Transportation System Management and Operations

In the spirit of ITE’s Strategic Plan goal for technical knowledge and information that is value-added, timely, and relevant to practice across disciplines, the set of strategies represented by Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSM&O) anticipate and manage congested traffic conditions, and lessen other unpredictable causes of crashes, delay, and disruption.



ITE is one of five standards development organizations designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) to develop ITS standards under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. DOT. The status of ITS standards currently under development is provided in this section. ITE leads the development of ITS Standards with AASHTO and NEMA as partners. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R) Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office (JPO), Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and ITS America recently concluded a joint effort to develop a series of up-to-date, Web-based modules to comprise the new ITS ePrimer—a comprehensive source of fundamental concepts and practices related to ITS technologies, commensurate with the state of the art.


Arterial and Corridor Management

There are more than 330,000 traffic signals operating in the United States and a significant portion of them could be improved operationally by adjusting timing. Updates to traffic signal operations, especially in a corridor environment, is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve traffic movement and make our streets safer. Comprehensive signal retiming programs have documented benefits of 15-37% reduction in delay, 7-13% reduction in overall travel time, and a 6-9% fuel savings. Transportation agencies typically retime these signals on a three- to five-year cycle. The management of arterial signal programs is a core element moving people in metropolitan areas.

Arterial and corridor management involves the process of optimizing the operations of signalized intersections. The objective of signal timing is to respond to the demands of all types of motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians in an optimal manner. Signal timing strategies include the minimization of stops and delays, fuel consumption and air pollution emissions and maximizing progression along an arterial.


Urban Goods Movement

Urban Goods Movement covers the subject of planning, design, and operation of facilities related to movement of goods in and around metropolitan areas. Trends in good movement have been shifting in the context of increased on-line shopping, smart cities and new approach to urban street design.


System Resiliency, Emergency Management and Planned Events

Non-recurring congestion can be the resulting of a variety of causes as a result of planned events or emergency situations.  Incorporating system resiliency concepts into the TSM&O approach to manage these event adds flexibility to the transportation system.

Emergency Transportation Operations  is the entire continuum of events that create non-recurring congestion from small traffic crashes to large scale disasters or planned events

Traffic Incident Management: is the pre-planned and collaborative cross-discipline process to detect, respond, and clear traffic crashes so that movement can be safely and quickly be restored.

Planned Special Events are pre-planned activities such as festivals, athletic events, races, parades, etc.

Road Weather Management is the implementation of strategies and tactics to mitigation the safety and mobility impacts of different types of weather (rain/flooding, snow/ice, fog/smoke, hurricanes and high winds) on the road network.


Roadway Transportation Systems Cybersecurity

Blurb on ITE role and purpose in this practice area.


Establishing a Cybersecurity Framework and Tools for Roadway Infrastructure

As the transportation and automotive industries prepare for connected and automated vehicles, ensuring that the complex information systems sharing data to perform safety functions are secure from cyber-attacks and unauthorized access is critical to the technology’s successful implementation. ITE, with a long history of leading efforts to provide stakeholder input and intelligent transportation systems standards for the development of connected vehicles, was awarded a contract in October 2016 from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to establish a transportation system cyber-security framework and tools. This project is being managed and executed by the ITE Technical Programs Division.

One of the goals of the work is to provide a means for rapid, secure communication of relevant cybersecurity challenges among trusted stakeholders, including the USDOT Federal Highway Administration; regional, state, and municipal traffic system operators; equipment manufacturers and integrators; academia; the cybersecurity community; and law enforcement. The project will provide a common means whereby all of these stakeholder classes may communicate as equals to discuss and develop guidance to address cybersecurity challenges. Based on this communication and sharing, the goal is to then develop guidance that may be implemented when cybersecurity threats materialize.

As a first step of phase one of this project, ITE Technical Programs Division staff established a team through a memorandum of understanding with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). ITE has been leading this team to work collaboratively in establishing a beta website to assist in building a cybersecurity discussion forum. This beta website is laying the groundwork for the framework that is now being developed for phase two of the project. Together the partners have established a workgroup of stakeholders from cities, counties, states, and metropolitan planning organizations to identify cybersecurity needs and requirements. ITE has conducted interviews and recorded detailed input to identify cybersecurity needs and issues within agencies in general.

Work is now underway to establish a workgroup of stakeholders from the private sector to help build products and services that are secure from a cybersecurity perspective, as well as the creation of workgroups for law enforcement, hackers, and testers. Phase two of the work will involve creating tools and services to research the dimensions of cybersecurity threats; developing a monitor/alert/advisory system; and identifying the requirements for a cybersecurity vulnerabilities self-assessment tool for agencies.

The partnership established in phase one of the project ensures that the members from each partner association are well represented in developing, validating, and testing the products, tools, and services. The beta website developed in phase one will help identify the needs and requirements of the final outreach website that will be hosted through the National Operations Center of Excellence, which ITE supports with several staff from the ITE Technical Programs Division.


Public Safety

  • Emerging Technologies for Public Safety Response to Roadway Incidents

    Transportation Safety Advancement Group Activities
    From its inception as the Public Safety Advisory Group in the early 2000s, the purpose of the Transportation Safety Advancement Group (TSAG) was to gain insight and knowledge of transportation safety needs and how to address them through proven and emerging technologies. Through a dedicated group of volunteer transportation and public safety professionals, TSAG served as an advocate for employing public safety technologies to address national transportation safety challenge. Through pursuit of its charter to advise the USDOT ITS Joint Program Office on intelligent transportation systems and advanced technologies, TSAG supported the ITS Joint Program Office mission. In 2021, ITS JPO suspended TSAG as a formal group and continues to seek stakeholder input into its strategic direction through active public safety industry participation through other efforts.

  • Traffic Incident Management
    Traffic incident management (TIM) is a planned and coordinated multi-disciplinary process to detect, respond, and clear incidents from roadways so that movement may be restored safely and quickly. Effective application of TIM strategies can reduce the impacts and duration of incidents and improve the safety of motorists and pedestrians, crash victims and emergency responders. The Federal Highway Administration offers an extensive set of resources and references through the site linked here.


Performance Measures and Organizational Management

Leading organizations including ITE incorporate performance measures into their organizational management approach. This is no different for transportation agencies, private sector firms and academia. A number of resources are available including:


Professional Development Courses

As a transportation professional, you know that maintaining your skills in the transportation system management and operations area of practice is critical to your professional development and career success. ITE’s Learning Hub is your gateway to training resources to build and develop your skills or refresh existing ones.


Other TSM&O Resources