Transforming ideas into action with Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO): How do we preserve capacity and improve the security, reliability, and safety of our transportation system? In the spirit of innovation and the desire to enhance travel, welcome to TSMO (NDOT TSMO)

What is TSMO?

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) defines Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) as: “Integrated strategies to optimize the performance of existing infrastructure through the implementation of multi-modal and intermodal, cross-jurisdictional systems, services, and projects designed to preserve capacity and improve security, safety, and reliability of the transportation system” (MAP-21, 2012).


With projected population and traffic growth in Nevada, increases in system demand, technological advancements, and limited funding, NDOT recognizes the significance of embracing TSMO to facilitate more comprehensive management and operations of the transportation system. This performance-driven program focuses on the surface transportation system and the policies and business processes that are applied to manage and operate this system.

From project conception through maintenance, the current management and operation of the transportation system are performed in a compartmentalized manner, within respective departmental disciplines. The TSMO Program introduces an innovative approach by integrating multiple disciplines, breaking down unproductive barriers, and formalizing processes to maximize collaboration among NDOT divisions.

Strategies offered by TSMO are used to proactively address transportation challenges (such as recurring and/or non-recurring congestion, safety, mobility, and reliability). This performance-driven program focuses on the surface transportation system and the policies, business processes, technologies, infrastructure, and systems that are applied to manage and operate this system more efficiently. A summary of the business case for TSMO and a discussion of some TSMO strategies as they relate to the challenges Nevada is provided below:

TSMO Business Case, 2019

NDOT TSMO Business Case Summary Sheets, 2019

TSMO Business Case for Divisions, 2021

NDOT TSMO Business Case for Divisions, 2021

What will TSMO do for NDOT?

NDOT TSMO Program elements, including 1) Strategic: NDOT's Transportation Challenges, The Business Case for TSMO, and TSMO Vision, Mission, Strategic Goals and Objectives, 2) Programmatic Elements: Program Objectives, Organizational Structure, Business Processes, Resource management, Communication and Collaboration, Investment Prioritization Toll, Evaluation Tool, TSMO Champion Team, 3) Tactical Elements: Opportunities and Challenges, Description of TSMO Strategies and Recommendations, 5-year Plan Projects and Cost Estimates.

TSMO solutions can significantly contribute to addressing transportation challenges as highlighted in the. Therefore, internal stakeholders (such as NDOT Divisions) and external stakeholders (such as Regional Transportation Commissions and other local agencies) will effectively implement TSMO as a core function and will utilize TSMO elements such as a TSMO Evaluation Tool to identify opportunities for integrating TSMO solutions and addressing operational challenges.

This tool will enable NDOT to maximize the exposure to and integration of TSMO in the scoping phase of every project, ensuring TSMO and its recommended strategies are formally considered and evaluated. The implementation of NDOT’s TSMO Program, as described in the NDOT Statewide TSMO Program Plan, will result in a safer, more reliable, and more efficient transportation system through collaborative, performance-based, and targeted investments. The program is currently managed within the Traffic Operations Division with the goal to be mainstreamed at
a statewide level in the future.

The NDOT TSMO Program Plan presents a five-year action plan to implement the TSMO Program as part of a cross-jurisdictional approach to achieve Nevada’s transportation vision and objectives. The Program Plan includes three main components:

  • Strategic Elements: Provide a high-level strategic direction toward achieving the statewide transportation vision through TSMO.
  • Programmatic Elements: Complement the Strategic Elements by providing a more detailed approach to identify the required structure for the implementation of a successful TSMO Program.
  • Tactical Elements: Define detailed and specific strategies and actions required to achieve TSMO goals and objectives.

These components and elements are developed in alignment with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) TSMO Primer as well as the One Nevada Transportation Plan to ensure transportation efforts are aligned at both national and agency levels. This plan includes recommendations on the update cycle of the specific elements to ensure all TSMO efforts are up to date.

The NDOT Statewide TSMO Program

NDOT’s TSMO Program Plan is a plan for placing Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) into practice throughout the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). The TSMO Program introduces a set of strategies that support the integration of TSMO into the planning process.

NDOT TSMO Program Plan Cover Page
Click on image to view a Copy of the Program Plan

The program plan describes the rationale and the need for a statewide TSMO Program, delineates the strategic approach to improve mobility across all modes of transportation through the incorporation of TSMO, and defines a programmatic approach to establish the necessary actionable items within an identified timeframe to successfully implement the TSMO Program. It includes a TSMO Investment Prioritization Tool (IPT) to help identify the state’s TSMO transportation priorities to achieve transportation goals and objectives in the most sustainable and efficient way. In addition, it also includes Strategic, Programmatic, and Tactical elements, and aligns with MAP-21, NDOT’s Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP), Maintenance Management System (MMS), and Statewide long-range plans. The project team looked at multiple planning documents to identify areas of TSMO and/or TSMO elements to ensure maximum alignment.

The NDOT TSMO Program Plan builds on a performance-based planning approach to management and operations of the transportation system by highlighting the successful accomplishment of currently implemented TSMO initiatives in the state of Nevada. This mobility-focused approach identifies end-users’ specific needs, institutionalizes TSMO activities and mobility strategies, and introduces cost-effective solutions to maximize the efficiency of the existing transportation system through addressing the identified end-users’ needs.