The National Academies

NCHRP 03-84 [Completed]

Guide for Multistate Transportation Operations Programs

  Project Data
Funds: $265,000
Research Agency: E-Squared Engineering
Principal Investigator: Richard Easley
Effective Date: 8/23/2006
Completion Date: 1/22/2008
Comments: Report delivered to AASHTO for publication.


The objective of this research project is to develop a guide for multistate transportation operations programs that is suitable for adoption by AASHTO.


The revised report has been sent to AASHTO for their consideration in publishing.


Multistate transportation operations programs (MSTOPs) have proven vital to the reliability and security of key interstate corridors. Weather information, emergency operations, goods movement, homeland security, and traveler information have been substantially enhanced through interstate relationships and partnerships that typically engage the transportation and public safety communities. MSTOPs also offer an institutional framework for coordinating and collaborating on regional operations across state borders and multijurisdictional planning.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recognizes that support and further development of MSTOPs will have significant state, regional, and national benefits. An AASHTO guide on MSTOPs will demonstrate their importance and provide guidance on forming and sustaining them.


Task 1. Review pertinent domestic literature on multistate transportation operations programs.

Task 2. Develop a draft outline for the guide. Develop a detailed plan and agenda for the Task 4 workshop. Review the list of probable workshop participants from state DOTs and existing MSTOPs (to be provided by NCHRP), identify important stakeholder perspectives not represented in the list (e.g., freight, homeland security, public safety, evacuation, border control, transit, planning), and develop a list of prospective workshop participants representing those stakeholders. Submit these materials to the NCHRP within 2 months of the contract start. Meet with the NCHRP Panel to review and finalize the materials.

Task 3. Develop background materials for the Task 4 workshop. Draft materials must be submitted to the NCHRP for review 6 weeks before the workshop. Revise the materials based on comments from the NCHRP Panel and send them to workshop participants.

Task 4. Conduct a 1 1/2 day workshop for up to 75 people. The purpose of the workshop is to gather information needed to formulate the guide, primarily by drawing on the experiences of existing MSTOPs. It is expected that the workshop will be held at the National Academy of Sciences' Beckman Center in Irvine, California, in November 2006. NCHRP staff will handle travel and hotel logistics and expenses for workshop participants, confirmation of workshop attendance, and expenses related to workshop meals and rooms. The contractor will be responsible for all other workshop costs.

Task 5. Conduct follow-up interviews as needed to augment the information gained during the workshop.

Task 6. Develop a practical guide to developing and sustaining MSTOPs. The guide must describe agency and societal motivations for developing MSTOPs including problems that they can address, recognizing that most states already have at least ad-hoc operational relationships with other states. The guide must also list quantitative and qualitative benefits and costs to state DOTs and other partners. The executive summary of the guide should concisely present this information. The guide must also present a systematic approach to developing and maintaining an MSTOP, including: (a) methods for assessing the need for an MSTOP and for defining the goals and scope of the MSTOP; (b) types of collaborative relationships, institutional arrangements, and operational procedures (from ad-hoc to formal) and factors that influence their selection; (c) methods to overcome common challenges to successful implementation of an MSTOP (including differences in legal, funding, and procurement requirements among states); (d) resource implications for the participating organizations; (e) linkages to planning, programming, and project development; (f) methods for evaluating the success, structure, and performance of an existing MSTOP, including ways to measure benefits and costs; and (g) relevant tools and resources such as checklists, self-assessments, templates, memoranda of understanding, and model legislation.

Task 7. Submit a final report documenting the entire research effort and including recommendations for national efforts to support MSTOPs. The Task 6 guide should be included as a stand-alone appendix.

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