The National Academies

NCHRP 20-77 [Final]

Transportation Operations Training Framework

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Research Agency: University of Maryland
Principal Investigator: Kathleen Frankle
Effective Date: 7/11/2007
Completion Date: 9/10/2009


The objective of this project was to develop a training and capacity building framework for transportation operations technicians, engineers, and managers. The framework should create a broader understanding of systems operations and management and should be practical to implement.


The research results are available at https://www.catt.umd.edu/research/transportation-operations-framework.


The AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Systems Operations and Management (SSOM) has defined systems operations and management as: "An integrated program designed to make the best use of existing highway infrastructure through provision of systems and services that preserve and improve performance." Many state departments of transportation (DOTs) view system operations and management as a growing priority but are finding a shortage of management, professional, and technical staff with appropriate skills and understanding. Operations combines elements of numerous disciplines--system management, traffic engineering, intelligent transportation systems, maintenance, emergency operations/incident management, performance measurement, and planning--into an overall approach for increasing the efficiency and safety of the transportation system. Practitioners tend to have good skills in their discipline but often lack a broader perspective related to operating the transportation system.


Task 1. 
Define core transportation operations functions for use in this project. For each core operations function, describe key, generic positions in transportation agencies and describe core competencies for those positions. Also describe positions and core competencies for operations management positions.

Task 2. 
Review the literature and conduct telephone interviews with selected transportation agencies to determine training that is available for each position identified in Task 1. Within 3 months of the contract execution, submit a working paper summarizing the results of Tasks 1 and 2. The NCHRP will make this paper widely available and the contractor will keep it up-to-date based on comments received. 

Task 3. 
Conduct a gap analysis to determine training efforts that are needed to improve skills within core functions, to improve leadership and communications skills, and to foster a broader understanding of systems operations and management. Describe gaps in available training and assign priorities to them.

Task 4. 
Present creative and innovative concepts that support the advancement of operations in transportation agencies and are applicable to this project. These concepts could include delivery methods, messages, ways to improve awareness of training opportunities, and ways to facilitate shared use of training materials. Explore how these concepts could be expressed in the framework and implementation plan.

Task 5.
Within 6 months of the project's initiation, submit an interim report documenting the results of Tasks 1 through 4 and providing a fuller description of the work that will be done in subsequent tasks. Meet with the project panel and interested observers approximately 1 month following NCHRP's receipt of the interim report to discuss the report and to obtain the panel's approval to proceed. Within 2 weeks of the meeting, summarize the meeting outcomes. 

Task 6. 
Develop a framework linking the positions and their core competencies identified in Task 1 to existing and needed training (identified in Tasks 2 and 3, respectively). The framework should be sufficiently generic so that state and local agencies can adapt it to their particular situation. Scope the needed training efforts, including expected outcomes for the training. Describe modules that can be used in other training outside the framework (i.e., for nonoperations positions) that illustrate the importance of operations to their discipline. 

Task 7. 
Develop an implementation plan for creating new training, improving existing training, and facilitating the use of the framework by state and local transportation agencies. Describe the factors that justify participation in the implementation plan by national transportation organizations and associations. The implementation plan should include a schedule, budget, possible funding sources, and support structure. 

Task 8. 
Facilitate discussions on the project at the following meetings: (A) SSOM Leadership Team at the January 2008 TRB meeting, (B) executive forum at the Spring 2008 AASHTO meeting, and (C) workshop at the summer 2008 meeting of the AASHTO SSOM. These meetings are intended to refine the framework and implementation plan and solicit champions for moving the effort forward.  (9.) Submit a final report documenting the entire research effort.

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