TSMO Funding Fact Sheet: Tennessee DOT

TSMO Funding and Program Integration at Iowa DOT

The Tennessee Department of Transportation participated in the 2019 NOCoE Summit on TSMO Funding and Capital Improvement Process Integration (see full report). Several key and unique practices were shared by Tennessee DOT during the summit process. These are captured below or a pdf version is also available. 

Key Facts

  • A large portion of TDOT’s funding comes from federal funds
  • The department has a dedicated and separate fund for TSMO expenditures, allowing for the flexibility to plan, construct and implement initial or separate TSMO projects
  • TDOT programs funding for TSMO through four distinct areas:
    • Programming of maintenance funds for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) infrastructure;
    • Programming of general funds for Traffic Management Center (TMC) facilities;
    • HELP trucks replaced outside of general fleet;
    • Traffic Operations Division-level funding. Since TDOT doesn’t operate or maintain any traffic signals, this funding allocation was created to 1) partner with local agencies for spot improvements and 2) allow the recommendations and concurrence of the Tennessee Traffic Signal User Group to be eligible and considered for funding.
  • Initial planning level budgets are allowed to be adjusted in the design phase, ensuring no operations components are removed due to budget constraints.
  • TDOT set up the Strategic Transportation Investments Division (STID). Recognizing that TSMO is by definition a strategic investment, the STID allowed for a natural relationship to form among STID staff and the TSMO group. The benefit of working with the STID is to be able to have TSMO considered and selected for project scoping. This also means seeing projects to fruition and operation.
  • TDOT leveraged its freeway management program to implement proactive incident management and congestion management strategies. These utilized the DOT’s existing TSMO efforts in traffic incident management, as well as its HELP program. The proactive strategies were implemented during the DOT’s I-440 Design-Build project and helped to manage expectations, performance metrics and the overall system performance to a positive outcome.

Integrating TSMO into Planning

  • TDOT proactively reached out to the different planning groups and shared more than a slide deck on TSMO. The agency recognizes that data the TSMO group collects, utilizes and analyzes is within the same transportation system that is needed by the Long-Range Planning staff and other groups within the DOT. To get buy-in from and increase coordination with the Long-Range Planning staff, the TSMO group was able to:
    • Make the case for the effectiveness of TSMO strategies;
    • Increase consideration of performance data in the planning process by using the Every Day Counts initiatives and efforts;
    • Engage TSMO/Traffic Operations Division staff in research projects funded by Long-Range Planning;
    • Share statewide probe data.;
    • Build relationships with Long-Range Planning staff.
  • TSMO is incorporated early on in Long-Range Planning.
  • The Office of Community Transportation and Traffic Operations Division are developing and maintaining relationships with local agencies, Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Regional Planning Organizations. Traffic Operations is becoming more involved in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)/Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
  • The creation of the Strategic Transportation Investments Division (STID) demonstrates the department’s commitment to TSMO strategic thinking for planning and project initiation. TSMO is considered during STID project reviews and scoping.
  • TSMO mainstreaming and relationship-building with Long-Range Planning staff, Office of Community Transportation staff and STID staff.
  • TSMO Regional Operations Forum Seminars were held in spring 2019 and were well-attended by planning staff.

Integrating TSMO into Programming

  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) expansion in 3-year Highway Program – 16 projects
  • IMPROVE Act
  • Programming of maintenance funds for ITS infrastructure
  • Programming of general funds for TMC facilities
  • HELP trucks replaced outside of general fleet (no competing priorities for vehicle replacement)
  • TSMO mainstreaming – building relationships
  • TDOT commitment to technology, safety, mobility
  • TSMO Regional Operations Forum Seminars were held in spring 2009 and well-attended by program development staff.

Integrating TSMO into Design

  • TSMO strategies are incorporated early in the design process. This includes the consideration of operations and maintenance for ITS expansion projects. Design and Traffic Operations work together to identify needs for relocation of ITS infrastructure and opportunities to add ITS infrastructure early on in the design process.
  • The ITS Design Office and ITS Deployment Office work closely with the TMC manager (TSMO champion at region level) on all ITS expansion projects.
  • The Traffic Engineering Office works closely with region traffic engineers on all signal design projects.
  • The Traffic Operations Division handles all traffic signal design and coordinates with local agencies.
  • The department coordinates with the Traffic Operations Division (ITS Design Office and ITS Deployment Office) for Value Engineering efforts. This is not a formal process.
  • The agency created a statewide work zone engineer position that works closely with the state traffic engineer to incorporate TSMO strategies for WZ management. The ability to have an individual who can improve the coordination needed during construction, manage multiple work zone considerations and integrate innovative TSMO solutions for work zones makes this position a positive change for the DOT, which doesn’t have to reply on individual project managers to remember innovative TSMO work zone strategies.
  • TSMO mainstreaming and relationship building with design staff and Local Programs Division staff.
  • The ITS Design Office and Traffic Engineer Office Signal Design Section review all Local Program projects.
  • Coordination with the Traffic Operations Division on administration of CMAQ Grant Projects.
  • The Local Programs Division and Traffic Operations Division develop and maintain relationships with local agencies.
  • TSMO Regional Operations Forum Seminars were held in spring 2019 and were well-attended by design and Local Programs staff.

Integrating TSMO into Construction

  • Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI)
  • Traffic Operations and the Construction Office worked together to fill the gap in technical expertise to support CEI with construction projects and ITS maintenance contracts.
  • Two positions were added to the ITS Deployment Office.
  • CEI consultant on call contracts were advertised in fall 2019.
  • Traffic Operations supports the construction project manager for ITS maintenance contract administration.
  • The ITS Deployment Office works with the Construction Office to provide technical support to the construction project manager for roadway construction projects: value engineering, material submittals, change orders, etc.
  • Leverage Freeway Management TIM, Help programs for Work Zone Management.
    • Proactive Incident Management and Congestion Management strategies (1-440 DB example)
  • Coordination with the Traffic Operations Division on administration of CMAQ Grant Projects.
  • The Local Programs Division and Traffic Operations Division develop and maintain relationships with local agencies.
  • TSMO mainstreaming and relationship building with Local Programs Division staff.
  • TSMO Regional Operations Forum Seminars were held in spring 2019 and were well-attended by construction and maintenance staff.