Wow! Mention the topic of transportation work in this profession and the stories flood in! When I started prospecting for stories on transportation for this year’s annual transportation issue, I had calls from several sources. (See the articles on pages 14, 24 and 68.) It appears more and more surveyors are either working for departments of transportation (DOTs) or with them.

With this expanding branch of surveying opportunities—private sector and public—also comes an increased risk of exposure to harm. And with the rise of “mini-cities” and residential suburbs comes more travelers. And because of the reluctance to fly since September 11th, there are more out of state drivers not familiar with certain surroundings. Add construction work to that mix, and drivers can become confused, often driving without awareness. The USDOT FY 2003 budget proposes $7.7 billion for safety programs to reduce transportation-related fatalities and injuries. But the efforts you make for you and your employees on jobsites each day are the best safety program there is.

Since vehicle travel has increased more than two percent per year for the last decade, roadway workers have a greater chance of being injured — or worse. Every product needs to be there yesterday and the general way of life is much more hectic these days. People are in a hurry — and they are often preoccupied.

There isn’t much that can be done about changing the ways of others, but we do have the ability to change our own practices. We can make our surroundings safer for ourselves and those we work with by creating — and following — a good safety plan. (See the article “Constructing a Good Safety Plan” on page 30.) And work together to make sure the plan is implemented. None of us want to be hurt or see a friend or coworker hurt.

A Prime Example of Working Together

The hype about LandXML, the XML-based schema specifically catered to the networking practices of civil engineers and surveyors that planted its seed in 1999, has come to fruition. Its blossoming as an accepted standard for open data exchange of civil engineering and survey data is a prime example of people working together.

The Industry Advisory Board, a group of more than 180 land development and transportation professionals from 86 organizations, put competitive differences aside to work together. In July, their cooperative efforts created LandXML Version 1.0, making this industry standard useful for design and surveying professionals around the world. There are currently eight commercial software applications that support the LandXML 1.0 data exchange standard available from Autodesk Inc., Bentley Systems, Carlson Software, Eagle Point Software and Trimble Navigation. Look for the full story on LandXML in future issues.

This cooperation among industry manufacturers — even competitors — proves that people can work together to accomplish a central goal for the industry. I encourage every company, manager and worker to strive toward a “togetherness plan” for their workplace. It will prove to be a smart — and safe — move.