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




[A-D] [E-H] [I-L] [M-P] [Q-T] [U-X] [Y-Z]

3-C Process

Continuing, comprehensive and cooperative transportation planning process.

Active Transportation and Demand Management (ATDM)

The dynamic management, control, and influence of travel demand, traffic demand, and traffic flow of transportation facilities. Through the use of available tools and assets, traffic flow is managed and traveler behavior is influenced in real-time to achieve operational objectives, such as preventing or delaying breakdown conditions, improving safety, promoting sustainable travel modes, reducing emissions, or maximizing system efficiency.

Benefit-cost analysis

A systematic process for calculating and comparing benefits and costs of a project to 1) determine if it is a sound investment and 2) see how it compares with alternate projects.


The maximum hourly flow rate of persons or vehicles under prevailing conditions.


Any cooperative effort between and among governmental entities (as well as with private organizations) through which the participants work together to achieve common goals. Such collaboration can range from very informal, ad hoc activities to more planned, organized, and formalized ways of working together. The collaborative parties work toward mutual advantage and common goals. They share a sense of public purpose, leverage resources to yield improved outcomes, and bridge traditional geographic, institutional, and functional boundaries.

Congestion Management Process (CMP)

A systematic process for managing traffic congestion that provides information on transportation system performance. A CMP must:

  • Measure multi-modal transportation system performance
  • Identify the causes of congestion
  • Assess alternative actions
  • Implement cost-effective actions
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of implemented actions

Designing for operations

The collaborative and systematic consideration of management and operations during transportation project design and development. Designing for operations is typically reflected in increased or formalized collaboration between designers and operators and the development of design guidelines and procedures that reflect a broad range of operational considerations.

Dynamic traffic assignment (DTA)

A type of modeling tool that combines network assignment models, used primarily in conjunction with travel demand forecasting procedures for planning applications, with traffic simulation models, used primarily for traffic operational studies. These types of modeling tools provide the capability to model the evolution of traffic flows in a traffic network, which result from the decisions of individual travelers seeking to improve their trips through modifications to route, time of departure or mode.

From FHWA Resource Center Presentation: Dynamic Traffic Assignment for Transportation Planning and Operations, 2010.

Integrated Corridor Management (ICM)

The proactive, joint, multimodal management of transportation infrastructure assets along a corridor by transportation system operators and managers. ICM involves the coordination of transportation management techniques among networks in a corridor that together can collectively address congestion and improve overall corridor performance.

Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)

Electronics, photonics, communications, or information processing used singly or in combination to improve the efficiency or safety of a surface transportation system.

From Section 501 of title 23, United States Code as amended by MAP-21.


A livable community:

  • Provides more transportation choices that are safe, reliable, and economical
  • Promotes equitable, affordable housing options
  • Enhances economic competitiveness
  • Supports and targets funding toward existing communities
  • Values communities and neighborhoods

Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)

A document resulting from regional or statewide collaboration and consensus on a region or state's transportation system, and serving as the defining vision for the region's or state's transportation systems and services. In metropolitan areas, the plan indicates all of the transportation improvements scheduled for funding over the next 20 or more years. It is fiscally constrained; i.e., a given program or project can reasonably expect to receive funding within the time allotted for its implementation.


In general, the preservation (scheduled and corrective) of a highway or transit line. It includes the preservation of the surface, shoulders, roadsides, and structures – including right-of-way maintenance – and such traffic-control devices as are necessary for safe, secure, and efficient use of a highway/transit line.

Management and Operations (M&O)

See Transportation Systems Management and Operations.

Management and Operations Strategies (or Operational and Management Strategies)

Programs, projects, or services to improve the performance of existing transportation facilities to relieve congestion and maximize the safety and mobility of people and goods.

Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP)

The official intermodal transportation plan that is developed and adopted through the metropolitan transportation planning process for the metropolitan planning area.

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21)

Federal legislation that funds surface transportation programs at over $105 billion for fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014. President Obama signed it into law on July 6, 2012.

National ITS Architecture (also "national architecture")

A common framework for interoperability that defines– (A) the functions associated with intelligent transportation system user services; (B) the physical entities or subsystems within which the functions reside; (C) the data interfaces and information flows between physical subsystems; and (D) the communications requirements associated with the information flows.

From Section 501 of title 23, United States Code as amended by MAP-21

Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach

Integration of management and operations into the transportation planning process through the collaborative development of operations objectives for transportation system performance and the use of performance measures and targets for identifying management and operations strategies and investments.


The provision of integrated systems and services that make the best use of existing transportation systems in order to preserve and improve customer-related performance. This is done in anticipation of, or in response to, both recurring and non-recurring conditions. Operations includes a range of activities in both urban and rural environments, including: routine traffic and transit operations, public safety responses, incident management, snow and ice management, network/facility management, planned construction disruptions, and traveler/shipper information.

Operations and Maintenance (O&M)

The range of activities and services provided by the transportation system and the upkeep and preservation of the existing system.

Operations Objectives

Specific, measurable, agreed-upon statements of system performance that can be tracked on a regional or statewide level and inform cyclical investment decisions. Operations objectives are collaboratively developed, included in the metropolitan or Statewide transportation plan, and guide the incorporation of operations into the plan and transportation improvement program.

Performance Measurement

Performance measurement is the use of evidence to determine progress toward specific defined organizational objectives. This includes both quantitative evidence (such as the measurement of customer travel times) and qualitative evidence (such as the measurement of customer satisfaction and customer perceptions).

Performance Measures

Indicators of transportation system outcomes with regard to such things as average speed, reliability of travel, and accident rates.

Performance-Based Planning

Process that applies performance management principles to transportation system policy and investment decisions, providing a link between management and long range decisions about policies and investments that an agency makes in its transportation system.

Planning Factors

A set of broad objectives defined in Federal legislation to be considered in both the metropolitan and statewide planning process. MAP-21 identifies specific factors that must be considered in the planning process.

The metropolitan planning factors, which are similar to the State planning factors, are: "(A) support the economic vitality of the metropolitan area, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency; (B) increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users; (C) increase the security of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users; (D) increase the accessibility and mobility of people and for freight; (E) protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life, and promote consistency between transportation improvements and State and local planned growth and economic development patterns; (F) enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight; (G) promote efficient system management and operation; and (H) emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system."

From Section 134 of title 23, United States Code as amended by MAP-21.

Planning for Operations

A joint effort between planners and operators to integrate management and operations (M&O) strategies into the transportation planning process for the purpose of improving regional transportation system efficiency, reliability, and options. It requires collaboration among transportation system operators, transit agencies, and others to facilitate improved transportation system operations and the implementation of regional transportation system management and operations investments.


Refers to metropolitan or any other multi-jurisdictional areas.

Regional ITS Architecture

A specific, tailored framework for ensuring institutional agreement and technical integration for the implementation of ITS projects or groups of projects in a particular region. It functionally defines what pieces of the system are linked to others and what information is exchanged between them.

From U.S. Department of Transportation, FHWA, Regional ITS Architecture Guidance Document, FHWA-HOP-06-112, 2006.

Regional Concept for Transportation Operations

A management tool that assists in planning and implementing M&O strategies in a collaborative and sustained manner. Developing an RCTO helps partnering agencies think through and reach consensus on what they want to achieve in the next 3 to 5 years and how they are going to accomplish it in the region.

Regional Traffic Signal Operations Programs (RTSOP)

Programs whereby State and local agencies work collaboratively to address issues relevant to traffic signal management and operations within a region. RTSOPs may be organized formally or informally and engage in activities that are relevant to the needs of the region to address mobility issues on arterial networks.

Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations (RTSMO)

Transportation systems management and operations applied at a regional level.

State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)

A staged, multi-year, statewide, multimodal/intermodal program of transportation projects. It is consistent with the statewide transportation plan and planning processes as well as metropolitan plans, TIPs, and processes.


Sustainable communities are places that have a variety of housing and transportation choices, with destinations close to home. As a result, they tend to have lower transportation costs, reduce air pollution and stormwater runoff, decrease infrastructure costs, preserve historic properties and sensitive lands, save people time in traffic, be more economically resilient and meet market demand for different types of housing at different prices points.

From Partnership for Sustainable Communities Website

Traffic Incident Management (TIM)

The planned and coordinated multi-disciplinary process to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents and restore traffic flow as safely and quickly as possible.

Transportation Demand Management (TDM)

Programs, projects, or activities that provide travelers, regardless of whether they drive alone, with travel choices, such as work location, route, time of travel and mode. In the broadest sense, demand management is defined as providing travelers with effective choices to improve travel reliability.

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

A document developed by the metropolitan planning organization designated for a metropolitan area in cooperation with the State and any affected public transportation operator. The TIP contains "projects consistent with the current metropolitan transportation plan, reflects the investment priorities established in the current metropolitan transportation plan," and, once implemented, is designed to make progress toward achieving the established performance targets.

Adapted from Section 134 of title 23, United States Code, as amended by MAP-21.

Transportation Management Area (TMA)

All urbanized areas over 200,000 in population, and any other area that requests such designation.

Transportation Planning

A continuing, comprehensive and collaborative process to encourage and promote the development of a multimodal transportation system to ensure safe and efficient movement of people and goods while balancing environmental and community needs. Statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes are governed by Federal law and applicable State and local laws.

Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO)

Integrated strategies to optimize the performance of existing infrastructure through the implementation of multimodal and intermodal, cross-jurisdictional systems, services, and projects designed to preserve capacity and improve security, safety, and reliability of the transportation system; and the consideration of incorporating natural infrastructure.

TSMO includes actions such as traffic detection and surveillance, corridor management, freeway management, arterial management, active transportation and demand management, work zone management, emergency management, traveler information services, congestion pricing, parking management, automated enforcement, traffic control, commercial vehicle operations, freight management, and coordination of highway, rail, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian operations; and coordination of the implementation of regional transportation system management and operations investments (such as traffic incident management, traveler information services, emergency management, roadway weather management, intelligent transportation systems, communication networks, and information sharing systems) requiring agreements, integration, and interoperability to achieve targeted system performance, reliability, safety, and customer service levels.

From Section 101(a) of title 23, United States Code, as amended by IIJA.

What is TSMO?

Travel Time Reliability

A measure of the quality and variability of travel time. A reliable transportation system dependably provides users with a consistent range of predictable travel times.

Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)

The management plan for the (metropolitan) planning program with the purpose of which is to coordinate the planning activities of all participants in the planning process.


The regionally agreed statement of the overall aims of the regional transportation plan. In the context of regional transportation operations, a "vision" is the regionally agreed statement of the overall aims of the regional transportation plan; it describes the "target" end-state. Typically, a regional transportation vision will drive its goals (policy statements – the ends toward which effort is directed), objectives (measurable results), and strategies (ways/means to achieve objectives).

Work Zone

An area of highway with construction, maintenance, or utility work activities. A work zone is typically marked by signs, channelizing devices, barriers, pavement markings, and/or work vehicles. It extends from the first warning sign or rotating/strobe lights on a vehicle to the END ROAD WORK sign or the last temporary traffic control device.