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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Ongoing Operations Research

Creating a Foundation for 21st Century Operations

Realizing the social and economic benefits of good system performance requires different components of the transportation system to work in harmony with one other. A strong foundation for 21st century operations should feature intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies, better planning for operations, and performance measures to chart success. TFHRC's Operations and ITS team conducts research on the application of cutting-edge technologies to move people and goods faster and more safely.

Reducing Nonrecurring Congestion

Nonrecurring congestion efforts include the development and deployment of strategies designed to mitigate traffic congestion due to nonrecurring causes such as crashes, disabled vehicles, work zones, adverse weather events, and planned special events. Approximately half of congestion is nonrecurring congestion, caused by temporary disruptions that take part of the roadway out of use.

Reducing Recurring Congestion

Recurring congestion efforts include the development and deployment of traffic control and travel demand management strategies designed to mitigate congestion on highway facilities during peak travel periods. Roughly half of the congestion experienced in the United States happens virtually every day or is "recurring." This type of congestion happens when there are simply more vehicles than roadway capacity.

Improving Day-to-Day Operations

Operations agencies in the 21st century operations often concern themselves with how well the transportation system performs every day. Effective highway-based transportation consists of three components: building the infrastructure, preserving the operating capacity by managing operations on a day-to-day basis, and preserving the infrastructure. "Operations" is an integrated approach to managing the performance of the transportation network to meet the end-to-end travel needs of the customer.

Improving Global Connectivity by Enhancing Freight Management and Operations

The smooth flow of freight is important to the economy and to maintaining global connectivity. As demand for freight transportation grows, concerns intensify about congestion, safety, and security. Accordingly, the freight program focuses on promoting an efficient, safe, and secure intermodal freight transportation system. The freight program conducts research and analysis on freight flows, develops analytical tools, tests and evaluates new technologies, measures system performance, and examines the relationship between freight transportation and the economy.

Emergency Transportation Operations

The surface transportation system is vital to the American economy, defense, and quality of life. The need to ensure the function and integrity of the surface transportation system became clear following the events of September 11, 2001. Effective transportation operational strategies both during and after an event (manmade or natural) are key to ensuring safe and continuous movement of people and goods during an emergency.