2009 Award Recipients


Outstanding Achievement Awards

Annually, ITS Florida recognizes one or more individuals or organizations for their outstanding achievements in an open award category.  The following individual and organization are receiving Certificates of Outstanding Achievement.

Mr. Randy Pierce, FDOT ITS Telecommunications Manager, was recognized for his involvement in launching Florida’s WiFi® pilot project—an asset not only to the FDOT’s ITS Program, but also to Florida’s traveling public.  Mr. Pierce was responsible for managing this project from contract negotiations through implementation.  Mr. Pierce oversaw the installation of “Wi-Fi hot spots” at Florida’s four welcome centers and the Turkey Lake Turnpike Service Plaza.  These hot spots permit travelers to access the internet and check their email from their personal computers. In order to implement this:
·   Several challenges were overcome in order to bring internet connectivity to the traveling public.

·   An additional feature was added to this project—a mobile WiFi unit.  The FDOT  has launched this newest WiFi hot spot, integrated into an FDOT trailer.  This trailer can be moved to various rest areas to analyze whether WiFi service should be provided at that site.  This analysis will save money by identifying the most appropriate candidate sites for future expansion of the WiFi system.

·   FDOT included some pilot project features in the trailer to enhance its functionality—a mobile weather station and a camera system allowing remote events monitoring.  Additional potential uses for the trailer are continuing to be identified.  During the recent spring flooding at the Suwannee River, although integration of the trailer was not yet complete, the FDOT considered using it to view the status of the I-10 bridge over the river.

Mr. Pierce has brought a new means of communication to Florida’s traveling public, along with an enhanced mobile incident management tool for use by the FDOT.
District Four, ITS Unit, FDOT

The District Four ITS Unit was recognized for The Interagency Video and Event Data Distribution System “iVEDDS”.  In February 2008, in response to user feedback, FDOT released iVEDDS, a substantially revised Web-based solution for their partnering agencies that integrated SMART Viewer and iVDS into a single Web address and secure login.  iVEDDS distributes live-motion, closed circuit television (CCTV) camera video feeds from District Four to inter-agency partners (and other authorized users), using existing Internet infrastructure.  This tool provides streaming video from all active freeway CCTV cameras in Broward County to emergency response agencies such as 911 centers; police, fire and ambulance stations; transportation management centers; airports and transit authorities who benefit from the live images before or during an incident along the freeways.  There are 42 public agency users representing 13 different partner agencies.

iVEDDS addresses the need for FDOT’s regional emergency response agencies to view real-time, freeway camera streaming video in order to provide quicker response.  It also affords them the availability to dispatch proper crews to the scene earlier compared to waiting for on-scene communications.  Additionally, iVEDDS furthers the deployment of ITS by sharing the benefits of all the equipment in place with more than one agency.
District Four has not only accomplished goals set in the Public Outreach Plan and Five Year Strategic Plan for their ITS Unit and TMC, but is also fostering relationships with regional public agencies that could benefit the entire Department.

ITS Champion Award

In recognition of his tireless efforts related to the advancement of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) in Northeast Florida, ITS Florida recognized Doug Conkey with its ITS Champion Award.  Mr. Conkey is a Commissioner for Clay County and the Chairman of the North Florida TPO.

The North Florida TPO has made a significant investment in and remarkable progress towards developing a fully integrated Interstate and arterial system that can be controlled from a single remote location and monitored for incident management by local governments, FDOT and the Florida Highway Patrol.  The TPO has begun programming funds to construct a regional transportation management center.  District 2 is the only District in the state without a state-of-the-art regional TMC.

The North Florida TPO has made ITS and technology use to improve the operation of major arterials in the four county region it serves a critical component of its transportation planning strategy and has integrated ITS into its overall planning program.  By doing so, the TPO is championing the ITS cause and setting an example that can be followed by other metropolitan planning organizations and other regions in Florida. Mr. Conkey is instrumental in this accomplishment.

ITS Professional of the Year

The ITS PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR AWARD recognizes a person who has been actively involved in some aspect of an ITS project within the last year and contributed significantly to the ITS community in so doing.

Mr. Gene Glotzbach, Florida Department of Transportation Deputy State Traffic Operations Engineer received this awarded.  His involvement in launching Florida’s next generation statewide 511 Traveler Information System significantly impacted the FDOT’s ITS Program.

Mr. Glotzbach has been the administrator for the ITS general consulting contract since 2001.  This contract provides support to the ITS Program; in the past year, along with the statewide 511 Traveler Information System, Mr. Glotzbach has managed or supported such successful projects as:

·   Ten-Year ITS Cost Feasible Plan, the statewide funding mechanism of approximately $883 million for ITS deployments between 2002 and 2019, including the SunGuide® Software, the Traffic Engineering Research Lab (TERL) ITS lab, commercial vehicle operations, and incident management.

·   License plate readers/probe data collection using global positioning systems-based technology, which enables travel time posting to dynamic message signs—a key to the expansion of ITS deployments on rural roadways

·   Arterial ITS Plan, initial phase concentrating on arterial advanced traffic management systems deployment and the benefits of signal retiming

·   ITS specifications development and maintenance, ensuring device interoperability and interchangeability with other equipment

·   TERL with quality assurance and support of the ITS lab to test ITS equipment operability using the SunGuide® Software

With the recent launch of the new, bilingual statewide 511 Traveler Information System, Mr. Glotzbach has significantly contributed to ITS in the state of Florida. Mr. Glotzbach has been the FDOT project manager for this “next generation” 511 system—a multi-million dollar project—from its inception.

The next generation statewide 511 advanced Traveler Information System replaced five regional 511 systems and allows travelers to call 511 anywhere in the state and hear the same voice and call menu options.  Along with the calling feature, the new system Web site replaced the regional Web sites providing Florida with detailed traffic and travel information, including camera views and links to airports, seaports, and transit agencies.

Florida’s new 511 phone and Web system gives real-time traffic reports on Florida interstate highways; toll roads, including Florida’s Turnpike, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority roads, and Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority roads; and other major metropolitan roadways.  The statewide system provides information on roadway conditions, such as commuter travel times, construction, lane closures, crashes, congestion, and severe weather affecting traffic.  Travelers have access to traffic, transit, travel times, airports, and seaports, or they can request information for a specific roadway, city, or county.  This system is also updated with public safety alerts, including AMBER, Silver, and Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) alerts.

ITS FLORIDA ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBER OF THE YEAR AWARD

The ITS FLORIDA ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBER OF THE YEAR AWARD recognizes an ITS program, project, or other accomplishment that is of significant benefit to the transportation industry and to the traveling public.  The recipient can be any public- or private-sector member of ITS Florida.  The primary criterion for award consideration is that the work provides improved transportation for Floridians.

FDOT District Six ITS Office

Phase 1 A of the Interstate 95 Ramp Signaling System was implemented in February 2009 in Miami-Dade County.  It is the first system of its kind in the State of Florida that utilizes Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies, such as roadway detectors and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Cameras to meter the rate of traffic entering the mainline from the adjacent city streets.  The system is reducing the problem of ‘bottlenecking’ caused by merging traffic, which leads to congestion and reduced safety conditions for all motorists along the highway.  Ramp signals regulate the rate vehicles enter from the ramps based on the spaces available on the mainline to improve mobility and regulate traffic flow.

Even though ramp signals have been successfully deployed in other areas of the Country, this project marks the first time the concept was implemented in Florida.  The District Six ITS team took careful measures to introduce the system and ensure its operational effectiveness.  They researched solutions, and allocated the necessary resources to bring this system on-line and within schedule.  The Ramp Signals have served to improve mobility and increase the flow of traffic on the mainline along the project limits of the 95 Express Lanes.  Travel speeds have increased from 38 mph to 43 mph on the general purpose lanes during the typically congested evening rush-hour period.  This increase in speeds has saved motorists more than $1 million in travel time delays since implementation, with values projected to increase as additional ramp signals are activated along the I-95 corridor.

In addition to the Ramp Signaling System, the 95 Express Lanes project has significantly improved, the project has garnered laudable attention and has served to put Florida’s ITS Program at the fore­front of the national arena.  Recently winning America’s Transportation Award in the category of innovative management, the project is also a top contender for the American Association of State Highways & Transportation Officials (ASSTO) America’s Best Transportation Project as well.  More importantly than the accolades received however, are the daily benefits the project is providing to the motoring public of our community.

Interstate 95 in southeast Florida is one of the most highly congested roadways in the country, and usually serves as a main point of access for cross-county commuters traveling between Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.  Introducing variable congestion pricing and transportation demand management practices along the project’s limits has allowed Phase 1A of the 95 Express Lanes to increase travel speeds from approximately 18 mph to 43 mph on the general purpose lanes and 57 mph on the express lanes during the evening rush-hour period (compared to before and after implementation reports). The 95 Express Lanes operate above 45 mph or higher 99.5% of the time, increasing the vehicle throughput and providing motorists with more options along the facility.

A contributing factor to the overall success of the 95 Express Lanes, is the development of the State of Florida’s first dynamic toll collection pricing system.  The District Six ITS Team developed an electronic software application that automates the variable toll collection algorithm, and recommends price changes every 15 minutes to maintain free flowing conditions along the managed lanes.  The team expedited the automation of this feature 1 ½ years ahead of schedule, offsetting operational costs by $2.1 million as a result (compared to a non-automated system of toll collection operations).

In addition, the project also counts with an enhanced, multidisciplinary incident management plan that has increased the operational effectiveness of the managed lanes facility.  The plan has reduced travel lane blocking duration times by approximately 15 minutes, saving motorists more than $18.5 million dollars in added value during the first six months of implementation, with benefits expected to continue.  95 Express utilizes ITS components to manage daily operations.