North/West Passage
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Project 9.3
Highlighting Operations Innovations (Virtual Scanning Tour of "On the Road Technologies")

There are many benefits to sharing innovations, technologies and approaches among the North/West Passage members such as learning from others and not duplicating efforts. There are also multiple ways to share information such as in-person scanning tours and virtual events (e.g. webinar, video conferencing, virtual scanning tours).

Some North/West Passage member states receive frequent requests for in-person scanning tours of a selected topic (e.g. Traffic Management Center Operations). There is a considerable amount of time planning for visitors to tour a site as well as time to conduct the physical tour. The purpose of this project was to conduct a virtual scanning tour to share information between states without physical travel. There are also a variety of other benefits with a virtual tour including the opportunity for additional staff to participate.

This project first reviewed different types of virtual events (e.g. peer exchange webinar, multi-agency virtual scanning tour) as well as potential mechanisms (e.g. FHWA video conferencing, Webex) for virtual events. Based on the different types and mechanisms reviewed the members agreed to conduct a virtual scanning tour event using Webex.

The members agreed on the topic of Variable Speed Limits for the virtual scanning tour. Montana DOT was in the process of setting up in-person scanning VSL tours in various states as this project was developed and modified their travel plans to reduce costs by utilizing the virtual scanning tour format.

Two virtual scanning tours, one featuring Washington State DOT and the other featuring Utah DOT, were conducted with Montana DOT. It is important to note that Montana DOT conducted only one field visit to Wyoming DOT after the virtual scanning tours were held.

In order for Utah and Washington to prepare for the virtual scanning tour, Montana DOT provided a list of specific items of interest they hoped to gain through the virtual scanning tour interaction. Items of interest included policies, guidelines, day to day operations, enforcement, liability, hardware and software communications, costs, effectiveness and lessons learned. Video of presenters, participants, and demonstrations of software, were shown during the tour in order to highlight the items of interest to Montana. All participating agencies engaged several panelists and participants to share experiences and dialogue about all aspects of Variable Speed Limit systems, from planning and design to construction, operations, and maintenance of the systems.

Participation in the scanning tours included North/West Passage Steering Committee members. Overall the interaction and discussion during the virtual scanning tour was beneficial to the North/West Passage members considering the implementation of Variable Speed Limit systems.

The following information is available from the virtual scanning tour.

 
Site Updated: Nov 6, 2018
North/West Passage