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Inside this Issue:

Message from the President
8th Annual ITS Texas Meeting Highlights

First Board Meeting of 2001

New Officers Elected at Annual Meeting
Communication Training Seminar Planned
2000 Award Winners
DFW Begins Exchanging Regional Traffic Information
Issue 6

Feburary 2001

 


Message from the President

The Board of Directors is looking forward to another busy, successful year for ITS Texas. In December, I had the privilege of attending an ITS America Leadership Conference and Legislative Update. I enjoyed meeting the ITS America staff and finding out more about the organization. It appeared to me that the local eastern seaboard state chapters were very familiar with the staff and had worked closely with ITS America on different projects. Those of us located in the Midwest and West Coast areas had less familiarity both with the personnel and the organization as a whole. However, we may have an opportunity in March to become better acquainted with ITS America personnel and programs as they are planning a conference in Dallas. The Integrating Telecom and ATMS conference will be held March 29 and 30 at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel. The conference begins at 5:00 PM on March 29 with a reception and exhibits, then provides technical presentations on March 30 from 8:30 to 4:30. The early registration fee is $195. Further information can be found on the ITS America website: www.itsa.org.

The Leadership Conference focused on getting to know ITS America staff members, discussing the challenges involved in chapter management, organization, determining what members want and reviewing the State Chapter Handbook, "ITS Connections: A State Chapter Handbook for Outreach and Membership Development". We talked about how ITS America is organized – the Board of Directors, State Chapters Council, Coordinating Council and International Council and challenges to be worked on in 2001. Some of the identified challenges are: setting up a 511 number for traveler information, public safety and emergency 911, the intelligent vehicle initiative and the driver, interoperability of systems, developing an ITS research agenda, TEA 21 reauthorization and expanding commercial opportunities in ITS. I was also able to meet and visit with other state chapter representatives.

As you may also be aware, John Collins has left ITS America to work in the private sector. Dave Hensing has agreed to delay his retirement from AASHTO to act as the interim president until a new President and CEO can be selected. They are hoping to have a new President on board by the annual meeting in June.

The Legislative Update was interesting but the information was still rather general, as the President had not yet been determined. (What an exciting time to be in Washington, D. C.!) However, we discussed where the ITS money is going now and in the future, implications of TEA 21 reauthorization, emerging telecommunications issues and the new Congress and administration. Bud Schuster will no longer be the chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. It appears that Don Young from Alaska will now be the committee chair. However, Mr. Schuster will chair the subcommittee on Surface Transportation. Also, from what I observed, AASHTO, the National Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and ITS America are heavily involved in planning for the reauthorization of TEA 21 and held a Reauthorization Task Force meeting in December. One of the issues is the mainstreaming of ITS and how it should be accomplished. The transportation bill will be reauthorized in 2003. I had no idea that planning began so far in advance.

Please read the newsletter for ITS Texas events for the coming year. While national issues continue to be of interest, we also will have a very active year here in Texas. With the state legislature in session, it is sure to be an eventful year. Thank you for your interest and support of ITS and ITS Texas.

If you have any questions about ITS Texas, please feel free to contact me at TMSAMS@dot.state.tx.us.

Terry Sams

ITS Texas President

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8th Annual ITS Texas Meeting Highlights

ITS Texas enjoyed a very successful annual meeting last November 15-17 at the Holiday Inn Select in Dallas. The Conference Arrangements Committee worked very hard to bring a number of exhibitors and technical presentations to the membership. The Conference Arrangements Committee consisted of: Terry Sams, Chair, Chris Poe, Dave Davis, Abed Abukar, Walter Ragsdale, and Dan Rocha. We had 167 individuals in attendance, which included 19 different exhibitors. Popular sessions included: Special Events Management, Freeway Diversion Routes, the Media Session, and Low Cost Solutions that Work II. Special thanks go to the many speakers and moderators that made the sessions so interesting and useful. Make your plans now to attend the 9th Annual ITS Texas meeting on November 14-16, 2001 at College Station!

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New Officers Elected at Annual Meeting

A new slate of officers were elected at the last ITS Texas Annual Meeting.  The current officers for the year 2001 are as follows:

 Two new members were also elected to the Board of Directors.  The new board members are as follows:

Leaving the Board of Directors were Brian Fariello, TxDOT San Antonio and Dan Rocha, North Central Texas Council of Governments.  Congratulations to all newly elected officers and board members and thanks to all the previous officers and board members for their hard work and dedication to ITS Texas!

To find contact information of the current, see the ITS Texas Webpage.

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First Board Meeting of 2001

The ITS Texas Board of Directors held its first meeting of the year on Friday, January 26, 2001. Existing and newly elected Board members met in San Antonio, in conjunction with the Winter TexITE Meeting, for their first formal meeting together. All Board members agreed the meeting was a success! Items discussed included ITS America State Chapters, Accounting Issues, Membership Drive, 2001 Training and Workshops, and Student Chapters. The next ITS Texas Board of Director’s Meeting is Friday, March 30, 2001, in College Station.

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Communication Training Seminar Planned

ITS Texas is planning to sponsor a training seminar to focus on technologies vital to ITS. A one or two day course is in the planning stage, with an emphansis on technologies related to ITS communication such as:
            *     fiber optic methods
            *     wireless methods.
Russ Wiles, City of Fort Worth, is helping to arrange the course. If you  have any comments or ideas related to course content or what you or your agency desires, please feel free to contact Russ at  WilesR@ci.fort-worth.tx.us or at 817-871-7978.

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2000 Award Winners

ITS Texas presented statewide achievement awards to 6 recipients on November 17, 2000 at the chapter’s annual meeting. All ITS Texas members were invited to submit nominations. The Awards recognize individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to ITS policy planning, design deployment or research.

Awards were presented to the following recipients by then ITS Texas President, Chris Poe:

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Walter Ragsdale, P.E., Assistant Director Development Services, City of Richardson, for development and implementation of Municipal ITS Programs Melvin W. Partee, P.E., ITS Traffic Systems Branch, TxDOT, for development of the Advanced Traffic Management System TransGuide for their travel time project.  Accepting the award for TransGuide is Laura Lopez..

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TranStar for innovative traffic control, monitoring, warning and value-pricing projects.  Accepting the award for TranStar is Jack Whaley. TransVision for the opening of the new traffic management center in Fort Worth.  Accepting the award for TransVision is Abed Abukar. TransVista for successfully opening a new traffic management center serving El Paso.  Accepting the award for TransVista is Rick Cortez..

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Chris Poe accepts a plaque of appreciation for his
leadership as President during 2000.

Photos, courtesy of Laura Lopez, TransGuide

Congratulations to all award recipients.

ITS Texas members are encouraged to participate in the awards program by submitting nominations in preparation for next year’s award presentation. Awards criteria and nominations guidelines will be provided in conjunction with annual meeting information later this year.

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DFW Begins Exchanging Regional Traffic Information 

In the Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan area, many agencies are developing Intelligent Transportation Systems, including both the Dallas and Fort Worth Districts of the Texas Department of Transportation, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, The Fort Worth Transit Authority, North Texas Tollway Authority, DFW International Airport and a host of cities.  The need to exchange information between these independently operated systems grows each year.  In an effort to meet this real need for information exchange and to meet the National Architecture directive to develop integration packages to communicate information between agencies seamlessly, a project has been established to achieve these goals.  Through the State Wide Development and Integration Work Group contract between the Texas Department of Transportation and Southwest Research Institute, a task has been developed to begin the process of creating a package that will allow any agency that has the ability to port out information from their system to communicate with other agencies.

The concept of this project is that a software package exists that has defined terms identified in a Traffic Management Data Dictionary that address a wide variety of data needs such as definitions for lane locations, roadway identifications, lane closures, accidents, signal timing plans, camera identifications, and many others.  A document with “instructions” of how to translate from existing systems into this software package will be made available to interested agencies.

 Another program taking place in the Dallas Fort Worth area is the Regional Comprehensive Intelligent Transportation System Program for the North Texas Region which is building on the previous project by identifying information needs for agencies other than TxDOT such as the cities and local transit agencies.  This group is also tasked with developing an area wide communication system that will be the backbone for transmitting the information including camera images or video between agencies. 

To date, the initial system developed and in operation between the Dallas and Fort Worth TxDOT controls centers exchanges traffic information.  Under development is the next phase which address control and command functions.  This package will permit one agency to access and control another agency's field devices such as cameras and dynamic message signs.

Though this is being developed in the Dallas Fort Worth area, the intent is that when complete, any agencies statewide (or perhaps nationally) could utilize this system for ITS information exchange.  

For more information, contact Andy Oberlander with TxDOT – Dallas at AOBERLA@dot.state.tx.us.

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Want to Submit an Article?

To submit an article for consideration to be included in the next ITS Texas Newsletter, please send your article to Kevin Balke at k-balke@tamu.edu or call at (979)845-9899.

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