WSRTC Update - October 24th, 2019


UPDATE: Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Representatives from the Western States Rural Transportation Consortium (WSRTC) member states and research institutions met for the WSRTC annual meeting on June 18, 2019. The agenda, meeting presentation, and the meeting minutes can be found here and on the WSRTC Documents page.

See who's on the Steering Committee:

The meeting was called to order by WSDOT’s Ron Vessey and WTI’s Leann Koon. Everyone introduced themselves, new representatives were welcomed, and Leann reviewed the purpose of the meeting and the planned agenda.

Meeting attendees, clockwise around table from upper left: Troy Torgersen (Utah DOT), Doug Spencer (Oregon DOT), Jim Whalen (Nevada DOT), Mark Aragon (Nevada DOT), Robert Stull (Washington State DOT), Ron Vessey (Washington State DOT), Jeremiah Pearce (Caltrans District 2), Leann Koon (WTI/MSU). Not pictured is Doug Galarus (Utah State University).

Annual meeting of the Western States Rural Transportation Consortium, June 18, 2019.

Photo by Doug Galarus

Leann Koon provided an overview of the 2019 Western States Forum. The technical agenda included eight presentations and 14 speakers from six different states, including all five of the WSRTC member states. Those speakers and representatives who were in the meeting shared a quick synopsis of their presentation. A record 53 participants came from eight states (California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin). Seven state DOTs, three universities, the City of Portland (OR), and Civil Science were represented. Caltrans Headquarters, Caltrans DRISI, and eight of the twelve Caltrans districts participated. You can review the technical content and images from this year’s Forum on the Forum website’s 2019 Past Forum page. You can also read about the 2019 Forum on the WSRTTIF’s project pages in the update from December 13, 2019.

The group next discussed and explained a brief history of COATS and the WSRTC, noting that the COATS partnership is in its 7th phase and has roots going back to 1991. The minutes from the last annual meeting were considered approved. It was noted that the WSRTC Charter still needs to be updated. The group agreed to review and submit changes between now and the next meeting (NWTC 2020).

Ron Vessey briefly reviewed the status of the Pooled Fund and various Task Orders. He shared and reviewed balance sheets and the FHWA TPF transfer log. Phase 2 of the WSRTC goes through March of 2020. The group discussed interest in a third phase of the WSRTC and agreed to start a new pooled fund – WSRTC Phase 3.

Doug Galarus gave an overview of USU Task Orders 1 and 2. Task Order 1 is the Automated Safety Warning System Controller. For newcomers to the WSRTC, Doug Galarus clarified what the system does and where/how it is being used. USU Task Order 2 is One-Stop-Shop (OSS) for Traveler Information Phase 4. One of the research goals for this project is to investigate and determine how best to keep the system running and maintained beyond the research project. The OSS will be demonstrated at the Forum.

Incubator projects were discussed briefly. Given current staffing levels, incubator projects are in a holding pattern. The Western States Forum Handbook will be updated. Jeremiah Pearce explained some of the background for the Rural Cellular Communications Deployment project in Caltrans District 2. Several states are investigating different scenarios and solutions. This project has been set aside for the time being to see what impact the recent implementation of the FirstNet Public Safety Communications Network will have.

Other projects of interest to the group were briefly discussed including Professional Capacity Building (PCB) for Communications, Aviation Weather, and WeatherShare. Doug Galarus and Leann Koon reviewed the purpose, history, and status of these research projects.

Six individuals traveled to Austin, Texas, July 21st-24th, for the ITE Annual Meeting + Exhibit. The meeting included a Rural ITS track as NRITS was incorporated into this meeting agenda. The WSRTC group gathered informally during the event. Look for an update soon!

Individuals shared their various rural ITS projects during the traditional roundtable discussion to conclude the meeting. The meeting minutes outline what the member states are working on.

The Consortium will be accepting nominations for Emeritus membership. A vote will be taken at the next regular meeting of the WSRTC which will be held during the 2020 Northwest Transportation Conference.

To review the meeting minutes, click here, or go to the Consortium’s Documents page. The presentation from the meeting is also on the Consortium’s Documents page.