What’s New At NOCoE
IN THIS REPORT YOU WILL LEARN:
NOCoE's plans to advance the TSMO workforce.
How NOCoE peer exchanges, webinars, & case studies accelerate the deployment of TSMO practices.
About four TSMO projects chosen as 2023 award winners.
The National Operations Center of Excellence has workforce development as a key strategic goal and has worked towards this effort since 2016. NOCoE has held two summit’s on the topic:
- 2016 Summit which resulted in the development of the TSMO Workforce Guidebook and NOCoE Workforce Portal
- 2021 Summit which resulted in increased efforts to gather best practices around strengthening pipelines and career development and called for an exploration into the connection between academia and TSMO
Additionally, NOCOE held a workforce development peer exchange in 2022 which allowed human resources and TSMO practitioners to share their challenges and successes in advancing the workforce.
- NOCoE will continue to collect and share resources focused on advancing the TSMO workforce, including to the continued expansion of the NOCoE Workforce Resource portal and the incorporation of workforce topics into all our technical services.
- NOCoE has also developed a series of case studies and white papers on urgent topics identified during the summits and peer exchange. Below you can find those released and upcoming.
- NOCoE will also focus in on identifying TSMO as a career of choice, including with the new TSMO Moment video series coming in 2023 which will capture the career paths and insights from leaders in the field of TSMO.
TSMO Workforce Development Portal
This series of webpages captures the growing number of resources available across the industry, from U.S. DOT and the National Network for the Transportation Workforce to formalized training programs. Additionally, there are number of resources to help TSMO agencies take a broader approach in organizing and developing their TSMO personnel.
Model TSMO Position Descriptions
The research team from the NCHRP Project on TSMO Workforce developed a series of 19 model position descriptions for professional level TSMO-related positions to assist practitioners in recruiting qualified personnel. Several agencies have faced challenges redefining or creating position descriptions for a contemporary TSMO workforce. The scope of the work was limited to positions that require a 4-year college degree and above. There are future opportunities to apply similar methods for assessing needs for other, para-professional positions such as TMC Operators, electrical technicians, and freeway service patrol drivers.
Pipeline Program Case Studies
- Apprenticeships and similar programs are valuable for recruiting diverse populations of potential workers to specific transportation occupations and career pathways.
- Apprenticeship, co-op/internship, and other training programs can be customized to address recruitment across the pipeline (K-12 to college and those transitioning from other careers) and for both paraprofessional and professional tracks.
- Successful programs require careful planning regarding recruitment, special supports for target populations, partnerships, and hiring pathways.
Attracting and Retaining Younger Workers in Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO)
- Attracting and retaining younger works is a broad issue that many industries are facing. With large populations of the Baby Boomer generation retiring at an accelerated pace since the pandemic in 2020 and incoming younger workers statistically staying at jobs about a third less, increasing recruiting activities will become necessary to keep up with anticipated job churn.
- Attracting younger workers into professional and para-professional jobs within transportation systems management and operations (TSMO), especially in the public sector is challenging for a variety of reasons. The record gap between public and private sector salaries is one of the most cited reasons public sector organizations have challenges recruiting younger workers, especially as student debt continues to be a significant issue.
- Organizations that have performed well at attracting younger workers have amplified issues such as work-life balance, flexibility in work schedule, student debt relief, training, and aligning organization culture with pre- vailing and relevant generational issues (e.g., climate change, equity).
Potential Federal Funding Sources for Advancing Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Workforce Development Activities
- The National Science Foundation, US Department of Labor, and US Economic Development Administration offer federal grant programs that are relevant to TSMO workforce research and program development activities.
- A key requirement for success in grant pursuits with these agencies is a strong partnership between academia and industry. Thus, conversations and planning should begin with interested partners very early to be ready for future submission opportunities.
- Additional funding opportunities are expected stemming from recent federal legislation, such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, thus agency websites should be closely monitored for new programs relevant to TSMO.
Innovative Practices in Transportation Organizations to Support Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Workforce Development
- NOCoE held a TSMO Workforce Development Peer Exchange in May 2022, focused on workforce trends, challenges, and success stories shared by State and local transportation agencies to address the challenges.
- Several critical challenges are defined related to rapidly evolving TSMO requirements, inconsistencies across agency hiring and development, compensation, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and labor shortages.
- Success stories shared during the Peer Exchange are summarized and several key takeaways are provided related to the critical challenges.
Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Training Best Practices
- The benefits from investing in transportation systems and management (TSMO) strategies and technologies can be significant. To maximize the benefits, a diverse, well-trained workforce is required, especially as technology advancements continue to accelerate.
- Several themes emerged when investigating TSMO training best practices that can be applied to other organizations. One example includes actively engaging local universities and technical colleges that specialize in adult learning techniques to develop and deliver curriculum and training materials.
- Several TSMO training examples, categorized by professional and paraprofessional have been included to provide additional perspective on best practices.
Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Workforce Pipeline - Expanding Opportunities
- Filling Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) professional and para-professional position will continue to challenge state DOTs and other transportation agencies.
- Building on a previous Technical Memorandum by NOCoE related to establishing a pipeline of workers from the military, this white paper takes the initial step in describing additional, future workforce pipelines for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HSBCs, technical colleges, jobs corps, retiring emergency responders, and non-traditional workers.
- Technical staff need to work closely with human resources staff to shift recruiting and hiring methods and practices to realize the benefits associated with potential pipeline communities.
The National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) and the U.S. DOT ITS JPO's Professional Capacity Building (PCB) Program are hosting a competition for students to work directly with public agencies to solve real-world transportation problems utilizing ITS and TSMO solutions.
This will be the competition's sixth year. The 2018 - 2022 tournaments featured extremely competitive teams with innovative solutions.
Student teams will assemble to work with a State or local DOT, MPO, or transit agency to define a transportation problem. After submitting an initial contest application identifying the team and the problem, students will work with academic advisors to learn about potential ITS and TSMO solutions via online training programs outlined below. Teams will then utilize their experience, education, and new coursework to develop a solution or suite of solutions to directly address the originally defined problem. Students will submit their solutions via a proposal. Finalist teams will develop a presentation and then participate in a live event at the ITE Annual Meeting in Portland, OR from August 13 - August 16, 2023. Teams will give a presentation in front of a panel of judges made up of leaders in the ITS and TSMO community. One team will then be selected as the 2023 Transportation Technology Tournament Winner.
2023 TTT Finalists
Florida International University & Florida Atlantic University "Intelligent Transport Titans"
Decision support tool for pattern recognition to support signal control
University of Michigan "The Wolverines"
Management and infrastructure-based technology solutions for special event traffic management
UMass & Smith College "Pioneer Safety Solutions"
Pedestrian hit and run collisions in Nashville, TN
2023 Winner: Florida International University & Florida Atlantic University – the “Intelligent Transportation Titans”
Impact on Our Industry
The Transportation Technology Tournament introduces future TSMO leaders to the challenges of solving real-world transportation problems by teaching them teamwork, collaboration, and communication skills. But also, the solutions these teams develop influence agencies in how they think about applying TSMO strategies to solve their transportation system needs.
Webinars on Emerging TSMO Practices
NOCoE held 40 webinars in 2022, continuing to maintain a busy monthly webinar schedule to accommodate the increased demand for online training and knowledge transfer needs. NOCoE webinars are often developed by key partners, such as the Federal Highway Administration, and are conducted by industry leaders and NOCoE staff. Webinar series, such as Talking TIM and Adventures in Crowdsourcing, have delivered high quality TSMO knowledge every month.
Webinars recordings are made available for free and serve as trainings and workforce development for many organizations.
The Talking TIM webinar series, brought to you by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Operations, provides a forum where TIM champions with any level of experience can exchange information about current practices, programs, and technologies.
The Adventures in Crowdsourcing webinar series presented its 22nd and final webinar on Tuesday, Apr 13th, 2023. The webinar featured rapid-fire information from up to 10 State or local agencies, each highlighting their use of various crowdsourced data to advance transportation operations.
The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Saxton Transportation Operations Laboratory (STOL), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office and the Maritime Administration, has been conducting research on connected and automated vehicles to develop open-source software for various cooperative driving automation (CDA) applications.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Road Weather Management Program (RWMP) is pleased to present the Road Weather Spotlight, a monthly webinar series discussing the challenges of various road weather events, lessons learned, and practical solutions.
This webinar is part of an FHWA Office of Operations project to support mainstreaming Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) in transportation agencies.
This webinar featured two agencies and their use of analytics tools to process vehicle probe data for operational use and to better plan for operations.
NOCoE Offers Free PDH Credits
NOCoE’s free webinars are now also available for professional development hour credits (PDHs). Each month, NOCoE provides a PDH tracking sheet to assist webinar attendees with keeping track of their professional development activities. The PDH credits are available for those attendees who register and attend the live webinar.
Impact on Our Industry
NOCoE webinars continue to reach 1000s of TSMO practitioners each year and are a primary force for transferring knowledge around emerging TSMO practices to accelerate deployment.
NOCoE Workforce Peer Exchange - Key Learnings
NOCoE held a virtual Peer Exchange on Workforce Development in May 2022. The Peer Exchange followed the Center’s second Workforce Development Summit that took place in September 2021. Over seventy human resource and TSMO participants provided a rich array of best practices and challenges around the four topics of recruitment, retention, training, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
NOCoE ICM Peer Exchange Summary
NOCoE’s Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) Peer Exchange was intended to host both practitioners experienced in developing and implementing ICM deployments as well as practitioners looking to develop new ICM sites.
NOCoE Road Weather Management Peer Exchange 2022 Summary
The report provides:
- An overview of the plenary sessions
- Notes on breakout conversations
- Survey results on the inaugural agile peer exchange
- Next steps
NOCoE Cost/Benefit Peer Exchange Summary
NOCoE’s Agency Perspectives on Cost / Benefit Methods and TSMO virtual peer exchange hosted transportation agency professionals with experience in developing, implementing, and justifying to decision-makers cost / benefit and/or return on investment analysis for TSMO projects and programs to support policy makers and agency leadership.
Impact on Our Industry
NOCoE held six peer exchanges in 2022, in both virtual and in-person formats to allow for a wide range of attendees who could both share and receive knowledge. Attendees in this year's peer exchanges included human resources professionals, TSMO practitioners, local and regional agency representatives, younger TSMO professionals, and members of the Federal Highway Administration.
NOCoE peer exchange reports will continue to inform NOCoE and its partners on potential areas of resource development going forward.
The NOCoE TSMO Awards celebrate the TSMO strategies and tools that leverage existing infrastructure to increase safety and reliability.
Each year, NOCoE awards winners in four award categories. For 2023, the categories are:
- Best TSMO Project
- Agency Improvement
- TSMO and Safety
- Emerging Practices and Technologies
A TSMO Award Overall Winner is then chosen from the four category winners.
Each year NOCoE also awards a TSMO Champion, an individual who has made significant contributions to advancing TSMO both inside their organization and within the industry at-large.
Winners are celebrated at the 2023 CTSO Annual Meeting and their work is featured via NOCoE's partners and other industry leaders.
Many award submissions are also turned into NOCoE Case Studies, which form a library of TSMO strategies, tactics, and best practices that can be shared with other TSMO practitioners and organizations.
NOCoE Case Studies capture the strategies and practices currently being deployed to advance the TSMO industry and enable TSMO practitioners to save lives, time, and money.
Case studies are developed in partnership with the authoring organization or individual to succinctly transfer knowledge for the effective use by others in the industry. Many of the case studies come from TSMO Award Submissions.
Best TSMO Project
Maryland DOT for their "I-270 Innovative Congestion Management (ICM) Ramp Metering"
Texas DOT for their "TxDOT TSMO Program - From Planning to Implementation"
Emerging Trends and Technologies
Arizona DOT for their "Applying Emerging Technologies to the Arizona DOT Traveler Information Program"
TSMO and Safety
Virginia DOT for their "Interstate 95 Variable Speed Limit System"
Emergency Response Day returned to ITS World Congress this year on Tuesday, September 20. On a crucial mission to increase the personal safety of responders and motorists while restoring mobility for an emergency, commercial, and personal traffic, this year’s Emergency Response Day focused on emerging technology-based problems and solutions responders will face in evolving smart city infrastructure environment.
Educational programming on Emergency Response Day 2022 included:
• Session I - ER Day Welcome
• Session II – The Critical Role of Technology in Managing Traffic Incidents
• Session III - Traffic Incident Management Workshop “Development and Implementation of a Comprehensive National Traffic Incident Management Training Program – a United States Success Story”
Demonstrations during Emergency Response Day 2022 included:
• Axon Demonstration: Tethered Drone Scene Monitoring
• City of Los Angeles Fire Department: Electric Fire Engine
• Ten West Towing, Inc.: Heavy Wrecker
• HAAS Alert: Connected Vehicle Alerts
• CalTrans District 2: Responder System
• J-Tech LaneBlade®: Debris Clearance System
• LA Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Freeway Service Patrol Vehicle
• pi-lit®: Sequential Electronic Flares
• 360ns Network Solutions: 360 Remote CCTV
• GEWI: Data harmonization of device and incident data
Learn more in our recent newsletter post.
Crash Responder Safety Week
Crash Responder Safety Week (CRSW), formerly known as NTIRAW, is a chance for all traffic incident response communities to make a difference individually and jointly. Teach your community and the motoring public about our shared responsibility for safe roadway incident clearance – whether a crash, stalled vehicle, debris on road, or something else.
Collaborate with your leadership, public information officers, and fellow responders to amplify the visibility and message of this important week. Use the CRSW calendar and tools to align messaging with others across our nation: bitly.com/CRSW2021
Whether or not your organization participates, you can be a CRSW champion. Take the free National Traffic Incident Management Responder Training, and encourage your fellow responders to do the same. It may save your life. Visit: bitly.com/TIMtrain
NOCoE Partnership Renewed
The National Operations Center of Excellence is pleased to announce that its founding partners have signed a new memorandum of understanding or MoU to support NOCoE.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) renewed their support for NOCoE during a ceremony at AASHTO’s 2022 spring meeting in New Orleans.
“It is very encouraging to see how far we have come along together in advancing the National Operations Center of Excellence and its services to the TSMO community,” noted Jim Tymon, Executive Director of AASHTO, at the signing ceremony. “This was only possible through our mutual collaboration and partnerships.”