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Rutgers CAIT will host training program for transportation professionals across North America

The Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) on Busch campus will host a training program to improve the transportation industry. – Photo by

Last month, the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT), New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) and the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) announced plans to establish a training center for transportation management at the University.

Ali Maher, the director of Rutgers CAIT, said that this North American Regional Training Center's establishment was recognized via a commemorative ceremony on March 16, which featured representatives from the three institutions involved.

He said the idea for the Center emerged from an ongoing partnership between the three groups, which has expanded over the last few years.

During a press conference announcing the partnership this month, NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett outlined the roles of each group in the Center’s operations.

Corbett said NJ Transit would sponsor the training programs and provide guest speakers, while Rutgers CAIT would help with coordinating the programs, fulfilling administrative responsibilities, marketing the training sessions and hosting the programs.

He said having intensive training in the public transportation field is critical due to the high turnover rate for leaders of public transportation systems in North America.

High-level coursework offered by the Center will cover topics such as railroad engineering, pricing and bus management, Maher said.

"The training sessions provide an opportunity for the transit industry in North America to collaborate, access case studies and establish uniform standards and best practices nationwide," he said.

Emre Kiran, head of UITP Academy, said the Center’s training sessions would begin this summer in July, with different programs running through November. The program will take several different approaches to teach attendees, he said.

Some of their teaching methods will include classroom education, workshops and case studies, Kiran said. Methods will also incorporate digital learning tools such as self-evaluations as well as collaboration with local communities.

He said an often overlooked aspect of transportation system training programs is how they facilitate networking among industry professionals, which allows participants to gain support and advice from peers.

"The beauty of sharing knowledge is that it can be looked upon as insight for what has proven successful in one location and to see if it is useful to implement in another," Kiran said. "If we continue to share ideas and experiences, then that shared knowledge can lead to better results for all of us."

The UITP has approximately 2,000 members in 100 countries, he said. Though the organization is global, it tailors its training to be specifically useful in whatever locale it takes place in, Kiran said.

Maher similarly said the training program's novelty gives it international exposure and the opportunity for domestic transit leaders to adopt global transit techniques. The aspect of the program he is most excited about is the interactions between various industries with regard to mass transit, he said.

"The Center will enable NJ to be a home for collaboration between academia, industry and agencies from across the globe to advance transit as an economical, efficient and environmentally viable mode of transport in the U.S.," Maher said.

He said hosting the program at Rutgers, in particular, is beneficial because of the vast number of research areas being explored at the University.

"Rutgers already has great resources in place to support these trainings, from expertise in all related fields, i.e, engineering, technology, planning and social sciences," Maher said. "CAIT prides itself on being a dynamic resource for the transportation community here in (New Jersey) and beyond."

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