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Free FHWA Workshops on Improving Capabilities in Six Areas of TSMO By Beverly Kuhn, PhD, PE, Division Head and Senior Research Engineer, Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University System 

TSMO is a set of integrated strategies to optimize the performance of operations on existing infrastructure through implementation of multimodal and intermodal, cross-jurisdictional systems, services, and projects designed to preserve capacity and improve security, safety, and reliability of a transportation system.

Improving institutional capability and business process is necessary to improve implementation of TSM&O strategies. The Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) recognized this need and created the institutional architectures for TSMO as part of the L06 project. Building on SHRP2 results, American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has continued development of this concept and a capability maturity concept was published as part of the TSMO guidance. SHRP2 Implementation activities have successfully used the overall framework to work with State DOTs to develop action plans to improve their TSM&O capabilities.
To continue the emphasis on capability maturity and to provide program-level guidance, FHWA developed additional frameworks that focus on improvement actions for specific TSM&O program areas. These frameworks are designed for agencies and regions to assess the current strengths and weaknesses and to help develop a targeted action plan for the program area. The frameworks allow assessment of current agency capabilities in six areas of TSMO:

•    Traffic Management
•    Planned Special Events
•    Road Weather Management
•    Traffic Incident Management
•    Traffic Signal System Management
•    Work Zone Management

Agencies can use the tools available on the website to walk through the framework.  An interactive online CMF tool is available for each of the six program areas at http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/tsmoframeworktool/index.htm.
A collaborative process is recommended for using the CMF in any of the six program areas. Typically, an agency program area champion will pull together stakeholders in the agency or region for a day-long workshop to walk through the framework.  Stakeholders may include transportation planners, traffic engineers involved in design and operations, transit agencies and operators, emergency response personnel, and traffic and emergency operations staff in the region. The outcomes of the workshop are a consensus of the current capabilities across all the dimensions, and an initial list of prioritized actions. The champion may convene future meetings or identify existing forums where the identified actions will be championed and implemented.
The frameworks are not intended to create benchmarks of an agency’s capabilities, but rather provide a resource for agencies to identify appropriate actions for improving TSMO. While periodic assessments are not required, revisiting the CMF online tool on a regular basis is recommended when significant organizational change occurs or prior to major investments.
FHWA has the resources available to work with agencies to host a workshop for their agency or region.  If you are interested in hosting a workshop, please contact the FHWA leads for this activity:  

•    Traffic Management: Jim Hunt (jim.hunt@dot.gov)
•    Planned Special Events: Paul Jodoin (paul.jodoin@dot.gov
•    Road Weather Management: Roemer Alfelor (roemer.alfelor@dot.gov)
•    Work Zone Management: Jawad Paracha (jawad.paracha@dot.gov)
•    Traffic Incident Management: Paul Jodoin (paul.jodoin@dot.gov)
•    Traffic Signal Systems Management: Eddie Curtis (eddie.curtis@dot.gov