The Minnesota Guidestar Board of Directors advances transportation technology by providing strategic direction, advice, education, and a forum for developing innovative partnerships among public, private, academic, and other transportation stakeholders.
Intelligent Transportation Systems will be fully integrated into the transportation system to enhance quality of life by improving safety, mobility, economic vitality and sustainability.
Since its inception in 1991, Minnesota Guidestar has performed a broad range of ITS activities including needs assessments, research and development, full-scale operational testing, and deployment of ITS strategies and technologies. Minnesota Guidestar has been a key player in advancing ITS technology and programs to help achieve statewide and local transportation objectives. This success continues because of Minnesota Guidestar’s strong partnerships the public sector, the private sector and academia. It is because of these partnerships, that Minnesota Guidestar has successfully produced innovative and unique programs and projects, some of which are described below.
Most of Minnesota Guidestar’s early work focused on the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Numerous operational tests evaluated a variety of ITS concepts and technologies, culminating in the Twin Cities Orion Model Deployment in 1999. Orion activities cut across a wide variety of functional areas and emphasized system integration to create an intelligent transportation infrastructure.
In an effort to move toward statewide ITS deployment, Minnesota Guidestar completed a Rural ITS Scoping Study in 1994, which identified and prioritized the needs of travelers in Greater Minnesota.
In 1995, the Polaris Statewide Architecture Project outreach activities confirmed and expanded upon the Rural Scoping Study findings. The Polaris findings described the need for both rural and urban ITS applications in Minnesota, and served as the basis for development of a statewide ITS architecture.
Also in 1995, Minnesota Guidestar developed a statewide business plan for Commercial Vehicle Operations (CVO) in Minnesota. Following a comprehensive process re-engineering effort, an action plan was agreed upon with initiatives in enforcement, business processes, information dissemination and computer systems. Minnesota was selected as one of seven states to receive Federal funding for CVO model deployment, known as Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN).
In 1996-1997, Minnesota Guidestar developed its first Strategic Plan that led to implementation of 14 separate projects. Of these, the most far-reaching was the Transportation Operations and Communication Center (TOCC) projects in Duluth and St. Cloud and Rochester. To date, nine TOCCs have been deployed across the state.
In 1998, the Statewide Advanced Traveler Information Plan was prepared to guide future coordination and implementation of traveler information in Minnesota. Subsequently, the Condition Acquisition and Reporting System (CARS) was developed, and is now the primary source of data for Mn/DOT’s 511 web and phone traveler information services, initially introduced in 2002.
In 1999, Minnesota Guidestar was one of four groups to receive funding for an Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) project dealing with specialty vehicle platforms, which created a unique partnership among Mn/DOT, FHWA, the ITS Institute, and the private sector. Since that time Minnesota Guidestar is currently involved in the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) program, both of which are national in coverage.
The year 2001 brought us a clearer picture of the need for a safer and more secure transportation system to be developed. Projects underway such as the Transportation Operation and Communication Centers, and new projects such as Traveler Information and Evacuation Routing (TIGER) were completed to provide redundant communications and better connectivity between rural and urban centers.
Minnesota’s ITS Safety Plan was developed in 2006. The purpose of the plan was to develop ITS strategies and initiatives that reduce the number of vehicle traffic fatalities and life changing injuries on Minnesota roadways. The plan is a component document of the Minnesota Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) Program, and the Minnesota Statewide Heavy Vehicle Safety Plan (SHVSP).
Minnesota Guidestar Strategic Plans were issued in 1997, 2000, 2006 and 2010. These plans have provided statewide and local strategic direction to Minnesota Guidestar and have initiated more than 200 ITS programs, projects and activities over the years.
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