Colorado Dept. of Transportation Executive Director Don Hunt and Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) unveiled on Jan. 11 the new National Operations Center of Excellence.
The NOCoE is a comprehensive technical services center and website that will help transportation professionals utilize state-of-the-art, real-time proactive management techniques to improve safety and combat congestion, leading to greater system reliability.
The launch was made during the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D,C.
“I am very proud that AASHTO and our partners conceived, planned, funded and launched the center in just two years,” said Hunt, chair of the NOCoE board of directors. “The center will be invaluable to a range of public and private entities working to improve the operational performance of the transportation system. The knowledge-sharing benefits of the center are critically important as we enter a period of rapid technological shifts in transportation.”
The NOCoE is a collaboration of AASHTO, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, with support from the Federal Highway Administration. Officials from all four agencies joined others from the transportation community at the ribbon-cutting.
“Transportation professionals in general and our state departments of transportation members in particular will benefit from the professional assistance, technical resources and support to be provided by the center,” said Wright. “With Don as chair, we were able to establish this innovative new center to provide support and information about effective operations and management practices so transportation agencies can better use taxpayer dollars.”
The NOCoE will offer an array of peer exchanges, webinars, assessments, on-call assistance and training on topics such as integrated corridor management, active traffic management, traffic management centers and incident response.
The website includes case studies, a knowledge center, links to key sites, discussion forums and a comprehensive calendar. The website, www.transportationops.org, was developed through the second Strategic Highway Research Program.
“We know that by doing an optimal job of managing and operating our highways, we can dramatically improve safety and travel-time reliability,” said Hunt.
NOCoE Executive Director Dennis Motiani, former assistant commissioner for transportation systems management for the New Jersey Dept. of Transportation, will serve as the NOCoE executive director.
“I’m honored to be asked to lead the NOCoE effort,” said Motiani. “It’s our goal to provide support and information about effective operations and management practices so transportation agencies can better use taxpayer dollars.”
Wright and Hunt were joined by representatives of ITE, ITS America and FHWA at the event.
The Institute of Transportation Engineers provided specific assistance in developing the website. Thomas W. Brahms, ITE executive director and chief executive officer, said, “Our expectation is that the center will provide resources to improve the transportation experience of the traveling public to enable them to get where they want to go in a timely, safe, and reliable manner. This new partnership brings together the transportation community’s different perspectives by sharing best practices, good and bad experiences to form lessons learned as well as engaging a network of peers to improve the operation of the transportation system for all users.“
ITS America also provided significant guidance in the development of the center. “ITS America is proud to have been a partner from the beginning in the planning, design and implementation of the National Operations Center of Excellence,” said Thomas E. Kern, ITS America’s interim president and chief executive officer. “It is incumbent on all of us who have a stake in the transportation systems management and operations community to support all efforts to mainstream our work and ensure that we make an effectively managed road network integral to our work. The Center of Excellence provides a focal point for this. We should all participate in, contribute to and learn from it. “