At the heart of the TTAP program are the Virtual Centers of Excellence (VCoEs), each dedicated to one of the following critical transportation topic areas:

  • Project Delivery

  • Maintenance and Operations

  • Safety

  • Planning and Procurement

  • Asset and Data Management

While there is no building or physical location, each virtual center provides an immediate source for focused technical assistance and training expertise, establishing direct lines of communication between tribal transportation needs and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) with the capabilities to address those needs.

Each VCoE consists of SMEs dedicated to responding to all inquiries and requests within their particular area of expertise, no matter where their home base. SMEs are visiting every BIA region, bringing focused in-classroom coursework and technical assistance so participants can immediately apply this knowledge and skills in their workplace.

Project Delivery

The efficient delivery of transportation projects is critical to ensuring tribal communities have access to safe roadways that are planned and constructed with realistic timelines, environmental sensitivity, minimal delays and within budget. Positive outcomes depend upon productive contractor and agency relationships as well as good-faith contract negotiations, cost schedule management and agreed-upon quality control and project close-out.


FEMA and Tribal Nations: A Pocket Guide (link to pdf)
Descriptions of FEMA programs to help tribes prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against emergencies and disasters

FHWA Environmental Toolkit (link to website)
An extensive library of environmental topics, including resources, tools, reports, and action plans

Construction Program Management and Inspection Guide (link to pdf)
Technical resource for field engineering staff to consult in delivering effective oversight and stewardship of Federal-aid construction programs

Maintenance and Operations

The preservation and sustainability of existing and new roadways are critical to the ongoing safety and resilience of tribal highway infrastructure. Wear-and-tear and increased traffic movement in urban areas, as well as the unique physical characteristics of rural roadways, offer diverse challenges to tribal work crews. A comprehensive approach to constructing and managing these transportation environments includes preservation of the surface (such as asphalt and gravel), shoulders (such as elevation and erosion control), roadsides and structures (such as bridges, pipes, guardrails, signs and right-of-ways) and traffic-control (including work zone safety and temporary traffic control) to ensure safety and efficient traffic flow. Effective maintenance and operations depend upon sound administrative practices, operational budgets and resource allocation.


Weather-Savvy Roads Resource Toolkit (link to website)
Two distinct toolkits offering management solutions for proactive preparation of surface transportation systems ahead of and during adverse weather events.

Concrete Pavement Preservation (link to video) (link to companion guide)
Preservation techniques to extend the life of concrete pavement.

National Bridge Inspection Standards (link to video) (link to companion guide)
Overview of requirements for inspecting bridges longer than 20 feet.

W-Beam Guardrail Repair (link to pdf)
Provides highway and maintenance personnel with information on how to repair damaged W-Beam guardrail, include damage examples and appropriate repair options.


Safety on tribal roadways can be measured by reducing the numbers of crashes, fatalities and injuries. By fostering community awareness and promoting a multi-faceted approach to safety, tribal transportation organizations can target known safety issues, such as roadway departures, intersections and pedestrian safety, by implementing proven and innovative lifesaving countermeasures. Safety and crash data, along with road safety audits, provide the foundation upon which to make data-driven decisions. Low cost safety improvements, safety plan development, railroad-crossing improvements, signalized intersections and roundabouts are just a few of the initiatives that can be implemented to save lives.


BIA Indian Nations Highway Safety Plan (link to pdf)
2018 guide to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes in Indian Country.

Primer on Safety Data and Analysis Toolbox (link to pdf)
Resources to build a new or strengthen an existing roadway safety data program.

NHTSA Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide (link to pdf)
Guide to selecting effective, evidence-based countermeasure for traffic safety problem areas such as seat belts, speed management, and pedestrian and bike safety.

Local Road Safety Plan Development (link to website)
A framework for identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing local roadway safety improvements.

Strategic Transportation Safety Plan Template (link to website) (link to word template)
Planning document incorporating eight elements (introduction, vision, safety partners, process, existing efforts, data summary, emphasis areas, evaluation and implementation) to help develop a safety plan.

Manual for Selecting Safety Improvements on High Risk Rural Roads (link to pdf)
Information on the costs and benefits of safety treatments on high-risk rural roads including safety benefits, cost effectiveness, maintenance costs, and a decision-making process to identify treatments.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center: Crossing Islands (link to website)
Overview of crossing islands as an appropriate countermeasure to help protect crossing pedestrians.

Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System (link to website)
Online tools to provide practitioners with engineering, education, or enforcement treatments to improve pedestrian safety and mobility at specific locations.

Governors Highway Safety Association’s 2018 Preliminary Data on Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State (link to website)

Planning and Procurement

Transportation helps shape an area’s economic health and quality of life, influencing growth and economic development. Transportation planning activities provide Tribes with opportunities to evaluate their existing and future streets, highways, sidewalks, and bike lanes. These assessment activities include financial planning and incorporate critical components such as procurement standards and procedures. The transportation planning and procurement process – from public involvement to solicitation through contract award – incorporates cost estimating, project prioritization and an understanding of contract execution to conduct efficient and effective procurement processes that comply with all public funding source requirements.


Tribal Transportation Improvement Program (TTIP) Tools for FHWA Agreement Tribes (link to website)

2 CFR Grants and Agreements (link to website)

25 CFR Indians (link to website)

FHWA Office of Planning: Tribal Transportation Best Practices and Case Studies Guidebook (link to website)
A series of learning modules with guidance on federal funding and steps for preparing the long-range transportation plan and transportation improvement program.

Center for Innovative Finance Support:Introduction to Innovative Finance Support Fact Sheet (link to pdf)
Tools needed to evaluate project finance, revenue, and procurement options at the right time in the program delivery process.


Asset and Data Management

Transportation asset and data management offers a strategic approach to managing physical transportation infrastructure assets throughout their lifecycle. A Geographic Information System (GIS) provides a common operating system, which allows end users an effective tool for the management, analysis and presentation of spatial information that communicates assets conditions, risks, needs and strategies. Utilizing modern tools/technologies such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) allows owners to develop an inventory of highway features and document the maintenance condition of assets. This information provides the data needed to determine remaining life and value of assets. Combining objective prioritization of needs with a sound understanding of life cycle costs allows Tribes to develop a financially sound asset management strategy.


BIA Branch of Geospatial Support (link to website)
Software, training and support for geospatial data technologies used by tribal government GIS employees, including software distribution ESRI® ArcGIS software distribution.

Tribal Transportation Planning: Asset Management (link to pdf)
A brief summary of the asset management process in transportation planning.

FHWA Data Integration Glossary (link to pdf)
A broad set of terminologies used in information management, particularly in regard to database management and integration in simple and understandable language.

Getting Started with GIS (Tribal GIS) (link to video)
An 8-minute video providing a broad overview and practical uses for GIS.

Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention

Motor vehicle injury prevention is a vital part of safe tribal transportation environments. The TTAP Center’s Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention Program employs experienced injury prevention specialists (IPS) to bring safety training directly to tribal communities. With a focus on child passenger safety and safe seat belt use, significant strides can be made to reduce motor vehicle injuries and fatalities.

Sign Up for Email Updates