Operations and Management

Managing Existing Road Systems For Efficiency and Economy

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TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute

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Updated 26 January 2010


This chapter discusses operations and management programs that encourage more efficient use of existing roadways.

 

 

Description

Transport and Traffic Operations (also called Transportation Systems Management or just Transport Management) refers to facility management strategies that improve roadway system performance. These include:

 

·         Development of regional traffic management centers, which provide real-time information to roadway system operators and users, coordination of traffic incident response, and other management support.

 

·         Improved communications among government agencies, media and roadway users, often involving Intelligent Transportation Systems.

 

·         Traffic signal synchronization, which means that control signals are coordinated to increase traffic volumes.

 

·         Traffic lane management and Road Space Reallocation (such as reversible traffic lanes, and use of parking lanes during peak periods).

 

·         Improved incident prevention and response, so crashes, breakdowns and other events cause less traffic delay.

 

·         Special Event and Emergency transport management.

 

·         Improved alternative modes, particularly HOV and Transit.

 

·         Improved weather information and response to weather events (snow, ice, fog, rain).

 

·         Improved regional transport Planning and Land Use Management.

 

·         Transportation Demand Management Programs, particularly incentives that encourage travelers to shift from automobile to alternative modes, particularly during congested periods.

 

·         Contingency-Based Planning, which means that specific responses are identified to address possible future conditions, which are deployed as needed.

 

 

Transportation professional organizations and agencies increasingly recognize the importance of Operational strategies for solving transport problems, particularly traffic congestion, and so devote increasing resources to Operations programs. This reflects the needs of a maturing transportation system, with shifting emphasis from system construction and expansion to efficiently managing existing system resources.

 

Most Transport Operations programs’ primary objective is reduced congestion delay and increased traffic capacity. According to some estimates, half of traffic delays result from crashes and breakdowns, weather, construction and special events, which Operations programs are designed to address. In a typical city, 10-50% of congestion delays can be avoided with better planning and incident response. Such programs tend to be more cost effective than building additional roadway capacity. By improving interagency planning and coordination, they can increase the efficiency with which public services are provided. For example, by improving real time information available to emergency and roadway departments they can improve the speed and effectiveness with which public agencies can respond to incidents and special events.

 

 

How It Is Implemented

Transport Operations programs are usually implemented by state, regional or local transportation agencies. Such programs generally require special funding, facilities and information networks; interagency planning and coordination; and development of related services. Least-Cost Planning practices tend to support more emphasis on Operations.

 

 

Travel Impacts

Transport Operations travel impacts vary depending on the type of program and the circumstances in which it is implemented. Some increase traffic capacity on existing roads (for example, by using reversible lanes or improving incident response) and so may increase total vehicle travel, but these programs increasingly include Transportation Demand Management strategies, such as HOV and Transit priority and Commute Trip Reduction programs, which reduce total automobile travel, or shift travel from peak to off-peak periods.

 

Table 1          Travel Impact Summary

Objective

Rating

Comments

Reduces total traffic.

-1

Some programs increase total vehicle travel.

Reduces peak period traffic.

1

Exact impacts vary depending on program.

Shifts peak to off-peak periods.

1

"

Shifts automobile travel to alternative modes.

1

"

Improves access, reduces the need for travel.

0

"

Increased ridesharing.

2

"

Increased public transit.

2

"

Increased cycling.

1

"

Increased walking.

1

"

Increased Telework.

1

"

Reduced freight traffic.

0

"

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.

 

 

Benefits and Costs

Improving transportation systems Operations and Management can provide many benefits, including transportation agency cost savings and improved transportation services provided to users (FHWA, 2005). Operations and Management programs can help implement a variety of TDM strategies that improve travel options and encourage mode shifts, and so provide additional benefits such as consumer cost savings, improved travel choice, traffic safety and reduced pollution emissions. Exact impacts vary depending on the program and the conditions in which it is implemented.

 

Costs include direct program costs, and any negative impacts that result if increased roadway capacity increases total motor vehicle traffic or stimulates sprawl.

 

Table 2          Benefit Summary

Objective

Rating

Comments

Congestion Reduction

3

Exact impacts vary depending on program.

Road & Parking Savings

2

"

Consumer Savings

1

"

Transport Choice

1

"

Road Safety

2

"

Environmental Protection

0

"

Efficient Land Use

-1

"

Community Livability

-1

"

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.

 

 

Equity Impacts

Equity impacts depend on the type of program. Transport Operations programs that improve alternative modes can improve mobility for non-drivers and provide savings to lower-income people. Many Operations programs improve Emergency response, and therefore improve basic mobility.

 

Table 3          Equity Summary

Criteria

Rating

Comments

Treats everybody equally.

0

Exact impacts vary depending on program.

Individuals bear the costs they impose.

0

"

Progressive with respect to income.

0

"

Benefits transportation disadvantaged.

1

Sometimes improves mobility options for non-drivers.

Improves basic mobility.

2

Improves emergency response.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.

 

 

Applications

Transport Operations programs are generally intended to reduce traffic congestion on major highways, and so are most appropriate in large urban regions where congestion problems are most severe. They are generally implemented at the regional level, and state and regional governments are most directly responsible for their implementation, although other organizations may provide support.

 

Table 4          Application Summary

Geographic

Rating

Organization

Rating

Large urban region.

3

Federal government.

2

High-density, urban.

3

State/provincial government.

3

Medium-density, urban/suburban.

3

Regional government.

3

Town.

2

Municipal/local government.

2

Low-density, rural.

1

Business Associations/TMA.

1

Commercial center.

3

Individual business.

1

Residential neighborhood.

2

Developer.

1

Resort/recreation area.

2

Neighborhood association.

1

College/university communities.

2

Campus.

2

Ratings range from 0 (not appropriate) to 3 (very appropriate).

 

 

Category

TDM Program

 

 

Relationships With Other TDM Strategies

Transport Operations programs are often created in conjunction with other TDM policies and programs. They typically support the following TDM strategies:

·         Alternative Work Schedules

·         Commute Trip Reduction

·         Commuter Financial Incentives

·         Flextime Support

·         Freight Transport Management.

·         Guaranteed Ride Home

·         Intelligent Transportation Systems

·         Parking Management

·         Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements

·         Ridesharing

·         Shuttle Services

·         Special Event Transport Management

·         TDM Marketing

·         Telework

·         Transit Improvements

·         Transportation Access Guides

·         Least-Cost Planning

 

 

Stakeholders

Stakeholders primarily consist of various government agencies involved in the day-to-day management of roadway facilities, plus information media that disseminate real-time roadway information.

 

 

Barriers To Implementation

Major barriers to Transport Operations implementation include limited experience with such programs and their benefits, and funding practices that favor roadway capacity expansion over management solutions.

 

 

Best Practices

Transport Operational programs are relatively new and so best practices are still being developed. In general, Operational programs should be organized to support a broad range of management strategies and to achieve a variety of objectives, including congestion reduction, road and parking facility cost savings, consumer cost savings, traffic safety, and environmental objectives. This means that they should support Transportation Demand Management activities.

 

 

Examples and Case Studies

The FHWA Office of Operations (www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov) has information on various Transport Operations case studies.

 

 

Seoul TOPIS (http://english.seoul.go.kr)

The Seoul TOPIS (Transport OPerations and Information Service) includes the following features:

 

This system has improved public transit service quality and ridership, increased average traffic speeds on major arterials by 2 kilometers per hour, and reduced crash risk throughout the city.

 

Wit and Humor

A bush pilot flying a float plane landed three hunters at a remote lake in northern Canada. The pilot agreed to return in a week to pick them up, and before leaving he warned, “Don’t bother killing more than two large animals, because that’s the most I can carry in my plane.”

 

A week later the pilot returned to find the three hunters waiting at the lake shore with a moose, an bear and a mountain lion, arguing over which they would leave behind. They couldn’t agree. Instead, they decided to leave behind their camping gear, to minimize weight, and offered the pilot hundreds, and then thousands of dollars to carry all three trophies. Reluctantly, against his better judgment, the pilot was persuaded.

 

They loaded the bear inside the plane, and the moose and lion they strapped onto the floats. Then the pilot and hunters climbed into the plane.

 

The pilot took off with full throttle. The loaded plane accelerated across the lake. As they approached the far shore, it began to lift off. The plane rose slowly. It just barely cleared the first set of trees at the lake edge, but moments later it grazed the tops of a second set of somewhat taller trees. The plane tumbled, crashing into the forest, resulting in a bloody tumble of airplane parts, people, moose, bear and lion.

 

A few minutes later, after recovering from a concussion, one hunter looks at another and says, “Look at the bright side. At least we went a hundred yards farther than last year.”

 

 

References And Resources For More Information

Note, many state and regional transportation agencies have an office of operations which provide information resources and examples in their specific area.

 

Wayne Berman, Michael Smith and Jennifer Seplow (2004), “Regional Transportation Operations Collaboration and Coordination: Working Together for Safety, Reliability and Security,” ITE Journal, Vol. 74, No. 5 (www.ite.org), May 2004, pp. 24-29.

 

Best Workplaces for Commuters (www.bwc.gov) is a program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation to recognizes employers that provide outstanding commuter benefits. The website has a variety of resources, including the TDM Case Studies Spreadsheet (www.cities21.org/epaModeShiftCaseStudies.xls)

 

Brian Cronin, Steve Mortensen and Dale Thompson (2008), “Integrated Corridor Management,” ITE Journal, Vol. 78, No. 5 (www.ite.org), pp. 40-45.

 

FHWA, Office of Operations (www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov) is a U.S. Federal Highway Administration department dedicated to promoting roadway operations and management.

 

FHWA (2005), Getting More by Working Together — Opportunities for Linking Planning and Operations, Federal Highway Administration (www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/lpo_ref_guide/prim0401.htm).

 

FHWA, Systems Management and Operations: Planners Resources Website (http://plan2op.fhwa.dot.gov) Office of Metropolitan Planning and Programs, Federal Highway Administration.

 

ITS (2007), USDOT ICM Knowledgebase (www.its.dot.gov/icms/knowledgebase.htm), Intelligent Transportation Systems, USDOT, provides information on Integrated Corridor Management programs, including various strategies to reduce congestion and improve travel reliability.

 

Steve Lockwood (2005), “Systems Management and Operations: A Culture Shock,” ITE Journal, Vol. 75, No. 5 (www.ite.org), May 2005, pp. 43-47.

 

Michael Meyer (1997), A Toolbox for Alleviating Traffic Congestion and Enhancing Mobility, Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and Federal Highway Administration (www.itsdocs.fhwa.dot.gov/jpodocs/repts_te/5dz01!.pdf).

 

Michael H. Morris (2008), “How To Take Adoption Of Transportation Systems Management And Operations To The Next Level,” ITE Journal, Vol. 78, No. 9 (www.ite.org), pp. 18-22.

 

National Transportation Operations Coalition (www.ntoctalks.com) is an association of transportation organizations involved in transportation management.

 

Ottawa (2004), Area Traffic Management Guidelines (Draft); Appendices, Department of Public Works and Services City of Ottawa (www.ottawa.ca); at http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/trc/2004/10-20/ACS2004-TUP-TRF-0012%20Annex%202.pdf and http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/trc/2004/10-20/ACS2004-TUP-TRF-0012%20Appendix%20A-H.pdf.

 

Jeff Paniati (2005), “Operational Solutions to Traffic Congestion,” Public Roads, Federal Highway Administration (www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov), Nov./Dec. 2005, pp. 2-8.

 

Planning for Transportation Systems Management and Operations Website (http://plan4operations.dot.gov), US Department of Transportation.

 

John Poorman (2005), “A Holistic Transportation Planning Framework For Management And Operations,” ITE Journal, Vol. 75, No. 5 (www.ite.org), May 2005, pp. 28-32.

 

Shelly J. Row (2003), “The National Transportation Operations Coalition: Moving From Dialogue to Action,” ITE Journal, Vol. 73, No. 12, Institute of Transportation Engineers (www.ite.org), December 2003, pp. 28-31.

 

Shelly J. Row (2004), “Transportation Operations: Lessons From Mickey Mouse,” ITE Journal, Vol. 74, No. 5 (www.ite.org), May 2004, pp. 30-32.

 

Joseph Sussman (2002), “Transportation Operations: An Organizational and Institutional Perspective,” ITE Journal (www.ite.org), Dec. 2002, pp. 50-55.


This Encyclopedia is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help improve understanding of Transportation Demand Management. It is an ongoing project. Please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.

 

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