Regional Operations Forums
Kathleen Frankle, Program Manager, University of Maryland-College Park Kathy Frankel: So “Hello!” is everybody awake?
Would you rather be outside than in here? Audience member: No!
of Maryland, you already know that. I’m going to talk about the Regional Operations Forums.
And actually one of our instructors is back here, too. So he just waved at me. If you
have any questions you can him, too. All right, which one? Forward?
Tracy: Next. Kathy Frankel: Next! a-ha! Okay! Has anyone
ever heard of the Regional Operations Forums? Just a couple. Oh, wow. Only– okay, all right
so I’m gonna give you a description. The pilot offerings tell you how agencies can use the
information, that sort of thing. So we’ll go through this. Everybody knows what the
problem is. Obviously, there’s traffic issues, tight budgets, how are we going to effectively
manage our system? So the Regional operations Forums are just one piece of the solution.
It’s a four-and-a-half day regional training program. So we take it around the country,
and we’re doing five pilots, and it’s basically to give them new and innovative approaches
for managing the highway system. And it’s also going to give them resources, and provides
a good networking opportunity. The goals. We have many. One, we need to mainstream transportation
systems management and operations. We want it to be in the culture of the State DOTs.
We want it to go from State of the Art to State of the Practice. So they’re doing it
all the time. We want to strengthen their TSM&O programs regionally and within the state.
Trying to develop a community of practice. So it’s important for the states to get together
on a regional basis to actually meet each other, know each others’ names, talk to each
other, exchange information. So we want to bring them together to do those things, and
then also facilitate it after they leave. And yeah, we’re trying to get people as they’re
moving up in the organization. So we’re trying to give them skills that they need now and
bring that with them as they move up in the organization to carry TSM&O and advance TSM&O
as they’re moving up. And then we actually have one right now, New Hampshire DOT, he
went to the Operations Academy two-week program, and he’s now the Secretary of Transportation
in New Hampshire. So that’s kind of the goal we’re shooting for. Anyway, and the last one
is the best use of all the products that are coming out of the SHRP2 program, so that people
know the best use for them. So one, that they’re aware them; and two, on how they can use them.
So we incorporate that into the training that we deliver. Okay, so it’s a five-day program.
It’s actually four-and-a-half days, I’ll just say five. Before they get there– so basically
it’s a commitment, so when they attend, they have to attend every day. It’s not like you
come to one of these sessions where you can come to some if you want, and not. You have
to commit to participating in the whole thing. Then they also do pre-study ahead of time.
It’s probably about 20 hours of pre-study. They do general things, such as Overview of
Operations. They have a book that they have to read. They do systems engineering. They
talk to their planning department and answer some questions so they can use those questions
in Part 1 of the sessions that they have. So there’s about 20 hours, and we give them
about two months ahead of time to do it, because you know, 20 hours isn’t that long, but when
you’re trying to do your regular job and that it takes a lot of time. Anyway, so they do
that ahead of time. They have deadlines. They submit some things, it’s graded. The whole
forum itself, you get CEUs for. So every piece of it has to be graded You have to get a 70
or above in order to pass and get your CEUs. We haven’t had anybody fail yet. The hardest
part– we tried to make it so that the pre-study part doesn’t count too much, so that way the
rest of it is just when they’re there and as long as they’re participating, then they’re
gonna pass. So, anyway. Then we also have instructor presentations. We have numerous
presentations. I’ll show you the schedule, or the agenda later. But we have some PowerPoint,
there’s also group exercises that they do within those presentations, and discussion.
So the key is we’re trying to either give them information that they don’t know, get
them to use it, and then talk to each other about it. Or practices that they’re doing
now, they can share it with each other. We have– because of costs, we can’t fly 15 million
people out to a particular location five times. So there’s a couple of sessions that we videotaped
ahead of time. And we’ve posted them on YouTube, and I also bring the videotape with me. Anyway
so we do that. And in one session we did like a Skype Q&A session with the instructor. One
session we had somebody actually present the slides. So we’re kind of piloting different
ways to do it. But anyways, so right, so far it’s worked best having the video tape sessions
with the Q&A. We also have a team exercise that they get assigned to. It’s related to
the CMM model, which is L06. Hopefully everybody knows what that is. Anyway, so they get an
exercise at the beginning, and they’re grouped. There’s four or five groups. And you have
one participant from each state in there, so you’re trying to get them to talk to each
other. And so they have this team exercise. They work on it all week. And on the last
day, they present it. So they develop a solution, and then they present it to each other at
the end. We also have a technical tour. It started out that it was an optional technical
tour. And but we ended up moving it around, so that it’s actually not optional. They really
enjoy going and being able to see what other people are doing and ask questions, and that
sort of thing. So anyways, it’s now actually part of the program. And then the last part
is an agency implementation plan. So, you know, they go through this whole week, get
new information that they can use in their agencies. We’ve grouped them by agency. And
then they get together and develop an Implementation Plan on things that they can do to try to
implement TSM&O in their agency now. You know, it might be you have a short-term and long-term
piece of that. But that way they go home equipped with things that they can do right away. All
right, so this is a typical agenda. And this is the one that we did in Phoenix. And there’s
another– the one that we’re doing in Concord is already different than this. So basically,
we tried to group the days by themes. But they start off with– I won’t read all this
to you. Can you guys see that? The session titles? I can’t.
need to learn the CNM model upfront, because that’s what they’re doing their team exercise
about, and the agency Implementation Plans. So they get that on Monday. And they do planning
and programming for operations. They have Performance Measurement. They have systems
engineering. The systems engineering piece, they have some pre-study on systems engineering.
And then they come in and they’re going to do an exercise to try to solidify what they’ve
learned. So it’s not a long time. It’s short. It’s only an hour. But then they have a technical
tour. And for the next one, we actually move that to a different location. The next day
is all about, it has Traffic Incident Management, Safety and Operations, Road Weather, Work
Zones and Traveler Information and Operations. And then the last, the Thursday, Managing
a Quarter, ICM, ATM. Some places actually don’t know about that, or they’re not as familiar
with it. And some are. So the ones that are are sharing information with those that aren’t.
So it’s actually really good. I saw that really well when we were in Nashville. Anyway. Future
of Operations, the speaker ones in the middle are all the videotape sessions. And Communicating
the Value of Operations. How to Organize for Operations, Workforce Development, Applying
What You’ve Learned. Now you’ve gotten all this information, how do you apply it when
you get to your agency. And then the last day is really just presenting your team exercise,
developing, and talking about what your agency Implementation Plan was going to be. We give
them their certificates, assuming they were there all week and participating, they have
to sign in. And then we also do an evaluation. And that’s separate, so the rest of us have
to all leave the room, because it’s five pilots, in each one we’ve made changes after each
one to try to make it better. So that when we’re all done at the end, we have a program
that hopefully will be self-sustaining. And I know we do the two-week version of the Operations
Academy. And we’ve given that since 2007, and every single time we give it we make changes
to make it better for the next class. So we do the same thing here with the pilots. Which
is why the evaluation is so important. So they feel like– I think they get evaluation
fatigue, but it’s actually really the only way we’re going to get the information. So.
So this is the one for New England. We’ve changed it up a little bit, and the only reason
I’m showing you this, is because in the last one we had team exercise meetings like right
after lunch. Now we moved down to the end of the day again. They had started out at
the end of the day. And they didn’t like it that way, so we moved it, and it really didn’t
work there. So this is the whole point of us doing evaluation. We’re moving things around
to see how it works best. We’ve moved the Technical Tour to the first day. Like I said,
originally it was supposed to be optional, and now we’ve moved it into the program. So
it’s just little things like that, we’ve kind of tweaked along the way, but if you looked
at each agenda, they’d all be different. Target Audience. We’re trying to get a variety of
different types of people to attend. You know, the states are only given so many slots that
they can pay for– or that we pay for through the project. Now they can actually buy additional
slots to attend. We give them costs of how much it would cost for that for that particular
person, you know, for one extra person or two, whatever. We give them hotel, and the
meal cost, and then they buy the books. So we’re only limited to 30 that we can fund
through the project for each one. So in some cases, depending on how the number of states
that are there, in some case, you only can have four people there in attendance, which
is the way it’s going to be in Concord. Or it can be seven people that are funded. Just
depending on how many states are participating. But we have had several locations buying additional
slots for the agency to send more people. Anyway, so the point is– Target Audience,
we’ve had state police, MPOs, Federal Highway, TMC Managers, Maintenance people, Planners.
It’s really important to have a Planner in each session. You know, we look at the people
that they’re sending, and we try to encourage them. If we see that there’s no state police
at all, or no law enforcement, we try to encourage somebody to have that. Because it’s really
important to have all the varieties in there. You know, when they’re exchanging information,
it’s good to have variety. And it’s really good to have a Planner, too. Development Process.
It’s ongoing. So anyways, it started out where the RFP that came out, you know, I had alluded
to, the two-week version of this Operations Academy that we do, So we started out as there
was some of those topics that they wanted to include. And then there was some other
topics that SHRP2 and the TETG watned to include, so we kind of merged it all together and tried
to come up with an agenda. Originally, we had sessions that were considered Core sessions
and then Optional sessions. Then when we went out to the regions, they kind of all wanted
to include everything! So what we ended up doing was combining some sessions together,
and we made all of the sessions the same, so that the optional went away. But like I
said, we still are changing things around as we go, but they’re still getting all the
different sessions. So these are the ones that we’ve held so far. We’ve had three. They
started in September in Nashville. And then it tells you the participating states that
were in that particular session. Tells you the location and then how many graduates there
were. So in that first one, we just had one extra, which I think was Federal Highway person.
In Seattle, participating states, tells you how many graduates. So we’ve had more than
the 30, and like I said, somebody’s been paying kind of along the way for those extra people.
But each time we’ve done it, I know that after the first one in September, when we came back,
it was really important for us to get that evaluation, and say, “Okay, now what are we
going to do to change?” So each time we’ve done it, it’s been a little bit less changes
between each one. But I remember that first one, that two-month timeframe in-between didn’t
seem long enough.
we have a group shot for everybody. So we collect, besides the regular evaluation, I
collect quotes from people to kind of get an idea of what are they thinking? That sort
of thing. And we’ve gotten some really, really excellent quotes. So we have one for each
session. This one says they’re going to be a champion of TSM&O efforts in their department
and help understand others what it is. That’s what it’s all about, you know. We’re trying
to get them to incorporate it into their agencies and so it’s great to hear them actually say
that this is what they’re going to do. This is Seattle. I love the carpet. Isn’t that
great? This is our Seattle participants. And a quote here, this was Chris Thomas from Washington
DOT. And then this was the last one we just did in Phoenix. I think in here, there was
a little bit of spring break-itis going on, because everyone was coming from snow areas,
except for the people from Phoenix. They said that everybody kept wanting to look outside.
Can you guys see those? I don�t have to read them to you, do I? The Phoenix one was
actually the best one that we’ve done so far and we have four pages of great, awesome quotes
from them, and I had a really hard time picking which one to show you. But anyways, this is
the one. And then we also have, like I said, law enforcement. You know, it’s hard for law
enforcement. This is totally different than what they normally do. In Seattle, we had
a little bit of harder time with the law enforcement and in Phoenix, we had five or six of them
and so we really made a much better effort on trying to incorporate them into the process.
You know, you can see, she’s saying at times the sessions were challenging. It’s outside
of what she normally does, but it was important for her and she’s a critical component, and
working with her other partners. So it was important for her to be there and understand
what they’re going through too. So we have more coming up. We have two more that are
being funded by this project. It’s coming at the end of April, up in Concord, New Hampshire
and those are the states. Now because there’s so many states, they only get four participants
for each state. And then the one in May, California DOT actually contacted us to see, they wanted
to fund it themselves and use our instructors, so this is part of the whole sustainability
of the project. So we’re going ahead and doing this. We wanted to incorporate it during the
project that we’re working on now, so that we can incorporate that into our formal report.
So anyway, California DOT has found the location. They’re gathering their participants. We had
all the instructors send them information. They’re contracting with them directly. I’m
sending out the pre-study. So I’m really curious to see how it goes. So far, so good, but you
know, it’s obviously coming up in May. We’re using the same agenda for Concord as we are
for this one, so we’ll see how it goes. But anyways, obviously it’s all one agency, which
is different than the others. All the others were regional agents with regional participants;
however, California’s so big, you might as well be regional agencies, so we’ll see how
it goes. The next one after that for this project is Wisconsin. That’s our last one.
It’s June 9th through the 13th and our project ends, I think, at the end of June, so it’s
going to be tight getting the final report done. But anyways, that’s the last one, and
then Colorado has contacted us, similar to California, and they want to do one in September.
So we still have to get with them to set a date. I think that was very encouraging that
they want to do it in their states. So we have lots and lots of results of attending.
The biggest thing, which I think is really interesting, with all the information providing
them, they still say that networking and the sharing of experiences is the thing that comes
out to be the best. We find that same information with the operations academy that we do, same
thing. But they do the agency implementation plans, they come out with actual things that
they are going to try to do when they get back. They understand the importance of TSM&O.
They all go and say they’re all energized, excited about trying to do things once they
get back to their agency. That’s really important. These are more specific. The linkage of performance
measurement to TSM&O planning and day to day TSM&O. Appreciation of the promises and challenges
of Connected Vehicles. One of the speaker sessions that we do is on Connected Vehicles.
Shelley Row is the speaker and she really tells the agencies what they can do now to
prepare. So they get all psyched up about that. Obviously, they come up with the SHRP2
products and results. At the end of each session, we give them a list of resources and we kind
of go over what the SHRP2 products were that were incorporated into that session, so they
know where to go to look for more information. Networking, we have a Listserv for them. They
also ask, they have a list that has all the other participants that were in there, so
they can call each other. One of them asked for a private Facebook page. We’re actually
still working on that. And then one of them had asked also, they wanted to get together
again annually. So that’s not something that we can do with this project, but that doesn’t
mean we can’t figure out a way to make it happen. So those are the big networking things
that we’re doing. So the futures of the ROF. Obviously the project ends with the last pilot,
which is in June and so we have to put together options for sustainability on how we can keep
it going. We have a planning workshop scheduled for May. We’re going to have some dropped
options, discuss them. We’re going to incorporate them into the final report. Obviously the
Operations Center of Excellence is out there. It could be that these fall under that. I
did want to tell you though, has anyone heard of the Knowledge Transfer System? I think
you guys talked about that earlier today. We’ve included the ROF information into that
knowledge transfer system already. It’s under resources, and it’s also, if you’re on the
front page, it’s under find it fast. It says regional operations forums. So I’ve tried
to include everything in here. It has the description, it has the pre-study information.
It has all the presentations. So when you click on any one of those topics, it expands
and you see the list of things. So every presentation that we gave at the last forum is up there
in a PDF version. All the pre-study information, like I said, is there. How do you schedule
one right now? Just gives you my contact information, things to think about. All this is up on the
knowledge transfer system right now. So the future. Sorry, I lost myself. The important
thing is, we need to continue this. We need to continue the forums, because obviously
there’s interest, states are calling. They want to get together annually. We need to
keep the networking information going. So we need to keep that website and materials
updated, so it needs to fall under something. That’s why there’s discussions of it falling
under the Center of Excellence, but it’s important to keep this going. Obviously people like
it, and it’s important. That’s me. Kathleen Frankle: It is not, no.
Q: — or are the certificates equally recognizing people like the operations academy?
Kathleen Frankle: I don’t know what you mean by equally, but let me tell you the answer
to your first question. We purposely made it so that one doesn’t replace the other.
There’s topics that are different. We don’t talk about ATM or ICM at all in the regular
two week version of the ops academy. So some of them are the same and some of them are
different. But it does not replace it, no. We’ve definitely tried not to do that, and
like I said, they’re different topics. I didn’t understand your question though about the
CEUs. Q: At the end of the ROF, you get a certificate?
Kathleen Frankle: Correct. Q: _____ get a certificate at the end of ________.
Kathleen Frankle: Correct. One has more CEUs than the other, because it’s a longer period
of time. Q: So the difference is only the CEUs?
Kathleen Frankle: Yes. It’s coming from the same place. It’s just the amount, because
CEUs are directly related to the amount of time that you’re spending.
Q: Another question? All right, thank you, Kathy.