“Planning for operations” encompasses a variety of activities that planners and transportation system operators collaborate on in order to maximize the efficiency of the transportation system and to ensure that transportation services are delivered in as safe, reliable, and secure a manner as possible. In addition to having many congestion mitigation and system efficiency benefits, planning for operations is required under Federal law.
SPC developed the region’s first Regional Operations Plan (ROP) in 2007. This plan documents the region’s approach to operational activities and seeks to identify how to optimize the existing transportation system. SPC provided updates to this plan in 2011 and 2015 and has subsequently mainstreamed the ROP into its Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) process each time.
Statewide operational planning has evolved based on federal guidelines and knowledge development. In 2018, PennDOT developed the Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Guidebook which is the statewide approach used to optimize the operational performance of existing infrastructure. Utilizing this new guideline, SPC updated the ROP in 2019. The seven priority areas identified in previous ROP versions remain in the 2019 update. They are:
- Traffic Signals
- Incident and Emergency Management
- Traveler Information
- Operational Teamwork/Institutional Coordination
- Multimodal Connectivity
- Freeway and Arterial Operations
- Freight Management
With assistance from SPC’s member Planning Departments, PennDOT’s Engineering Districts, the PennDOT Bureau of Maintenance and Operations (BOMO), the ten regional transit operators and other regional stakeholders, the 2019 ROP was completed utilizing a series of workshops over a six month period. Through this collaborative process, the 2019 ROP developed over 60 proposed projects, studies, and initiatives.
This ROP recognizes that three important ways to optimize the existing transportation network are to incorporate intelligent systems, improve management of incidents and events, and encourage modal shift.