Map of Congested Freeway Locations in Southeast MichiganSEMCOG develops and implements a Congestion Management Process (CMP) (pdf, 2.3MB) to improve mobility in the region. Congestion is the traffic level at which a roadway becomes saturated and unable to support intended volumes of travelers. Congestion levels are most severe during time periods when there are more reasons to travel, in places where there is a greater density of activity, and on roads where there are fewer alternative routes. Congestion can unpredictably delay travelers, increase the risk of vehicular crashes, and contribute to degrading regional air quality. CMP information helps SEMCOG and its regional partners develop policies for managing congestion and projects that mitigate congestion. The CMP has three basic steps:

  • Monitor and evaluate transportation system performance,
  • Identify congestion problems, and
  • Evaluate and recommend mitigation strategies.

In managing congestion, the CMP draws from congestion mitigation strategies that promote pooled travel options (carpool, vanpool, transit, biking, walking), emphasize improving how roads operate (ITS, access management), and increasing roadway capacity when other management strategies are not effective.

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) involves the use of computer and electronic technologies, communications, or information processing to improve the safety and efficiency of the transportation system. The use of ITS in Southeast Michigan is not new. Examples currently in use include:

  • dynamic message signs,
  • closed circuit TV cameras,
  • roadway vehicle detection sensors,
  • coordinated signal systems, and
  • transportation operations centers.

ITS Architecture

An ITS architecture is a high-level plan that identifies the need for the various services the ITS can provide and documents how ITS systems and components can be integrated together. ITS architectures: 

  • provide a framework for implementing ITS projects, 
  • encourage interoperability and resource sharing among agencies, 
  • identify applicable standards to apply to projects, and 
  • allow for cohesive long-range planning among regional stakeholders.

The ITS architecture allows stakeholders to plan for what they want their system to look like in the long-term and then break the system into smaller pieces that can be implemented in the short-term.

In addition to the planning benefits of developing a regional ITS architecture, project conformance to the regional ITS architecture also is a requirement for any agency in the region to be eligible for federal funding of an ITS project. This requirement became effective in 2005 and continues to be enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Executive Summary (pdf, 1.2MB)
SEMCOG Region ITS Regional Architecture Plan (pdf, 1.3MB)
User Guide (pdf, 33KB)


ITS Deployment Plan

The ITS Deployment Plan provides a sequence of ITS projects to implement the overall ITS services identified in the regional ITS Architecture. The plan identifies the geographic location of the projects, the technologies that will be deployed, and the timing of the deployments. The plan accounts for financial constraints and provides benefit/cost analysis of various deployment combinations.

Executive Summary (pdf, 1.2MB)
SEMCOG Region ITS Deployment Plan (pdf, 7.1MB)
User Guide (pdf, 32KB)

ITS Use Maintenance

To satisfy federal requirements and remain eligible to use federal funds, a project must be accurately documented. To document the conformity of an ITS project with the regional architecture, a Conformance and Maintenance form (pdf, 40KB) guides project managers through the process.

More extensive modifications, as well as complete updates to the Regional ITS Architecture and ITS Deployment Plan, will be performed every five years by reconvening the regional stakeholders.

Regional Operations

Local governments in Southeast Michigan can more effectively operate their transportation systems if they work together with others who share their interest in safe and efficient travel. Partners in operating transportation systems include the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), county road agencies, other local transportation agencies, first responders, and information service providers.


The Metropolitan Detroit Traffic Incident Management Committee started as an ad hoc group in 1992 when organizations interested in improving response to traffic incidents joined forces to develop a program for Metropolitan Detroit. In 2005, SEMCOG led the efforts of the Southeast Michigan Regional Concept for Transportation Operations (RCTO), built upon the relationships developed during the earlier traffic incident management process. It outlined broader objectives to improve regional transportation operations. Recognizing the overlapping objectives of these two efforts, they were merged and is now led by the Southeast Michigan Regional Transportation Operations Coordinating Committee.

Two outcomes of the RCTO effort are: an update of the original incident management action plan (i.e., Blueprint for Action) which describes the mission, vision, goals, and objectives for improving transportation operations, regionally, and more importantly a renewed formal agreement (pdf, 91KB) between MDOT, Michigan State Police, and SEMCOG for addressing operations issues.

Mission of the Coordinating Committee

To strengthen and guide regional transportation operations collaboration and coordination, by:

  • presenting an operations vision and direction for the future of transportation systems management and operations based on a holistic view of the region,
  • garnering commitment from agencies and jurisdictions for a common regional approach to transportation management and operations, and
  • strengthening the link between regional planners and various stakeholders responsible for transportation operations by providing a sound operations strategy for consideration in the planning process.


A major emphasis of transportation operations is to develop a common vision among transportation operators which defines where the region’s transportation system wants to be in the future:

    “Southeast Michigan will have reliable and managed transportation operations across jurisdictional, geographic and modal boundaries for both routine traffic operations and traffic incident management that saves lives, time, and money for its travelers.”

Goals and Objectives

From the major operational goals, several themes emerged, such as: 

  • the need to obtain real-time accurate information, 
  • the ability to share information among agencies and with the public, 
  • the availability of appropriate resources to respond to situations, and 
  • to accomplish all of this safely and efficiently. 

The Blueprint for Action Plan further identifies objectives and strategies for each of five goals, listed below.

Additional Materials

Committee and Subcommittee Calendar
Meeting minutes

Developing Regional Solutions
SEMCOG is a regional planning partnership of governmental units serving 4.7 million people in the seven-county region of Southeast Michigan striving to enhance the region's quality of life.