Transportation Systems Management & Operations

Performance-based transportation planning is a central underpinning of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). With it comes emphasis from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on integrating systems management and operations. It encourages us to look at more ways to optimize existing transportation facilities either through advanced technologies or strategies.

FHWA has developed Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO), which is a set of strategies that focus on operational improvements that can maintain and even restore the performance of the existing transportation system before extra capacity is needed. The goal is to get the most performance out of the transportation facilities we already have.

The benefits to TSMO can include:

  • Improved quality of life
  • Smoother and more reliable traffic flow
  • Improved safety
  • Reduced congestion
  • Less wasted fuel
  • Cleaner air
  • Increased economic vitality
  • More efficient use of resources (facilities, funding)
  • Greater availability of transportation options
  • Better balance of supply and demand for the overall transportation system

New system and corridor approaches to optimizing mobility, include such things as:

  • Connected and coordinated traffic signals, including adaptive signals with detection, preemption, etc.
  • Traveler information systems
  • Active Traffic Demand Management enabled by traditional technologies and emerging technologies including hard shoulder running, variable speed limits, V2X technologies enabled by DSRC and 5G for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV)
  • Ramp Metering
  • Work Zone Management
  • Traffic Incident Management
  • Special Event Management
  • Road Weather Management
  • Transit Management
  • Freight Management
  • Congestion Pricing
  • Integrated Corridor Management
  • Access Management
  • Improved Bicycle and Pedestrian Crossings
  • Connected and Automated Vehicle Deployment
  • Mobility on Demand
  • Parking Management

OKI recognizes the need and the opportunity that lies ahead. The region can do more with less while also laying foundations for the future. This includes new infrastructure that can accommodate high speed data transmission such as fiber optic cable and 5G. This is necessary for the efficient collection and dissemination of roadway and transit information as well as information flow between vehicles and the infrastructure (V2X). This step creates a fully connected environment which can eventually facilitate fully autonomous operations. The pace of this evolution will depend on the social acceptance of such a system, and technology challenges will without a doubt be easier to solve than the social acceptance.

Cellular V2X shows great promise for connecting vehicles to everything, including the network, other vehicles, even pedestrians. It relies on cellular communications. Source: NGMN

Improved Signalization

Applying coordinated and/or adaptive signal systems as exemplified by closed loop and centralized systems. This may also include signal priority for transit vehicles. The benefits of improved signal systems are commonly measured by reductions in travel time, vehicle stops, delay, fuel consumption, and emissions, and increases in travel speed.

Source: USDOT

Expansion of traveler information systems

Information on travel times and incidents provided in real-time to the traveler via dynamic message signs, a personal electronic device or telephone 511 system. ODOT, INDOT and KYTC currently operate dynamic message signs, information thru website or personal electronic device and a 511 system for a large portion of the region’s interstate highway system. As vehicles become smarter and more connected, motorist information would not likely come from dynamic message signs but directly to your vehicle.

Source: ODOT

Active traffic management

An approach for dynamically managing and controlling traffic demand and available capacity of transportation facilities, based on prevailing conditions, using one or a combination of real-time and predictive operational strategies. When implemented together and alongside traditional travel demand management strategies, these operational strategies help to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the transportation facility and result in improved safety, trip reliability and throughput. Components of active traffic management may include speed harmonization, temporary shoulder use, queue warning, dynamic merge control, construction zone management, dynamic truck restrictions, dynamic rerouting and traveler information, dynamic lane markings or automated speed enforcement.

Source: FWHA

Ramp metering

Metering is an effective way to improve traffic flow on interstates without adding additional lanes. The meter allows traffic to enter the freeway at a rate dependent on the conditions of the freeway traffic. Motorists may be delayed at the meter, but freeway speeds and overall travel times are improved.

Source: Washington State DOT

OKI recommends several TSMO corridors for implementation

TSMO corridors are shown along several sections of highways
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