Making TSMO more Effective Through Active Management


Active Management entails improving system operations by moving from strategy application based on a fixed timeframe to one that is dynamic and adaptive to changing current and future conditions. TSMO involves implementing a set of strategies that improve an agency’s existing transportation system performance without a major capacity expansion and operating the available transportation assets at maximum efficiency. Active Management offers agencies a way to incrementally improve their TSMO operations regardless of their current level of effectiveness.

There are 4 steps in active management that create a continuous cycle:

1. Monitoring the System – Track the transportation system status using real-time and historic data and analysis tools.

2. Assessing System Performance – Measure system performance using the collected data and analysis tools to determine if system performance is at the desired level.

3. Evaluating and Recommending Dynamic Actions – Identify actions to improve the level of active management.

4. Implementing Dynamic Actions – Implement the recommended actions and continue to monitor the system.

For each step, there are 4 levels of active management:

  • Static—strategy responses to variations in conditions are preset and updated based on the calendar (i.e., periodic reviews and updates), policy, or law.
  • Reactive—strategy responses change when there are observed problems with the static plans. Limited, if any, real-time monitoring is in place at this level.
  • Responsive—strategy adjustments occur in real time in response to changing conditions.
  • Proactive—strategy responses are adjusted in anticipation of future conditions.

This webinar will present the active management cycle concept and describe a self-assessment and improvement process that agencies or regions can use to determine ways to improve their level of active management, thereby making their TSMO systems and strategies more effective.

Target Audience

  • Senior managers with TSMO responsibilities.
  • TMC managers.
  • Managers of specific TSMO strategies.
  • TSMO operations staff.
  • Planners or individuals responsible for developing transportation operation strategies.
  • Consultants, product vendors, and researchers whose work supports TSMO managers and staff.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the 4 steps in the active management cycle and the 4 levels of each step.
  • Explain the active management cycle self-assessment framework tool.
  • Summarize how the framework tool was applied in a pilot location.


Moderator: James Colyar, FHWA


  • Stephanie Palmer, Michigan DOT
  • Reno Giordano, WSP
  • Les Jacobson, WSP
  • Lisa Burgess, Kimley Horn

Operations Area of Practice

  • System Performance Definition, Monitoring and Reporting

Organizational Capability Element

  • Performance Management
  • Evaluation of Operations Strategies
  • Performance Measurement

Event Type

  • Webinar

Content Type

  • Presentation

Publishing Organization

  • NOCoE

Document Downloads

Project Website

View webinar recording on YouTube.

Issue Date
May 18th, 2021
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