The National Academies

NCHRP 03-148 [Anticipated]

Capabilities, Requirements, Planning, and Preparing to Virtually Operate Traffic Management Systems (TMS).

  Project Data
Source: AASHTO Committee on Transportation System and Operations; Georgia Department of Transportation
Funds: $600,000
Staff Responsibility: Zuxuan Deng
Fiscal Year: 2023

This project has been tentatively selected and a project statement (request for proposals) is expected to be available on this website. The problem statement below will be the starting point for a panel of experts to develop the project statement.

The ability to virtually manage and operate traffic management systems (TMSs) is no longer a luxury. It needs to be a capability of the system and a core capacity of an agency’s operations program. It has become a necessity for agencies to work toward developing and sustaining the capabilities and having the resources necessary to remotely manage and operate their own or another agency’s TMS. Agencies continue to explore which organizational policies, procedures, capacity, resources, and capabilities may be needed when the agencies determine it is in their interest to virtually manage and operate their TMSs to support day-to-day traffic management for planned (e.g., concerts, festivals) and unplanned (e.g., during the COVID-19 pandemic or a weather emergency) special events. Agencies are looking to develop and adopt policies, operational procedures, review and identify human resource requirements, and identify the resources and changes needed to allow TMSs to be managed and operated virtually and ensure TMSs and their operations centers can be managed and operated remotely. Agencies are also looking for resources to explore what planning, development, and training may be needed to successfully position or prepare TMSs with the capabilities and resources needed to allow an agency to transition the operation of a TMS, involving highly technical traffic management centers, to a virtual operating environment with minimal service disruptions.

This research should address issues and analyses appropriate for agencies to consider when assessing the current capabilities, needs, requirements, and possible improvements that may be needed to enable current or the next generation of an agency’s TMS to be managed and operated virtually or remotely. This research should identify the policies, procedures, processes, staffing (e.g., human resource issues), tools (e.g., laptops), capabilities (e.g., internet access, electronic access to data, secure access to operating systems), and practices for agencies to consider when planning, developing, preparing, testing, transitioning, and evaluating the ability of existing or the next generation of an agencies TMSs to have the ability to virtually manage and operate TMSs. Considerations for virtual operations may include necessary security measures to be developed and in place; verify needed resources are available and functioning; and the development, testing, implementation, and verification of specific system capabilities (e.g., remote access to electronic files and user interface for system), policies, procedures, operational protocols, testing, and training resources are available.

The objective of this research is to develop two technical resources:.

1. The first technical report will compile and review available resources, offer insights, and synthesize current practices for agencies to consider in the planning, design, and development of projects to improve their TMSs to enable virtual operations. It should also assess and identify key issues to consider (capabilities, needs, requirements, technologies, and other issues) to integrate the virtual or remote operation of a TMS into the planning or design of a new or improved legacy system. This information will support agencies in assessing the current capabilities of legacy TMSs, identifying possible improvements needed to enable or meet agencies needs for operating virtually, assessing the capabilities and requirements when planning or designing the next generation of their TMS.
2. The second technical report will explore issues agencies may consider to ensure they have the authority, policies, procedures, capability (e.g., human resource issues, position descriptions, security clearances), capacity (e.g., IT, security, access to agencies operating system and files), and resources (e.g., access to resources normally available and used in the operations center, laptops for remote access, internet access, software) to ensure remote operation of their TMS. This research will also explore the range of initiatives, planning, projects, testing (e.g., acceptance testing, scenario training), and training agencies may conduct in support of establishing, using, and demonstrating ability to virtually managing and operate their agencies, or another agencies TMS.

This research could be executed in phases, and potential tasks may include preparation of a literature review, development of an annotated outline for the technical report, development of the final deliverables, and preparation of outreach materials.

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