National Operations Center of Excellence Newsletter - February 2015, Volume 1, Issue 2

Message from the Executive Director

By Dennis Motiani
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Dennis MotianiIt’s been almost two months since I joined the National Operations Center of Excellence, so I thought it would be a good idea to pause and share what has transpired during this time. We had a very successful launch and presence during the TRB annual meeting. Special thanks to all the committee and subcommittee chairs who changed their meeting agendas to accommodate my last minute request. We had two productive NOCoE Board of Directors meetings- one in person during TRB and the second one as a conference call two weeks ago. Numerous meetings have been held with FHWA operations staff, TRB staff, Academia, and a series of phone calls with state DOT officials to understand what can be offered, shared, synergized and to assess practitioner needs. As we move forward and create the technical program for this year, it’s crucial that you offer ideas, bring forth your needs and request assistance.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Don Hunt, the outgoing Executive Director of Colorado DOT. Don was the chair of AASHTO’s Subcommittee on Transportation Systems Management & Operations (STSM&O). It’s under Don’s leadership and commitment that we saw this project move past just a vision and become a reality. Don believes in operations and the work that we all do. He has served the citizens of Colorado exceptionally well, but in my mind, with the launch of the Operations Center of Excellence, he has served the entire country. It will be very difficult to fill his shoes and we are sad to see him leave. We wish Don the best in his future endeavors. Thank you Don Hunt - you will be missed!
Sincerely yours,
Dennis Motiani


By Don Hunt

After four years as Executive Director of the Colorado DOT, I have decided to transition back to my company, and enjoy a little more flexibility as a deserving grandfather.  While I look forward to more time with my family, I will certainly miss the people that I have worked with from all over the country to energize a national focus on transportation operations.

I would like to thank everyone that worked so hard to reactivate the AASHTO Subcommittee on Transportation Systems Management and Operations (STSMO) during the past three years.  Even more, together we launched the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) to provide a focused source of information in this critical field that will enhance mobility and safety.  The partnership forged by AASHTO, ITE, ITS America, and FHWA will serve as a model for future initiatives.

I am excited to watch and participate in how the field of operations will bring efficiencies to our transportation system.  We are stewards of how new technologies will create a new mobility paradigm.  Three of the major disruptive technologies affecting transportation include connectivity, big data, and automation.  These technologies will impact both vehicle operations and transportation system management, bringing changes to transportation not witnessed since the development of the interstate system.  And the changes will come quickly, making rapid sharing of experience all the more important.
 The NOCoE will be the hub to exchange information and best practices among all of those involved in this transformation.  The Center will bring together access to the newest reports, discussions on best practices, and webinars for active exchange of information.  In the field of operations it will be critical to join state and local government practitioners with private sector partners to chart the way forward—and the NOCoE does just that.  Whether it’s data quality, analytics, performance measures, decision support, active traffic management, V2I applications, or vehicle automation, the Center will be help to help establish a new framework for transportation far into the future.
I look forward to watching for each new innovation.  And more importantly, seeing how quickly we are able to implement new methods to achieve real results.  I know that the NOCoE will be at the forefront of these ideas.

U.S. DOT Releases ITS Strategic Plan

The ITS Joint Program Office has just released the ITS Strategic Plan 2015-2019, outlining the direction and goals of the ITS Program. Download the plan to find out more about the bulk of transportation research and innovation is heading.

Some highlights of the plan include program categories, which provide the structure for research, development, and adoption of ITS technologies including Connected Vehicles, Automation, Emerging Capabilities, Enterprise Data, Interoperability, and Accelerating Deployment.

USDOT Announces $29 Million in Grants to Promote New Technologies  

Via USDOT Federal Transit Administration news release

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today that 13 organizations in nine states will receive a share of $29 million in grant funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Innovative Safety, Resiliency, and All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery Demonstration funding opportunity. The grants will support cutting-edge developments in mass transit, utilizing state-of-the-art technology to help transit agencies improve track worker and passenger safety, better withstand natural disasters, and respond more effectively to emergencies. A list of selected projects is available online.

Safety Summit Focuses on Incident Management

Via EDC News
Better data collection is key to making the strategies introduced in the EDC-2 traffic incident management responder training effort part of the responder culture, according to FHWA Acting Administrator Gregory Nadeau. He delivered that message in a Fast Lane blog post as FHWA hosted the second Senior Executive Transportation and Public Safety Summit for the Institutionalization of Traffic Incident Management. Leaders of groups representing transportation, fire, emergency medical services, law enforcement and towing responders attended the January event to share ideas for increased responder safety. Please click on the EDC News link above to find out more.

Connected Car Safety an Issue for Motorists

Link to article from

More than 65 percent of those surveyed said they would prefer always-on navigation systems that work with or without wireless coverage in the vehicle. More than 56 percent of drivers have safety concerns about managing multiple, non-integrated applications for local search, navigation and mapping while behind the wheel, according to a survey of more than 150 U.S. car owners conducted by mapping software specialist deCarta.

Likewise, 64 percent said they desire smart integrated traffic solutions for optimum route calculation, including traffic-enabled routing that continuously checks current and historic traffic flow and upcoming roadway incidents and re-routes the trip automatically. To read more, please click on the link above.

Traffic Control Devices 2014

TRB’s Transportation Research Record (TRR): Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2463 Traffic Control Devices 2014 consists of 8 papers that explore a simulator-based analysis of driver performance using three- or four-section displays for permissive left turns; predictions of driver action at signalized intersections by using a nested logit model; an interactive decision support system for predicting flashing yellow arrow left-turn mode by time of day; and safety and operational impacts of optional flashing yellow arrow delay.

This TRR also examines traffic sign recognition using sparse representations and active contour models; driver yielding at traffic control signals, pedestrian hybrid beacons, and rectangular rapid-flashing beacons in Texas; evaluation of overhead-mounted sign alternatives for lane use and destination information on multilane conventional roads; and an investigation of pedestrian crossing speeds at signalized intersections with heavy pedestrian volumes.

The Estimation and Use of Value of Travel Time Reliability for Multi-Modal Corridor Analysis

TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Report S2-L35A-RW-1: The Estimation and Use of Value of Travel Time Reliability for Multi-Modal Corridor Analysis demonstrates local methods to incorporate travel time reliability into the project evaluation process for multi-modal planning and development.