AASHTO Creates TSMO Manual, Technical Service Program

Members of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recently adopted a guidebook and approved the creation of a technical service program or TSP to foster development of Transportation Systems Management and Operations or TSMO strategies.

[Above image by AASHTO]

At the organization’s 2022 Annual Meeting in Orlando, attending members voted to adopt the “Transportation Operations Manual,” which has been in development for over a year and should be published by spring 2023.

Iowa DOT’s Scott Marler

Scott Marler, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation and chair of the AASHTO Committee on Transportation System Operations or CTSO, which developed the manual, explained that this new guidebook would serve as a “one-stop digital shop” for state departments of transportation where TSMO-related issues are concerned.

“This manual provides national guidance on TSMO as well as current state of practice,” he said during a presentation at AASHTO’s 2022 Annual Meeting. “Plans are also underway as we speak to establish a TSP to maintain the manual going forward. This will allow AASHTO to support and deliver high quality TSMO services to our states and our members.”

Image via AASHTO

The “Transportation Operations Manual” will serve as a single, organized, and aligned resource for all elements of TSMO – strategic, programmatic, and tactical – to help government agencies and private entities gain familiarity with generally accepted TSMO practices.

AASHTO’s CSTO committee focuses on harnessing transportation system operations, intelligent transportation systems, and other emerging technologies to improve the safety, reliability, and performance of the nation’s highway system.

This committee also strives to transform the national transportation community to a “TSMO culture” and guides the National Operations Center of Excellence or NOCoE and the AASHTO Operations Technical Service Program, in collaboration with the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, and Federal Highway Administration.

At its heart, “TSMO culture” rests on a set of strategies focused on operational improvements that can maintain and even restore the performance of the existing transportation system before constructing extra capacity – using comprehensive technology solutions implemented quickly at relatively low cost.

“We have a saying in Iowa: ‘Things just don’t happen,’” Marler added during his presentation. “That is why creating this manual is so important. It will focus on knowledge and information sharing among all state DOTS where TSMO practices are concerned.”

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