delays for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

That's where automated traffic signal performance measures come in. They will revolutionize the management of traffic signals by providing the high-resolution data needed to actively manage performance. High-quality service can be delivered to customers with significant cost savings to agency maintenance and operations. A number of implementation options are available, ranging from a low-cost, open-source code framework to a fully integrated traffic signal system.

Collaborative Hydraulics: Advancing to the Next Generation of Engineering (CHANGE)

Current modeling techniques used for hydraulic design apply several assumptions that can lead to overly conservative or inaccurate results. Advanced hydraulic modeling technologies offer planners, scientists, and engineers tools to depict specific physical, environmental, and habitat characteristics more accurately through 3-D visualization of flow, velocity, and depth.

Community Connections

Many cities have highways that have reached, or exceeded, their useful lives. The timing is ripe to hold forums for transportation professionals to discuss and consider highway retrofitting, rehabilitation, or removal options to improve connections between urban cores and neighboring communities. This innovation underscores the value of transportation in community revitalization, such as improving connectivity between disadvantaged populations and essential services.

Data-Driven Safety Analysis (DDSA)

Data-driven safety analysis is the use of cutting-edge software to analyze crash and roadway data and determine the expected safety performance of roadway projects more reliably. This type of analysis enables agencies to predict the safety implications of their decisions with confidence. Engineers now can quantify the safety impacts when making investment decisions, just as they do with environmental, traffic, and other traditional impacts. The analyses result in more scientifically sound, data-driven approaches to committing resources, as well as fewer and less severe crashes on the Nation's roadways.

e-Construction and Partnering:  A Vision for the Future

State DOTs have traditionally administered contracts and managed construction of highway projects using extensive, paper-based documentation systems. By using digital e-Construction technologies, DOTs can enhance partnering among stakeholders on project teams, while improving communications and workflow to streamline the delivery of projects.

Integrating NEPA and Permitting

Integrating the NEPA and permitting processes seeks to transform how agencies and stakeholders conduct concurrent, synchronized environmental and permitting reviews, saving time and cost for the agencies involved.

Pavement Preservation (When, Where, and How)

Applying a pavement preservation treatment at the right time (when), on the right project (where), with quality materials and construction (how) is a critical investment strategy to help meet performance expectations. This innovation helps deploy an array of different analyses, treatments, and construction methods to help infrastructure owners achieve and sustain a desired state of good road repair despite tight budgets.

Road Weather Management – Weather-Savvy Roads

Weather events lead to traffic delays, reduced operational effectiveness, and increases in crashes. This innovation deploys two distinct road weather management solutions: (1) Pathfinder, which brings together DOTs and the National Weather Service to provide consistent messaging on adverse weather and road conditions and (2) advanced vehicle-based technologies, also referred to as integrated mobile observations. These two solutions have the potential to be transformative, by enabling State and local agencies to be proactive when it comes to weather, so they can manage the road system ahead of heavy rain, snow, or other storms.

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)

Pedestrians account for an estimated 15 percent of all roadway fatalities, the majority of which are at uncontrolled crossing locations (such as non-intersections) or at intersections with no traffic signal or STOP sign. This innovation helps transportation agencies address such crashes by promoting cost-effective countermeasures with known safety benefits.

Ultra-High Performance Concrete Connections for PBES

Prefabricated bridge elements and systems (PBES) offer superior durability and speed the onsite construction of bridges. The durability of prefabricated spans and how quickly they can be constructed is dependent on the connections between the elements. Ultra-high performance concrete can be used to help provide simple, strong, and durable connections for prefabricated bridge elements.

Using Data to Improve Traffic Incident Management

A TIM program is the systematic, planned, and coordinated use of human, institutional, mechanical, and other resources to shorten the duration and impact of incidents on U.S. roadways, and improve the safety of motorists, crash victims, and incident responders. This innovation focuses on improving the adoption and consistency of the collection of TIM data and increasing the volume of data from transportation, law enforcement, and other responder agencies. Further, this innovation promotes the use of low-cost, off-the-shelf technologies that streamline data collection, so agencies can measure and improve the performance of their programs.

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Eastern TTAP Client Needs Survey
We Need Your Input!

The Eastern TTAP has developed a client needs survey to help us identify the priority transportation training and technical assistance requests for the tribes in the Midwestern and Eastern BIA regions.

We realize your time is valuable, but please take a few minutes to complete this survey.  Your contribution can help strengthen and improve transportation services for not only your tribe, but all the tribes in our service area.

The information gathered on this questionnaire will be used for planning purposes only.  Your responses and any individual information you provide will not be given out to any private, federal, state, or local agency.  The questionnaire is for addressing tribal transportation needs and issues and assisting the Eastern TTAP with meeting those needs. We will follow up this fall with a program assessment that will allow you to evaluate our performance.

Please note that the survey is set up so you can respond anonymously, or you can optionally provide your contact information which will be useful to us if you have specific training or technical assistance needs or concerns.

Click Here to provide feedback.

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Request Training or Technical Assistance for Your Agency

Click Here to request training for your organization. Eastern TTAP can assist you with road safety plans, road safety audits, and inter-agency safety projects. Please contact us for more information or to schedule these activities.

If you don't see a topic listed or have a suggestion for training that you'd like to have at your tribe, send us a suggestion.

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Pathways is published quarterly by the Eastern Tribal Technical Assistance Program, which is in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and part of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute at Michigan Technological University. The Eastern Tribal Technical Assistance Program is part of a nationwide effort jointly financed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). It intends to relay the latest technology and information on tribal roads and bridges, tourism, recreational travel, and related economic development to tribal transportation and planning personnel. Tribes in the Eastern TTAP region include those in the Midwest and Eastern BIA Regions. Contact the TTAP office to submit articles and suggestions.

The Eastern TTAP logo was created by Sally R. Brunk, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Eastern TTAP and Pathways are sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation
under Cooperative Agreement No. DTFH6114H00006.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.
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