Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations
Regional TSM&O Toolbox
Regional transportation systems management and operations (TSM&O) means an integrated program to optimize the performance of the existing infrastructure though implementation of multi-modal, cross-jurisdictional systems, services, and projects. These systems, services, and projects are designed to preserve capacity and improve security, safety, and reliability of transportation systems. Regional TSM&O projects include a diverse range of activities, as illustrated in the box to the right.
Regional TSM&O projects can help to link planning and operations in a number of ways. If an MPO leads an operations-oriented project, for example, MPO planners often work closely with operations agencies, and develop a better understanding of operations in the process. The involvement of planners helps to ensure that regional TSM&O projects are adequately supported in the long-range planning and programming process. As long-range plans focus more on maximizing the efficiency of a mature system using regional TSM&O projects, planners will require the involvement and expertise of operations practitioners. Regional TSM&O projects can also educate operations managers about broader regional planning and policy objectives that cut across modes and jurisdictions.
The following links provide examples of programs and project areas where regional TSM&O can be implemented:
- Arterial Management
- Electronic Toll and Fare Collection
- Emergency Preparedness and Security
- Freight Management and Commercial Vehicle Operations
- HOV Lane Development
- Regional Signal Coordination
- Regional Traffic Management Centers
- Road Weather Management
- Special Events Management
- Traffic Incident Management
- Traveler Information
- Work Zone Management
Getting Started: Implementing TSM&O Projects
Nearly every regional TSM&O project can help to strengthen the planning and operations link in some way. Indeed, the very existence of regional TSM&O projects is often an indication that some coordination between planning and operations is already occurring within a region. Through the ongoing implementation and expansion of regional TSM&O projects, planning and operations coordination will continue to evolve in a productive manner.
The links at the top of this page provide examples of implementing regional TSM&O in specific programs and projects.
Cross-cutting Regional Implementation Actions
The following short-term actions apply to a wide range of regional TSM&O programs. These are some examples of how agencies can focus on using existing TSM&O projects to build a broader regional link between planning and operations.
- Identify multi-jurisdictional M&O programs that should involve the MPO. MPOs have skills relevant to many integrated management and operations strategies including public outreach and funding opportunities.
- Expand participation in existing TSM&O projects. Many regions have nascent regional TSM&O projects and programs with involvement from a limited number of regional stakeholders. For example, signal coordination efforts and special event management programs often include no more than a few local governments. Identify opportunities to expand these programs.
- Use specific M&O successes to sell new regional coordination efforts. Agencies can identify successful local examples of coordination between regional planning and TSM&O projects or programs.
- Arterial Management
- Congestion Mitigation
- Corridor Traffic Management
- Emergency Transportation Operations
- Facilitating Integrated ITS Deployment
- Freeway Management
- Freight Analysis
- Freight Operations and Technology
- Freight Professional Development
- Freight Operations and Technology
- Operations Asset Management
- Performance Measurement
- Planned Special Events Traffic Management
- Real Time Traveler Information
- Road Weather Management
- Tolling and Pricing Program
- Traffic Analysis Tools
- Traffic Incident Management
- Travel Demand Management
- Vehicle Size and Weight
- Work Zone Management
Additional Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations Publications
- Chapter 2: What have we learned about freeway, incident, and emergency management and electronic toll collection? (PDF 109KB) - Electronic toll collection (ETC) systems similarly aid in reducing congestion on toll roads. In a complementary way, emergency management systems can greatly aid in locating incidents and responding to them in the most rapid and effective manner possible. Each of the ITS technologies discussed in this paper shows potential benefits; however, only a few of the technologies have reached widespread deployment.
- Collaborative Research on Road Weather Observations & Predictions by Universities, State DOTs & National Weather Service Forecast Offices - This report documents the results of five research projects to improve the sensing, predictions and use of weather-related road conditions in road maintenance and operations. (Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-109, September 2004)
- Creating an Effective Program to Advance Transportation System Management and Operations: Primer (HTML, PDF 3.1MB) - The purpose of this Primer is to raise awareness of the opportunities for improving the effectiveness of State and local Transportation System Management and Operations (TSM&O) activities. The Primer provides high-level guidance focused on key program, process, and organizational capabilities that are essential to the development of more effective TSM&O strategy applications. It is aimed at program and activity-level managers responsible for TSM&O related activities in State, regional, and local transportation agencies. (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-12-003, January 2012)
- Elements of a Comprehensive Signals Asset Management System - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration has released a report designed to define the elements of a comprehensive signal system asset management system (SSAMS). The report reviews signal systems asset management, highlights characteristics of signal systems that need to be considered in defining an asset management approach, develops an architecture for a signal system asset management system, and presents an analysis illustrating how such a system could be used to evaluate tradeoffs across different options for addressing signal system deficiencies. (Publication Number FHWA-HOP-05-006, December 2004)
- The Freight Technology Story: Intelligent Freight Technologies and Their Benefits - This report discusses advancements in information technologies and telecommunications that have improved the efficiency, reliability, and security of freight transportation and increased global connectivity. It also describes how these technologies work and the benefits they deliver, including the results from intelligent freight technology field operational tests (FOTs) and other initiatives.
- A Guidebook for Including Access Management in Transportation Planning (PDF 834KB) - This report (NCHRP Report 548) offers guidance for implementing access management through the transportation planning process.
- Improving Mobility and Accessibility with Managed Lanes, Pricing, and BRT - This report documents the proceedings of the 12th International HOV Systems Conference: Improving Mobility and Accessibility with Managed Lanes, Pricing, and BRT held in Houston, Texas on April 18–20, 2005. The proceedings summarize the presentations from the plenary sessions and the breakout sessions. The plenary sessions included presentations on the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) system in the Houston area, updates on national activities, and future trends in managing mobility.
- Incident Management Successful Practices: A Cross-Cutting Study (PDF 1.01MB) - This document provides a series of successful practices on managing traffic incidents.
- Influence of Transportation Infrastructure on Land Use, Federal Highway Administration Urban Land Institute Workshop - Often cited as the reason for suburban sprawl, roadway projects frequently are opposed by members of the general public, who assume that if roads are built, development will always follow. The support for this assumption is most often anecdotal, and the FHWA does not believe this is always true. Other factors, such as local and regional land use and economic development policies, also play an important role in suburban growth. The Federal Highway Administration asked ULI to convene a group of real estate and planning professionals to provide a better understanding of the correlations between the approval of transportation infrastructure projects and local land use patterns. ULI conducted an Advisory Services workshop titled "Location Decision Making: The Role of Transportation Infrastructure."
- Institutional Issues Discussion Paper (DOC 62KB) - Traffic incident management is the planning and coordination of people and material resources to safely address and quickly clear disruptions and distortions to the flow of traffic on our nation's highways. Traffic incident management encompasses the development and application of specific practices and tools, often involving the careful interaction of multiple agencies and functions. Despite the fact that much of the discussion about traffic incident management focuses on operations and technology, there is widespread agreement that significant improvements require departures from "business as usual". The "institutional" changes go beyond improved practice in the field. This paper discusses the issues involved in making these institutional changes.
- Learning from the 2003 Blackout - Article from the September/October 2004 issue of Public Roads on how transportation agencies responded to the 2003 Northeast Blackout. The article was developed from a series of case studies produced by the Volpe Center for FHWA Office of Operations and the U.S. DOT's ITS Joint Program Office.
- Managing Demand Through Travel Information Services - The brochure highlights the opportunities and benefits for using traveler information services to manage demand during periods of congestion, including congestion during commute periods, special events, and emergencies. The brochure aims to provide ideas for the use of traveler information in states, regions, and communities. The brochure presents the diversity of traveler information systems employed around the country and overseas and how agencies are using traveler information as a demand management tool.
- National Response Plan - The National Response Plan standardizes federal incident response actions by integrating existing and formerly disparate processes. The Plan uses the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to establish standardized training, organization, and communications procedures for multi-jurisdictional interaction and clearly identifies authority and leadership responsibilities. The Plan also provides a comprehensive framework for private and non-profit institutions to plan and integrate their own preparedness and response activities, nationally and within their own communities.
- Next Generation 9-1-1 System Preliminary Concept of Operations (PDF 1.4MB) - The Next Generation 9-1-1 Initiative is a DOT research and development project to define the system architecture and develop a transition plan that considers responsibilities, costs, schedule and benefits for deploying IP-based emergency services across the Nation. This document provides a preliminary Concept of Operations for the system.
- Planning Analysis Tools for Operations/ITS Evaluation: Gap Study - A study has been recently undertaken to better understand the analysis tools that are available for evaluating ITS and operations projects and strategies in the transportation planning process. This study was undertaken to better understand the needs for analyzing operations/ITS projects in the planning process, the current capabilities, and the "gaps" in the capabilities of the tools that are currently available. The results of the "GAP Analysis" are summarized in the following technical memorandums:
- Ramp Management and Control Handbook - The purpose of this handbook is to improve the operation of freeways and their associated ramps by providing support, information, guidance, and recommended practice to practitioners responsible for freeway management and operations. (Publication No. FHWA-HOP-06-01, January 2006).
- A Regional HOV System Planning Approach Involving Multiple Agencies (PDF 58KB) - This paper presents the Texas DOT's HOV planning framework for the Austin region, highlighting both the technical and the policy-related elements of the process. Included in the paper are descriptions of a number of features of the process: a multi-agency interlocal agreement for HOV system planning; a regional HOV Task Force comprised of technical staff from participating agencies to support and compliment Major Investment Studies (MIS) on specific corridors; inter-agency review teams for each MIS; and the use of research results from other communities as a basis for technical decisions and for the development of public education/awareness tools.
- Saving Lives Through Advanced Vehicle Safety Technology: Intelligent Vehicle Initiative Final Report - This report presents the history of intelligent transportation initiative (IVI) and its successes, as well as how this initiative evolved over time. References are provided at the end of the document for those seeking detailed technical reports on the specific projects and topics discussed. (Publication Number FHWA-JPO-05-057, December 2005)
- Simplified Guide to the Incident Command System for Transportation Professionals - The purpose of this Simplified Guide is to introduce the Incident Command System to stakeholders who may be called upon to provide specific expertise, assistance, or material during highway incidents but who may be largely unfamiliar with ICS organization and operations.
- Statewide Multimodal Transportation Planning Proceedings: 2004 Peer Exchange TRB Transportation Research Circular E-C082 - This report focuses on cost estimating for transportation planning and incorporating safety into the transportation planning process. It provides an overview of the presentation and roundtable discussions that took place during the peer exchange on July 27-28, 2004, in Park City, Utah. The report also includes responses to questions on statewide multimodal transportation planning from state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations.
- The Role of Transportation Systems Management & Operations in Supporting Livability and Sustainability: A Primer - This primer describes the role of transportation systems management and operations (M&O) in advancing livability and sustainability. The document highlights the connections between M&O and livability and sustainability objectives and the importance of a balanced, comprehensive approach to M&O in order to support those objectives. (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-12-004, January 2012)
- Transportation Evacuation Planning and Operations Workshop - This workshop was held in New Orleans, LA, on March 21-22, in conjunction with the 2005 National Hurricane Conference. Nearly 35 individuals attended the workshop. The workshop objectives were to: (1) Share updates on transportation plans, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) deployments, and institutional arrangements associated with transportation operations during hurricanes. (2) Discuss the Evacuation Liaison Program and identify areas for improvements/refinements. (3) Share information about upcoming activities and conferences supportive of transportation operations.
- Transportation Management and Security During the 2004 Democratic National Convention - A case study examining the management and operations of the transportation during the 2004 Democratic National Convention held in Boston, MA.
- Planning and Operations Fall 2005 Analysis Tool User Survey Initial Results (PPT 133KB, DOC 57KB) - A survey of the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) was recently conducted by the FHWA to determine the types of tools being used to analyze operations and ITS projects and strategies in the transportation planning process.
- Work Zone Public Information and Outreach Strategies - This Guide provides tips, examples, strategies and practices to help transportation agencies plan and implement effective public information and outreach campaigns for work zones.
- VDOT CEDAR GIS application - Virginia DOT's Comprehensive Environmental Data and Reporting (CEDAR) system. Virginia DOT has integrated GIS into its planning process. CEDAR is used to catalogue transportation and natural resource data for use in transportation geospatial applications.
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