TSM&O News
NOCoE Newsletter Archive

NOCoE BiWeekly Newsletter, July 7, 2016

Message from the Managing Director

By Tom Kern
The National Operations Center of Excellence extends its congratulations to Columbus, Ohio as the winner of the $40 Million Smart City Challenge to Pioneer the Future of Transportation. Columbus emerged as the winner out of 78 cities that accepted the challenge and will receive up to $40 million from the Department of Transportation to prototype the future of transportation as part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to accelerate game-changing technologies from self-driving cars to smart traffic lights to vehicle to vehicle communications. For the full press release on the award, please click here. The Center notes that several of the priorities Columbus intends to address are TSM&O related: 


  • Equip city fleet, transit vehicles, and many intersections with connected vehicle technology to optimize traffic flow and demonstrate safety applications.
  • Test connected vehicle technology in their freight district, including automated truck platooning and traffic signal management.
  • Work with freight operators to communicate parking availability both in the city and in the surrounding multi-state region.
  • Create an integrated payment system for residents to access transportation solutions throughout the city, regardless of whether they have a credit card or rely on cash, and offer a trip planning smart app to help residents plan their trips across many different modes and public and private operators.

Congratulations again to Columbus; it will be exciting to watch as this city incorporates these exciting transportation technologies into its infrastructure. 

Putting the Human in ITS Technology

By Eric Rensel

As I traveled to San Jose last month for the ITS America Annual Meeting, I couldn’t help but imagine what it was like for the people that attended the World’s Fair in San Francisco in 1915. There were several highly-anticipated technological-marvels demonstrated. The first was the C.P. Huntington. Train enthusiasts in the audience may know that this was the first steam locomotive purchased by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Non-train enthusiasts might recognize it if they’ve ever had the opportunity to read the children’s story, the Little Engine that Could

The C.P. Huntington currently resides in the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. Built in 1863, the locomotive weighed 39,000 pounds.  According to the Museum, the C.P. Huntington became famous as a primary work horse in the construction of the transcontinental railroad. Later it pulled local passengers between San Francisco, San Jose, and Hollister.  Starting in 1892, the C.P. Huntington became the symbol of the Southern Pacific Railroad, appearing in fourteen official events over nearly 100 years to mark grand openings and other important occasions. Please click here to read more. 

Your Input Needed for the NOCoE Discussion Forums: Improving Stakeholder Engagement
 By Steven Lavrenz, PhD, EIT

Since starting with NOCoE as the Technical Services Manager in January 2016, I have been witness to one activity that, above all others, stands out as a facilitator of successful TSM&O practice and policy development: roundtable discussion between practitioners. These discussions can be borne out in many forms – in-person peer exchanges, webinar dialogue, etc. In this sense, the ability to bring engineers, policymakers, and other professionals from various sectors of the transportation industry to a common “table,” for the purpose of championing TSMO, is one of the greatest strengths of NOCoE. 

At the launch of the Center in 2015, it was originally envisioned that the discussion forums on the NOCoE website would play a significant role in making these connections. While this has happened to a limited extent, I don’t think that the forums are currently being utilized to their full potential. Much of this is understandable – busy schedules, numerous projects, and existing workflows make it difficult to incorporate a new communications medium into the rotation. Please click here to read more.

The Traffic Control Device Challenge

The Transportation Research Board’s Traffic Control Devices Committee (TCDC) is leading the Traffic Control Device Challenge is to promote innovation and stimulate ideas in the traffic control devices area with a goal to improve operations and safety.

The challenge is sponsored by and conducted cooperatively by the Transportation Research Board Standing Committee on Traffic Control Devices (AHB50) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA). The TCDC is open to individual high school, junior college, college, or university students or teams of students with an interest in transportation and an understanding of traffic control devices.

TIME Task Force of Georgia Call for Papers

The TIME Task Force is seeking dynamic presentations for this year’s annual traffic incident management conference – Oct. 24 & 25 at the Westin Jekyll Island. TIME is searching for interesting presentations that address innovations, trends, best practices and scene safety. Representatives from agencies, departments and businesses working in incident management are invited to send a brief description of a potential session topic and qualifications for the proposed presenter or presenters. Only a small number of speaking opportunities are available. Please send all information to info@timetaskforce.com before July 15 for consideration. Be sure to include full contact details. 

Register with NOCoE and Join the Discussion Forums!

We hope you find the NOCoE (http://www.transportationops.org/) a place where you can share information as well as receive it – we encourage you to register and share in our discussion forum your latest work plan, specific challenge you are facing with an operations practice or new technology, or techniques you’ve used to empower your staff. This is your transportation operations resource and we are interested in your feedback to continually improve our portfolio of services. Please feel free to contact the Center with your suggestions, either through the website or at TKERN@transportationops.org.