I Learned a New Acronym Today

On Friday, I had the chance (because of my TPAC alumni status) to sit in on a class given for local transportation managers. The new acronym I learned was TSM&O (pronounce that “tismo”).

It stands for Transportation Systems Management and Operations. The general idea is to take a more integrated look at the transportation system, understand it as a system that spans multiple jurisdictions, get good real-time data about how it’s operating, and run it smarter. This lets you get more capacity out of the same road network, without building new lanes.

Some of the tools and techniques of TSM&O:

  • Traffic Incident Management (get the wreck off the road ASAP)
  • Travel Information Services (get told about the tie up on I-5 before you leave the house in the morning)
  • Automatic Vehicle Location for Transit (when is the next bus coming)
  • Traffic Signal Coordination
  • Work Zone Traffic Management (better planned construction detours)
  • Roadway Weather Information
  • Electronic Payment (for transit, parking, tolls)
  • Freight Management

It’s about more intelligence instead of more asphalt. A local example of this approach is the http://www.keepportlandmoving.org/ web site. It will tell you about all the construction projects in the downtown core that impact traffic. Jim Mayer of the Oregonian covered this site in the context of Portland’s upcoming construction projects.

On a larger scale, it’s about collaboration between agencies.

Here’s to working, and moving, smarter.

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