North/West Passage
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History

December 7, 2001 — The Minnesota Guidestar Board, which is Minnesota's Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Program, approved development of a multi-state project to coordinate ITS deployments along Interstates 90 and Interstates 94 from Wisconsin to Washington State. Guidestar Board members stated that they believed that many states were developing their rural ITS projects as stand-alone or site-specific systems. However, rural travelers and transportation managers need seamless road information systems with the latest information on weather, road conditions, detours, safety, and security on all routes to make transportation decisions. Several multi-state efforts to coordinate the sharing of data and other ITS resources were available but no program for corridor-wide coordination of ITS programs and integration of efforts had evolved.

February 25, 2002 — State representatives from Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming met to develop a program to help the states along Interstate 90 and Interstate 94 to coordinate the development, deployment, and integration of ITS projects. The concept of a multi-state corridor program was discussed and the name North/West Passage Corridor was selected. After the initial kick-off meeting in February, representatives continued to meet as a steering committee to discuss how to develop the multi-state project.

May 2002 — During the 2002 ITS America Annual Meeting and Exposition in Long Beach, California, the North/West Passage Program Steering Committee identified major ITS problems and needs in the North/West Passage Corridor. A number of potential ITS Priority Programs for the North/West Passage Corridor were generated as potential solutions to transportation problems. These projects are shown in the following table.

Table 1 – North/West Passage Program Development
Problems and Needs Potential ITS Priority Programs
Lack of consistent and adequate traveler information ATIS including an integrated network of transportation information and 511, along with developing coordination with vehicle manufacturers for telemetrics
Weather-related incidents and traffic management Corridor-wide collection and exchange of weather/pavement conditions data, including predictability and modeling
Lack of communications (cell phone coverage in rural areas) Investigation and development of corridor-wide communication partnerships
Inconsistent reliability of CVO information and underutilized freight capacity in rural areas CVO - traveler information

Deploy CVO systems
Accidents/Fatalities/Toward Zero Deaths Fatalities (No specific project, included as part of all programs)
Information Exchange Rural Transportation Operations and Communications Centers
Lack of agency and management coordination at borders Deploy Dynamic Message Systems (DMS) and coordinate across borders

Representatives from the states agreed it was necessary to move forward from the concept to developing a working coalition. An important issue was identifying which task comes first; development of the North/West Passage Coalition as a working organization or development of projects that the coalition members can begin to implement.

June 13, 2002 — At an Interim Steering Committee meeting various program ideas and funding options for coalition planning were discussed. The committee decided that to move the North/West Passage Corridor Coalition program forward, it would submit a request for pooled funding. Further, Minnesota would take the lead to develop the request and serve as the sponsor agency.

June 24, 2002 — Minnesota contacted each state to solicit commitment and interest in the Pooled Fund Study as part of the North/West Passage Program. Each state was also contacted to provide top priority project ideas for the North/West Passage Program. At the subsequent Interim Steering Committee meeting on Sept. 26, 2002 the group discussed the summary of top priority projects from each state and agreed that each state had a similar focus: to support and coordinate development of corridor-wide integrated traveler information network systems. The committee also reviewed the status of the Pooled Fund Project Solicitation and agreed that more time was needed to receive approval from each state.

January 1, 2003 — Minnesota sent a re-solicitation letter to each of the other seven states. North Dakota and Wisconsin indicated they would participate in the North/West Passage Project Solicitation along with Minnesota. Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota all agreed that the North/West Passage was a good project and wanted to remain involved, but their states were unable to participate financially at that time.

January 24, 2003 — At an Interim Steering Committee meeting, the group agreed that North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin should proceed as a pooled fund and the other remaining North/West Passage Corridor states would financially contribute when funding was available. Since completion of Phase 1, all eight states have financially contributed to the pooled fund.

In summary, the North/West Passage Corridor has developed an ITS Integrated Strategic Plan and yearly implements projects approved in a work plan. Our work plans can be found on the Work Plan page.

 
Site Updated: Oct 20, 2017
North/West Passage