ETAP Podcast: Bringing Young Professionals into Transportation

The latest episode of the Environmental Technical Assistance Program or ETAP Podcast examines different ways to recruit young professionals into the transportation industry, in part to help guide the sector’s new emphasis on issues such as infrastructure resilience, equity, and reducing greenhouse gas or GHG emissions, to name just a few.

[Above image by AASHTO]

For example, current state department of transportation projects under development include reconnecting communities, electric vehicle adoption, making infrastructure more resilient against cyber threats and extreme weather, and building a more equitable transportation system.

This podcast interviews several industry experts who provide insight into recruiting and preparing young professionals to lead such projects to completion in the transportation sector.

The first is Sarah Stickler, president and CEO of the Women’s Transportation Seminar or WTS International; a group dedicated to advancing women’s careers while strengthening their leadership skills within the transportation sector.

The second is Thomas Davidenko, director of programs at the Young Professionals in Transportation or YPT group; a nonprofit organization that supports new professionals in the transportation sector through fellowship, professional development, and networking opportunities.

The third speaker is Alicia Walker, director of programs and strategic engagement for the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials or COMTO, where she works to advance minorities in the transportation space and position tomorrow’s leaders for rapidly evolving global opportunities. To listen to this podcast, click here.

Illinois DOT Launches ‘Think Before You Throw’ Anti-Littering Effort

The Illinois Department of Transportation has launched a new public outreach effort called “Think Before You Throw!” as part of its ongoing awareness campaign to reduce littering on state highways and roads.

[Above photo by Illinois DOT]

The “Think Before You Throw!” initiative aims to reduce roadside litter along the state’s more than 150,000 miles of roads by raising awareness of the negative environment impact of trash, for both state residents and the nearly 100 million tourists who visit annually.

“As one of the largest landowners in the state, [we] take great pride in making sure we are keeping our state as clean and free of clutter as possible, but we need your help,” said Illinois DOT Secretary Omer Osman in a statement.

“Excess garbage on highways can be easily avoided. Dispose of garbage properly. Make sure loads are properly secured and covered to keep debris and other trash from winding up on the roads,” he added. “Litter has consequences: Think before you throw!”  

With the arrival of spring, the agency said tis highway crews and volunteers will be engaged in litter removal operations statewide until next winter. In 2022, Illinois DOT said it spent approximately $26.5 million picking up litter and removing large debris.

The agency added that its Adopt-A-Highway program aims to offset the negative environmental impact or roadside trash by asking community groups and organizations to help with litter removal on designated state routes. In 2022, those volunteers logged 750 hours while collecting more than 1,700 bags of trash, which included in the items were televisions, toys, and a hand-written note apologizing for eating the last of a box of Twinkies.

State DOTs across the country are involved in a variety of anti-littering and roadside trash cleanup efforts.

In March, the Maryland Department of Transportation launched “Operation Clean Sweep Maryland,” a new initiative that will nearly double the frequency of litter pickup and mowing efforts along state roads.

This new effort – which began in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., regions – is under the purview of the Maryland State Highway Administration, one of Maryland DOT’s modal divisions.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Department of Transportation sponsors an annual litter prevention campaign – called “Nobody Trashes Tennessee” – with Keep Tennessee Beautiful affiliates and Adopt-A-Highway groups.

In November 2022, more than 1,300 volunteers statewide removed more than 48,000 pounds of litter in their communities as part of its month-long “No Trash November” roadway cleanup effort.

Concurrently, in August 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation joined several fellow state agencies to help launch a new anti-litter campaign entitled “PA Fights Dirty: Every Litter Bit Matters.”

The creation of this campaign is one of the many recommendations made by Pennsylvania’s first-ever Litter Action Plan, released in December 2021. That plan also won a Pennsylvania Governor’s Awards for Excellence in May 2022.

Out west, the California Department of Transportation along with the Sacramento Kings basketball team and more than 35 volunteers recently joined forces to collect and remove litter from Robert T. Matsui Park along the Sacramento River.

Caltrans Director Tony Tavares explained that this cleanup event highlighted how trash and debris pollute Sacramento waterways, including through storm water flows.

That event collected and removed more than 500 pounds of trash from the park, which included things such as broken glass, cigarettes, plastic bottles, and cans, he said.

Environmental News Highlights – April 5, 2023


Congress approves measure to toss Biden’s water protections

– AP

US unveils stricter EV tax credit rules, effective April 18

– Reuters

Planning And Engineering Professionals – Fostering Collaboration For Great Communities

– ITE Talks Transportation (podcast)

Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program FY 2023 Notice of Funding

FTA (media release)

USDOT Partners with NASCAR and Arizona 811, Releases Spotify Ad to Promote National Safe Digging Month

– USDOT (media release)


Center for Biological Diversity, Save Holland Lake, allege USFS violating NEPA

– Daily Montanan


Georgia electric vehicle tax bill heads to governor


California’s new environmental mandates may sink Balboa Island ferry

– KCRW Radio

How a Century of Transit Choices Courted ‘Disaster’

– Governing


California to require half of all heavy trucks sales to be electric by 2035


University of Washington partners with local transit agencies to study fentanyl smoke movement in public transportation


Planes, Shipping Lanes, and Automobiles: Surprising Ways Climate Change Can Affect Transportation


Justice Department and EPA File Complaint Against Norfolk Southern for Unlawful Discharge of Pollutants and Hazardous Substances in East Palestine Derailment

– US Department of Justice (media release)


How to get more women on bikes? Better biking infrastructure, designed by women

– The Conversation

Metro Tulsa Transit Authority addresses public transit deserts



Florida environmental agency asks for new rule to cut water pollution from new housing

– Bradenton Times

Wilmington partnering with NC State to ‘retrofit’ a stormwater pond into wetlands

– Wilmington Star-News


Arizona DOT Plans Upgrades For State Rest Areas

– AASHTO Journal

BNSF knowingly violated easement agreement with Swinomish Tribe, judge rules

– KOMO News


Oklahoma DOT Launches New Mobility Program


New Study Finds Traffic Noise May Raise Blood Pressure

– Prevention

Truck Parking a Priority for Administration, Buttigieg Says

– Transport Topics

Groups working to convert old railroad line in Paradise Valley, Montana to public trail

– Bozeman Daily Chronicle

New Kansas City Airport Incorporates Dementia-Friendly Features

– University of Kansas Medical Center (media release)


Review of the Draft Fifth National Climate Assessment

– National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Transforming EPA Science to Meet Today’s and Tomorrow’s Challenges

– National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Promoting Older Driver Safety: Guide for State Practices


UMD Survey Indicates ‘New Normal’ for Maryland’s Daily Commute

– University of Maryland (media release)


Port Access Route Study: Approaches to Galveston Bay and Sabine Pass, Texas and Calcasieu Pass, Louisiana

Coast Guard (Notice; correction and extension of comment period)

Recertification of Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council

Coast Guard (Notice)

Air Plan Approval; NC; Transportation Conformity

– EPA (Final rule)

Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC): Request for Nominations

– EPA (Notice)

Tribal Transportation Facility Bridge Program

FHWA (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Council Meeting

– Fish and Wildlife Service (Notice)

Call for Nominations to the Missouri Basin and Western Montana Resource Advisory Councils

– Bureau of Land Management (Notice)

Conservation and Landscape Health

– Bureau of Land Management (Proposed rule)

Renewable Energy Modernization Rule

– Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (Notice of proposed rulemaking; extension of public comment period)