Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

SHRP2 Operations in the 21st Century DOT – Meeting Customers Needs and Expectations - Presentation Guide


This document is the presentation guide in support of the accompanying PowerPoint presentation entitled “Operations in the 21st Century – Meeting Customer Needs and Expectations.” This is an update to the presentation developed under SHRP2 Project L31, Reliability Workshops for State and Public Sector Managers. The update to the presentation reflects the requirements contained in MAP-21, recent enhancements in various operational strategies (e.g., Active Transportation and Demand Management – ATDM), and the needs of the joint FHWA / AASHTO deployment of SHRP2 Organizing for Reliability, including “lessons learned” from the pilot Capability Maturity Model (CMM) activities.

With respect to the latter, an Implementation Assistance Program (IAP) is underway to help transportation agencies in deploying new products developed under the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2). Twenty-seven “lead adopters” were selected for the first round of assistance opportunities for the SHRP2 Organizing for Reliability. The process and activities associated with this two- to three-year implementation effort is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The process and activities associated with this 2-3 year implementation assistance.
Figure 1 Overview of Activities: CMM Assistance for Lead Adopters

These presentation materials are intended to help support these CMM activities in all four phases, starting with the initial engagement and subsequent meetings with an agency’s senior leadership and decision makers (e.g., DOT Secretary / CEO, chief engineer, budget and programming director, maintenance head, other executive staff) during the Outreach and Assessment phases. The presentation materials may also be used as one of the activities and supporting “tools” during the implementation phase to help mainstream operations into the agency’s institutional framework. The presentation materials, along with a companion presentation geared more towards MPOs, are included in the Tool Kit developed for this CMM-related effort.

The material is geared towards presentation to the chief executive officers (CEOs) and senior managers of state departments of transportation (DOTs), showing the value of mainstreaming operations as a core mission, business practice, and investment priority in their respective agencies. Not only can senior leadership provide valuable input to the process; but they are also the ones that must ultimately approve and subsequently promote any changes to the institutional framework – and the associated staffing and budgets – in support of enhanced operations. Additionally, the presentation materials may also be used as a tool to discuss the importance of operations to middle management and other DOT staff (e.g., maintenance staff, planning and budgeting, design) during the implementation phase as may be appropriate. It is also envisioned that the presentation materials will prove useful in other efforts to advance operations (e.g., for communicating with the public and other stakeholders).


The overall goal of these presentation materials is two-fold. The first is to promote an understanding and appreciation for what Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO – simply referred to as “operations” in the presentation) can do to help a DOT meet today’s many challenges and improve the transportation network. The executive audience needs to understand policy-related issues and basic concepts in order to become advocates for operations.

The second hoped-for result is that the executive(s) will then task their senior staff to formalize operations as a core DOT program and an on-going focus within the agency and the region. In this context, the executive should:

  • Establish someone to be responsible for identifying needed changes to the DOT institutional framework. (The CEO doesn’t need to identify specifics.)
  • Indicate support for reasonable resource allocation based on the business case.
  • Identify what measure of success would be.
  • Set a time line for achievement and reporting back

Presentation Approach

This presentation has been created to address transportation operations at a high level that is relevant to most, if not all, state DOTs. The presentation slides are sequentially ordered in this document and include the following information for each1:

  • Description of the slide—a brief narrative setting up the key points to be made during the presentation of the slide. This may be an introduction to the slide subject putting the key points in context, a definition, or some combination.
  • Key points—a bulleted list of key points to be articulated while the slide is displayed.
  • Other – Additional information and guidance for the presenter to consider, such as identifying and including examples specific to the DOT / audience. (An “Other” note is not provided for all slides).
  • Sources – Provides the references from which benefit information and / or graphics – as shown on the slide – were obtained.   

The presenter should use and convey the information included in the “Description” and “Key Points” as appropriate to the audience. Local examples and updates as a result of on-going activities should also be considered as identified in “Other.”

The executive sessions should be planned for opportunities that relate to elected/appointed officials natural “turf” and appropriate time – for example, state DOT senior staff and directors’ meetings, state legislature transportation committee meetings, or conference venues (AASHTO, NCSL, NACO, APWA, etc.).

The presenter(s) should have credibility with the target audience. This suggests some sort of peer relationship (e.g., the presenter was once a DOT executive) or acknowledged leader in the field of operations. The presenter should also interject personal anecdotes and local examples as appropriate (e.g., “You are already providing this operations strategy.”). As such, it is important in preparation for the session that the presenter(s) familiarize themselves with a general understanding of the state or region of interest (target), as well as offering real-life examples from other states/regions.

Presentation Organization

The presentation slides are organized as follows:

Topic Slide Numbers
Introduction and Purpose of Session / Definition of “Operations” 1 – 4
The Changing Transportation Environment and Associated Challenges to DOTs, and How Operations Can Help 5 – 12
Examples of Operations Strategies and Benefits 13 – 23
Importance of “Mainstreaming” Operations and Overview of the Various Dimensions Within a DOT Where This Should Occur 24 – 30
Overview of Operations from a Regional Perspective, Including “Planning for Operations” and the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCOE) 31 – 33
Summary and Next Steps for Executives, Including Contacts Within FHWA and AASHTO 34 – 35
“Questions” – To stimulate a dialogue and interactive discussion 36
“Parking Lot” of slides that the presenter may include depending on the specific interests and needs of the audience. 37 – 41

A key point to make is that of all the states that have embraced operations, not a single state has been able to do it without the CEO’s support. They do not need to be champions; but they do need to be enablers of a proactive formal operations program with a goal of continuous improvement.

Modifying the Presentation

The presentation, as described herein, will likely take 40 – 45 minutes followed by questions and discussions (i.e., an hour). However, experience has shown that DOT executives are often very busy with many other issues and priorities demanding their attention. It may be that only 15 to 30 minutes is available for the presentation and subsequent discussion. Accordingly, this presentation should be viewed as a “menu” of slides that can be modified, edited, rearranged, and otherwise tailored such that it is relevant to the audience, the DOT’s operational situation, the presentation environment, and the allotted timeframe.

One potential example of a shorter presentation is provided below, showing the most essential slides and other potential slides, some of which may be added depending on the specific operations programs within the agency and the interest of the target audience.

Topic Essential Slides Other Potential Slides
Introduction and Purpose of Session / Definition of “Operations” 1 – 3  
The Changing Transportation Environment and Associated Challenges to DOTs; and How Operations Can Help 5, 11 A few from
6 - 11
Examples of Operations Strategies and Benefits 12 A few from
13 - 23
Importance of “Mainstreaming” Operations and Overview of the Various Dimensions Within DOT Where This Should Occur 24, 25, 27 28, 29, 30
Summary and Next Steps for Executives, Including Contacts Within FHWA and AASHTO 34, 35  

Given that transportation systems management and operations is constantly evolving, this presentation is intended to be a “living document”, with updates provided as may be required to reflect the state-of-the-practice (e.g., changes in Federal legislation and policy, findings and lessons learned from the on-going CMM activities, evaluations of operations strategies). Moreover, should any presenter identify materials and information that should be included in the presentation materials, or develop a modified order of the slides that has proven beneficial,  please contact Steve Clinger of FHWA at  These additional tools will also be included in subsequent updates as appropriate.

A history of the presentation versions and the major changes made for each version update is provided below.

DOT CEO Presentation Version Control

Version Date Changes and Updates
1.0 April 2014 Initial version of DOT CEO Presentation
1.1 Nov 2014 Added information to notes – references from which benefit  examples and graphics (on slides) was obtained
2.0 Feb 2016 Updated to reflect final slide numbers

1This same information is also provided on the notes page of each slide within the presentation
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