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Transportation Systems Management & Operations

As congestion in the region continues to increase, it is critical that we operate the transportation system as efficiently and safely as possible. That is why a major focus of our work is on identifying approaches to better manage and operate all modes of our transportation system.

These approaches fall under the broad heading of Transportation Systems Management and Operations or TSMO. TSMO includes technological tools (such as automatically detecting slow traffic, synchronizing traffic signals, and tracking transit vehicles to provide real-time information to travelers) and non-technological tools (such as coordinating maintenance schedules, improving coordination between emergency responders, and increasing communication between operators and planners on common goals for the operation of the transportation system).

Many of the strategies evaluated as part of the congestion management process would be considered TSMO strategies, and the region’s TSMO and CMP efforts are closely coordinated.



A significant aspect of managing and operating the transportation system is the ability for agencies to anticipate, prepare for, and continue operating in the event of a disruption, which could be short-term (such as traffic incidents, flooding, severe storms, terrorist act) or long-term (such as impacts from increasingly stronger storms, warming climate, and rising sea levels); this is referred to as resilience. Resilience is defined by FHWA Order 5520 as, “... the ability to anticipate, prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to and recover rapidly from disruptions.” BMC works with our partners to identify potential disruptions as well as actions that can be employed to increase resilience of agencies and the transportation system components that they plan, operate, and maintain.

In May 2016, BMC hosted an Extreme Weather Forum that included presentations on trends of extreme weather in Maryland as well as related activities by local, state, and federal agencies. Presentations and resources from the event have been posted online.

Recent Resilience Planning Activities:

In October 2021, the Climate Change Resource Guide was completed to provide a resource to local jurisdictions on adaptation options to consider as they plan, design, operate, and maintain their local infrastructure. The Guide includes an overview of projected changes to the climate, documentation of how the changing climate has already impacted them, adaptation options, and a Toolkit that makes the content of each chapter actionable for users. The project also included a summary presentation that can be used by any agency to inform them about the Guide.


The BRTB has two committees that directly address resilience-related issues and projects:


ITS Architecture

The BRTB applies the Maryland Statewide ITS Architecture to activities in the Baltimore region. The State of Maryland has complied with the requirements of the “Intelligent Transportation Systems Architecture and Standards,” as mandated by the Federal Highway Administration (23 CFR 940) and supported by the Federal Transit Administration.

The following policy objectives are enumerated in 23 CFR 940.5: “ITS projects shall conform to the National ITS Architecture and standards in accordance with the requirements contained in this [Federal rule]. Conformance with the National ITS Architecture is interpreted to mean the use of the National ITS Architecture to develop a [R]egional ITS Architecture, and the subsequent adherence of all ITS projects to that [R]egional ITS Architecture. Development of the [R]egional ITS Architecture should be consistent with the transportation planning process for Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Planning.”

The Maryland Statewide ITS Architecture was developed to address these specific policy objectives. The resultant Architecture is consistent with statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes.

The Maryland Statewide ITS Architecture was most recently updated in 2016. It identifies existing and planned ITS projects across the state and the Architecture “Elements” associated with those projects. It defines the relationships among the Elements and describes the flow of information between Elements. The document also presents an ITS “operational concept” and identifies key ITS stakeholders and agreements.

BMC staff serve on the Maryland ITS Architecture Advisory Panel (IAAP) and review projects to assess project conformity with the Maryland Statewide Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Architecture. The conformity of ITS-related projects to regional ITS architectures is mandated jointly by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under 23 CFR 940 (January 8, 2001). The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) established the IAAP to; (1) oversee the development and update of the Maryland Architecture; and (2) assess ITS project conformance with the architecture.

Recently, the IAAP reviewed two projects for conformity with the ITS Architecture:

Maryland Transit Administration FY 2017 Projects

I-270 Innovative Congestion Management Project: Ramp Metering