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FOCUS ON INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT FOR NONRECURRING CONGESTION STRATEGY APPLICATIONS To minimize the impacts of NRC, the key congestion management strategy applica- tions involve active systems operations and management (SO&M). The guide em- phasizes that SO&M strategies present special challenges owing to their real-time, event-responsive nature and the need to combine technology, adopted procedures, and organized interagency roles. The strategies include the following: Incident management in response to crashes, breakdowns, hazardous mate- rial spills, and other emergencies, including multijurisdictional integrated corridor management; Road weather management in response to heavy rain, wind, snow, and ice; Work zone traffic management focused on traffic control plans to minimize the impacts of reduced capacity; Special events planning and management to accommodate event patrons with minimal traffic disruption; and Active traffic management employing lane-use and speed control, as well as the management of diversions, to minimize flow disruption and incidents. ELEMENTS OF INSTITUTIONAL CAPABILITY MATURITY Research conducted as part of Institutional Architectures to Improve Systems Op- erations and Management (1) indicates that key institutional features are important determinants of a transportation agency's ability to improve the outcomes associated with these strategy applications. It indicated that agencies with more comprehensive strategy applications--increasingly integrated and standardized--are distinguished from agencies with less well-developed SO&M activities in terms of the following four elements of institutional capability maturity: Culture/leadership related to the level of understanding and potential leverage of SO&M, as reflected in values, mission, leadership, and related legal arrangements and strategy applications, and as demonstrated by leadership; Organization and staffing related to how structure aligns responsibilities and ac- countabilities vertically and horizontally, consistent with capabilities and incentives at the staff level; Resource allocation for operations and capital, and the degree of transparency and sustainability in relationship to program improvement; and Partnerships in terms of degree of alignment and stability in objectives, proce- dures, roles, and relationships. 2 GUIDE TO IMPROVING CAPABILITY FOR SYSTEMS OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT