WSRTC Update - September 4th, 2015


UPDATE: Friday, September 4th, 2015

The Western States Rural Transportation Consortium (WSRTC) Steering Committee gathered for its annual meeting on June 16th, 2015, prior to the commencement of the 10th Annual Western States Forum. Both events were held at the same venue in Yreka, California. The full agenda and the meeting presentation, as well as the meeting’s minutes, can be found here or on the WSRTC Documents page.

The Western States Rural Transportation Consortium (WSRTC) Steering Committee's annual meeting on June 16th, 2015.

Photo by Doug Galarus

The meeting was called to order with a welcome and review of the agenda, and introductions were made around the group. Special recognition was given to Ed Lamkin for his involvement and crucial support of the Consortium’s activities. He will be retiring this fall. Thank you to Ed! He is in the center of the photo below.

The Western States Rural Transportation Consortium (WSRTC) Steering Committee's annual meeting on June 16th, 2015.

Photo by Doug Galarus

Thank you also goes to David Veneziano for his leadership and work involving the Consortium since its inception. David recently left WTI to take a position at Iowa State University.

A brief overview of the forthcoming Forum was presented by Leann Koon — this year’s Forum offered eight technical presentations and was attended by 39 rural ITS practitioners representing eight different states. We welcomed Utah DOT as they participated in the Forum for the first time this year. Since this was the 10th annual event, Steering Committee members Ian Turnbull, Doug Galarus, and Sean Campbell provided the group with some history and background about the Forum. You can read more about this year’s Forum on the Forum’s project page. A complete overview of the event, as well as technical content and photos, can be found on the Forum website’s 2015 Past Forum Page.

Sean Campbell and Ron Vessey discussed state contributions to the Pooled Fund and reviewed the process of commitments, obligations, and distributions. They reviewed the Consortium’s budget and status of the open task orders to date.

Since the current phase of the WSRTC pooled fund expires next year, the group spent a significant amount of time gauging interest in a second phase. All participants discussed the mission of the Consortium and its potential, with several comments and questions about Consortium involvement and initiation of incubator projects. Sean Campbell suggested that if the group is interested, the Consortium could leverage resources to do a “moon shot” type project for rural transportation that all states can participate in, be proud of, and be an example to the rest of the nation. Potential topics for the larger project will be investigated and a project selected from the brief proposals early next year. Emphasis will be placed on rural applications of ITS related to technology, operations, and safety.

Last year, the Consortium approved a third phase of the Automated Safety Warning System Controller (ASWSC) project by Caltrans. Caltrans has transferred the funds for the project, WTI will be the contractor, and WSDOT will issue Task Order #6.

Two new projects were added to the Consortium: One-Stop-Shop Phase III and WeatherShare Phase IV. OSS Phase 3 aims to incorporate more field elements, expand coverage of existing ones (i.e., CMS), and begin investigation of a western states mobile app. Phase IV of WeatherShare will be the current WeatherShare plus the information relay to deliver a complete replacement for ScanWeb. The system will also be an archive of historical data and allow algorithm testing. Look for more information on these projects in the coming months.

Doug Galarus reviewed the status and activities of the open task orders. Task Order 2 is the current phase of the One-Stop-Shop (OSS) project. Doug mentioned that OSS earned ITS America’s 2014 Best of ITS Award for Best New Innovative Practice – Research Design and Innovation. He discussed last fall’s expansion to cover 11 western states, usage statistics, and the impact of links from the Caltrans camera pages. Task Order 5 includes WSRTC meeting coordination, support for the Western States Forum, and website development and maintenance. It will cover travel support for NRITS 2015 and ends on June 30, 2016.

Doug Galarus, Leann Koon, and Ian Turnbull reported on the status and progress of the three incubator projects. Several phone interviews have been conducted regarding the Data Quality for Aggregation and Dissemination of DOT Traveler Information project. All discussions have been positive and those interviewed have expressed great interest in the project and its results. You can read about the presentation given at NRITS in a future update. Prospective deployment recommendations and sources of Bluetooth readers were documented in conjunction with the Chain-up Delay Tracking with Bluetooth project. The Fredonyer Pass Icy Curve Warning System project is being completed by David Veneziano. Preliminary results indicate that the system appears to have maintained the speed trends observed earlier and that the number and severity of crashes appears to be lower after the deployment of the ICWS. A report will be available for review in September.

Doug Galarus discussed completed, current and upcoming research projects of interest to the group. These included Professional Capacity Building (PCB) for Communications, WeatherShare Phase 3, Integration of Aviation AWOS with RWIS Phase 2, and WeatherShare Integration with Caltrans QuickMap.

The group reviewed and discussed some of the recent changes to the Consortium’s website, including making project updates more visible upon initial landing on the site and the addition of a page that lists all of the project and WSRTC updates made since the site’s launch in 2010. A new comprehensive documents archive will be developed in the next several months. You can check out these pages at

The creation, management, and use of a network of people for posting, discussing, and answering technical ITS questions was discussed next. The group generally agreed that a controlled listserv may be the best option.

Finally, Ian Turnbull suggested that the WSRTC provide some form of recognition of those who have been instrumental in supporting/facilitating the creation and ongoing activities of the Consortium, including those who have since moved on to other responsibilities, positions, or retirement. This could be in the form of establishing “Emeritus Status” and related requirements and guidelines, and/or other similar recognition. A small group will discuss this and present a proposal for review by the Steering Committee at the next regular meeting. Look for the results of this discussion in a future update.

In the traditional fashion, the meeting concluded with a roundtable discussion about Rural ITS and related projects each of the member states are working on.

The Western States Rural Transportation Consortium (WSRTC) Steering Committee's annual meeting on June 16th, 2015.

Photo by Doug Galarus

To review the meeting minutes, click here, or go to the Consortium’s Documents page. The presentation from the meeting is also on the Consortium’s Documents page.

The next meeting of the WSRTC will tentatively be held via teleconference or at a regional conference in the November to March timeframe. An update about the National Rural ITS Conference in Snowbird, Utah, will be coming soon! Please check back.

Check back soon for more WSRTC Updates!