All posts by Michelle V. Rafter

Should Yellow Traffic Lights Last Longer?

Post Syndicated from Michelle V. Rafter original https://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/safety/transportation-engineers-consider-whether-yellow-traffic-lights-should-last-longer

Mats Järlström’s six-year crusade to make yellow traffic lights safer for drivers could finally be paying off.

In mid-October, an Institute of Transportation Engineers appeals panel agreed with the Oregon consultant’s claims that a long-standing, widely used formula for setting the timing of yellow traffic lights doesn’t adequately account for the extra time a driver might need to safely and comfortably make a turn through an intersection.

The three-person ITE panel findings [PDF] didn’t suggest what the timing should be. A separate ITE committee will propose recommended practice for so-called “dilemma-zone situations for left-turn and right-turn movements” that the organization’s board must then approve. According to ITE Chief Technical Director Jeff Lindley, that process is underway and ITE could publish guidelines during the first quarter of 2020.

“It’s a historic moment,” Järlström said of the appeal panel’s decision. “This is a very conservative area of technology. There are many traffic signals that need to be changed. We want to change it so all of them are consistent, not only in the U.S. but through the world.”

FedEx Ground Uses Virtual Reality to Train and Retain Package Handlers

Post Syndicated from Michelle V. Rafter original https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/software/fedex-ground-uses-vr-to-train-and-retain-package-handlers

Package handlers who work on FedEx Ground loading docks load and unload 8.5 million packages a day. The volume and the physical nature of the work make it a tough job—tougher than many new hires realize until they do it. Some quit almost immediately, according to Denise Abbott, FedEx Ground’s vice president of human resources.

So, when FedEx Corp.’s truck package delivery division evaluated how best to incorporate virtual reality into employee training, teaching newly hired package handlers what to expect on the job and how to stay safe doing it quickly rose to the top of the list.

“It allows us to bring an immersive learning technology into the classroom so people can practice before they step foot on a dock,” said Jefferson Welch, human resource director for FedEx Ground University, the division’s training arm. He and Abbott talked about the company’s foray into VR-based training during a presentation at the recent HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas.

At Domino’s Biggest Franchisee, a Chatbot Named “Dottie” Speeds Up Hiring

Post Syndicated from Michelle V. Rafter original https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/software/at-dominos-biggest-franchisee-a-chatbot-named-dottie-speeds-up-hiring

At RPM Pizza, a chatbot nicknamed “Dottie” has made hiring almost as fast as delivering pizzas.

RPM adopted the text message-based chatbot along with live chat and text-based job applications to speed up multiple aspects of the hiring process, including identifying promising job candidates and scheduling initial interviews.

It makes sense to use texting for hiring, said Merrin Mueller, RPM’s head of people and marketing, during a presentation on the chatbot at the recent HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas. Job hunters respond to a text faster than an email. At a time when U.S. unemployment is low, competition for hourly workers is fierce, and company recruiters are overwhelmed, you have to act fast.

“People who apply here are applying at Taco Bell and McDonald’s too, and if we don’t get to them right away and hire them faster, they’ve already been offered a job somewhere else,” Mueller said.