State of TSM&O at Michigan DOT/Dennis Motiani Interview w/MDOT


  1. Can you identify TSM&O best practices within MDOT that can be shared with other states?

    MDOT has several TSM&O initiatives that align with our Strategic Plan to Innovate and have a System Focus approach as to how we implementation TSM&O.  Below are listed some of those initiatives:

  2. Cost and Benefit of MDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Deployments:MDOT, like many other state agencies, has invested significantly in ITS deployments across the state over the last six to eight years.  MDOT believes this program and associated strategies are an effective way to use available technology to manage traffic and reduce motorist delays on the state trunk-line network.  MDOT ITS project deployments tend to be high-profile and accessible by the motoring public.  Frequent requests are made by public and legislators alike inquiring on the costs and associated benefits of our ITS deployments.  However, the benefits of Michigan ITS had not been fully quantified.  Therefore, there are needs for reviewing and quantifying costs and benefits of MDOT’s ITS investments.   An ITS cost/benefit study was completed in July 2015.  See this link for the document titled, “Costs and Benefits of MDOT Intelligent Transportation System Deployments - FINAL REPORT”:


  • Maximizing the Use of Technology & Automation at MDOT:  MDOT has automated the operational process of delivering travel times to the public via HERE probe data to our Transportation Operations Centers ATMS software to post travel times to our DMS boards, MiDrive website and mobile app.  We also use HERE data to feed our Regional Integrated Traffic Information System (RITIS) which provides our regions with highway segment User Delay Cost and allows us to identify hot spots for our annual statewide Congestion and Mobility Performance Measure Report.  The Congestion and Mobility Performance Measure Report provides User Delay Costs, Speed Profiles and reliability information on all freeway routes within the State of Michigan using probe data.  MDOT is using this data to help identify congested areas, when congestion occurs and how often, corridor rankings, causes of delay, and more.  Before and after studies of signal optimization projects or road improvements can be made to verify if proposed improvements to congestion have been realized.  Probe data has also been used to help calibrate traffic models.


  • FHWA/MDOT I-94 Truck Parking Information and Management System (TPIMS):  MDOT along with our partners have design a system that will assess truck parking availability along the I-94 corridor from the Indiana border to US-127 in southwest Michigan.  The TPIMS delivers near-time parking availability information to truck drivers.  The project approach is to help mitigate truck parking overcrowding and associated safety concerns by monitoring and managing parking availability and providing timely information to commercial vehicle operators in the I-94 corridor for both public and private truck parking facilities.  MDOT disseminates this information including; Dynamic Truck Parking Signs, MDOT’s web-based traveler information website MiDrive (, a smartphone application, and on-board Connected Vehicle equipment.  DSRC, 4G, and WiFi are the three communication systems used to deliver data and disseminate information to the customers.  TPIMS has been functioning and delivering valuable parking availability to the trucking industry along the I-94 corridor, since fall of 2014.


  • Integrate Corridor Management (ICM):  MDOT deployed its first Integrate Corridor Management (ICM) system long the I-696 corridor between I-94 to the east and Dequindre Road to the west (about 8 miles) in the Metro Detroit Region.  MDOT’s Traffic Signals unit assisted in the development/implementation of this ICM system.  In partnership with the three largest county road agencies in the Metro Detroit Region (Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties), the project was constructed using MDOT’s freeway DMS system to alert drivers of an incident and provide alternate routes using adjacent arterial corridors.  Trail blazer signs are activated and traffic signal timing is modified to accommodate re-routed traffic.  County traffic centers along with MDOT’s Southeast Michigan Traffic Operations Center monitors freeway operations and are able to activate the system once an incident has been identified.  The system has been simplified by having pre-determined routes and signage programmed to respond once implemented by an operation center.  MDOT is currently in the planning/design phase for ICM at two other locations in the Metro Detroit Region.  Advantages ICM provides to the Metro Detroit Region:


  • ICM will more closely align freeway and arterial street operations in Metro Detroit Region

  • Increased emphasis on arterial operations was one of the objectives that emerged from the Regional Concept of Transportation Operations for Metro Detroit Region

  • ICM provides the opportunity to proactively improve and maximize the performance of the transportation system by serving as an alternative to traditional major infrastructure investments which may be more expensive or constrained by environmental issues

  • ICM simulation Benefit/Cost ratio 7:1 to 25:1


  • Advanced Traffic Management (ATM):  MDOT's first Active Traffic Management (ATM) project is being developed for the US-23 corridor in the Ann Arbor area (between Bridgton and Ann Arbor).  The system will provide dynamic shoulder use, dynamic lane use, variable advisory speeds, and a queue detection system.  Gantries with lane control signals over the median shoulder and the travel lanes will be provided at approximately one-half mile spacing for about 8.5 miles in each direction to help alleviate recurring directional peak hour traffic and incident related congestion.


    MDOT is currently in the design phase for this first ATM project with construction starting in the fall of 2016.  The anticipated benefits include:


  • Improved travel times for peak hour commuting traffic and special event traffic with the use of the dynamic shoulder

  • Decreased delays due to incidents by use of the dynamic lane and shoulder control

  • Increase in safety by providing speed harmonization and queue warning


    MDOT utilized the FHWA Tool for Benefit/Cost – TOPS-BC-Version 1.1 to analyze the benefits of dynamic shoulder use.  The results of the benefit-cost analysis indicated that the "ATDM-Hard Shoulder Running" is estimated to have an annual cost of $1,184,700 and an annual benefit of $11,645,248.50.


  • MDOT GPS on Fleet Vehicles and Snow Plows:This project provides a comprehensive AVL/GPS fleet tracking system for MDOT snow plow trucks and maintenance fleet vehicles.  It includes but not limited to; AVL/GPS hardware/software, installation support, communication/data transfer, training support, secure website for displaying mapped assets in near real-time, vehicle sensing of atmospheric conditions and in-vehicle controllers, data management, data reporting and data storage, and ongoing technical support for implementing an AVL/GPS fleet tracking solution on MDOT fleet vehicles.  Other initiatives in this area include but not limited to; 1) assessing the need, potential benefit, and participating state transportation departments pool fund study (PFS) for Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS), 2) continue to define functional and user requirements for the operation of the MDSS 3) build and evaluate software changes to MDSS that will meet the defined functional needs of the state DOTs PFS.


  • FHWA/MDOT Integrated Mobile Observations (IMO) and Weather Response Traffic Information (WxTINFO) System:IMO and WxTINFO are projects funded by the FHWA Road Weather Management Program, as grants to MDOT, the lead agency managing the projects.  Vendor partners are developing the systems to gather road condition data from MDOT snowplow trucks and light/medium-duty vehicles.  Data is collected via multiple methods including information from on-board data acquisition systems which consists of elements such as location, heading, atmospheric /pavement surface conditions, camera images, differential wheel speed and vehicle diagnostics.  This data will be used to develop applications and support other partner probe data collection needs like the FHWA Vehicle Data Translator, WxTINFO, and MDOT’s Data, Use, Analysis, and Processing (DUAP) project.


  • IMO 3.0:IMO 3.0 is a project funded by the FHWA Road Weather Management Program as a separate grant to MDOT from that provided for IMO 2.0 (completed October 2015).  MDOT has installed nine Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) roadside equipment units (RSUs) along the West Saginaw Highway (M-43) corridor in Lansing to facilitate communication with the Vehicle-based Information Data Acquisition System (VIDAS) instrumented MDOT vehicles (15).  Existing Siemens controllers (installed in 2012 as an FHWA Every Day Counts – Adaptive Signalization Corridor) have been upgraded to communicate with Road Side Units (RSU), which in turn, will communicate with VIDAS-equipped vehicles using DSRC.  High speed internet access will be installed to allow the RSUs to communicate with the back office.  The VIDAS platform is built to be extensible, which will allow for inclusion of additional sensors (quantity or type), where necessary.  Weather centric data from each vehicle will be the main information received as stated above.  However, other situational data will also be provided based on MDOTs stakeholder requirement needs.


  • < >  In partnership with FHWA, MDOT Wx-TINFO system is designed to function as a statewide implementation.  Traveler information/advisory/warning message locations will be dependent on the primary locations of the data sources feeding the system from both fixed and mobile platforms.  MDOT VIDAS project will have a select number of vehicles (15) collecting mobile observations throughout the entire state, covering all MDOT regions, including a percentage of vehicles in locations with fixed RWIS - Environmental Sensor Stations (ESS).  Data for WXTINFO will be sent to the back office server for post processing then, on to a Transportation Operations Center (TOC).  The TOC will use the vehicle information to post motorist advisories and warnings to a dynamic message sign, MiDrive website, and a smartphone application for the public and maintenance personnel use.

    MDOT Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV):This project provided research/evaluation on the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for transportation purposes.  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have the potential to inspect infrastructure and systems functionality from the air without impeding roadway traffic or placing inspectors/works dangerously close to traffic.  UAV technology also has the potential to provide survey information for construction, operations, maintenance, and asset management from an aerial platform.  Present assessment methods may include traffic monitoring/management, incident management (crash reconstruction), bridges, pump stations, roadway lighting fixtures, culverts, etc.  See this link for MDOT Research Spotlight on UAVs and MDOT UAV final research report for phase I: Evaluating the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Transportation Purposes


  1. Your MDOT snow plow trucks now have a camera with a real-time live feed to the TOC. Please share the need, process, challenges and the technology associated with this effort.

MDOT’s use of cameras for near-real time roadway images from fleet vehicles:

  • MDOT currently captures images from forward facing cameras mounted in the cabs of snowplows once per minute.

  • Prior to the commencement of the 2015-2016 winter MDOT will have cameras in nearly 200 of our 300 snow plows.

  • The camera images are collected and transmitted through the Automated Vehicle Locator (AVL) system (cellular network) in our snow plow fleet which contains a GPS device as well.

  • The camera images provide visual QC/QA regarding atmospheric conditions around the truck helping to improve the accuracy needed for the Maintenance Decision Support system (MDSS) forecast and treatment recommendations provided to maintenance crews.

  • Camera images can be accessed by MDOT employees through the vendor supplied AVL website.

  • Images are available for 24 hours.

  • Images are time stamped and geocoded.

  • Starting this fall, the MDOT Mi Drive website will display the current location of snow plows as long as they are operating on state trunkline. The public will also have access to the most recent camera image.


  1. You seem to have a good grip on Traffic Incident Management (TIM), how about arterial management?

    Michigan has implemented the national TIM SHRP2 training.  In Michigan we call the program Mi-TIME (Michigan Traffic Incident Management Effort).  Michigan has taken the national program and expanded to include Michigan laws, techniques and best practices.  Some of these best practices are used on the non-freeway system.  Michigan has an easy to use guide on how to set up a taper for a lane closure which can be applied at different speeds.

  2. Are you managing TIM using performance measures? If yes can you expand on that?

    Michigan has had a long history of using performance measures for TIM.  The current performance measures is the percentage of freeway incidents cleared under 2 hours which are classified as a minor or intermediate incidents according the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control.  Each month the number of freeway incidents cleared under 2 hours is compared to the previous month’s percentage to see if the percentage is higher or lower.  This performance measure is listed on the Governor’s Dashboard and MDOT’s Scorecard.  Link to Dashboard:

    Each of our Transportation Operation Centers (TOCs) publish a monthly performance report that also includes TIM performance measures.,4616,7-151-9615_44489---,00.html

  3. Can you speak on MDOT TSM&O funding?

MDOT uses a variety of funding sources to support TSM&O projects and initiatives. 


Generally, MDOT plans for expenditures by taking in all state and federal revenue sources, and allocating the programs, which are essentially budgetary systems for project planning and development.  Several of these programs can be used for TSM&O initiatives.  The Trunkline Maintenance program handles all routine maintenance activities across the MDOT roadway system, and includes the adoption of advanced maintenance technologies such as AVL and MDSS.  The Traffic Signal program incorporates the installation of new traffic signals, the upgrade and modernization of traffic signals, the interconnection of traffic signals, and the retiming of traffic signal systems throughout the state.  Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) eligible projects typically are included in the Traffic Signal program.  The Intelligent Transportation Systems program generally covers the remainder of MDOT TSM&O activities, such as ITS planning, design, deployment and maintenance, transportation operations center staffing and operations, and connected vehicle support activities.  The ITS program typically includes a significant number of CMAQ-eligible projects.  MDOT’s Research program has also supported some of the Department’s TSM&O efforts, such as developing an ITS Benefit and Cost evaluation, and the development of a connected vehicle Data Use Analysis and Processing (DUAP) program.


  1. Do you have business processes in place for TSM&O?

    MDOT participated in a SHRP 2 L06 TSM&O Capability Maturity Model workshop and developed actions as a result of a self-assessment held on February 26, 2013, in Lansing, Michigan.  Two main areas were identified as being most significant and relevant to advancing the current state of TSM&O within the agency.  The two main areas; developing a TSM&O Business Case (described below) and developing a plan for the TSM&O STIP/TIP program/budget implementation (see question 9 below) are in process now.


    MDOT is working to develop a TSM&O business case document for external audiences (outside MDOT) including MDOT benefit/cost analysis for all TSM&O projects, programs and activities, including Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) infrastructure (MDOT completed ITS only benefit/cost analysis in July 2015, see question 1 above)/operational investment for key external audiences.  External audiences include:


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    Transportation partners (locals, MPOs, suppliers, etc.)

  3. General public/motorist


    MDOT will produce documents that support a TSM&O business case in a succinct understandable manner.  Each TSM&O document will be prepared in a manner that will meet specific audience needs so they have enough information to better understand the important aspects of funding (benefit), deploying, and operating TSM&O initiatives.  As a result, with the aid of TSM&O outreach materials, external audiences/partners will be able to understand the need for highway TSM&O and the value it can provide to not only the motoring public but also the operations of public agencies. 


  4. How about MPO involvement and collaboration?

    MDOT collaborates with MPOs on TSM&O projects, though the level of involvement varies based upon the project type and scope.  MDOT shares all projects with appropriate MPOs, as all federal-aid projects and regionally significant state-funded projects must be listed in the MPO Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

    Beyond that basic level of involvement, levels of collaboration are tailored to the project.  Basic projects (sign upgrades, replacements, etc.) may see no additional involvement.  For example, MPOs in MDOT Southwest Region were stakeholders in the development of the Southwest Region ITS architecture.  When MDOT began planning the future of state roads in downtown Kalamazoo, we asked the MPO to lead that process for us.  Additionally, MPOs are key stakeholders in future planning, environmental, and design work associated with MDOT projects.

  5. Is attracting workforce and developing TSM&O workforce a challenge? If yes what are you doing about it if not, what have you done to manage that?

Yes, attracting and keeping the workforce trained is one of the key issues for many TSM&O leaders around the country.  There are many training opportunities available; however, they appear to be scattered and difficult for practitioners to find.  Through several one-on-one discussions and outreach, and engagement opportunities in national forums, it is clear that there is a need for

1) A one-stop-shop for available TSM&O training,

2) Linking and matching these training to KSAs,

3) Finding gaps in existing TSM&O training, and

4) Creating the missing training (education/training needs vs. activates to support TSM&O work force developing has not been addressed/initiated).  SWAT analysis may be a good place to start.  Then, develop a roadmap or a strategy of activities to accommodate needs that overcome weaknesses/threats by leveraging strength/opportunities.

As you are aware of AASHTO STSMO technical working group and the NOCoE has taken some initial steps to create a roadmap that would culminate in a national summit (state DOT and FHWA peer-to-peer workshop).

  1. Do you have a TSM&O plan? If yes can you share it with us? If not, are you working on it and what is the status?

      MDOT's State Long Range Plan (SLRP) addresses TSM&O within two of the plan's four goals, in general, mobility and operations language as follows:

  2. System Improvement: Modernize and enhance the transportation system to improve mobility and accessibility.

  3. Efficient and Effective Operations:Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the transportation system . . .

Within SLRP's Michigan Freight Technical Paper, TSM&O is addressed as follows:

  • Truck issues and strategies address travel time and congestion through various strategies, including the I-94 Corridor Operations Partnership, the Great Lakes Regional Transportation Operations Coalition, rehabilitate and reconstruct poor pavements and bridges, ITS Program, and a Truck Speed Team Committee.

  • Border crossing delay and congestion is addressed by the planned construction of the planned New International Trade Crossing, Gateway Project, planned Expansion of the Blue Water Bridge plaza, and cross border programs.

  • The Michigan Freight Plan, created as a supplement to the 2035 Mi Transportation Plan was issued in September 2013, TSM&O issues and strategies developed within the Michigan Freight Technical Paper are reinforced within this freight plan

As stated in question 5 above, through the FHWA SHRP 2 L06 TSM&O Capability Maturity Model, MDOT is in the process of developing a plan for the TSM&O program/budget implementation.

The plan will pertain to:

  • Incorporation of TSM&O in the State Long Range Transportation Plan (SLRP)
  • Suitable for the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
  • Proration for the Transportation Improvement Plans (TIPs)


MDOT is in the process of developing a statewide TSM&O plan incorporating regional/multimodal stakeholders suitable for incorporation into SLRP and a related program/budget suitable for STIP/TIPs.  Evaluation of both related capability improvement strategies and TSM&O projects in the form of incremental improvements with related resource requirements to serve both the TSM&O program and for incorporation into SLRP, STIP, TIP(s) and for senior leadership outreach materials. 

  1. Can you speak on Regional partnerships that exist in Michigan?

MDOT is a partner in the Great Lakes Regional Transportation Operations Coalition (GLRTOC) which collaborates with 13 other organizations in the region on initiatives that improve cross-regional transportation operations in support of regional economic competitiveness and improved quality of life.  This mega-region transportation approach addresses the challenges related to traffic congestion and an aging infrastructure on a large-scale, collective and consensus basis.  Member agencies benefit in a myriad of ways, including:

  • Access to key decision and policymakers
  • Common website to view all GLRTOC initiatives along the corridor
  • Multistate TIM & Emergency Traffic Operations traveler alerts/shared TMC messaging
  • Access to transportation data with coordinated management
  • Improved access to federal funding for projects
  • Improved operational coordination and customer focus
  • Improved workzone operational coordination
  • January interstate highway annual workzone preview
  • Megaregion corridor performance reporting
  • Monthly operational coordination meeting


  1. Where is MDOT on Work Zones, Traffic Signals, and Road Weather?

  2. MDOT has been advancing ITS technologies for work zones.The area most developed by MDOT with work zone ITS is the Stopped/Slowed Real Time Warning System.The system consists of portable changeable message signs (PCMS), portable traffic sensors, and portable closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, linked via wireless communications to a central workstation. The system monitors traffic speeds along the work zone route and automatically generates messages on the PCMS based on real time information, and provides a real-time congestion and incident message to alert motorist of traffic conditions ahead, which in turn mitigate back of queue work zone crashes, which can account, on average, for 50 percent of the total work zone crashes.


  3. In 2012, MDOT installed ACS-lite on two signal systems located in our Bay (Bay City, M-84, Bay Road) and University (Lansing, M-43, Saginaw Highway) Regions.  These systems were added to existing signal equipment by providing additional detection and a dedicated on-street master computer.  Both of these systems were installed on state trunkline routes that experience heavy daily directional commuter traffic along with extensive commercial development.  MDOT’s experience with ACS-lite system has met expectations by adjusting signal timing and offsets based on changes in traffic demand.  In particular MDOT has seem continuous good progressive movement during special events in the area including an annual Fourth of July fireworks and Black Friday holiday shopping rush.


  4. MDOT has a comprehensive road weather program in the North and Superior regions that include atmospheric/pavement condition sensors on weather stations or Roadway Weather Information Stations (RWIS).Through MDSS, MDOT receives pavement forecasts and maintenance treatment recommendations on 130 snowplow routes.All snow plow trucks collect and report air and pavement temperature for MDSS through AVL as stated in question 1 above.