Transportation planners from Houston, Texas recently commended researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) for enabling them to make better use of a technology product developed to assist in the transportation project funding process known as the Transportation, Economic and Land-Use System or TELUS.
Researchers at NJIT led by Lazar Spasovic, PhD, professor in the civil engineering department at NJIT and director of the National Center for Transportation and Industrial Productivity, developed TELUS under a federal grant, and recently spent time helping the planners in Houston customize the system.
“TELUS is a fully integrated data-management and decision-support system designed to help Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and state departments of transportation prepare Transportation Improvement Programs –better known in the industry under the acronym TIP,” said Spasovic.
The system now available at Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) is similar to the TELUS systems that have recently been deployed at Alabama Department of Transportation and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, Dayton, Ohio. NJIT researchers are currently working with planners at MPOs in New Jersey, New York and Florida to develop other customized TELUS systems; and several dozen planning agencies across the country are already using the “off the shelf” version of the product.
Dennis Judycki, associate administrator of the US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and director of the Turner-Fairbank Research Center, described TELUS, the FHWA designated priority, market-ready technology and innovation product (see: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/crt/lifecycle/ptisafety.cfm), as "the first instance where congressionally directed funds resulted in a tangible product for the FHWA that is being deployed across the nation."
“With NJIT’s help, we have taken this technology a step further,” said Beth Webster, senior transportation planner at H-GAC. “We’ve customized the system to include a more comprehensive TIP Project Readiness and Submittal module.” This new module is one which the planners in Texas were specifically interested in adding.
The Houston program provides detailed and easily accessible information on transportation projects in the region for TIPs and regional transportation plans. With TELUS, the process is open to citizens and stakeholder groups, not only for project selection, but for tracking project schedules, funding commitments, and related issues.
TELUS incorporates such elements as a graphical user interface, an integrated geographic information system and strong querying and sorting capabilities. Authorized users may access, search and view through interactive dialog screens for data entry, data verification, data storage, data retrieval and report generation.