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Developing the TSMO Paraprofessional Workforce


Case Study Highlights

  • A consensus definition of a TSMO Paraprofessional was developed in a 2019 National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) White Paper building on previous work by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
  • There are many workforce activities underway across national, state, and local agencies attempting to define the workforce needs of the future related to transportation technology.
  • There is a tradeoff of working for a public sector and private sector agency. On one hand, financial compensation tends to be higher in the private sector, while the public sector offers more stability and a broader range of fringe benefits.
  • As an initial estimate and subject to further refinement, it is estimated there are approximately 10,000 – 13,000 TSMO paraprofessionals across the US supporting TMCs, maintaining operational technologies, and providing critical traffic incident management services.


New technology and data strategies have enabled organizations to better operate and manage existing transportation systems to maximize available capacity. While great gains have and continue to be made in how we manage our transportation system, new skills across the entire employments spectrum (e.g., professional, paraprofessional, skilled trades, unskilled) are required. This case study builds on previously completed work performed by the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE). It reaffirms the definition of paraprofessionals, highlights ongoing TSMO-related work by other organizations, draws a comparison between the public and private sector TSMO paraprofessional workforce, and attempts to define the current size and forecast future demand.

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Case Studies & Lessons Learned

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Todd Szymkowski, PE, PTOE, PMP
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