Great Lakes Regional Transportation Operations Coalition

Category Archive: Performance

FHWA Targets Border Congestion with Technology


To reduce delays at U.S. border crossings in New York, Michigan and Washington, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration today awarded $256,470 for the use of innovative new technology that will provide information on wait times at border crossings and help manage delay by giving truckers advance notice of crossing conditions.

“We are working towards creative solutions to border congestion, that can stifle commerce and negatively impact our economy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Accurate travel information will be a powerful tool in improving the flow of goods across these borders – supporting the freight economy, including U.S. businesses that rely on efficient trade.”

FHWA’s Border Wait Time Deployment Initiative is designed to accelerate the adoption of innovative technology, such as sensors, to measure delay and wait times at land border ports of entry. The program supports the collection and dissemination of real-time traveler information to improve the reliability of goods movement across these borders.

Under the initiative, FHWA will help expand the successful efforts at the Lewiston-Queenston and Peace Bridges which span the U.S./Canada border by providing $100,000 to the New York State Department of Transportation for its Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge.

FHWA will also fund technology at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel Crossing with a $95,920 grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation. Building on the success of the Evergreen State’s North Cascades Gateway, FHWA will award $60,550 to the Whatcom Council of Governments (WCOG) in Whatcom County, Wash., for the Booth Integration project. All of these research projects will use dynamic message signs and advance traveler information systems to convey the border wait times.

“These grants present an opportunity to improve freight movement and productivity by allowing businesses to transport their goods across the border more efficiently,” FHWA Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. “Our nation needs a strong freight system to compete in the global economy and meet the needs of consumers and industry.”

The projects are in line with the U.S. and Canada “Beyond the Border” initiative to improve the flow of goods and services between the two countries. In recent years, trucker wait time and unexpected delays have been identified as an impediment to the free flow across the border, and the FHWA has undertaken several research initiatives aimed at measuring border delays at major land-border crossings. According to the Department’s draft report, Beyond Traffic, approximately 10 million trucks moved more than 13 billion tons of freight across America’s highways in 2012. It is estimated that by 2040, freight volume will grow to 29 billion tons—an increase of 45 percent. Assuming Canada and Mexico continue to lead the list of US trading partners, much of this growth will impact US border crossings.

St. Louis Area Flooding

The flooding that occurred the last few days of 2015 around the St. Louis area showed up prominently on the Mid-America “Scanner.”  This interstate mobility performance scanning tool entails an algorithm that scans the NPMRDS data across the 10-state region in order to reveal to member agencies the time and location of particularly anomalous disruptions to mobility.


In this case, the December results (example map) showed a disruption around St. Louis. The team then dove into the data further to generate the example maps above, showing impacts of the flooding per day.

This next plot shows an example of the “process control chart” that the scanner algorithm relies on. This is fully documented in a technical paper if you’d like to request a copy of that. The example is for a single link of I-44 Eastbound near Eureka approaching the Meramec River.


And last, here is an example of a “heatmap” view of an impact like this, which allows us to visualize anomalies in space and time together. From left to right is about 105 miles of I-44, and bottom to top is two months, 12/1/15 to 1/31/16.



Mid-America Mobility Scanner is Live

Motivated by multistate mobility performance management, especially for freight movement, GLRTOC has developed a monthly scanning tool utilizing data from the NPMRDS. Each month as new data are available, all 22+ thousand miles of interstate within the ten-state Mid-America region are scanned for anomalies. Through different methods and algorithms, major disruptions to mobility from incidents, new work zones, or winter weather are picked up, reported, and displayed on maps.

The most recently available results for July indicate several disruptions of interest to the Coalition. For example,

  • I-275 just west of Cincinnati has continued work underway on the bridge across the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky.
  • I-35 in Kansas City saw full closures for construction and for a gas line break.
  • I-70 East of St. Louis and East of Kansas City have major work zones.
  • I-76 has been closed for construction on the West side of Akron, OH.
  • I-270 on the North side of St. Louis has major bridge renovation work underway.

The Coalition can use this information toward improving awareness among agencies and travelers, and mitigating impacts wherever possible. Summary results are viewable on the mobility performance scanner page.

NOCoE Webinar Announcement

Friday, August 14, 2015
Data Availability, Integration and Warehousing for TSM&O Performance Measures

The Performance Measures Technical Working Group (PMTWG) of the AASHTO Subcommittee on Transportation Systems Management and Operations (STSMO) in collaboration with the National Operations Center of Excellence is pleased to present a series of webinars on topics related to performance measures and performance management related to TSM&O.

The state of practice of performance measures and performance management in the TSM&O arena is highly variable, dynamic and evolving in the digital age, with new sources of data, applications for analysis, and business needs that can benefit with improved metrics.  The PMTWG seeks to advance AASHTO members’ capacity through a robust exchange of experiences between agencies and their partners in the private sector and academia.  Facilitation of this sort of exchange and learning will help accelerate the state of practice industry-wide.

The first webinar in the series will focus on the topic of “Data Availability, Integration, and Warehousing for TSM&O Performance Measures.”

Additional Information on the NOCoE Website

Examining Multistate Mobility in the Mid-America Region

Like never before, traffic probe data affords an unprecedented opportunity to examine multistate mobility, including for freight. Work by GLRTOC is featured in TRB’s Performance Management committee summer 2015 newsletter.

Mobility performance measures aren’t anything new, but SHRP2 and MAP-21 are punctuating their importance, and with the rule making process happening this year they will be increasingly widespread. Apart from that, multistate coalitions like the Mid-America Freight Coalition (MAFC) and the Great Lakes Regional Transportation Operations Coalition (GLRTOC) – which aim to improve transportation operations at the megaregion scale – are better able to collaborate on mobility performance management through the use of the NPMRDS across borders, identifying places where improvements to delay and reliability can be made.

View the full newsletter article (see page 13)