California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS)
Phase 7


One of the more unique aspects of the Western States Forum is that questions and discussion are encouraged throughout the presentation, not just at the end. Here, several individuals have their hands raised to ask a speaker a question during the annual WSRTTIF.

Annual Steering Committee meeting in Yreka, California.

The primary goal of COATS Phase 7 was to build on the success of earlier COATS phases to preserve and expand the COATS region as an innovator in rural ITS demonstration. To help the partnership achieve the COATS vision and mission, initiatives that were undertaken include technology transfer through the Western States Forum, a Handbook for the Forum, and maintaining and expanding the COATS web presence for the technology transfer of results of this effort.

Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum (WSRTTIF)

This task provided financial and logistical support for the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Western States Forums and a portion of the 2020 event. An event focused on delivering high quality technology transfer and networking opportunities, the Forum targets an audience of professionals working in design and maintenance of ITS technologies in rural environments. It is unique nationally with respect to its audience and technical content, and its origin and development reflect the idea of using COATS as an incubator for innovations in the use of technology to address rural transportation challenges.

Go to the Forum website’s Past Forums page for the agendas, technical content, and photos from past events.

Meeting room during technical presentations at the Western States Forum.

Incubator Projects

Because of continued interest in collaboration and sharing research results, Caltrans determined that one of the best approaches for examining rural transportation issues was to pursue incubator projects under the scope of the COATS effort. Incubator projects are low-cost research efforts (e.g., limited time, scope, monetary resources) that investigate current rural ITS challenges and technology needs. Three incubator projects were initially proposed for work under this project phase. However, with significant staffing changes that impacted this project, the incubator projects were adjusted to address Caltrans’ needs and interests, and team member experience. You can read more about these projects here.

How-To Handbook/Manual for the Western States Forum

The 2020 Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum would have been the 15th annual event. The current COATS research team has been involved with the Forum on the Steering Committee for all but the first two events. Developing the Handbook during this COATS project phase was timely and appropriate.

The Handbook is intended to document the Forum in such a way that the event and its standard of excellence can be easily continued even as staffing and other inevitable changes occur. The Handbook is a practical, how-to guide for planning and executing the Western States Forum. A best effort was made to document the necessary activities and what has been done in the past in order to maintain the standards and expectations for the event. It is dynamic and meant to be updated after each Forum to keep it current, applicable, and practical.

Project Technical Advisory Panel (PTAP) Meetings

In addition to the technology transfer completed by the Forum, COATS/WSRTC PTAP meetings also provided an opportunity for discussion of current and future ITS activities in the region. Stakeholders also met and guided planning and decision-making related to the COATS project.

In completing this task, the annual PTAP meetings were held in Yreka, California, in conjunction with the Western States Forum. A PTAP meeting was also held in Corvallis, Oregon, in conjunction with the biennial Northwest Transportation Conference (NWTC). WSRTC members met during the National Rural ITS Conference + Exhibit in Fort McDowell, Arizona, and at the ITE Annual Meeting + Exhibit (Rural ITS Track) in Austin, Texas. Collectively, these meetings allowed for a discussion of the direction and focus of existing project tasks, presentation of initial and final task results, and discussion of future project directions.

You can read about the meetings in the links below. Meeting agendas, presentations, and official minutes are on the Documents page.

The final report for COATS Phase 7 can be reviewed here. The report can also be found on the COATS Phase 7 documents page and on the COATS documents page along with other project related work.