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14 circumstances permit, focusing on the key elements most directly implicated by any externally driven change but also using the momentum for more general improvements. Institutional Innovation and Alternative Models There are many examples of transportation agencies finding innovative ways to address the chal- lenges of SO&M. Following are examples of innovation within existing transportation agencies, as well as alternative models for delivery of SO&M strategies. Innovation within Existing Transportation Agencies Over the last 15 years, many states have built transportation management centers (TMCs), installed ITS technologies over increasing segments of their major networks, deployed safety service patrols, and developed interagency approaches to incident management and traveler information. Several states have established benchmarks for the state of the practice in certain of the basic NRC-oriented strategy applications (Table ES.7). Table ES.7. Institutional Best Practice Examples · An increasing number of states have quick clearance laws to support the removal of stopped vehicles from obstructing the road. Florida DOT (FDOT), for example, carried out an aggressive statewide campaign of signage, radio spots, billboards, and brochures to inform the public about the law and its benefits. · Both the FDOT Rapid Incident Scene Clearance (RISC) program and Georgia DOT Towing and Recovery Incentive Program (TRIP) are publicprivate partnerships that use both incentive payments and disincentive liquidated damages to ensure shortened clearance times for heavy vehicle wrecks; these programs have reduced the average clearance times by 100%. · Oregon DOT has used a set of unique contractor requirements (staged tow trucks, traffic supervision, and public advisories) as part of effective work zone traffic control. · Detroit metropolitan area transportation agencies are part of a regional multiagency coalition that tracks and manages weather problems and treatment strategies, including flexible interjurisdictional boundaries for efficient operations. · The 16-state I-95 Corridor Coalition has supported an operations academy, which is a two-week residential program designed to provide middle and upper managers in state DOTs with a thorough grounding in various aspects of SO&M state of the practice. · The Maryland DOT Coordinated Highways Action Response Team (CHART) is a formal, multiyear budgeted ITS and operations program with an advisory board that provides oversight and strategic direction. It is chaired by the deputy administrator/chief engineer for operations and includes district engineers, the direc- tor of the Office of Traffic and Safety, the director of the Office of Maintenance, the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Transportation Authority, the Federal Highway Administration, the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technology, and various local governments. · Washington State DOT (WSDOT) has formalized interactions among units and managers involved in its SO&M program. TMC managers from around the state meet every 6 weeks to coordinate with regional Inci- dent Response Program managers, who in turn meet quarterly for operations coordination with the state patrol. TMC managers and incident response managers coordinate activities and issues by meeting with the statewide traffic engineers group and the maintenance engineers group. · The Oregon Transportation Commission moved some capacity funding to the operations program to create an Operations Innovation Program that awards funding to projects selected on a competitive basis for their potential to demonstrate innovative operations concepts related to congestion mitigation and freight mobility. · Virginia DOT has reorganized its senior management to include a deputy director for operations and main- tenance responsible for all SO&M activities, as well as maintenance resources. · WSDOT has made a strong and transparent commitment to performance measurement as evidenced by the quarterly Gray Notebook, which tracks performance based on five WSDOT legislative goals, including mobility/congestion, and includes regular updates on progress in the application of operations strategies such as incident management and HOT lanes.
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15 Alternative Models In addition to incremental change, the project evaluated a wide range of alternative institutional models from existing sources in the United States and through discussion with key profession- als. Descriptive information of some models was also derived from international sources. The four models are activity outsourcing, program outsourcing (publicprivate partnerships), new cooperative operating collaboration, and the public utility model. Activity Outsourcing This model assumes systematic outsourcing of certain SO&M functions at the activity level, such as safety service patrols, TMC operations, and asset management--per current practice in a few states, but with the transportation agency maintaining program and individual activity contract management responsibility. While several states outsource TMC operations and safety service patrols in some metropolitan areas, only two states have substantially outsourced most of these activities on a statewide basis. Program Outsourcing (PublicPrivate Partnerships) This model is presumed to apply to a statewide program, although components can occur at dif- ferent rates on a regional basis. This is distinguished from activity outsourcing by its inclusion of an entire set of activities (e.g., all real-time operations activities) into a single contract, with a program manager reporting to a separate publicprivate entity, and including management of other service providers on a large-scale geographic basis. There is no statewide U.S. example (although such PPP models are in use for some U.S.-tolled facilities), but the U.K. Highway Authority has established subnational regions (like state DOT districts) under which most oper- ational and related maintenance functions are performed by a combination of dedicated staff and contractors. New Cooperative Operating Collaboration New regional operations relationships have been established either through a consolidation of the SO&M responsibilities (state and local) of existing public agencies into a new entity or through a new set of planning and operations collaborative relationships. These types of orga- nizations reflect willingness on the part of state DOTs to devolve complex metropolitan or regional multijurisdictional operating activities rather than lead such efforts themselves. Some have coordinated planning functions and one or more real-time operations functions, such as traffic conditions analysis and dissemination (e.g., TransCom in the New York City metropoli- tan area); TMC; and arterial or freeway operations, such as Las Vegas Freeway and Arterial Sys- tem of Transportation (FAST), the Denver Region Traffic Signal System Improvement Program (TSSIP), and the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC) in New York and Ontario. Similarly, there are organizations for incident management and high- occupancy toll (HOT) lane operations (e.g., TranStar in Houston); bridge and tunnel operations coordination and resource allocation (e.g., Bay Area Toll Authority in the San Francisco region); and weather information development and dissemination (e.g., the Clarus Initiative). Public Utility Model This model, presumed to apply to a statewide program, is by definition privately managed and funded by user fees, under public policy and regulatory oversight. There is no known example in highway-related SO&M. The closest examples are regional transit authorities that provide transit operations at the metropolitan (or regional) scale with professional management and