California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS)

For over 15 years, the California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS) program has shown that a bi-state partnership to address rural ITS concerns is both feasible and advantageous. It allows for maximization of resources and provides a source for fresh ideas and perspectives. It provides a platform to address the issues and concerns of rural areas that might otherwise remain ignored. Numerous systems and approaches have been developed and evaluated over the years, providing useful information on which to base future deployment decisions. Several of these initial systems are still in place, addressing the concerns they were designed to. Finally, COATS has provided a platform on which to conduct expanding efforts geared toward outreach and tech transfer.

The roots of the COATS program stretch back to 1991. Caltrans recognized that there were rural concerns in dealing with advanced technologies that would evolve into Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). In 1995, efforts were begun to specifically examine ITS technologies in a rural context through a scoping study. This scoping study, the Program for Advancing Rural Transportation Technologies (PARTT), reviewed advanced transportation technologies, identified key issues concerning them, and developed conceptual ideas for future activities. As part of this work, a geographic area in Northern California designated a study area to refine the need and application of ITS in a rural environment. Caltrans and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) expanded the Northern California study area into Southern Oregon to maximize resources, foster cooperation, and investigate feasibility of ITS in a bi-state study area. All of these activities laid the foundation for what COATS would become.

In 1998, the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) at Montana State University, Bozeman, was selected to carry out further studies. Led by Chris Strong and Steve Albert, this effort, subsequently titled COATS, focused on ITS planning and architecture in the previously identified study area. Notably, the COATS project resulted in the development of the first two Rural Transportation Management Centers in California, one in Redding and one in Eureka. Additionally, the work resulted in deployment of an early-winner project. The specific activities of this phase of COATS, as well as subsequent phases, are outlined in the COATS project History.

COATS Project

Recent Updates:

COATS Project Update, 2/16/2018: October – December 2017 Quarterly Update COATS Project Update, 11/21/2017: July - September 2017 Quarterly Update COATS Project Update, 4/19/2017: Phase 7 Gets Underway COATS Project Update, 11/17/2016: 6th Phase of COATS Project Completed COATS Project Update, 8/22/2016: Research Report - Data Quality for Aggregation and Dissemination of DOT Traveler Information COATS Project Update, 5/13/2016: January - March 2016 Quarterly Update
October – December 2017 Quarterly Update
February 16th, 2018
July - September 2017 Quarterly Update
November 21st, 2017
Phase 7 Gets Underway
April 19th, 2017
6th Phase of COATS Project Completed
November 17th, 2016
Research Report - Data Quality for Aggregation and Dissemination of DOT Traveler Information
August 22nd, 2016
January - March 2016 Quarterly Update
May 13th, 2016

Check back soon for more California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS) updates.

UPDATE: Friday, February 16th, 2018

COATS Phase 7 is facilitating ongoing technology transfer through the Western States Forum and continued demonstration and evaluation of ITS technologies through several incubator projects. Here is a brief summary of what was accomplished during the fourth quarter of 2017.

Western States Forum
The 13th annual Western States Forum is scheduled for June 19th- 21st, 2018 in Yreka, California at the Best Western Miner’s Inn. A Save the Date postcard was sent to announce this year’s event and catch the attention of potential attendees. The Call for Abstracts was released in early December. The venue for the 2018 forum was reserved, and the Forum website was updated with the date of the 2018 Forum and the Call for Abstracts.

The final report for the 2017 Forum was drafted and sent for review. Also, a Forum How-To handbook was drafted and sent to the project manager for review and comments.

During the first quarter of 2018, planning for the 13th annual Forum will continue. Abstracts will be selected, and first drafts of presentations and demonstrations will be reviewed. A brochure will be developed and registration will open in early March. Expect to see updates both here and on the Forum website as preparations continue.

Incubator Projects
Early in the quarter, a project team meeting was held to discuss the staff changes and corresponding changes to incubator projects. The following incubator projects will be pursued to address Caltrans’ needs and team member experience:

  • Traveler Information Data Quality
  • How-To Handbook/Manual for the Western States Forum
  • Cellular Telco Usage in Rural Environments

Check back next quarter for updates on the progress and status of the COATS projects.

Project Contacts:

  • Caltrans Project Manager:
  • Sean Campbell, P.E.
  • Chief, ITS Special Projects Branch
  • Caltrans, Division of Research, Innovation,
  • and System Information
  • 1227 O Street, PO Box 942873
  • Sacramento, CA 94273-0001
  • (916) 227-6259
  • (916) 657-4580 (fax)
  • sean_campbell "at"
  • Caltrans Project Champion:
  • Jeremiah Pearce, P.E.
  • Acting Chief
  • Office of ITS Engineering and Support
  • Caltrans District 2
  • 1657 Riverside Drive
  • Redding, CA 96001
  • (530) 225-3320
  • (530) 225-3255 (fax)
  • jeremiah.pearce "at"
  • Oregon DOT Lead:
  • Doug Spencer, P.E.
  • Standards Engineer
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Oregon Department of Transportation
  • 2080 Laura Street
  • Springfield, OR 97477
  • (541) 747-1276
  • Doug.L.SPENCER "at"
  • WTI Contact:
  • Craig Shankwitz
  • Senior Research Engineer
  • Western Transportation Institute (WTI)
  • Montana State University - Bozeman
  • PO Box 174250
  • Bozeman, MT 59717-4250
  • (406) 994-6030
  • craig.shankwitz "at"
  • WTI Contact:
  • Leann Koon
  • Research Associate
  • Systems Engineering, Development & Integration
  • Western Transportation Institute (WTI)
  • Montana State University - Bozeman
  • PO Box 174250
  • Bozeman, MT 59717-4250
  • (406) 994-7643
  • (406) 994-1697 (fax)
  • leann.koon "at"
  • Past WTI Contact:
  • Douglas Galarus
  • Assistant Professor
  • Utah State University
  • 4205 Old Main Hill
  • Logan, UT 84322-4205
  • (435) 797-4136
  • (435) 797-3265 (fax)
  • doug.galarus "at"
  • Past WTI Contact:
  • David Veneziano
  • Program Manager I
  • Institute for Transportation
  • Iowa State University
  • Suite 4700
  • 2711 S Loop Dr
  • Ames, IA 50010-8664
  • (515) 294-5480
  • dvenez "at"