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A Review of the Next Generation Air Transportation System: Implications and Importance of System Architecture (2015)

July 7, 2015 Comments off

A Review of the Next Generation Air Transportation System: Implications and Importance of System Architecture (2015)
Source: National Research Council

The Next Generation Air Transportation System’s (NextGen) goal is the transformation of the U.S. national airspace system through programs and initiatives that could make it possible to shorten routes, navigate better around weather, save time and fuel, reduce delays, and improve capabilities for monitoring and managing of aircraft. A Review of the Next Generation Air Transportation provides an overview of NextGen and examines the technical activities, including human-system design and testing, organizational design, and other safety and human factor aspects of the system, that will be necessary to successfully transition current and planned modernization programs to the future system. This report assesses technical, cost, and schedule risk for the software development that will be necessary to achieve the expected benefits from a highly automated air traffic management system and the implications for ongoing modernization projects. The recommendations of this report will help the Federal Aviation Administration anticipate and respond to the challenges of implementing NextGen.

Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action (2015)

July 6, 2015 Comments off

Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action (2015)
Source: Institute of Medicine

For most Americans, staying “mentally sharp” as they age is a very high priority. Declines in memory and decision-making abilities may trigger fears of Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases. However, cognitive aging is a natural process that can have both positive and negative effects on cognitive function in older adults – effects that vary widely among individuals. At this point in time, when the older population is rapidly growing in the United States and across the globe, it is important to examine what is known about cognitive aging and to identify and promote actions that individuals, organizations, communities, and society can take to help older adults maintain and improve their cognitive health.

Cognitive Aging assesses the public health dimensions of cognitive aging with an emphasis on definitions and terminology, epidemiology and surveillance, prevention and intervention, education of health professionals, and public awareness and education. This report makes specific recommendations for individuals to reduce the risks of cognitive decline with aging. Aging is inevitable, but there are actions that can be taken by individuals, families, communities, and society that may help to prevent or ameliorate the impact of aging on the brain, understand more about its impact, and help older adults live more fully and independent lives. Cognitive aging is not just an individual or a family or a health care system challenge. It is an issue that affects the fabric of society and requires actions by many and varied stakeholders. Cognitive Aging offers clear steps that individuals, families, communities, health care providers and systems, financial organizations, community groups, public health agencies, and others can take to promote cognitive health and to help older adults live fuller and more independent lives. Ultimately, this report calls for a societal commitment to cognitive aging as a public health issue that requires prompt action across many sectors.

Psychological Testing in the Service of Disability Determination (2015)

June 29, 2015 Comments off

Psychological Testing in the Service of Disability Determination (2015) (PDF)
Source: Institute of Medicine

The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), for disabled individuals, and their dependent family members, who have worked and contributed to the Social Security trust funds, and Supplemental Security Income (SSSI), which is a means-tested program based on income and financial assets for adults aged 65 years or older and disabled adults and children. Both programs require that claimants have a disability and meet specific medical criteria in order to qualify for benefits. SSA establishes the presence of a medically-determined impairment in individuals with mental disorders other than intellectual disability through the use of standard diagnostic criteria, which include symptoms and signs. These impairments are established largely on reports of signs and symptoms of impairment and functional limitation.

Psychological Testing in the Service of Disability Determination considers the use of psychological tests in evaluating disability claims submitted to the SSA. This report critically reviews selected psychological tests, including symptom validity tests, that could contribute to SSA disability determinations. The report discusses the possible uses of such tests and their contribution to disability determinations. Psychological Testing in the Service of Disability Determination discusses testing norms, qualifications for administration of tests, administration of tests, and reporting results. The recommendations of this report will help SSA improve the consistency and accuracy of disability determination in certain cases.

Educate to Innovate: Factors That Influence Innovation: Based on Input from Innovators and Stakeholders (2015)

June 28, 2015 Comments off

Educate to Innovate: Factors That Influence Innovation: Based on Input from Innovators and Stakeholders (2015)
Source: National Academy of Engineering

Robust innovation in the United States is key to a strong and competitive industry and workforce. Efforts to improve the capacity of individuals and organizations to innovate must be a high national priority to ensure that the United States remains a leader in the global economy. How is the United States preparing its students and workers to innovate and excel? What skills and attributes need to be nurtured?

The aim of the Educate to Innovate project is to expand and improve the innovative capacity of individuals and organizations by identifying critical skills, attributes, and best practices – indeed, cultures – for nurturing them. The project findings will enable educators in industry and at all levels of academia to cultivate the next generation of American innovators and thus ensure that the U.S. workforce remains highly competitive in the face of rapid technological changes. Educate to Innovate summarizes the keynote and plenary presentations from a workshop convened in October 2013. The workshop brought together innovators and leaders from various fields to share insights on innovation and its education. This report continues on to describe the specific skills, experiences, and environments that contribute to the success of innovators, and suggests next steps based on discussion from the workshop.

New Report Says U.S. Freight Rail Regulations Outdated, Recommends Modernization Efforts

June 17, 2015 Comments off

New Report Says U.S. Freight Rail Regulations Outdated, Recommends Modernization Efforts
Source: Transportation Research Board

While a 1980 reform law enabled the modernization and stabilization of the U.S. freight railroad industry, federal regulation has not kept pace with the industry’s transformation and should be replaced with a system better-suited for today’s freight rail system, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board. Current policies designed to protect rail shippers who lack transportation options from excessive rates are not working for shippers of most commodities, including grain. More appropriate, reliable, and usable procedures are needed to resolve these rate disputes without threatening the earnings railroads need to pay for their capital-intensive networks.

Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Embedding a Culture of Science and Technology Throughout the Department of State

June 11, 2015 Comments off

Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Embedding a Culture of Science and Technology Throughout the Department of State
Source: National Research Council

Diplomacy for the 21st Century recommends steps that the Department of State should embrace to take full advantage of the leading science and technology (S&T) capabilities of the United States. These capabilities provide the department with many opportunities to promote a variety of the interests of the United States and its allies in a rapidly changing world wherein S&T are important drivers of economic development at home and abroad and help ensure international security. This report assesses and makes recommendations concerning the changing environment for the conduct of diplomacy in the years ahead, with a focus on the role of S&T in the development and implementation of U.S. policies and programs. According to this report, prompt steps by the department’s leadership are essential to ensure adequate comprehension of the importance of S&T-related developments throughout the world and to incorporate this understanding within the nation’s foreign policy for the 21st century. This report also urges the adoption by the department of a broader whole-of-society approach in carrying out its responsibilities at home and abroad – extending beyond traditional interagency coordination and the narrow band of current external partners to include foundations, universities, research centers, and other groups who are extending their international reach.

The Essential Federal Role in Highway Research and Innovation

May 31, 2015 Comments off

The Essential Federal Role in Highway Research and Innovation
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB Special Report 317: The Essential Federal Role in Highway Research and Innovation summarizes conclusions and advice on the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) critical role in highway research, development, and technology (RD&T) that have been developed over the years by TRB’s Research and Technology Coordinating Committee (RTCC).

The RTCC is charged to monitor and review the FHWA’s research and technology activities; provide advice to FHWA on the setting of a research agenda and coordination of highway research with states, universities, and other partners; review strategies to accelerate the deployment and adoption of innovation; and identify areas where research may be needed.

The RTCC concludes that FHWA plays an essential role in exploratory, advanced research; addresses national priorities that other highway RD&T programs do not address; and facilitates adoption of innovations at the state and local level through technology transfer.

Along with its other responsibilities, the RTCC notes that FHWA will play a particularly important role with ensuring the standardization of safety alerts to motorists between infrastructure and vehicles as part of the national connected vehicle initiative as well as assisting transportation agencies in implementing the many innovations developed in the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2).

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