California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS)

For over 15 years, the California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS) program has shown that a bi-state partnership to address rural ITS concerns is both feasible and advantageous. It allows for maximization of resources and provides a source for fresh ideas and perspectives. It provides a platform to address the issues and concerns of rural areas that might otherwise remain ignored. Numerous systems and approaches have been developed and evaluated over the years, providing useful information on which to base future deployment decisions. Several of these initial systems are still in place, addressing the concerns they were designed to. Finally, COATS has provided a platform on which to conduct expanding efforts geared toward outreach and tech transfer.

The roots of the COATS program stretch back to 1991. Caltrans recognized that there were rural concerns in dealing with advanced technologies that would evolve into Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). In 1995, efforts were begun to specifically examine ITS technologies in a rural context through a scoping study. This scoping study, the Program for Advancing Rural Transportation Technologies (PARTT), reviewed advanced transportation technologies, identified key issues concerning them, and developed conceptual ideas for future activities. As part of this work, a geographic area in Northern California designated a study area to refine the need and application of ITS in a rural environment. Caltrans and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) expanded the Northern California study area into Southern Oregon to maximize resources, foster cooperation, and investigate feasibility of ITS in a bi-state study area. All of these activities laid the foundation for what COATS would become.

In 1998, the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) at Montana State University, Bozeman, was selected to carry out further studies. Led by Chris Strong and Steve Albert, this effort, subsequently titled COATS, focused on ITS planning and architecture in the previously identified study area. Notably, the COATS project resulted in the development of the first two Rural Transportation Management Centers in California, one in Redding and one in Eureka. Additionally, the work resulted in deployment of an early-winner project. The specific activities of this phase of COATS, as well as subsequent phases, are outlined in the COATS project History.

COATS Project

Recent Updates:

COATS Project Update, 11/21/2017: July - September 2017 Quarterly Update COATS Project Update, 4/19/2017: Phase 7 Gets Underway COATS Project Update, 11/17/2016: 6th Phase of COATS Project Completed COATS Project Update, 8/22/2016: Research Report - Data Quality for Aggregation and Dissemination of DOT Traveler Information COATS Project Update, 5/13/2016: January - March 2016 Quarterly Update COATS Project Update, 2/24/2016: Evaluation of the Fredonyer Pass ICWS – Final Report
July - September 2017 Quarterly Update
November 21st, 2017
Phase 7 Gets Underway
April 19th, 2017
6th Phase of COATS Project Completed
November 17th, 2016
Research Report - Data Quality for Aggregation and Dissemination of DOT Traveler Information
August 22nd, 2016
January - March 2016 Quarterly Update
May 13th, 2016
Evaluation of the Fredonyer Pass ICWS – Final Report
February 24th, 2016

Check back soon for more California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS) updates.

UPDATE: Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

COATS Phase 7 is facilitating ongoing technology transfer through the Western States Forum and continued demonstration and evaluation of ITS technologies through several incubator projects. Here is a brief summary of what was accomplished during the third quarter of 2017.

Western States Forum
During this quarter, the project team continued wrap-up activities from the 12th annual Western States Forum that took place at the end of the last quarter, June 20th – 22nd. The Forum website was updated with technical content and images from the event and evaluations were compiled. The Steering Committee reviewed the planning and operation of this year’s Forum, as well as the comments and feedback from participants.

Participants of the 2017 Western States Forum watch a presentation.

Photo by: Leann Koon

Save the Date! The 13th Annual Western States Forum will be held June 19th – 21st, 2018, in Yreka, California. Planning for the event will begin in the upcoming quarter. The meeting facility will be reserved, the event planner hired, and a Save the Date postcard will be distributed via mail and email. Midway through the quarter, the Call for Abstracts will be developed and sent out. The Forum and Consortium websites will be updated with the Call for Abstracts and event information.

Incubator Projects
Work on incubator projects has been on hold this quarter pending staff changes. A meeting to discuss the project workplans was scheduled for the first week of the upcoming quarter.

Make sure to check back next quarter for updates on the progress and status of the COATS projects.

Project Contacts:

  • Caltrans Project Manager:
  • Sean Campbell, P.E.
  • Chief, ITS Special Projects Branch
  • Caltrans, Division of Research, Innovation,
  • and System Information
  • 1227 O Street, PO Box 942873
  • Sacramento, CA 94273-0001
  • (916) 654-8868
  • (916) 657-4580 (fax)
  • sean_campbell "at"
  • Caltrans Project Champion:
  • Jeremiah Pearce, P.E.
  • Acting Chief
  • Office of ITS Engineering and Support
  • Caltrans District 2
  • 1657 Riverside Drive
  • Redding, CA 96001
  • (530) 225-3320
  • (530) 225-3255 (fax)
  • jeremiah.pearce "at"
  • Oregon DOT Lead:
  • Doug Spencer, P.E.
  • Standards Engineer
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Oregon Department of Transportation
  • 2080 Laura Street
  • Springfield, OR 97477
  • (541) 747-1276
  • Doug.L.SPENCER "at"
  • WTI Contact:
  • Craig Shankwitz
  • Senior Research Engineer
  • Western Transportation Institute (WTI)
  • Montana State University - Bozeman
  • PO Box 174250
  • Bozeman, MT 59717-4250
  • (406) 994-6030
  • craig.shankwitz "at"
  • WTI Contact:
  • Leann Koon
  • Research Associate
  • Systems Engineering, Development & Integration
  • Western Transportation Institute (WTI)
  • Montana State University - Bozeman
  • PO Box 174250
  • Bozeman, MT 59717-4250
  • (406) 994-7643
  • (406) 994-1697 (fax)
  • leann.koon "at"
  • Past WTI Contact:
  • Douglas Galarus
  • Assistant Professor
  • Utah State University
  • 4205 Old Main Hill
  • Logan, UT 84322-4205
  • (435) 797-4136
  • (435) 797-3265 (fax)
  • doug.galarus "at"
  • Past WTI Contact:
  • David Veneziano
  • Program Manager I
  • Institute for Transportation
  • Iowa State University
  • Suite 4700
  • 2711 S Loop Dr
  • Ames, IA 50010-8664
  • (515) 294-5480
  • dvenez "at"