Integrating Operations into Planning and Programming

Communicating TSMO

Analysis and Performance Measurement

Regional Collaboration and Coordination

Organizing for Operations

Mainstreaming TSMO

Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Plans

Congestion Management Process (CMP)

How Does TSMO Relate To ...

All Resources

Resource Type

Resources Helpful to ...

Policy and Regulations

Performance-Based Planning

Designing for Operations

Regional ITS Architecture and ITS Strategic Plans

Systems Engineering and ITS Project Development

Livability and Sustainability

Traffic Signal Programs

Corridor Management

Active Transportation and Demand Management

Transportation Demand Management

Traffic Incident Management



Light rail train in city

Regional Collaboration and Coordination

Regional collaboration and coordination is the foundation for effective planning for operations. Collaboration and coordination among transportation operators and between planners and those responsible for day-to-day operations is vital for safe, seamless, and reliable travel across modes and jurisdictions. In this context, a region is considered to be any multi-jurisdictional area defined by the collaborative partners. Transportation planners and operators can have a greater impact on the performance of the transportation system in the region when they work together instead of separately to address transportation issues of regional significance with management and operations (M&O) strategies. Regional collaboration and coordination ensures that decisions related to the transportation planning process consider a regional perspective of transportation system performance. It brings necessary stakeholders together to help inform the process and ensure that planning decisions are made using all relevant information.

Implementing an objectives-driven, performance-based approach to planning for operations requires regional collaboration among transportation planners and operators. Inclusion of both operators and planners in the transportation plan development process is vital to ensuring that the objectives set forth in the plan are realistic and achievable. Coordination also is important for identifying operations strategies, monitoring system performance, and evaluating the effectiveness of implemented strategies. The role of collaboration and coordination in the objectives-driven, performance-based approach is explained in Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: An Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach – A Guidebook.

A Regional Concept of Transportation Operations (RCTO) is a management tool that can be used by planners and operations practitioners to define a strategic direction for improving regional transportation management and operations in a collaborative manner.

Regional operations collaboration and coordination is an ongoing, iterative effort. Five major elements form a framework on which managers with day-to-day responsibilities for providing transportation and public safety services can build sustained relationships and create strategies to improve transportation system performance. The framework creates structures through which processes occur that result in products. It implies a commitment of resources and is motivated by a desire for measurable improvement in regional transportation system performance.


  • Getting More by Working Together - Opportunities for Linking Planning and Operations: A Reference Manual (HTML, PDF 5MB)
  • NCHRP Synthesis 420: Operational and Institutional Agreements That Facilitate Regional Traffic Signal Operations, 2011.
  • Organizing for TSMO – 2020 Peer Exchange Report (HTML, PDF 1.8MB) : FHWA hosted a group of Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) leaders to share their agencies' experiences in advancing TSMO programs on February 26 and 27, 2020. Representatives from 15 organizations participated in the peer exchange, including from: 12 State departments of transportation (DOTs), two metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and one regional transportation commission. The event included four focused sessions: organizational improvements, collaboration and partnerships, making the business case and branding for TSMO, and priority issues for further exploration.
  • Planning for Transportation Systems Management and Operations within Subareas: A Desk Reference (HTML, PDF 5MB)