California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS) Update - November 15, 2022


UPDATE: Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Project Update 2022

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Building on the success of earlier COATS phases, COATS Phase 8 is focused on technology transfer. Tasks to be completed include two Western States Forums, Project Technical Advisory Panel (PTAP) meetings, website development and maintenance, and the Forum Handbook. Here’s a summary of what’s been happening with the COATS project in 2022.

Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum

The Western States Forum is a centerpiece of the COATS Phase 8 project. With a successful Forum in October of 2021, the project team immediately started preparing for the 2022 event which was held June 14-16 in Yreka, California. It was another relevant technical program with eight presentations from California, Nevada, Utah, and Washington State Departments of Transportation, along with Iowa State University and the Southwest Research Institute.

Group of people seated in rows at tables listening to speaker and watching a slide presentation.

Photo by: Doug Galarus

Attendance was strong with 45 engineering professionals representing nine different states: Arizona, California, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. The audience consisted of engineers and technicians from five state departments of transportation, four universities, and the Southwest Research Institute. Caltrans Headquarters and Traffic Operations, Caltrans DRISI, and five Caltrans Districts sent participants. Nineteen (19) of the participants were attending the Forum for the first time; eleven have attended eight or more of the 17 events. The event evaluations consistently indicated that the Forum is successfully meeting the needs of practitioners and the Forum’s goals, mission, and vision.

You will be able to read more about this year’s event in future project updates. In the meantime, Save the Date (pdf) for June 13-15 in Yreka, California, for the 18th Annual Western States Forum! The Call for Abstracts will be released in the next few weeks so watch your inbox and your mailbox. Event details will also be posted on the Forum website as they become available.


The annual WSRTC / COATS Steering Committee meeting was held in conjunction with the Western States Forum on June 14th, 2022. The meeting kicked off with an overview of the Forum – a synopsis of the technical presentations, expected attendance, and a review of the schedule of events. Some history was shared, along with updates on the Pooled Fund and associated Task Orders. While COATS Phase 8 will be the last from California, the project’s work will now be conducted through the Western States Rural Transportation Consortium Transportation Pooled Fund. The meeting concluded with the traditional roundtable of ITS activities. The meeting’s documents can be found on the WSRTC Documents page. Take a look at what the member states are working on to impact change and advance the state of the practice for transportation technology – June 14th, 2022, annual meeting minutes.

Here’s the group at the 2022 annual meeting. Participants were there in person and virtually. Clockwise from top middle: Jim Whalen (Nevada DOT), screen with virtual participants, Sean Campbell (Caltrans DRISI, Project Manager), Jeremiah Pearce (Caltrans District 2), Tony Leingang (Washington State DOT), Doug Spencer (Oregon DOT).

People meeting around tables facing projector screen virtual participants in upper right corner

Photo by: Doug Galarus

The WSRTC / COATS group also held a virtual meeting this spring to check in and review the status of the new Pooled Fund – April 7, 2022, meeting documents. In addition to the PTAP meetings, six participants received travel support to attend the 2022 National Rural ITS Conference and ITE annual meeting this summer. The Consortium also supported four participants at the ITS World Congress held in September. For pictures and an overview of the PTAP meetings, take a look at the WSRTC update from October 26th, 2022.

Check back here for more updates on the COATS project.