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

Chapter 3. Opportunities for Collaboration

This chapter provides a description of information exchange possibilities to suggest opportunities for TMCs, EOCs, and FCs to explore and formalize processes and channels for collaboration—to the extent that the centers may find them beneficial.

This guidebook focuses mainly on the viability and practical use of TMC information resources by EOCs and FCs, but it also addresses opportunities for two-way information flows among all of the center types. The following sections outline transportation-related data managed and used by all three center types, and how center counterparts might use each kind of information. The sections are organized as follows:

  • Transportation-related information managed and used by TMCs and how EOCs and FCs may utilize the information

  • Transportation-related information managed and used by EOCs and how TMCs and FCs may utilize the information

  • Transportation-related information managed and used by FCs and how TMCs and EOCs may utilize the information.

These sections distinguish among three basic categories of transportation-related information:

  • Operational information (real-time or very recent)

  • Records and logs information (recent or historical)

  • Infrastructure information (locations, routes, dimensions, resources, nodes, etc.).

These categories of information have strong value implications for each center type, depending on the mission, jurisdictional, and temporal focus of each center.

Each type of center—TMC, EOC, and FC—operates under different (and in some cases overlapping) missions. Their missions determine the categories of transportation-related information that they collect and use, as well as the official sources and information that may be beneficial if available from other types of centers. In fact, the three center types already often obtain and process similar information from external sources. Examples are news feeds, weather information, and 911 call/dispatch data.

Figure 3-1: Comparison of Typical TMC-EOC-FC Characteristics

chart comparing characteristics for the three center types

Figure 3-1 illustrates the differences in typical characteristics of the center types with respect to the overall focus of their respective missions. Each characteristic should be seen as a continuum.

The characteristics used to typify centers include:

  • Geographical coverage (i.e., does the center focus primarily on the local, regional, statewide, national, or global environment?)
  • Infrastructure focus (i.e., does the center focus on one particular infrastructure, such as the transportation infrastructure, or does it focus on multiple infrastructures?)
  • Temporal nature of mission or operations (i.e., does the center focus primarily on today’s situations, or does it focus on situations that may occur in the future?)
  • Functional roles (i.e., does the center focus on operational functions or on analytical functions?)
  • Deployment triggers (i.e., does the center focus primarily on reacting to adverse situations or on preventing them?).

There are, of course, wide variations in the characteristics of specific TMCs, EOCs, and FCs. For example, EOCs (in some form) exist at virtually every jurisdictional level. But the context of this guidebook involves regular regional and local information-sharing relationships between proximate or linked centers of the three types.

The following sections describe transportation-related information that is managed and used by each type of center and how it could be leveraged effectively by other types of centers.

June 2010
Publication #FHWA-HOP-09-003