TSMO Workforce Session at ITS World Congress

On October 7 at 12:15pm ET, NOCoE will host a discussion on the future of the TSMO working during the ITS World Congress ALL-ACCESS.  The panel will feature winners of NOCoE’s Annual Best of TSMO awards: Brad Freeze, Director, Traffic Operations Division with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Adam Kieffer, TSMO Capital Program Manager at the Ohio Department of Transportation and Monica Harwood Duncan, Washington State Department of Transportation Statewide TSMO Development Engineer.

Find out more, including how to watch this session for free, at the ITS World Congress ALL-ACCESS website.
Panelist Harwood Duncan from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for example, whose team won NOCoE’s Best of TSMO Award in the TSMO Workforce Development category, believes expanding the conversation about TSMO workforce is critical to the future of transportation. “If we just focus on technology, we’re going to nail technology but we’re not going to have the workforce to manage it, “she said. “The skills are not plug and play. We have to recognize TSMO skills and really develop a career path.”

TSMO has been integrated into WSDOT strategies and procedures for decades, but not clearly identified or articulated within the organization’s culture. Harwood Duncan’s challenge has been to change that and help define it as a discipline throughout the DOT. “Washington State DOT has been doing TSMO for a long, long time, and we have had a traffic operations division for almost as long. I think of the football analogy. You get to the 99-yard line but the last yard is the hardest.”

An important early recognition was that even though in many settings, TSMO is the responsibility of operations staff, WSDOT takes a much more global view. “Our goal was to look at the entire agency. We believe it’s owned by the entire organization,” she said. “You have your direct operations staff with a high level of expertise and training, but they need talking points to so they can talk to others. We have other colleagues in the agency who will employ parts of TSMO. We needed to support their knowledge.”

Harwood Duncan, says introducing TSMO to student engineers and prospective transportation professionals, and defining potential career paths will help solidify the discipline. “What I love about TSMO is that it really has such a mission to it. We can use that to enlist a newer generation,” she said. “I have a ‘stretch’ goal that traffic operations becomes a career of choice, because it offers such an attractive place to work on so many levels.”

Viewers and listeners can expect to hear more insight and expertise from all three panelists during the discussion at the ITS World Congress. NOCoE’s Son says it can’t come at a more important time. “TSMO is becoming broadly accepted, especially as agencies look for cost-effective strategies to safely and efficiently manage traffic. I have been immersed in TSMO for some time, but I fully expect to learn something new myself during this session.”

Find out more, including how to watch this session for free, at the ITS World Congress ALL-ACCESS website.