Webinar Series, Part 2: How to Leverage IT Resources to Improve TSMO


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.

The first webinar focused on challenges that agency panelists faced regarding information technology and how they were able to overcome those challenges with the recording available here.

This second webinar focuses on specific effective practices to address IT-related challenges and how to use the reference document to find effective practices to address many of the most common challenges. The webinar presents:

  • The categories of IT-TSMO challenges and effective practices.
  • Demonstrate how to use the reference document to find effective practices to overcome specific challenges.
  • Specific panelist experience in addressing challenges with these effective practices.

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


  • Collin Castle, Michigan DOT
  • Nick Compin, Caltrans
  • Susan Klasen, New Hampshire DOR
  • Raj Ponnaluri, Florida DOT
  • Murali Rao, Virginia DOT
  • Les Jacobson, WSP USA

Presenter bios:

Raj Ponnaluri (FDOT): Raj V. Ponnaluri is the State Connected Vehicles, Arterials and Managed Lanes Engineer at the Florida Department of Transportation. In addition to leading the state’s connected vehicles, arterial management, managed lanes and connected vehicle programs, he assists with the development of the TSM&O initiatives. He holds a BSCE, MS and PhD in transportation engineering and an MBA. He is a registered P.E., PTOE and PMP. He has over 25 years of experience in Traffic Engineering and Operations, ITS, TSM&O, CAV, WWD, public transportation, and projects and contract management. Raj has published his work in several journals.

Nick Compin (CalTrans): Dr. Nick Compin works in Caltrans’ Sacramento headquarters Division of Traffic Operations and is the statewide lead for implementing Transportation System Management and Operations (TSMO), the Caltrans Connected Corridors Program – Caltrans Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) Program, and System Performance Measures. In his 20 years with Caltrans, Nick has worked in Caltrans District 3, the Caltrans Director’s Office, the California Transportation Commission, and the Divisions of Transportation Planning, Transportation System Information, and Traffic Operations. Nick has been and continues to be involved in numerous national research efforts and is an adjunct professor of transportation system planning for the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. Nick received his B.A. from Chico State University and his M.A. (focus on Transit-Oriented Development) and Ph.D. (focus on Rail Transit System Performance Measurement) from the University of California, Irvine.

Susan Klasen (NH DOT): Susan Klasen is the New Hampshire Department of Transportation Administrator for the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO). The Bureau is responsible for both the statewide Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) program and the Transportation Management Center, which is the operational arm that uses the ITS technologies. Susan has been with NHDOT since 2005. She moved to TSMO after 7 years within the Bureau of Highway Maintenance as the Assistant District Engineer. Prior to that Susan worked as a Traffic Design Engineer in the Bureau of Traffic. Susan also worked as the Traffic Engineer for the City of Nashua, NH and is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer after serving in Ghana, West Africa. Susan obtained her degree in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University. Susan Klasen is a registered NH Professional Engineer and is on the Board of Directors for ITS New England

Collin Castle (Michigan DOT):Collin Castle has worked in the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Program Office for the past 13 years. He is currently serving as the MDOT ITS Program Manager responsible for the administration, support and oversight of the statewide ITS, Signals, TOCs, and Connected and Autonomous Vehicle program at MDOT. He is a graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Civil Engineering with a focus on Transportation and is registered Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan.

Murali Rao (VA DOT): Murali Rao is currently the Director for Technology Strategy and Cybersecurity, in the Office of Strategic Innovation at Virginia DOT. Previously, he has held several technology leadership positions, including Chief Information Officer, Information Technology Director, Information Security Officer, and others. He is a member of the VDOT innovation team that is future focused, and looks at innovative solutions that enhance transportation, in both information technology and operations technology. He is currently focused on data, technology, and cybersecurity solutions for cyber physical systems and back-haul communications, in preparation for the expected proliferation of IOT devices, 5G services, and CAV. He has been with VDOT for over 26 years, and has 35 years of progressive IT management experience. He holds a BS in Physics and an MS in Computer Engineering.

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.

Event Type

  • Webinar

Content Type

  • Presentation

Publishing Organization

  • NOCoE

Document Downloads

Issue Date
October 6th, 2020
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