In this Case Study You Will Learn
- Florida District 6 developed the OTM to address the surge of TSMO related projects in recent years.
- OTM automated previous manually centric tasks and provided quality control checks to improve the quality and efficiency of the services provided by District 6.
- OTM was designed with flexibility and growth in mind, which helped the District navigate the growth of its own programs and sustain the success of 95 Express, despite changing conditions.
District 6 experienced a surge in operational demands during the past few years. It introduced several first-in-Florida transportation projects such as managed lanes and ramp signaling. It also enhanced its incident management services and began populating Florida’s Advanced Traveler Information Services (FLATIS) in the area. Through this time, the District also added hundreds of roadway devices and expanded its operations to arterial management as well.
The District was challenged to handle more complex, high-profile projects with limited resources. To meet this challenge, District 6 streamlined and automated internal operations procedures to support increased workloads and program demands. It achieved this by developing and implementing the Operations Task Manager (OTM) software.
The OTM)software was created to improve the quality of services provided by the Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Program Office to the motoring public in southeast Florida. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 6 Office developed OTM to enhance the program’s output by increasing its internal efficiency in response to the growing traffic needs of the region.
What is OTM?
The OTM software features 12 modules that each serve a specific function is packaged under one easy-to-use interface that serve a specific function to help operators achieve their daily traffic management, incident management, traveler information, device maintenance and reporting tasks. Some of the modules are self-sustained to work with internal data from the District 6 Transportation Management Center. However, other modules, such as the express lanes module (ELM) and incident notification module require data from partner agencies, so communication and coordination agreements were required with them.
OTM automated previous manually centric tasks and provided quality control checks to improve the quality and efficiency of the services provided by District 6.
Program Assessment-Object Analysis Steps for Success
District 6 followed the Systems Engineering Process to develop and implement the OTM software from beginning to end. The first step in the planning phase was to conduct an extensive program review based on the District’s needs as well as the projects and services it provides. The District conducted this object analysis to ensure each module was created to meet the specific requirements intended for that service. This step required multiple meetings between the management, operations and software development teams as well as site visits to other agencies and research and creation of a concept of operations.
Software Architecture Design
- Software development and architecture design process for OTM. This step identified the data needed and mapped the integration framework required from existing agency software as well as partner agencies such as law enforcement and tolling agencies to support the functions of each module.
Software Implementation and Testing
- Once the object analysis and framework were established, the District proceeded to create, implement and test the software by the development/test teams as well the end user.
Deployment and Training
- The software was deployed and training materials, Standard Operating Guidelines and other software support material were created to assist the team in using and maintaining the software. Staff training was conducted through the implementation process.
- The software has been routinely updated and enhanced based on end-user feedback and new requirements.
One of the biggest lessons learned from OTM is that scalability is critical to success. OTM was designed with flexibility and growth in mind. This helped the District navigate the growth of its own programs and sustain the success of 95 Express, despite changing conditions. The scalability has been especially useful now that ELM is being used statewide.
The last lesson learned from OTM is that it has worked to improve worker satisfaction and helped with staff retention. These are critical issues when a program experiences growth because more demands are placed on existing staff. OTM allowed the District to surpass this issue because its improved operator workflow, automated manual-centric tasks and streamlined their duties. This allowed staff to handle added responsibilities and empowered them to achieve more within their roles. This lesson learned has been critical to the District’s success.
Outcomes and Benefits
The OTM application has proven to work because it increased the district’s output across all levels of the traffic services it provides. It restructured daily functions to maximize staff efficiency and improved roadway operations despite the increased traffic volumes experienced in the past few years. Traffic operators now manage twice the number of events than before OTM was implemented. Additionally, District 6 is managing 179% more traffic events and 291% more lane blockage events.
This increased output shows that OTM is a proven benefit to the community because it is enabling the District to promote a safer, more free-flowing transportation network for our drivers. It is allowing staff to detect more incidents, dispatch more incident management resources, post more traveler information messages and maintain network availability. It has also allowed the District to introduce innovative projects that have transformed our regional landscape such as managed lanes and ramp signals. The success of these projects has led FDOT to expand these concepts statewide, thus maximizing the benefits to more drivers.
Additionally, as FDOT’s TSMO Program has evolved and other districts and partner agencies have begun expanding their internal operations, interest in OTM has also increased. As a result, District 6 has worked with FDOT’s Central Office to adapt the software for statewide deployment of express lanes projects creating the Statewide Express Lanes Software (SELS).