California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS):
Predecessor to the Western States Rural Transportation Consortium (WSRTC), the California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS) established bi-state cooperation to investigate and address rural concerns with advanced transportation technologies. This effort, dating back to 1998, has identified regional challenges, as well as developed and evaluated solutions to these throughout the northern California and southern Oregon region. It has served as the impetus for long-term partnerships, provided a forum for discussion and information dissemination, and provided an incubator for ideas that have evolved into stand-alone projects and products.
After four phases of COATS spanning 12 years, the Steering Committee determined that it was in the best interest of the project to broaden its area of service to the western United States. Through attendance at the Western States Forum, representatives from the Washington and Nevada Departments of Transportation expressed interest in becoming affiliated with the COATS partnership in order to foster greater research and technology transfer and collaboration. With the addition of Washington and Nevada to the California and Oregon (COATS) partnership, the COATS partnership has now evolved into the WSRTC.
The following projects have been developed in conjunction with WSRTC efforts. The projects are in various stages of research and development, and are generally considered mature since they've gone through pilot-testing and evaluation stages.
- Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum
- One Stop Shop (OSS)
- Integration of Aviation AWOS with RWIS
- Automated Safety Warning Controller
- Redding Responder
- Integrated Corridor Management (ICM)
- Professional Capacity Building (PCB) for Communication Systems
One of the Consortium’s primary activities is the pursuit of incubator research projects for three foci: technology, operations and safety. Incubator projects are low-cost research efforts that serve as a “proof of concept”. Based on the results of an incubator project, the decision may be made to pursue development of a larger spin-off project, which requires its own specific funding resources. A list of potential incubator projects can be reviewed here. Consortium members are encouraged to add ideas to this list throughout the year. Ideas may be sent to David Veneziano for inclusion in the list.
Based on discussions held in February, 2010, the Consortium members initially agreed upon three incubator projects. These would be completed during the 2011 calendar year, pending availability of funds. Each of the Consortium’s pillars (technology, operations, and safety) were represented among the incubator projects.
At the annual steering committee meeting held in November 2010, Consortium members reviewed the proposed scopes of work for the 2011 incubator projects. After discussion, the Regional Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) Planning project (operations focus) and the Survey of Western State Safety Warning Devices project (safety focus) were approved for year one. The WeatherShare Expansion technology incubator project was deferred pending the outcome of related efforts such as One Stop Shop (OSS) Phase 2.
Operations Incubator: Regional Integrated Corridor Management Planning
The scope and work plan for this project are currently being modified. A synopsis of this project will be posted following Consortium member review and approval.
Safety Incubator: Survey of Western States Safety Warning Devices
Transportation entities 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. While such self-contained safety warning systems exist throughout the western United States, there is a lack of documentation related to them, specifically an inventory of what is presently deployed. In essence, no one in the west really knows what deployments have been made in neighboring states (or even within their home state in some cases). As a result, this incubator project will seek to document such systems in western states at the state and local level.
This synthesis would identify where existing deployments are located, what their function/purpose is, and other information of interest. Such a synthesis would 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, practitioners will have a synthesis document available to them that presents information related to safety warning devices throughout the west. 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 system.
Technology Incubator: WeatherShare Expansion
Previous work funded by Caltrans and conducted by the Western Transportation Institute developed a web-based interface that aggregated weather information, including current and forecast conditions in California, for use primarily by DOT personnel. The system, WeatherShare, collects weather information from a variety of public sources, including the National Weather Service, and tailored to the needs of DOT personnel, particularly traffic management center (TMC) operators. Emphasis was placed on providing “at-a-glance” capability to recognize weather conditions.
As WeatherShare has become better known outside of California, other states, particularly those in the Consortium, have expressed interest in having the system’s coverage expanded to their state. As a result, this incubator project will investigate the expansion of WeatherShare coverage to Oregon, Washington and Nevada. In doing so, the extension of the system to cover broad regions (i.e., multiple states) will be demonstrated. The expanded coverage of WeatherShare would offer seamless weather information across jurisdictional boundaries, providing DOT personnel with a better picture of conditions both inside their own state, as well as a neighboring state.