InTrans / Mar 09, 2021

Iowa DOT earns TSMO award

Smart arrow board in a work zone

The Iowa DOT earned a 2021 Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Award from the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) for its Comprehensive Work Zone Management Program.

The Iowa DOT developed a detailed, five-year Work Zone Management Service Layer Plan, in conjunction with SRF Consulting Group, to clarify the tactical areas in which the department should apply its limited time and resources.

The plan elevated the importance of work-zone management throughout the DOT, resulting in a number of crucial activities, all of which contribute to improving safety, the effects of delays, and the DOT’s TSMO maturity.

Many of those activities were implemented in partnership with InTrans researchers, including the following:

  • Real-Time Performance Monitoring – Daily and weekly reports are shared with the statewide traffic management center (TMC), construction engineers, and law enforcement partners. InTrans also used machine learning to develop an application that identifies slow and stopped conditions and sends text alerts with camera images during sustained traffic delays. This allows those responsible for day- to- day operations to have an immediate awareness of traffic delays.
  • Iowa Work Zone Data Hub – Iowa DOT is partnering with InTrans to develop a “research grade” work zone data hub leveraging proposed standards and architecture proposed through the FHWA National Work Zone Data Initiative.
  • Smart Arrow Boards – The Iowa DOT has developed a specification to require smart arrow boards by 2021 for interstate and 2022 for all state highway projects. The smart arrow boards include a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and cellular modem that continuously reports location and status. This generates an accurate record of lane closures and allows the TMC, and others via data feed, to be notified automatically with work zone closure times and locations.

The NOCoE TSMO Awards Competition is in its third year, and it is a national competition that recognizes the latest TSMO projects and programs that are increasing the efficiency of America’s existing infrastructure to address air quality and improve the safety and mobility of the traveling public.

A case study on the Iowa DOT program is available here. To delve deeper, the NOCoE has a library of over 100 case studies on TSMO projects available here.

The Iowa DOT, along with this year’s other winners, automatically became a nominee for the Overall TSMO Award, which will be presented later this spring.