California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS) Update - December 16th, 2011


UPDATE: Friday, December 16th, 2011

WSRTC Meeting covering changes to the COATS project for Phase 5. WSRTC Meeting covering changes to the COATS project for Phase 5.

Photo by WTI

Photo by WTI

COATS Phase 5 will use the ITS experience and institutional knowledge of stakeholders in the region, combined with technology transfer activities from the Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum (the WSRTTIF, or the Forum) and incubator projects. These incubator projects have been identified by the Western States Rural Transportation Consortium (WSRTC) region of California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada, to continue successful demonstration of ITS technologies in a rural context. This will provide benefit for stakeholders both within and outside the COATS region. Among the tasks slated for completion during COATS Phase 5 are the following:

Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum (WSRTTIF)

The annual Forum, a meeting focused on providing technology transfer and networking opportunities for professionals working in design, implementation, and maintenance of ITS technologies in rural environments, will continue under this task. The Forum was conceived to enable ITS practitioners to reap the same benefits of information sharing that ITS planners in the COATS region had been realizing over the last several years. It is unique nationally with respect to its participants, format, and technical content, and its origin and development reflects the idea of using COATS as an incubator for innovations in the use of technology to address rural transportation challenges.

The 2012 Forum will be held in Yreka, California, June 12th-14th. Go to the Forum website at for more information.

Year 1 Incubator Projects

During the first year of the COATS 5 effort, this task will examine two incubator projects, low-cost research efforts that serve as a “proof of concept.” These incubator projects are described below.

Survey of Western States Safety Warning Devices

Agencies across the west have deployed various ITS systems to address a number of different local safety and operational concerns. Often, these systems are “self-contained,” existing solely to address a particular issue at a given site. Such systems are typically roadside-based, with all equipment and processing completed on-site. There is a lack of documentation related to these deployments, specifically an inventory of what is presently deployed. The work completed during this incubator project will document such systems deployed at the state and local level in western states. This includes where existing deployments are located, what their function/purpose is, and other information of interest. Such a synthesis will entail contacting state DOTs, as well as local city and county personnel to determine what devices they presently have deployed in their jurisdiction. As a result of this work, a synthesis document that presents information related to safety warning devices throughout the west will be available to practitioners. This information could then be used in learning about the benefits of available systems, as well as provide a starting point for making contact with practitioners in other jurisdictions to learn more about their experience with a particular system.

Regional Integrated Corridor Management Planning

This work will move toward establishing criteria and processes for applying ICM to a rural context. It will not identify routes or develop specific plans for agencies to implement; rather, it will demonstrate how the USDOT ICM initiative process can be transferred to a rural application if an agency chooses to do so in the future. This demonstration will be accomplished through an application of the developed process to one or two test corridors in the WSRTC region.

Year 2 Incubator Projects

This task will complete one, larger incubator project examining the application of Bluetooth technologies for travel time data collection in a rural environment. The scope of work for this project will be developed during the first year of COATS Phase 5, so check back for future updates on this work.


To complete this task, research team members will present and discuss COATS and COATS-related efforts that may be of interest to others, whether within other parts of the partner states, in adjacent states, or at regional and national venues. Outreach will increase awareness of the research successes from COATS, and strengthen COATS as the incubator and proving ground of successful rural ITS applications. Anticipated outreach activities will include presentations at the annual Transportation Research Board meeting, the Northwest Transportation Conference, and the National Rural ITS Conference.