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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Improving Transportation Systems Management and Operations – Capability Maturity Model Workshop White Paper – Systems and Technology

5. Implementation Plan Capability Improvement Actions

A majority of agencies included some aspect of Systems and Technology in their Implementation Plans to improve agency capability. Within these sites, the two highest priorities were to assess and/or update the regional or statewide ITS architecture plan and to improve ITS procurement processes. One State DOT rated at the highest level of maturity ranking for this dimension through a long-standing, well-funded program that has implemented a statewide transportation management program based in the major population area of the State with both freeway and arterial management capabilities. Typical participant-suggested actions for advancement to the next level of capability in Systems and Technology dimension are presented below in order of frequency of inclusion:

  • Improve IT/ITS relationship, particularly for procurement (including applying best practice)
  • Assess/update regional/statewide ITS architecture/deployment plan
  • Improve traveler info systems/technology (collection and display)
  • Improve TIM information dissemination/exchange/integration
  • Review/develop data sharing practices/policies (TIM, CAD, traffic control, etc.)
  • Develop ITS qualified products list
  • Investigate standard communications protocol to facilitate interoperability
  • Investigate need/level for traffic signal standardization
  • Identify needed technical capacities/KSAs for IT/ITS
  • Develop/implement ITS training and rotation program
  • Develop strategy/plan to institutionalize TSM&O freeway and arterial applications through pilots
  • Develop TSM&O asset management system/performance guidelines, including integrating updated lifecycle considerations in the asset management process
  • Improve awareness/training on systems engineering approach
  • Expand ITS systems (traffic signal integration, transit, information sharing)
  • Improve rural TMC functions
  • Develop and deploy travel management/traveler info responsive to weather
  • Develop Dynamic Message Sign (DMS) guidance and additional deployment
  • Develop the systems and technologies to actively coordinate traffic (e.g., corridor adaptive ramp metering)
  • Deploy technologies and strategies to optimally operate arterials
  • Increase participation in TMC and software systems discussions/decision making.

The appendix presents the key implementation plan steps commonly identified for these priorities. The highlights of these actions focus on two areas: improving ITS/IT procurement and updating ITS architectures.

5.1 Improve IT/ITS Procurement

The priority actions of agencies placing a high priority on procurement processes related to two issues:

  • From a State DOT perspective, procurement and purchasing responsibilities were generally allocated to an external State agency largely out of the control of the DOT. When the procurement group was within the DOT structure, the process was more efficient. Agency relationships external to the DOT needed attention; it was generally understood that there was a lack of awareness of the intricacies of procuring ITS elements in the larger procurement groups. Discussions often recommended increased attention to the relationship with the purchasing group and somehow increasing that group’s awareness of the special needs of procuring ITS elements. Suggestions included developing an informational document/resource to explain TSM&O implementations’ special requirements, developing a more formal agreement on procurement processes/protocols, and raising the issue to a CEO/senior management level at both agencies (DOT and IT).
  • Streamlining the purchasing processes could be enhanced by developing or updating qualified vendor lists. By expending a certain level of effort up front on pre-qualifying vendors, a procurement process that saves time and effort down the road can be developed.

5.2 Assess/Update Regional/Statewide ITS Architecture/Deployment Plan

Implementation plans that addressed ITS architecture actions generally focused on assessing and updating existing architectures in need of revisions. Most workshop participants agreed on the importance of having and using a statewide or regional architecture, in that the architecture process:

  • Supports relationships among technology selection and deployment entities and relates it to needed functionalities;
  • Generally engages the FHWA Division office; and
  • Engages regional stakeholders such as MPOs and local agencies.

Closely related to these two priorities were discussions regarding the importance of the system engineering process and how each agency employed this process.

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