About the Forum

The Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum provides an opportunity for field engineers, maintenance personnel and technicians to share ideas and discuss successes and failures in implementing rural ITS projects. The Forum encourages dialogue at a technical level so participants get a thorough understanding of an ITS project and its applicability to their own situations in rural, western states. Transparency and trust are cultivated in the small group setting.

The Western States Forum places high importance on the following:

Technical Content

Presenters delve into how solutions were developed, focusing on applications that have been deployed in the field and are being used in live traffic situations. Technical presentations are planned for one to two hours each, ensuring that this level of detail may be presented and understood.


Attendance is limited and extended time is allocated to facilitate and encourage detailed technical discussions.

Transparency and Trust

Presenters will discuss not only success stories, but also about failures and problems, so participants can learn about what does and doesn't work and why.


The concept for the Western States Forum originated through the rural California/Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS) partnership. This partnership, initiated in 1998 by the California and Oregon Departments of Transportation with support from the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, has sought to advance the implementation of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to meet transportation challenges in rural areas. Over the last decade, the COATS partnership has increasingly focused on technology transfer and the Forum has developed and grown with this purpose. For more details, see the WSRTTIF Fact Sheet (pdf).

After four phases of COATS spanning 12 years, the Steering Committee determined that it was in the best interest of the project to broaden its area of service to the western United States. To address this intent, the Western States Rural Transportation Consortium (WSRTC) was formed with the following purpose:

The Western States Forum continues with the support of the Western States Rural Transportation Consortium. To read more about the Consortium and its activities, please visit www.westernstates.org.


In 2012, the Western States Forum was recognized with a Best of Rural ITS Award (pdf) at the annual National Rural ITS Conference. The Forum won for Best New Innovative Product, Service or Application. Below, Leann Koon and Sean Campbell accept the 2012 Best of Rural ITS Award from Steve Albert (left), Rural SIG Chair, and Scott Belcher (right), ITS America President.

Pictured left to right:  Steve Albert, Leann Koon, Sean Campbell, Scott Belcher

Photo by Doug Galarus

Publications and Media Interviews

The Western Transportation Institute published an article in their August 7, 2023 newsletter about the Forum. The article shared some history about the Forum and what makes the event unique. It also gave a recap of the 18th annual Forum held in June 2023. You can read the article here: https://westerntransportationinstitute.org/event/2023/18th-annual-western-states-forum-a-success/.

Forum Steering Committee members Sean Campbell and Ian Turnbull were interviewed by Bernie Wagenblast and the Transportation Communications Newsletter. Sean and Ian discussed the purpose and goals of the Western States Forum and the impact it has had on attendees over the years. They also gave a quick overview of the technical content to be presented at the upcoming Forum. The interview was included in the Intelligent Transportation section of the May 20th, 2013, edition of the Transportation Communications Newsletter. You can listen to the interview here: http://shouts.at/LzE. You can also download the audio file (mp3) here.

WSRTTIF Implementation

There are numerous examples of ways in which the Forum has helped participants with implementation of ITS technology. Read more about how technology presented at the Forum has been implemented around the Western States region.

Steering Committee

The Western States Forum is organized and directed by a four-member Steering Committee. Ian Turnbull, one of the founders of the Forum and a Steering Committee member since 2006, retired in the spring of 2017. Ian’s leadership and vision were crucial to the continued success of the Forum. Additionally, under Ian's leadership and since his retirement, Caltrans District 2 has hosted the Forum since its inception. In recognition of his efforts, Ian was presented with a framed collage depicting the Forum from 2006 - 2016.

Ian Turnbull standing with the framed collage of Forum pictures.

Photo By Leann Koon

WSRTTIF Fact Sheet (pdf) | WSRTTIF Implementation (pdf)