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September 25, 2020 4:00 PM, EDT

Georgia DOT Wins Transportation Management and Operations Award

Traffic signal in AtlantaTraffic signals in Atlanta. GDOT’s system built on the work of the departments of transportation in Utah and Indiana, both of which had pioneered research on automated traffic signal performance measures. (Sean Davis/Getty Images)

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The Georgia Department of Transportation was named the overall winner of the National Operations Center of Excellence’s transportation systems management and operations awards.

The awards recognize agencies that have demonstrated work in the field of transportation systems management and operations, including efforts to empower members of the workforce with knowledge and skills.

The National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE), created through a partnership among the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America and the Federal Highway Administration, is meant to act as a resource for state and local transportation departments.

GDOT’s award, announced Sept. 24, honored the agency’s development of a traffic data management and reporting system. According to the project’s case study, the system has saved hundreds of hours in development each month and has yielded approximately $250,000 in annual savings.

Georgia DOT Chief Engineer Meg Pirkle

Pirkle

“We’ve got to make the most of the system we have,” GDOT Chief Engineer Meg Pirkle said. “Georgia is definitely a growing state. So many vital sectors depend on safe, efficient and reliable transportation, so I don’t see [transportation systems management and operations] waning in importance at all. It is always going to be the focus of how do we make the most of our system because of the limited dollars we have to expand.”

The agency was selected as overall winner among 46 entries and three other finalists, each of whom had already been named as a category winner in the annual awards. The finalists included the North Carolina Department of Transportation and its central signal system, Houston TranStar and its roadway flood warning system and the Washington State Department of Transportation, which created a workforce development program.

GDOT’s system built on the work of the departments of transportation in Utah and Indiana, both of which had pioneered research on automated traffic signal performance measures. The agency also launched the Measurement, Accuracy and Reliability Kit, which automated a manual reporting system for a regional traffic operations program, replacing procedures that had been in place for five years.

NOCoE Managing Director Patrick Son

Son

“Georgia DOT’s approach to build upon solutions from peers demonstrates the value of NOCoE’s mission to transfer knowledge amongst industry practitioners,” NOCoE Managing Director Patrick Son said. “The analysis and decision-making capabilities their solution is enabling are crucial to the efficient management of traffic.”

NOCoE’s transportation systems management and operations awards are open to cities, counties, metropolitan planning organizations, departments of transportation and private sector groups. The finalists represented successful projects that had been undertaken in the past five years and had provided a benefit to the traveling public.

Submissions for next year’s awards are open and will be accepted until early December.

In January, NOCoE launched a workforce development campaign geared toward professionals in the transportation systems management and operations field. The campaign is meant to address transportation leaders’ concern about building a skilled workforce to serve in transportation systems management and operations roles.

The workforce development initiative included a new website with a variety of resources, including education and training materials, industry assessments of existing positions and human resources department tools, such as model job descriptions. Sample jobs include traffic data scientist, visualization specialist, connected- and automated-vehicles program manager, and cybersecurity engineer.

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