You are here

Meeting the Challenge: Operations

Highway reliability affects our ability to visit family, get to work, deliver products to customers, live our lives, and grow the economy. FHWA's operations and freight research is developing innovative technology and processes that lead to system-wide improvements in how FHWA and its State and local partners manage and increase the reliability of the National Highway System and the National Highway Freight Network.

These innovations target the daily operations of transportation agencies, including demand management strategies, work-zone planning guidance, and improved traffic and freight analysis techniques. Research into new technologies and noteworthy management practices provides State and local agencies with additional tools to implement the institutional changes that will allow them to meet operational challenges.

Improved, real-time management of unexpected disruptions, such as adverse weather conditions and crashes, enables transportation agencies to improve the reliability of the highway system during times of unexpected stress. FHWA is exploring technologies such as traffic and weather sensors, wirelessly connected vehicles, and remote management of traffic signals, to provide better information and highway management options during disruptive events.

By deploying innovative transportation technologies to better manage congestion and freight movement, FHWA is helping transportation agencies embrace 21st-century system policies and tools that can deliver a reliable highway system for individuals and businesses nationwide.

Objective 1: Managing Congestion by Improving Reliability of the System at Peak Performance


  • Develop and deploy traffic incident detection technologies and management processes.
  • Promote efficient work-zone management processes.
  • Develop and deploy road-weather maintenance technologies and management processes.
  • Develop and deploy enhanced traffic signal technologies and arterial roadway management processes.
  • Promote a corridor approach to freeway traffic management including the use of managed lanes and alternate routing to make more efficient use of existing roadway capacity.
  • Develop and deploy integrated freeway operations systems to enable more proactive traffic management.
  • Promote travel demand management programs that enable better route, mode, time, and location choices for travel, to reduce travel demand during peak periods.
  • Develop congestion-pricing programs to manage the demand for limited transportation facilities in severely congested areas.
  • Develop and deploy tools, guidance, and training for State and local roadway operators on the management of nonrecurring events that interrupt or overwhelm transportation operations.
  • Develop and deploy real-time traveler information systems, which enable travelers to make choices that are more efficient.

Showcase Activities

  • Active Transportation and Demand Management (ATDM)
  • Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Program
  • Adaptive Signal Control Technologies
  • Road Weather Management
  • Work Zone Management Program
  • Congestion Pricing

Visit the Objective 1: Showcase Activities page for more details.

Objective 2: Building Strong Foundation for Proactive Operations


  • Update and maintain the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
  • Develop and deploy traffic analysis tools to assist roadway owners in designing and implementing more efficient operations strategies.
  • Integrate operations into the multimodal transportation planning process at State and regional levels using an objectives-driven and performance-based approach.
  • Promote the systematic use of quantitative and qualitative roadway performance metrics in the assessment of roadway operations.
  • Deploy intelligent transportation systems to advance the state of the practice for operations.

Showcase Activities

  • Traffic Analysis Tools Program
  • Planning for Operations Program
  • Operations Performance Measures and Management
  • Regional Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Architecture Maintenance

Visit the Objective 2: Showcase Activities page for more details.

Objective 3: Improving Reliability through Efficient Movement of Freight


  • Improve reliability through the efficient movement of freight.
  • Promote the development of cost-effective freight infrastructure to meet the changing demands of freight distribution and logistics.
  • Deploy technology and processes to facilitate the smooth flow of goods on the Nation's roads, across international borders, and through intermodal transfers.
  • Develop and deploy professional capacity-building opportunities for freight specialists at regional, State, and local transportation agencies.
  • Maintain and enforce Federal vehicle size and weight standards for the movement of freight on the Nation's interstates.

Showcase Activities

  • Freight Analysis Framework (FAF)
  • Freight Performance Measures Program (FMP)

Visit the Objective 3: Showcase Activities page for more details.

Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018