Research Projects

Innovative COVID-19 Prevention Training: Don't Forget to Prevent the Threat In Reserve

The COVID-19 pandemic is a current and lasting threat to both the actual and perceived safety of Airport staff and customers. The use of innovative training tools can help Airports combat that threat.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

The spread of COVID-19 is an immediate threat to Airports that is expected to last a significant amount of time. However, we are able to prevent and control the spread of infection when techniques such as hand hygiene, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and other implemented protocols are properly used. Airport Staff must be trained in all of these aspects, understand the basics of germ theory, and know the steps to take to prevent the spread of infections diseases such as COVID-19. Equally important is that staff understand the critical role they play in preventing the spread of infection and the affect that their actions can have on customers, coworkers, and themselves. Traditional training methods are typically unengaging and easily forgotten. Through the use of innovative training techniques, such as interactive story-based scenarios and gamification, we can create an engaging and memorable experience that better equips Airport Staff with the tools and knowledge they need to fight back against the spread of COVID-19.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

The objective of this project is to partner with the airport industry to develop an innovative, engaging, and effective training product that will increase knowledge and change behaviors associated with the prevention of COVID-19.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

The proposed research will comprise four main phases.

Phase 1: Conduct a Needs Assessment to Identify the best training methods. The goal of the needs assessment will be to identify the needs that would be suitable to be addressed in the training and the best approaches to take. A literature review will be conducted to develop a deeper and broader understanding of the training needs of the airport industry. Targeted interviews with airport workforce representatives and leaders will be conducted to better understand what they believe their key needs are. After the literature review and interviews, a workshop with stakeholders from small, medium, and large airports will be conducted to select which need(s) to include in the training. This workshop will help promote adoption and use of the training to be developed through early engagement of a broad cross-section of airport agencies early in the process.

Phase 2: Develop the Concept and Design Approach. The objective of Phase 2 will be to build on the results of the needs assessment and decide how to best design the training to meet the needs identified. This will involve formulating a user group with professionals from the airport industry who would be the intended users of the training. A design workshop will be conducted with the formulated group. Through this workshop, more detailed information regarding the training needs and the innovative training strategies required to address those needs will be identified.

Phase 3: Develop the Training. Based on the research and design described above, the training tool will be developed to maximize engagement, effectiveness, and impact on participants.

Phase 4: Evaluate, Update, and Promote the training. The goal of Phase 4 will be to work with the user group and stakeholder groups to promote and pilot the training. Assessment and feedback instruments will be designed and developed to maximize the usefulness of the information received during the pilot stage. Promotion of the training will take place to help ensure that a representative and broad spectrum of users provide input. Once this is complete, the pilot will be launched, the data collected and analyzed, and the training updated accordingly.

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

The estimated funding for this proposed effort is $300,000. The estimated time needed to complete this research is 24 months, including 3 months for review and revision of a draft final report.

These estimates are based on the complexity of information to be gathered as well as the high level of detail that will be expected in the final products.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

The need for engaging and effective training within the transit industry has been well documented in recent years (e.g., TCRP Report 139; TCRP Report 162; TCRP 199). Many organizations across the transportation industry struggle to keep workers trained and up to date on the knowledge and skills that they need (Critical Issues in Transportation, 2019). Innovative training approaches may be a way to help managers overcome these challenges.

Recognizing that these approaches could help, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) recently launched and completed the two interrelated TCRP Projects F-22 and F-24. The first focused on identifying best practices and resources for transit technical training, while the second addressed overcoming barriers to implementing best and innovative training practices for public transportation's frontline workforce (TCRP 199). Through these two projects, TRB identified promising and innovative training approaches and best practices used in the U.S., international transportation agencies, and related industries. It was also found that many transit agencies were not utilizing these approaches or best practices to train a skilled and diverse workforce.

This research will use the identified best and innovative training practices found from previous research to create actual innovative training that can be deployed in the field. This will help ensure that airport workers are receiving the best training possible to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Idea No. 429