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NOCoE BiWeekly Newsletter: June 8, 2017

Message from the Managing Director
By Patrick Son

As we all plan and prepare for the next big thing it seems, we always need to change. The rate of change for those in our industry is steep, to say the least. That is why in order to get ahead of the change or even just catch up, we need to leap forward not just creep forward. We can do this through great initiatives that propel us and help share relevant and timely resources from the initiative which is what NOCoE is doing to support the National SPaT Challenge.
In our daily lives, we can also leap forward through good time management. This message about time management is not for you per se, but for those on your team and colleagues in other departments. Think about the time it takes someone on your team to locate information or resources, then think about whether or not they look in the right place or have found what they were looking for?

Most of the time, we send our team to search for information and while good efforts are made,  in our industry, knowing where to look is half the battle. That is why NOCoE needs to be a part of your solution-finding process. None of us has the luxury to have our teams losing time or wasting effort looking for resources in the wrong places; they need to be pointed in the right direction to find what is needed to come up with the next innovation and/or solution.
I am pleased to say that sometimes, we are able to get ahead of the curve and provide resources in one succinct place like we did for the National SPaT Challenge. If your agency is responding to the challenge and does not have a pin on our map, you need to get in touch with us IMMEDIATELY, because we want to be able to show that as an industry, we can leap forward.

Agencies Gear Up for Vehicle to Infrastructure Deployment through New Challenge Initiative 
By Blaine Leonard

Transportation agencies across the country now have the opportunity to be at the forefront of groundbreaking Vehicle to Infrastructure Deployment, with a little help from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and ITS America.

Connected vehicle applications are only the latest development in a three-decade history of expanding uses and deployments of transportation technologies on the nation’s roadways since the advent of intelligent transportation systems.  The benefits and full vision of connected vehicle technologies, which include a significant decrease in crashes and fatalities, will come when state and local departments of transportation ‘operationalize’ connected vehicles into daily DOT activities, allowing drivers to benefit from them every time they drive. 

However, while there is a clear interest in new connected vehicle technologies and a strong case for the role of infrastructure in them, many agencies are not prepared for deployment. The fast-paced evolution of connected vehicle research and technology presents a moving target for a real understanding of all the components necessary to support nationally consistent and uniform, fully functional deployments, making it hard for agencies to know how or where to jump in. This is where the Signal Phase and Timing (SPaT) Challenge was born.

To read more, please click here

Washington State DOT Offers Peak-Use Shoulder Lane To Traffic 
By Craig Smiley

At 2 p.m. on Monday, April 24, Washington State Department of Transportation offered travelers in south Snohomish County a new option for their afternoon commute. The northbound peak-use shoulder lane officially opened to general-purpose traffic on the 1.8-mile stretch between State Route 527 in Bothell and I-5 in Lynnwood, about 20 miles northeast of Seattle.

Interstate 405 is one of the most congested corridors in Washington State. It runs northbound and southbound to the east of Seattle, intersecting with I-90 near Bellevue. It also connects to I-5 in two places: Lynnwood, approximately 20 miles north of Seattle, and Tukwila, approximately 12 miles south of Seattle.

Originally, the Washington State Legislature funded this project with an expected opening date in 2018. However, with approval to use revenues from the I-405 express toll lanes earlier, we were able to complete the project more than a year sooner than expected. What’s especially unique is that this was the first project to use toll revenue, making it the first reinvestment back into the corridor.

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Help Train Computers to Recognize Road Users, Prevent Collisions
By Michelle Birdsall

In 2016, road crashes resulted in 40,000 deaths and 4.6 million injuries in the United States. For young people under age 19, these collisions were the leading cause of death. What if we could use technology to predict where vehicle collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists will occur, then take steps to prevent them? Would you want to help? Well, now you can.
This work is part of a multi-city, multi-organizational partnership called Video Analytics Towards Vision Zero. As indicated in this ITE Journal article, we aim to use footage from traffic cameras across North America to “teach” computers how to recognize near-miss collisions. Data from these machine learning systems will allow transportation engineers to predict where crashes will occur and take proactive measures to prevent them. 
ITE invites you to help us generate buzz and public participation in our next project milestone. Together let’s invite our communities to use crowd-sourcing to analyze video and teach computers to identify a person in a wheelchair, on a bike or in a car, as well as patterns of movement in intersections. The more volunteers who take part, the better computers will learn to recognize near-miss collisions.
To participate, visit ITE’s website at

To read more, please click here

Masters Program in Transportation Systems

The National Transportation Center at Maryland, the A. James Clark School of Engineering has launched an online master's degree program in Transportation Systems.
Modeled after the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering's nationally acclaimed master's degree in Transportation Engineering and Planning, students in this online program will develop robust knowledge of transportation planning, travel behavior, traffic operations, safety, and design, and tackle critical topics including system optimization, transportation economics and policy, infrastructure vulnerability and protection, emissions estimation, and sustainability analysis. Please click the link above for more information. 

TRB Operations and Preservation Group Young Member Council
The TRB Operations and Preservation Group Young Member Council is a sub-council of the organization's Young Members Council with focus on Operations and Preservation. TRB has established a mentorship that aims to pair young members (defined as 35 years-old or younger) and young professionals (even if they don't qualify to be Young Members by TRB standards) with seasoned veterans in the industry for career and TRB mentorship. The goal is to integrate Young Members into TRB activities and standing committees. The Council has developed mentor and mentee surveys to identify potential participants and match them with each other. Matched pairs will be notified several months ahead of the TRB Annual Meeting in January 2018.