2021 Virtual Meeting

The program for the 2021 National Rural ITS Conference will be integrated into the ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibition held July 20-29, 2021 in a virtual setting.  The 2021 conference covered emerging technologies and trends from across the transportation industry including a focus on transportation equity considerations and exploration of the potential of big data and data analytics. This conference will offer insights to help understand the impacts of COVID-19 and how to respond to these changes. In addition to traditional ITS topics of interest to transportation professionals, this event will bring together both traditional and non-traditional users to address such issues affecting rural and small communities.  This conference’s virtual delivery format provides flexibility for the participant to join in real time or to view archived session recordings. The conference guidebook provides an overall view of the conference speakers and topics and NRITS programming is available on ITE’s YouTube Channel. Specific NRITS Sessions during the ITE virtual Annual Meeting program are highlighted below:

Technical Sessions

Tuesday, July 20, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Rural Transportation System Management and Operations Planning in Western States
Moderator: Susie Serres, Operations Group Manager, DKS
Session Recording

This panel session explores the unique needs, opportunities and challenges to providing Transportation System Management and Operations (TSMO) planning in rural areas. The panel brings experts representing small and large agencies, all currently completing distinct rural TSMO planning efforts.


  • Presentation, Justin Belk, P.E., Integrated Corridor Operations Engineer and Pamela Vasudeva, Acting Statewide TSMO Development Engineer, Washington State Department of Transportation, Olympia, Washington
  • Making the Case for Rural TSMO, David Hirsch, P.E., PTOE, Region 4 Traffic Operations Engineer, Oregon Department of Transportation, Bend, Oregon
  • Stacy Shetler, P.E., County Engineer, Washington County (OR), Hillsboro, Oregon
  • Jeff Miles, P.E., PTOE, Transportation Engineer IV, Texas Department of Transportation, Bryan, Texas
  • Presentation, Dennis Mitchell, P.E., Regional Director of Transportation Technology, DKS Associates, Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, July 20, 4:00-5:30 p.m.

How to Get Thru – Transportation Plans and Performance for Construction and Events
Moderator: Melisa Finley, P.E., Research Engineer, Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Session Recording

Various temporary activities impact the safety and operation of roadways including special events, construction and adverse weather. This session presents information on the performance of work zones, stadium transportation plans and analytical methods to assess evacuations.


Wednesday, July 21, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Signs and Markings – Innovations That Work
Moderator: Vishal Kakkad, P.E., RSP1, PTOE, Traffic Engineering Division Manager, Manatee County (Florida) Public Work
Session Recording

This session examines advancements in the design and application of innovative signs and markings. Real world examples and photos will be presented to document successful
implementation of treatments presented. The session also helps professionals prepare for the future by identify signing and marking considerations that accommodate the needs of connected and automated vehicles.


Wednesday, July 21, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

Rural ITS Town Hall Meeting
Moderators: Steve Latoski, P.E., PTOE, Public Works Director, Mohave County, Arizona and John Hansen, Subject Matter Expert – Transportation, Olsson
Session Recording

What are the current “hot topics” and emerging issues in rural intelligent transportation systems (ITS)? Attend this session to hear about and discuss trends and recent advancements of ITS in rural and small communities, and contribute to the conversation by helping to identify additional issues.

    Wednesday, July 21, 4:00-6:00 p.m.

    Next Generation Traffic Incident Management – Safety and Mobility Benefits for All
    Session Recording

    Over the past 2-3 decades, thanks to the dedicated efforts of many transportation and public safety professionals throughout the country, TIM has progressed significantly, particularly in the area of training with nearly 500,000 incident responders trained nationally (December 2020). However, much of the TIM focus over this period has centered on interstates and other high-speed roadways. Furthermore, given the criticality of TIM to safety and mobility, sustained attention on “raising the bar” and continually enhancing TIM to its “next-generation” is paramount.

    Next-generation (NextGen) TIM focuses on “ALL” roadways, responders, TIM programs, and motorists. TIM has routinely demonstrated life, time, and money saving benefits. More specifically, NextGen TIM:

    • Applies practical, proven tactics and strategies to ALL facilities, including local roadways;
    • Emphasizes the need to properly train ALL responders nationally for managing incidents on ALL roadways;
    • Integrates existing and emerging technology and data tools for use by ALL TIM practitioners and programs;
    • Benefits ALL roadway users including commuters, travelers, and commercial vehicle operators.

    FHWA has designated NextGen TIM as an innovation in the sixth round of their Every Day Counts (EDC-6) Program. The essence of EDC is the identification and accelerated implementation of proven, yet underutilized innovations to enhance roadway safety, reduce traffic congestion, integrate technologies, and other benefits. The program includes establishing performance goals for innovation adoption over a two-year period and also provides technical support for implementation at the State and local levels.

    Facilitators and Speakers:

    • Paul Jodoin, Traffic Incident Management Program Manager, Office of Operations, Traffic & Event Management Team | United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
    • Jim Austrich, Traffic Incident Management Program Manager, Office of Operations, Traffic & Event Management Team | United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration
    • Joe Tebo, Traffic Incident Management Program Manager, Office of Operations, Traffic & Event Management Team | United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration
    • Douglas Noble, P.E., PTOE, Senior Director of Management and Operations | Institute of Transportation Engineers
    • Patricia Westsik, Incident Response Supervisor | City of Seattle Department of Transportation
    • Gary McClellan | Oregon Tow Truck Association
    • Justin Guinan, Statewide TIM Program Coordinator | Oregon Department of Transportation, Maintenance & Operations Branch
    • Norris Croom, Fire Chief, Castle Rock | Colorado Fire and Rescue
    • Major Rob Marone, District 5 Commander | Colorado State Patrol
    • Steve Cyra, FHWA Every Day Counts NextGen TIM Team (contractor support) | HNTB

    Thursday, July 22, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

    Baking TSMO Into All We Do in Transportation
    Moderator: Tracy Scriba, Team Leader, Federal Highway Administration
    Session Recording

    The overall focus of the session is on ways transportation agencies are “baking transportation system management and operations (TSMO) into all they do.” TSMO helps agencies get the most of their transportation dollar – both future ones as well as those dollars spent building facilities in the past. Capacity is an asset. The more an agency can get out of the capacity they have, the more options they have in how to spend future resources. This is smart for transportation. TSMO is being integrated more and more into how agencies deliver transportation. This session provides examples in some growing critical areas.


    Thursday, July 22, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

    Critical Data Integration Between PSAPs and TMCs
    Moderator: Eddie Reyes, Director, Prince William County (Virginia) 9-1-1
    Session Recording

    Traffic or transportation management centers (TMC) are the heart of operations for most transportation agencies. Public safety answering points (PSAP) are the communication centers for public safety response agencies, receiving 911 calls, dispatching responders and resources, and monitoring incident communications. The TMC and PSAP functions together provide communications, data, resources, and situational awareness functions for traffic incidents, but there is usually minimal coordination and integration of these centers in ways that can enhance and support effective incident response. This session will discuss opportunities for integrating TMCs and PSAPs, examples of integration initiatives, and the benefits and challenges of integration.


    • Presentation, Pat Noyes, Principal, Pat Noyes & Associates, Boulder, Colorado
    • Presentation, John McClellan, Freeway Operations Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Transportation, St. Paul, Minnesota
    • Presentation, Athena Hutchins, P.E., F.ASCE, Executive Director, Niagara International Transportation
      Technology Coalition, Buffalo, New York

    Poster Presentations

    Strategic Truck Parking Investment Decision Making: A Hybrid Agent-Based Simulation and Optimization Approach for Statewide Truck Parking Capacity Expansions, Sarah, Hernandez, Ph.D, P.E., Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas

    We Closed Canada’s National Highway – Did It Go According to Plan?, Mariya Otten-Andrew, P.Eng, PTOE, Principal Consultant, WSP, Vancouver, British Columbia

    Towards Zero Deaths – How the Utah Traffic Incident Management Coalition Is Saving Lives, Pat Gallagher, Project Manager, Parsons, Las Vegas, Nevada

    Towing & Incentive Recovery Program, Tom Clark, PMP, Vice President, Parsons, Arlington, Virginia

    Why do we need a Dust Detection System?, David Locher, P.E., TSMO Systems Maintenance Manager, Arizona Department of Transportation, Phoenix, Arizona  and Tom McCullough, P.E., Senior Design Engineer, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., Phoenix, Arizona