Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration - Momentum Newsletter
November 2018

Administrator's Message: What Is the Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Program?

TSMO is the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration's integrated approach to optimizing the performance of existing and programmed infrastructure. How do we accomplish this? With the implementation of multimodal, intermodal, and often cross-jurisdictional systems, services, and projects. Overall, TSMO will be the new driving force for how we design and implement the roads of tomorrow.

It's important to realize, we cannot gauge our success as an organization on infrastructure alone. We must assess how effectively the entire transportation system moves people and goods. Highways are only one component. Not to mention, increasing demands on our transportation infrastructure such as growing population, more drivers and vehicle miles traveled all pressurize this system.

Greg Slater

Greg Slater

Here at MDOT SHA, we recognize the need for a new transportation approach that balances added capacity as well as operational improvements. Consequently, we are strategizing methods to make better use of existing transportation infrastructure through TSMO.

We are at the point where operations, planning for operations, and implementation of operational strategies are more critical than ever to address congestion needs. By 2030, Maryland's population is projected to increase by more than 600,000 while passenger and truck miles are expected to increase by 15-20 percent.

TSMO makes sense. TSMO is about extracting the maximum performance for the greatest value out of our system. Compared to capacity expansion, TSMO Strategies:

  • Address all sources of congestion - recurring and non-recurring
  • Are inexpensive and cost-effective
  • Take little or no extra right-of-way
  • Can be deployed in months rather than years

The key to successfully implementing our TSMO program is planning and programmatic integration within our own walls. Think of everything we’ve accomplished so far! I have confidence MDOT SHA offices and divisions will work together to consider and embrace TSMO ideologies whenever and wherever possible. We're an outstanding team, and considering the needs of tomorrow is what drives us forward today. Thank you.

TSMO: Getting Information to Drivers Quickly, and Streamlining Roadway Operations

Modernization - TSMO: Getting Information to Drivers Quickly, and Streamlining Roadway Operations

A Variable Message Sign on US 50 alerts drivers of a crash ahead and its traffic impacts (left). The faces behind TSMO, Joey Sagal (Director of CHART) and Subrat Mahapatra (Deputy Director of CHART/TSMO Program Manager) smile in front of an MDOT SHA plow (right).

To effectively modernize our transportation system, TSMO calls for a number of new and improved highway maintenance strategies. When adding capacity to our highways isn't an option due to space and budget constraints, transportation business units must get creative. At MDOT SHA, our goal is to keep the existing system open and functioning optimally. Thanks to timely traffic incident management, vehicles and debris are quickly removed from the roadway after a crash - keeping motorists moving and queues from forming. Strategic work zone management - which includes scheduling repaving in the evening and major infrastructure projects for the summer, as well as limiting lane closures is also extremely important. These traffic management approaches allow more and more drivers to take advantage of life's opportunities - faster.

Communication to drivers is another critical component. In the event of weather-related closures, the quicker the information is communicated, the quicker drivers are able to make sound travel decisions. Internal communications are crucial to operations as well - the earlier we are made aware of potential congestion, the better prepared we will be to address it and inform the public of alternative routes.

Working to improve our network using TSMO strategies like active traffic management and integrated corridors management will help transportation professionals manage numbered routes as a multimodal system and make operational decisions to benefit the entire corridor. As we look to the future, keeping costs down and traffic moving is all possible with Transportation Systems Management and Operations.

TSMO Will Pave the Roadways of Tomorrow!

Innovation - TSMO Will Pave the Roadways of Tomorrow!

A depiction of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) of the future. They will be able to communicate with other cars and intersection signals, thus synchronizing traffic flow and easing congestion.

MDOT SHA is innovating our roadways with a variety of TSMO-related strategies. With new and improved infrastructure upgrades, intelligent transportation solutions and the deployment of technology working together to ease congestion and improve safety, TMSO is paving the way for the roadways of tomorrow.

For example, the I-270 Innovative Congestion Management (ICM) improvements will create an automated smart traffic system which will deliver the "Power of Go" to motorists on I-270 between I-70 and I-495. By restructuring existing pavement to add additional lanes, sensors that communicate traffic density and real-time communication, everyday commutes will become much smoother.

As part of Governor Hogan's Traffic Relief Plan, exciting traffic signal technology of the future is currently being implemented. New Smart Traffic Signals are being deployed along 14 highly congested arterial corridors around the state. This system uses real-time traffic conditions and computer software that adjusts the timing of traffic signals, synchronizes the entire corridor and deploys artificial intelligence to keep traffic moving.

Another innovation is the implementing of hard shoulder running operations along the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) during peak hours. This means that in certain areas, the emergency lane will be converted to a travel lane when traffic volume peaks. This enhancement is part of the Baltimore-area traffic relief plan that includes a new interchange at I-70 and I-695.

We've also completed a strategic plan and formed a dedicated working group for piloting Connected and Automated vehicles in Maryland! CAVs will be connected - meaning they'll be able to 'talk' to infrastructure, other vehicles and pedestrians electronically - and equipped with self-driving abilities, reducing the risk of an accident. The new strategic plan includes deploying Connected and Automated vehicle technology on Maryland's US 1 pilot corridor in Howard County!

Keeping Traffic Freely Flowing Through TSMO Improves the Customer Service Experience for All Motorists

Customer Service Experience - Keeping Traffic Freely Flowing Through TSMO Improves the Customer Service Experience for All Motorists

With better communications, performance measures, planning and operations, TSMO delivers an outstanding customer experience for those using Maryland highways.

By utilizing TSMO strategies, continuing to implement projects and initiatives that incorporate TSMO, and focusing on coordinating efforts internally and with external partners and stakeholders, MDOT SHA's TSMO Program will exponentially improve our customers' traveling experience. By improving coordination during incident management, decreasing incident duration and delay and providing real-time information to our customers, drivers are able to get from one place to another much more efficiently. Not to mention, implementing active traffic management, integrated corridor management, as well as optimizing condition-specific signal timing delivers Marylanders to life's opportunities faster.

Who wants to waste time sitting in gridlocked traffic when they could be spending time with their kids, enjoying a nice walk with their dog, or closing the next business deal? By better managing traffic and increasing safety near and within work zones, we are ensuring Marylanders get from Point A to Point B without harming themselves or others. Safety is our main priority, and building a network of efficient and reliable infrastructure that gives Marylanders the "Power of Go" is our goal to improve our customer experience each and every day.


Photo of the Month

This month, MDOT SHA hosted the Traffic Incident Management press event at M&T Bank Stadium to stress the importance of the Move Over Law which now includes MDOT SHA's workforce.

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