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2 The report develops and provides the basis for the Guide to Improving Capability for Systems Operations and Management (Parsons Brinckerhoff et al., 2011), including an examination of current state DOT practice and insights from other sectors with strong operational orientations. It establishes a systematic guidance framework based on the traceable relationships between the technical and business process features most supportive of effective SO&M and the institutional architecture that supports such processes. Systems Operations and Management The concept of congestion management has evolved since the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in 1991. Whereas recurring (peak-period) congestion has long been the focus of congestion management activities, an improved understanding of the causes of traffic delay and disruption has led to a new focus: the unpredictable delay and disruption of nonrecur- ring events such as major crashes, weather, construction, and special-event disruptions--NRCs that are responsible for over half of all delay (as well as for most system unreliability). Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technology has matured to support improved communication, analysis, and controls; furthermore, a set of increasingly well-understood SO&M procedures and protocols has evolved, capitalizing on this technology, and demonstrating significant leverage to reduce the impacts of NRC. There are several excellent best-practice examples of SO&M applica- tions by state DOTs in a few major metropolitan areas in the United States. Effective SO&M Applications to Reduce NRC The applications that have been developed for NRC are typically centered within the larger high- way jurisdictions--state DOTs, toll entities, and large local government transportation agencies-- together with their public safety partners. Although their focus is often on highways, these applications are also used for major arterials and rural routes. These conventional strategy applications include the following: · Incident management, including multijurisdictional, integrated corridor management in response to crashes, breakdowns, hazardous material spills, and other emergencies that are responsible for up to 3035% of delay--and most unreliability--in major metropolitan areas; · Road weather management in response to heavy rain and wind and snow and ice, which can constitute from 510% of delay in some areas; · Work zone traffic management focused on traffic control plans to minimize the impacts of reduced capacity, constituting anywhere from 1020% of total delay; · Special-events planning and management to accommodate event patrons and bystanders with minimum traffic disruption; and · Active traffic management using lane use and speed control to minimize flow disruption and incidents, as well as managing diversions and the operation of diversion routes, in response to both recurring and nonrecurring congestion. Table ES.1 outlines the benefits of SO&M strategy applications. Despite the proven benefits of SO&M, the state of the practice is modest and uneven. A few states have demonstrated the payoffs from aggressive SO&M applications. In many other states, however, while some ITS tech- nology has been deployed, there is a limited commitment to implementing best-practice proce- dures and developing the partnerships required to capitalize on the technology. Even within individual states, the levels of application are uneven across metropolitan areas, reflecting the limited commitment at the statewide policy level. Unique Process and Institutional Demands of SO&M Implementing effective congestion management applications places demands on a transporta- tion agency's institutional environment that are at odds with those of capacity development,
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3 Table ES.1. Systems Operations Benefits Energy/ Benefits and Safety Mobility Environmental BenefitCost Ratios Impact Impact Impact Traffic incident management Incident duration High High High reduced 3050% · Safety service patrols 2:1 to 42:1 High High High · Surveillance and detection 8:1 High High High Road weather information 2:1 to 10:1; crash rates High High High systems reduced from 780% Traveler information dynamic 3% decrease in crashes; Low High Low message signs 515% improve- ment in ontime performance Work zone management 2.1 to 40.1; system High Medium Medium delays reduced up to 50% Active Traffic Management Throughput increased High High Medium by 37%; decrease in incidents of 330% Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, 2009. safety, and maintenance that constitute the legacy context. This is especially true for NRC--as reflected in the common and characteristic features of SO&M applications that determine effec- tiveness. SO&M applications are typically · Reactive and responsive to unpredictable events on a 24/7 basis; · Dependent on situational awareness and communications technology; · Applied at the corridor scale or network level; · Based on teamwork; · Communications intensive; · Dependent on performance monitoring and are evaluated through the impact on system per- formance measured in real time; · Using dynamic high technology and systems engineering; and · Dependent on outside partners not under the control of a transportation agency, including PSAs and local government. These unique features establish a set of specific preconditions for the achievement of an effective SO&M program and indicate the need for certain technical processes, systems, and performance- tracking measures that are tailored to address these characteristics. The processes, in turn, cannot be established without a supportive institutional framework. The Importance of Institutional Architecture It is increasingly clear that the current modest focus on SO&M is almost entirely a product of the conventional legacy context of many transportation agencies today--a civil engineering culture, an inherited organization structured for construction and maintenance, the existing capital programs' claims on scarce resources, and difficulties in forging the necessary partnerships with outside enti- ties. Culture, leadership, priorities, organization and staffing, resources, and relationships make up the institutional setting for change in existing transportation agencies.