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NOCoE Summit Funding and Capital Improvement Process


On August 7-8, 2019, the National Operations Center of Excellence convened a group of transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) practitioners from state, regional and local transportation agencies to discuss major practices around funding and planning for TSMO within their transportation departments. The two goals of the 2019 NOCoE TSMO Summit on Funding and Capital Improvement Process Integration were to:

1. Identify the current practices for funding of TSMO.

2. Identify current practices, along with research and resource needs, for integrating TSMO into the capital improvement process.

This report not only encapsulates the findings of the summit, discovered thanks to the contributions of specific agencies that prepared materials and participated, but also provides details on how TSMO is currently deployed in a variety of transportation agencies. The in-depth discussion that captured specific best practices also identified gaps in how TSMO is deployed and funded inside transportation agency processes. Practitioners also identified a number of research and resource needs to efficiently advance the adoption of TSMO.

TSMO Funds – Where Do They Come From? Where Do They Go?

When we talk about best practices around funding for TSMO, it is necessary to understand the variety of funding models by which agencies fund a majority or significant portion of their TSMO activities. TSMO, as an integrative and programmatic concept, allows variable funding sources to be used to achieve the goals of the department of transportation (DOT). From responses from the participants, we could identify specific funding sources for various TSMO activities, ranging from federal grants and congestion programs to regional programs and fuel taxes.

In collecting and discussing the general operations budget and process within each agency, the summit identified three groupings of funding models: Federal Focused Funds, State/Local Focused Funds and Regional Organizations. Note that most agencies use a combination of the identified funding sources and the following structure is meant to associate funding models of TSMO activities and agency structures for similarity recognition. In doing so, we hope other practitioners will correlate the funding models of participating agencies with best practices identified in this report.

A variety of approaches for budget management and funds is provided around each of the three funding models. For agencies focused on federal funds, their success in funding TSMO was due to these factors: 1) dedicated/protected or long-standing funds for TSMO set aside within capital budget, 2) TSMO champions established at every phase of capital projects and 3) good relationships with a variety of DOT divisions to ensure TSMO is adopted and maintained through the budget approval process.

TSMO in Capital Infrastructure Projects

It is possible to correlate the efficacy and sustainability of the adoption of TSMO as a mainstream practice within the transportation system community with integrating TSMO into the capital improvement process. This report looks at each step of the capital improvement process to extract lessons learned and positive and encouraging policies and procedures. It also identifies areas the TSMO industry can focus on.

TSMO Knowledge, Research Need and NOCoE Action Items

Through the process of exploring and synthesizing current leading practices, summit attendees were also able to discuss major challenges and identify research and resource needs for future funding of TSMO. Many of these challenges can be addressed by the knowledge needs, research ideas and NOCoE action items identified below.

TSMO Knowledge Needs:

  1. Examples of agency manuals that have been updated and include TSMO
    • NOCoE Action Item: As DOTs share their updated manuals and materials, NOCoE can provide a compiled landing page to share with the TSMO industry.
  2. Data governance best practices among regional partners to show multi-agency acceptance
  3. Examples of the TSMO practice being emphasized and prioritized in design and construction phases
  4. Funding and normalizing digital projects, equipment and software in a DOT’s budget and day-to-day operations
  5. Understanding how agencies are budgeting operations and maintenance costs for new projects at the time of project identification and funding

TSMO Research Needs:

  1. How to handle funding TSMO projects that have a short implementation and construction time frame
  2. Synthesizing TSMO best practices in construction inspection on roadway projects
  3. Synthesizing the leading and best practices for asset management for TSMO
    • NOCoE Action Item: 2020 peer exchange on asset management for TSMO scheduled.

Operations Area of Practice

    Business Processes/Policies and Procedures
    Planning for Operations
    Organizational Models

Organizational Capability Element

    Project Development

Event Type


Content Type

State-of-the Practice

Role in Organization

Senior Engineer
Principal Engineer
Director / Program Manager
CEO / GM / Commissioner
Senior Manager

Publishing Organization


Maturity Level of Program

Monitoring (L4)
Deployment (L3)
Assessment (L1)
Development (L2)

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Patrick Son
Adam Hopps
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