Delivering resources to save time, lives, and money

NOCoE Announces Major TSMO Workforce Campaign

Media Contact:

Adam Hopps

Communications and Program Manager

(202) 680-0091



National Operations Center of Excellence Announces Major TSMO Workforce Campaign

Initiative will assist DOTs, agencies, private companies, HR professionals, and academia in developing the skilled workforce necessary to handle the complex Transportation Systems Management and Operations – TSMO – of the future.

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2020 – The National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE), today kicked-off a comprehensive campaign to address a major concern identified by transportation leaders throughout the country: building a skilled workforce to effectively operate our transportation system with an approach - Transportation Systems Management and Operations, or TSMO – that will make our roadways safer and more efficient.

Transportation in the United States is undergoing a seismic cultural shift, transitioning from the traditional build mentality to an operations culture that emphasizes stewardship and maximizes existing capacity. By leveraging the latest technologies and ensuring coordination and communication between all transportation system operators, the TSMO approach both improves the safety of the road user and increases travel-time reliability. But as traffic management becomes increasingly complex and technology-based, there is a crucial need for operations personnel who can be trained to manage those systems to their greatest effect. 

NOCoE’s Managing Director Patrick Son, says without a strategic approach, the transportation industry is in danger of not being able to staff key TSMO roles. “Our industry practitioners and their leadership tell us that workforce development is a 'keep me up at night” issue,' he said. “NOCoE’s position in the TSMO community, both its relationship with industry leaders and its history of providing key resources to practitioners, allows us to bring stakeholders together to address this universal transportation issue and collaboratively develop lasting solutions to ensure the workforce keeps up with the advancements in technology and innovation.”

The TSMO workforce initiative will be a broad-based effort with a new dedicated NOCoE TSMO Workforce Development Website,, that offers a resource library organized into categories including student education, workforce training, industry assessments, HR resources with job descriptions, events, contests, and success stories.

The centerpiece of the website is the guidance developed by researchers to equip departments of transportation, educators and other public/private organizations with the tools necessary to evaluate their changing workforce needs concerning new skills, training, positions, recruitment, retention and career development. It also defines 19 positions such as Data Management Specialist and Cyber Security Engineer. Agencies will be able to determine which positions fit their needs as they build the staff they need to address 21st century transportation challenges. This guidance also addresses the evolution of existing traffic engineering, transportation planning, and ITS positions and the needed knowledge, skills, and abilities for those positions to address an operations focused approach to transportation. 

NOCoE will also deliver this information throughout the nation via in-person three-hour TSMO Workforce Development Workshops at industry gatherings and webinar settings. “It really is an across the board review of the human resources and workforce investment that agencies and the private sector can use to successfully navigate and improve the future of transportation through the investment in our people,” said Son.

Another major component of the campaign is the NOCoE Fellowship Program launching in March of 2020. The NOCoE Fellowship Program will provide opportunities for a select number of TSMO professionals to develop knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to apply on the job and in support of their long-term career growth. This includes NOCoE identifying opportunities available to help increase their professional knowledge, develop their interpersonal skills, and enhance their ability to carry out the job.

NOCoE’s workforce initiative sprang from a 2016 National TSMO Workforce Summit that identified many of the research and resource needs for the TSMO industry to improve its workforce. From there, NOCoE initiated a project with the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) to conduct the most comprehensive research to date on TSMO workforce development that produced a series of products, primarily a new TSMO Workforce Guidebook, which was used to create NOCoE’s TSMO Workforce Website. Additionally, NOCoE has worked directly with student engineers to make sure they are appropriately skilled as they migrate into the workforce, including hosting Transportation Technology Tournaments and working with academia to ensure a robust path to success. 

NOCoE Managing Director Patrick Son says that while the organization will do the heavy-lifting, collaboration among the entire transportation and TSMO communities will be important for success. “NOCoE was born from a partnership between AASHTO, ITE and ITS America with support from FHWA so we understand the power of collaboration. NOCoE is simply a knowledge sharing organization,” Son said. “The incredible work done on the TSMO Workforce Guidebook and the key knowledge developed by our incredible partners drives us to share this information and drive the TSMO industry forward to meet our country’s transportation challenges.”

NOCoE’s workforce presentations are already scheduled throughout the country in 2020, ranging from the East Coast to Hawaii, and are complimented by a free webinar series. Agencies or individuals interested in hosting a free TSMO workforce development workshop should contact Patrick Son at

About the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE)

The mission of NOCoE is to empower the TSMO community to succeed by building its knowledge, skills and abilities. NOCoE supports practitioners who operate the nation’s transportation management systems, by connecting them with best-practices and experts to save lives, time and money. Born of a partnership of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) with support from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), we serve those in state departments of transportation, regional planning organizations, municipalities, local agencies as well as private sector organizations. For more information, please visit


# # #