December 2020
Issue 79
In This Issue:
  • 2020 — A Year Like No Other
  • 2020 Roadway Safety Poster Contest: Delivering Smiles and Surprises
  • Moving Forward with Training Amidst a Pandemic
  • Safety Matters: 2020: A Year Where Safety Matters Everywhere
  • Signal Spotlight: Adapt, Abide and Persist
  • Holiday Message from the T2 Center Team
  • The CT T2 Center is on Instagram
2020 — A Year Like No Other
As the T2 Center wraps up 2020, we wanted to take a few moments to look back and have each of our programs provide you with their thoughtful reflections. Overall, our team could not be more proud of the work we have done even with the significant challenges of COVID-19. The team worked virtually but remained closely connected; we successfully implemented a new Learning Management System; we quickly converted trainings and special events to virtual learning platforms; we developed a strict set of safety protocols for in-person trainings, and we were still able to provide 75 training programs. 

You will see, in the articles below, descriptions of some of our special programs that will remain even after COVID is a distant memory. We are certainly hoping that is very soon.

Adversity is an opportunity for creativity because it forces one to dig deeper and discover something new about oneself. Our team certainly proved their level of creativity and resiliency during this interesting year.

Best regards to you and your families for a safe and healthy holiday.

Donna M. Shea
Executive Program Director
CT Training and Technical Assistance Center (T2)
2020 Roadway Safety Poster Contest: Delivering Smiles and Surprises
Moving Forward with Training Amidst a Pandemic
2020 started out strong for the T2 Training Programs. We had an aggressive plan to provide a year full of learning opportunities for Connecticut’s transportation workforce and a project in the works to streamline our registration process and increase student access to training data. When COVID-19 entered the picture, our team came together to adjust our work structure and assess how we might be able to move forward given strict State and University guidelines. We knew we needed to continue to work toward our goals and support the public works community in the face of these challenges.

In the early days of the pandemic, agencies reached out to us asking, “Is the T2 Center still offering training for our staff members?” Our answer was “Yes!”, as long as we could do it safely. Our first step was to research the precautions needed to safely hold workshops. Safety measures were developed, such as smaller class sizes, social distancing requirements, mask-wearing, surface disinfecting, along with other procedures. Instructors, host towns and participants were required to adhere to all safety protocols. Instructors and facilitators were provided with kits that included masks, gloves, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and equipment for marking social distancing. There were logistical challenges that we addressed: parking lot meetups with instructors and hosts to exchange class materials and safety kits with minimal contact; garage bays turned into classrooms to improve social distancing; agencies printing handouts for their attendees so we could minimize contact with materials. All the challenges were met, and we were off and running! 
To accommodate both our restrictions and those of the towns across the state, we adjusted curriculum and class structure to provide as much flexibility as we could. Classes were held virtually and in-person for both individual towns and small mixed groups. Additionally, the T2 Center had a first in 2020: a Custom Flagger workshop held on a virtual platform. This session answered the need of towns that needed Flagger training for just a couple of their staff members—too few to hold their own class. Attendees received live instruction and completed their exams and live demonstration virtually.
2020: A Year Where Safety Matters Everywhere
As 2020 wraps up, it seems fitting to take a look back at this extraordinary year and focus on some of the positives. When the year started, I was excited to dive further into my role as the Safety Circuit Rider, having been in the position for approximately five months at that point. The Safety Academy schedule was filled with learning opportunities for local agencies, and I was looking forward to those as well as working with locals on safety issues. Before any of that got underway, the pandemic forced us to reconsider how to move forward—if we even could. As it turned out, we were able to do much more than I imagined!

From a training perspective, the Safety Academy was able to offer six virtual courses for credit, with a total of eighty-four attendees. Three of those courses were opportunities shared with us by other Local Technical Assistance Programs (LTAPs) throughout the country, for which we were extremely grateful! We also offered an additional in-person training: a revised Sign Installation and Maintenance course. This is now a two-hour “by request” course that is tailored to your town’s needs. Not only does this keep attendance to the required numbers during COVID, but it also ensures that your sign crew is getting information that is relevant to them.
Technical assistance proved to be a little trickier to coordinate, but with the cooperation of the municipalities that requested assistance, I was able to continue to make in-person visits while abiding by all the proper procedures. I visited twelve municipalities to provide assistance with safety concerns, either at a specific location or through a Road Safety Assessment, or to loan them equipment. With masks on and maintaining social distance, I was able to continue to provide services that were needed. This was especially important during this time, as the pandemic increased the number of pedestrians and bicyclists on local roads. At the same time, with less vehicular volume on the streets, speeds increased. Many municipalities reacted quickly and positively to these changes to address the needs of their residents.

To continue the article, click here.
If you have any questions about local road safety concerns, you can contact:
Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider at (860) 486-5847 or [email protected].
Signal Spotlight: Adapt, Abide and Persist
This year has been one for the books! We’ve all been forced to adapt, abide, and persist. Public works employees faced new social distancing guidelines that changed the way they work and responded to several severe storms that brought downed trees and widespread power outages throughout the state. The entire T2 team has been working virtually since March, meeting on Zoom and pushing to disseminate timely COVID-19-related information to municipalities through its listservs and the Connecticut Crossroads newsletter.
The Traffic Signal Circuit Rider program contributed articles on virtual public engagement and the changes being made to traffic signal systems during COVID-19, as well as promoting the CTDOT-led “Bump the Button” campaign to encourage pedestrians not to press push buttons with their hands.

It’s said that “necessity is the mother of invention,” and this has proven true throughout all industries during the pandemic. For its part, the change in circumstances encouraged the T2 Center to venture into new formats for delivering training.
In April, the Traffic Signal Circuit Rider program hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on Hot Topics for Signal Professionals during COVID-19. Several towns participated in a webinar series via Zoom on Creating a Traffic Signal Management Plan. The program also began developing on-demand recordings. Currently, Basics of Traffic Signal Operations and MUTCD Traffic Signal Warrants are offered in an on-demand format.

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If you have traffic signal systems questions, please contact:
Theresa Schwartz, P.E., P.T.O.E. - Traffic Signal Circuit Rider
(860) 486-4535 or [email protected].
Holiday Message from the T2 Center Team
The T2 Center Is Now on Instagram!
Along with our Facebook page, the T2 Center now has an Instagram page!
Follow Us!
Click on the icons below to like the T2 Center on Facebook and follow the T2 Center on Instagram!
Visit for more information and resources.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for future Connecticut Crossroads topics, please feel free to email the designer Regina Hackett at [email protected]