Webinar Series, Part 1: Achieving Better Coordination Between Operations and IT


This is the first of two webinars that discusses challenges and opportunities that TSMO practitioners face regarding information technology. This first webinar presented some of these challenges and how the project has developed possible solutions, or effective practices. A panel of practitioners from operating transportation agencies representing both Operations and IT discussed their experiences with addressing challenges cooperatively and successfully.


Those responsible for implementing, operating, and maintaining Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) solutions have long understood the challenges related to deploying, integrating, and managing transportation technologies (e.g. ITS). However, increasingly technology for TSMO is intersecting with traditional information technology (IT) functions and groups. This growing role of IT within TSMO/ITS functions is creating both opportunities and challenges. Opportunities include the ability to collaborate, leverage respective skill sets, improve network security, and gain advantages in procurement and maintaining IT infrastructure. Challenges include disconnects, misunderstandings, and points of conflict on program priorities, risks, and potential difference in standards.

The FHWA-led Leveraging and Coordinating Technology Resources for Transportation Systems Management and Operations research effort explores common challenges between TSMO practitioners and IT staff and identifies effective practices to overcome these challenges that have been implemented by a variety of transportation organizations. This webinar series is intended to share findings from the FHWA project and to hear about the experiences and lessons learned in coordinating IT and TSMO from transportation agencies.

Target Audience

  • Senior managers with TSMO responsibilities
  • TMC managers
  • IT Managers involved with supporting Transportation Operations
  • Transportation operations staff
  • IT staff involved with supporting Transportation Operations

Learning Objectives

  • Become familiar with IT challenges that Operations personnel face.
  • Learn about potential effective practices in overcoming these challenges.
  • Learn about the Principles and Strategies for Effective Coordination of IT and TSMO reference document.


  • Jim Hunt, FHWA
  • Les Jacobson, WSP USA


  • Doug Tomlinson, Pennsylvania DOT
  • Bob Taylor and Craig Shuey, Pennsylvania Turnpike
  • Brad Freeze and Joe Kirk, Tennessee DOT
  • Les Jacobson, WSP USA

Look ahead for second webinar of the series

The second webinar in this series will discuss challenges and opportunities that TSMO practitioners face regarding information technology. The second webinar will focus on specific effective practices to address IT-related challenges and how to use the reference document to find effective practices to address a large number of challenges. Registartion for Part 2 is available here.

Presenter Bios:

  • Douglas Tomlinson(PA DOT): Doug began working for PennDOT in 1994, and his 26-year career has focused on a wide-range of topics in traffic engineering and traffic operations. Doug was a 2008 Graduate of the Operations Academy and was named ITS PA person of the year by the Pennsylvania chapter in 2013. He is currently Chief of the Highway Safety and Traffic Operations Division.
  • Joe Kirk (TN DOT): Joe Kirk is Chief Information Officer at the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Joe has done technology and business development and management for enterprise corporations, including Westinghouse, BellSouth, AT&T and Comcast for over 30 years. Joe has been the CIO at the Tennessee Department of Transportation since 2012. A passionate advocate of business agility, he led the IT Division through a complete agile transformation with a focus on implementing strategic technology for the next generation of transportation. Joe and his wife, Betsy, live in Nashville and are adoptive parents who have raised eight daughters.
  • Brad Freeze (TN DOT): Brad Freeze, PE is the Director of Traffic Operations Division with Tennessee Department of Transportation. A TDOT employee since 2002, Brad is the Director of the TDOT Traffic Operations Division. The mission of the Traffic Operations Division is to maximize the capacity the existing roadway network in Tennessee. He is a licensed engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from UT – Knoxville. Previous to his current position in the Traffic Operations Division, Brad oversaw the development of Intelligent Transportation Systems & Traffic Signal Design projects. In addition to his TDOT responsibilities, Brad currently serves on the Technical Advisory Committee of the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE), which was established through a partnership with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA). The NOCoE is intended to serve the emerging transportation systems management and operations (TSM&O) community, which is focused on deploying strategies and technologies to increase the safety and efficiency of the nation’s transportation system. Brad holds professional memberships with ITS Tennessee, ITS America and the Institute of Transportation Engineers. He is a past President of ITS Tennessee and currently serves on its Board of Directors. Brad currently lives in Millersville, Tennessee, with his wife, Rachel, 9-year-old daughter, Eliza, and his 6-year old daughter, Emajean.
  • Les Jacobson (WSP): Les Jacobson is a vice president and Senior ITS Manager for WSP USA. He is based in Seattle. Les has been involved in and led innovative transportation projects and efforts over his entire 40+ year career. Les works on a wide variety of Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO), and ITS projects including planning and deployment and developing TSMO program plans for states such as Minnesota, Oregon, and South Dakota. Mr. Jacobson has led national research projects, including the AASHTO Transportation Operations Manual that is currently underway. He has developed a number of sessions for a variety of workshops and forums focusing on TSMO strategies, including Regional Operations Forums and Regional Operations Leadership Forums. Les began his career with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). He was with WSDOT for 22 years and was a driving force in the development and implementation of the Operations Program that began in the early 1990’s. He was also the Program Manager for half of the total statewide Operations Program. Les also taught Traffic Flow Theory at the UW throughout 1990’s. He is involved in TRB, ITS Alaska, ITE, and AASHTO.
  • Craig Shuey (Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission): Craig was appointed Chief Operating Officer of the Turnpike Commission in January 2011; in that role, he is responsible for oversight, management and strategic planning for the day-to-day operation of the 552 miles of Turnpike and direct oversight of six departments, including Electronic Toll Collection, Traffic Engineering and Operations, Maintenance and Legislative Affairs. He currently is serving his second term as the Chair of the E-ZPass Group’s Executive Management Committee. A Bloomsburg University graduate majoring in Political Science, Craig had previously served as the Turnpike’s government affairs director, joining the Commission in August of 2009. He served 15 years with the Pennsylvania Senate and was Executive Director of the Senate Transportation Committee.
  • Bob Taylor (Pennsylvania Turnpike): Bob Taylor, P.E., PTOE is the Chief Technology Officer at the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In this role, Bob focuses on the use of technology and innovation to improve customer safety and mobility as well as to enable and modernize business operations. Bob oversees a $50 million technology program that includes enterprise business systems, geoanalytics, technology infrastructure and cybersecurity. Prior to that, Bob served as Manager of Traffic Operations where he managed the traffic incident management program, work zone operations, intelligent transportation systems and connected and automated vehicle technologies. Bob also worked at Gannett Fleming for over 20 years where he was responsible for the planning and deployment of transportation systems. Bob holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. Bob serves on several professional organizations including the TRB Regional Operations Committee, IBTTA Emerging Technology Committee, and as the vice-chair of the Smart Belt Coalition which is a partnership between Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania focused on transformational transportations technologies.

Operations Area of Practice

  • Decision Criteria for ITS Device Type and Location
  • Integrated ITS Deployment
  • Procurement Approaches

Organizational Capability Element

  • Technical Understanding

Event Type

  • Webinar

Content Type

  • Presentation

Publishing Organization

  • NOCoE

Document Downloads

Project Website

View webinar recording on NOCoE YouTube Channel.

Issue Date
September 1st, 2020
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