Triennial Strategic Plan

Download PDF – TCD Triennial Strategic Plan 2011

Triennial Strategic Plan
Traffic Control Devices Committee (AHB50)
2011-2013
Operations and Preservation Group (AH000)
Operations Section (AHB00)


Committee Leadership

David A. Noyce, Chair
Tim J. Gates, Secretary
TRB Staff: Rich Cunard

INTRODUCTION

Information provided in this document constitutes the 2011-2013 Triennial Strategic Plan for the Traffic Control Devices Committee (AHB50).

COMMITTEE FUTURE OUTLOOK STATEMENT

The mission of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Traffic Control Devices (TCD) Committee is to advance the knowledge of public and private transportation professionals and facilitate new ideas and technologies in the field of traffic control devices. The TCD Committee promotes the development, design, application, and evaluation of traffic control devices and their effect on traffic operations and safety by disseminating knowledge through research papers, presentations, conference participation, stimulating discussion of research findings, facilitating the implementation of research into practice, and related activities. Committee activities are built around several goals:

  • Significantly improve the communication and dissemination of state-of-the-art information concerning traffic control devices through presentation and publication of research at the TRB Annual Meeting, the TCD Committee mid-year meeting(s) and/or teleconferences, and at other venues.
  • Promote the conduct of research on traffic control devices.
  • Promote awareness of special issues through conference sessions.
  • Identify emerging topics and research needs related to traffic control devices.
  • Document future research needs through the development of research problem statements.
  • Facilitate the communication and coordination of activities with other TRB committees that share an interest in traffic control devices.
  • Communicate and coordinate with the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) and other organizations outside of TRB on critical issues and changes in traffic control device guidance and use.
  • Identify new technology and emerging ideas that can lead to new concepts in traffic control devices applications.

The world of traffic control devices is ever changing, from the relative stability of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to the dynamic development of technologies and operating techniques that push the limits of traffic control devices as we currently know them. Short-term committee focus is built around the expansion of understanding and development of research needs to support these rapid changes. With the implementation of Active Traffic Management (ATM), incident management, and other unique traffic management strategies, along with the development of new technologies that allow virtual communication with road users beyond the traditional traffic control device infrastructure, long-term committee scope must be focused developing the knowledge needed for the effective implementation of future traffic control devices.

Because traffic control devices touch so many aspects of transportation, the TCD Committee is inherently collaborative given the close subject matter relationships with several other TRB committees.

Several of the committee that the TCD Committee works most closely with include:

 Signing and Marking Materials – AHD55

    • Relationship to TCD Committee: The Signing and Marking Materials Committee addresses issues related to the materials from which some traffic control devices are fabricated.
    • Jurisdiction: If a paper or issue relates to the selection of materials for signs or markings, it is appropriate for the Signing and Marking Materials Committee to address. If a paper or issue does not address the selection between multiple materials, then it may be appropriate for the TCD Committee to address.
    • Other coordination: Support and co-sponsorship of the Doctoral Student Research in Transportation Operations and Traffic Control at the TRB Annual Meeting.
  1. Visibility – AND40
    • Relationship to TCD Committee: Many of the design issues of traffic control devices relate to the visibility of those devices.
    • Jurisdiction: If a paper or issue relates to the visibility of a specific traffic control device as a function of the device design, it may be appropriate for the TCD committee to address. If a paper or issue relates to broader visibility issues and is not associated with a specific device, it may be appropriate for the Visibility Committee to address.
    • Other coordination: Support and co-sponsorship of the Doctoral Student Research in Transportation Operations and Traffic Control at the TRB Annual Meeting.
  1. Traffic Signal Systems – AHB25
    • Relationship to TCD Committee: The TCD committee has traditionally addressed issues related to signal design or isolated operation. The Traffic Signal Systems Committee has traditionally addressed issues related to the design and operation of traffic signal systems.
    • Jurisdiction: If a paper or issue relates to the development, design, application, and evaluation of traffic signals at individual intersections, it may be appropriate for the TCD committee to address. If a paper or issue relates to signal systems or coordination of signalized intersections within systems, it may be appropriate for the Traffic Signal Systems Committee to address.
    • Other coordination: Support and co-sponsorship of the Doctoral Student Research in Transportation Operations and Traffic Control at the TRB Annual Meeting.
  1. Work Zone Traffic Control – AHB55
    • Relationship to TCD Committee: The Work Zone Traffic Control Committee addresses various issues associated with the use of traffic control devices in work zones.
    • Jurisdiction: If a paper or issue relates to the development, design, application, and evaluation of a work zone traffic control device, it may be appropriate for the TCD committee to address.
    • Other coordination: Support and co-sponsorship of the Doctoral Student Research in Transportation Operations and Traffic Control at the TRB Annual Meeting.

The TCD Committee also collaborates with the Highway Capacity and Quality of Service Committee (AHB40), Traffic Flow Theory and Characteristics Committee (AHB45), and Operational Effects of Geometrics Committee (AHB65) as additional co-sponsors of the Doctoral Student Research in Transportation Operations and Traffic Control workshop created, coordinated and moderated by the TCD Committee at each TRB Annual Meeting. Collaboration with the Tort Liability and Risk Management Committee (ALO70) has recently been established. Future committee coordination will need to move beyond simple co-sponsorships of activities and workshop, and expand into more formal liaison and collaborative efforts to support the rapid changes we are experiencing.

COMMITTEE PLAN

The TCD Committee is striving to make a fundamental change – from a committee whose scope and focus parallels the activities of the NCUTCD/MUTCD, to a visionary committee that allows for the exploration of new and innovative traffic control devices and communication techniques that push the limit of our current understanding and application. This section of the report summarizes this paradigm shift and highlights some of the proposed steps to help the TCD Committee meet this challenge.

Projects, Activities and Products to Address Emerging Issues

A summarized list of proposed projects, activities, and products are as follows:

TRB Annual Meeting Contributions

  • Sponsor and co-sponsor the organization of workshops and sessions advancing research needs and discoveries, current implementation of best practices, and traffic control device needs to accommodate the future of transportation.
  • Sponsor and co-sponsor collaborations with cross-cutting committees to explore traffic control device needs and contributions to the new tools, such as the Highway Safety Manual and the 2010 Highway Capacity Manual.
  • Sponsor and co-sponsor a series of sessions highlighting recent advances and remaining research needs in variable traffic control devices.
  • Sponsor and co-sponsor a series of sessions highlighting recent advances and remaining research needs in virtual traffic control devices.
  • Sponsor and co-sponsor a series of workshops and sessions to disseminate research results and stimulate advances in identifying the array of new traffic control devices needed to support the implementation of Active Traffic Management.

Midyear Meetings

  • Implement mid-year meeting opportunities with key collaborative committees to support cross-cutting topics.       Committees may include the sub-committee on Active Traffic Management, Operational Effects of Geometrics Committee and the Visibility Committee.
  • Meeting times and locations will be tied to other meetings/conferences with the probability of drawing the largest number of members. Possible venues include the Institute of Transportation Engineers Annual Meeting, the 4th Urban Street Symposium, and the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices mid-year meeting.

Sponsored Conferences

  • Identify opportunities to co-sponsor conferences and meeting to keep the issues of traffic control devices as a critical component of the discussion.

White Paper Development

  • Draft a synthesis of previous research and current national/international practice, and an assessment of gaps in traffic control device needs, in Active Traffic Management and related variable traffic control strategies. Solicit researchers from around the world to review and discuss the synthesis and assessment, leading to a committee publication and future conference session.
  • Draft a synthesis of previous research and current national/international practice, and an assessment of gaps in traffic control device needs, in vehicle-roadside, vehicle-vehicle, and virtual traffic management. Solicit researchers from around the world to review and discuss the synthesis and assessment, leading to a committee publication and future conference session.

Strategic Research Agenda

  • Through our topical subcommittees and with coordination from the Research Subcommittee, review the research needs statements in the current agenda, update those statements, identify additional research needs, and generate new research needs statements.
  • Co-sponsor and participate in joint meetings of the committees with ties to traffic control devices – identify, prioritize, and initiate research needs into a strategic research agenda.
  • Coordinate with the NCUTCD Research Committee.

Visioning and Strategic Planning

  • Conduct visioning exercise with TCD committee to explore the future of traffic control devices.
    • Cross-cutting issues may include congestion, safety, energy, operations, and new technologies.
  • Review, update, and implement the committee strategic plan.

Organizational Change

  • Broaden the participation and activity level of TCD Committee members.
  • Continue and strengthen the subcommittee activities in paper review and awards, research and problem statements, and communication.
  • Formalize the development of a technical subcommittee structure to explore the cross-cutting and visionary issues identified.
  • Formalize committee partnerships and liaisons with key committees and organizations.
  • Maintain active subcommittee partnerships with Active Traffic Management and Roundabouts.

Membership

  • The TCD Committee has worked hard to recruit new members and rebalance the committee to include knowledgeable individuals from academia, research agencies, government agencies, federal transportation agencies, consulting organizations, and general practitioners.
  • New international members have recently been added to the committee to bring diversity and broader knowledge in traffic control devices.
  • New committee members from FHWA have recently been added to bring cross-cutting knowledge in key areas such as Active Traffic Management.
  • The committee has recently restructured to include a higher proportion of members from academia and research.       The goal with this restructure is to move the focus of the committee from the domestic details of the MUTCD to a more holistic view of traffic control device needs.
  • TCD Committee leaders will continue to look for young members and friends to maintain the appropriate age diversity and develop the next generation of committee leaders.
  • The TCD Committee members changes highlighted above will allow the committee to effectively respond to the emerging issues cited.

Communication

  • The TCD Committee continues to maintain a website that is used for dissemination of committee information and activities.
  • A TCD Committee member participates in TRB’s communication activities and is focused on finding more effective ways of distributing committee information.
  • The TCD Committee listserve provides a quick and easy way of sending information to committee members and friends.
  • The TCD Committee and frequently and effectively used webinar and conference call services to conduct committee business and to communicate with members.

Research

  • Committee activities will continue to explore the need and direction of traffic control device research and communicate these needs and directions through the committee’s research and problem statement subcommittee.
  • TCD Committee members are assigned to developing and communicating Research Need Statements (RNS). This same subcommittee solicits the development of identified RNSs, and reconfirms existing RNSs already in the database on an annual basis.
  • Committee activities, along with technical paper requests and publications, will continue to identify research contributions, use, and implementation related to traffic control devices.
  • The TCD Committee sponsored doctoral research presentation session each year at TRB provides an excellent opportunity to identify current and future research activities that will lead to new implementations or changes in the use of traffic control devices.

Changes in Name and Scope

  • The TCD Committee does not propose any formal changes in name or scope.
  • The TCD Committee leadership is employing a small but important paradigm shift from a committee focus centric to the MUTCD, to a more holistic and cross-cutting scope that looks at traffic control devices and communication needs beyond the stringency of the MUTCD.
  • Traffic control devices continue to be a critical communication element of the transportation system, and will experience significant changes in the future. The AHB50 committee is critically needed to support this change, and its retention will provide a key resource in research and leadership. Attendance at committee functions and interest in the TCD committee continues to grow.

Product Development

  • The TCD Committee will focus activities in 2012 on identifying emerging research topics and needs pertaining to the future of transportation.
  • Summary of research efforts and/or literature reviews will be conducted for the core topics identified.
  • Effort will be made in assessing how research in traffic control devices can be effectively disseminated beyond TRB to a broader audience.

COMMITTEE HISTORY

Membership

  • Current membership
    • 15 Regular Members
    • 2 International Members
    • 1 Young Member
    • 2 Emeritus Members
  • Actively searching for 2 to 5 new members who bring diversity, unique knowledge, and future leadership of the committee.
  • Membership distribution
    • 6 Academic
    • 2 Research
    • 1 Local Government
    • 3 State Government
    • 2 Federal Government
    • 5 Consultants
    • 1 Industry
  • Geographic Distribution
    • 4 Midwest
    • 3 Northeast
    • 4 Southeast
    • 2 Northwest
    • 2 Southwest
    • 2 South central
    • 1 Italy
    • 1 England
  • Gender Distribution
    • 18 Male
    • 2 Female
  • Friends and Former Committee Members
    • Varies at ~ 30

Subcommittee Activities Partnerships

  • TCD Committee has activities subcommittee leadership in research, problem statements, communication, paper reviews, NCUTCD, and student activities (i.e., Doctoral Session).
  • Joint subcommittees include Roundabout and Active Traffic Management
  • Liaison with Highway/Rail Grade Crossing (AHB60), NCUTCD.

Papers Reviewed, Presented, and Published

  • 27 papers received for the 2012 Annual Meeting – 127 Reviews completed.
  • Papers reviewed in previous years are highlighted in the table below, along with the type of sessions and number of paper published.
AHB50 Papers Year
2009 2010 2011
Total Received 32 38 33
Total Presented 26 27 26
Papers in Podium Presentation 8 (2 sessions) 0 4
Papers in Posters 18 27 22
Total Reviews 126/153 (3.9/paper) 156/194 (4.1/paper) 145/163 (>4/paper)
Total published 24 resubmitted 8 published (25%) 21 resubmitted

9 published (25%)

22 resubmitted

8 published

(20%)

  • The highest rated paper is submitted for award consideration.
  • Recent TCD papers have been published in Transportation Research Record 2056, 2122, and 2149.

Annual Meeting Events

  • Doctoral Student Research in Transportation Operations and Traffic Control. This half-day session has been conducted since 2006, and was co-sponsored by the Traffic Signal Systems Committee (AHB25), Highway Capacity and Quality of Service Committee (AHB40), Traffic Flow Theory and Characteristics Committee (AHB45), Work Zone Traffic Control Committee (AHB55), and Operational Effects of Geometrics Committee (AHB65). The Traffic Control Devices Committee leads the effort in the development, recruiting co-sponsors, developing session announcement and solicitation, student presentation selection, and facilitating the session.
  • AHB50 Committee Meetings.
  • Session sponsorship and co-sponsorship.

Meeting Attendance

  • Annual Meeting – Full committee plus 30 to 40 friends
  • Midyear Meeting – Teleconference – 20 to 30 members and friends
  • Midyear Meetings – In Person – Less than 10
    • Midyear meeting at the 2nd International Symposium on Freeway and Tollway Operations, Honolulu, HI, June 2009
    • Difficult to find midyear venue with a large number of committee members willing to attend
    • Have been very successful in using webinar/teleconference midyear meeting services
    • 2 to 3 midyear meetings help via teleconference
  • Midyear Meeting – Webinar on MUTCD Changes – approximately 50.

Circulars or Other Reports Published

  • None

Sponsor or Co-Sponsor of Specialty Conference, Workshops, Webinars

  • 2009
    • Sponsor – Doctoral Student Research in Transportation Operations and Traffic Control Workshop
    • Co-Sponsor – Visibility Symposium
    • Webinar meeting and research presentation (5/18/09)
    • Co-Sponsor – 2nd International Symposium on Freeway and Tollway Operations, Honolulu, HI, June 2009
  • 2010
    • Sponsor – Doctoral Student Research in Transportation Operations and Traffic Control Workshop
    • Webinar presentation on MUTCD changes (1/4/10) (with committees AHB55, AND55, and AND40).
  • 2011
    • Sponsor – Doctoral Student Research in Transportation Operations and Traffic Control Workshop
    • Co-Sponsor – Visibility Symposium

Communication Tools

Research Statements Developed