Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations

4.0 Program Implementation

4.1 Overview

Deployment of roadside technologies to improve truck size and weight enforcement in the United States is an important goal of the Federal Highway Administration.  This goal will be supported by the Smart Roadside Initiative.  As stated in Section 1.0, the Smart Roadside will support information sharing among commercial vehicles, motor carriers, enforcement resources, highway facilities, intermodal facilities, toll facilities, and other nodes on the transportation system in order to improve motor carrier safety, operational efficiency, and freight mobility.  Interoperable technologies and systems will accomplish the data sharing.

The Smart Roadside Initiative is a partnership of FHWA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  It includes a number of mechanisms to support states’ technology deployments that will be available to states on an as-needed basis, at the customer’s request.  Other mechanisms are generally available to any interested stakeholders.

The objectives of the Smart Roadside program implementation are to:

  • Provide training to practitioners to allow them to plan, design, deploy, and operate roadside technologies and systems.  Training can take a variety of forms, including courses, conferences, workshops, and hands-on instruction;
  • Guide practitioners through the planning and design processes through more customized technical assistance;
  • Offer outreach to executive-level decision makers to promote goals, key concepts, and deployment benefits, and to keep them abreast of deployments in other jurisdictions;
  • Identify and/or provide sources of funding to support states’ technology deployments.  This could include funds for states to procure and install technologies, obtain design and integration services from vendors, and participate in tours or visits of deployment sites;
  • Support the development of technical architectures and/or concepts of operations to support key components of the Smart Roadside, such as the wireless roadside inspection and virtual weigh station; and
  • Promote roadside technologies at stakeholder activities and events.

The remainder of this section will detail key elements of the program implementation.  Table 4.1 summarizes how these program elements address the challenges associated with the deployment of roadside enforcement technologies.

Table 4.1 Federal Program Elements to Address Deployment Challenges

Challenges

Training

Funding

Architecture

Cost

no

yes

no

Manpower Requirements

no

yes

no

Interagency Cooperation

yes

no

yes

Data Issues

yes

no

yes

Technology Performance

yes

no

yes

Funding

yes

yes

no

Lack of Standards/ Architecture

yes

no

yes

4.2 Training

The goal of training is to produce a level of expertise that an individual can apply to his or her job, and also share with co-workers and associates.  The key Smart Roadside-related topics are likely to be:

  • Deciding on a technology, including what technologies are available for particular needs or functions, operational scenarios, technology limitations, historical performance, benefits, start-up and O&M costs, changes (e.g., legislative, regulatory) required, and examples of deployment locations;
  • Financing technology deployments, including seeking Federal grants and State appropriations;
  • Marketing new technologies to agency executives and motor carriers;
  • Procurement, contracting, and grants management related to technologies;
  • Managing technology projects, including managing vendors and working with multiple agencies;
  • Integration of technologies, systems, and other architectural elements; and
  • Planning, coordinating, and integrating projects.

States may identify additional training topics that will be entertained by FHWA and FMCSA at the customer’s request.

Delivery mechanisms for Smart Roadside training will be varied, reflecting the range of State, as well as Federal and industry, stakeholders who will benefit from training.  The Federal partners are committed to providing a variety of mechanisms because of time, cost, and distance considerations; the proliferation of distance learning methods; and the differential ability of delivery mechanisms to address specific training needs and audiences.  Peer interaction in some manner also is a key element of several of the delivery mechanisms.

Delivery mechanisms that will be available for Smart Roadside training include the following:

  • On-site customized technical assistance – An experienced professional can be assigned to work on-site with a State’s team through presentations, small group work sessions, questions-and-answers sessions, and other tools.  Products of technical assistance may include a business case, technology roadmap, project plan, procurement plan, and/or implementation plan.  The assistance, and the products, will be customized for the individual State.  A similar approach has been implemented successfully by FMCSA in support of the CVISN program.
  • On-site executive briefings – Concise and focused education for State agency executives can be provided to help them better understand the Smart Roadside Initiative and its benefits.  Briefings also involve executives in planning and deployment activities that will foster a sense of ownership that is critical to secure commitment of staff and resources for the program.  They may be delivered by a State program manager, by the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) or Smart Roadside “champion,” or by other personnel with influence and credibility among both public and private stakeholders.  Federal personnel (e.g., headquarters, division) may also participate in delivering executive briefings.
  • Peer-to-peer – Peer-to-peer support consists of technical assistance provided to a State typically on a specific subject (e.g., financing, preparing for O&M) by a representative from another State.  Participating peers are professionals experienced in ITS, CVISN, advanced technologies, and other related areas, who are matched to the requestor’s needs.  The training can take various forms, including on-site visits, telephone conferences, and review and comment on documents and materials.  Peer-to-peer is a unique means to talk to peers about common experiences, including processes and challenges about to be faced. 
  • Technology showcases – One or more deployment sites will be selected to highlight the integration of different technologies, systems, and services in one place or region.  A showcase is a means to illustrate progress and successes, and solidify and expand support for the deployments.  In addition, it offers a distinct opportunity to “see what’s out there” in the way of operational technologies and systems.
  • Deployment site visits – Locations other than the “featured presentation” model of the technology showcase may be attractive to states because of particular technologies that are deployed.  A State may have an unusual or unique deployment or program that is of interest to another State.  Self-arranged site visits (which may be coordinated through FHWA or FMCSA) differ from scanning tours that are sponsored and organized by a Federal agency and typically include personnel from multiple jurisdictions.
  • Webinars – Web meetings will be scheduled periodically to disseminate information on topics of interest to stakeholders.  Topics may include technical subjects such as WRI and VWS, as well as how to build effective partnerships or how to finance technology deployments.  Participation in webinars can be extremely valuable, and because they can be attended without travel, they provide a lot of “bang for the buck.” 
  • Web sitesFHWA and FMCSA have web sites where documents and presentations of interest to the Smart Roadside community are posted for general viewing.  The web sites also announce dates for webinars, conferences, workshops, and other meetings of interest.  The CVISN Collaboration SharePoint Site currently provides this functionality for the Roadside Identification Ad Hoc Team.
  • Roadside Identification Ad Hoc Team meetings – The Roadside Identification team meets on a monthly basis via teleconference to discuss current and evolving technologies that capture information about commercial vehicles at the roadside.   Jurisdictions share their experiences with a variety of roadside technologies and systems, provide evaluation results, seek information from other jurisdictions, and discuss how the technologies can be used in new ways to facilitate roadside enforcement as well as produce efficiencies for motor carriers.
  • WorkshopsFMCSA and FHWA sponsored the Smart Roadside Workshop in 2008 to advance the planning of the Smart Roadside Initiative.  The primary objectives were to educate stakeholders about the initiative, explore opportunities for additional ITS applications, identify key issues and concerns related to implementation of Smart Roadside functionality, and build partnerships to support follow-on planning and implementation.  FMCSA sponsored the CVISN Deployment Workshop in 2008 entitled “Collaborating to Advance CVISN.”  Roadside technology was one of the featured topics at the workshop; VWS, WRI, and universal truck identification were covered by practitioners who described current projects.  Future Smart Roadside and CVISN Deployment Workshops are planned.

4.3 Funding

Funding to support Smart Roadside activities and technology deployments continues to be a tangible obstacle to advancement.   As described in Section 2.3, the cost of technologies is one of the biggest challenges facing a State that wishes to improve its roadside enforcement program.  States require funds to procure and install technologies, obtain outside design and integration services, and participate in visits of deployment sites and workshops.

FHWA and FMCSA continue to seek funding to help them deliver the Smart Roadside program.   At minimum, Federal representatives are available to advise stakeholders on potential funding sources and how to maximize funding by matching technology purchases with sources that may be limited to certain uses.  Given the potential challenges associated with the CVISN funding program, FHWA and FMCSA will seek alternate sources of funding and/or improvements to the current program (e.g., increasing the per State ceiling for CVISN funding, extending the CVISN program beyond FY 2009).

4.4 Architecture

FMCSA sponsored the development and maintenance of the National CVISN Architecture to serve as a framework to guide stakeholders in the commercial vehicle operations (CVO) community as they develop information systems, standards, interfaces, and subsystems to support identified user services based on stakeholder needs and requirements.  Interoperability is one of the hallmarks of the CVISN Architecture.  Computers, sensors, communications and networks, software, system services, and security equipment must support the exchange and use of information in order to be interoperable.  Similarly, the Smart Roadside is supported by interoperable technology and information sharing between in-vehicle, on-the-road, and freight facility systems.

As a result of the findings of the Smart Roadside Workshop, FHWA identified the need to construct an architecture for the many different systems included in an increasingly complex roadside enforcement operations environment.  Development of this architecture is the primary purpose and goal of the agency’s new Electronic Permitting/Virtual Weigh Station” Architecture project, which is scheduled to start in 2009.  The architecture will depict various technology-based enforcement and inspection tools and data elements and provide a summary discussion of data interrelationships and data flow characteristics included in the architecture.

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