Configuration Management for Transportation Management Systems
Final Project Fact Sheet
FHWA Report No.: FHWA-OP-04-017
EDL No.: 13889
Configuration management (CM) describes a series of processes and procedures developed in the information technology community to establish and maintain system integrity. It provides a holistic approach for effectively controlling system change and is an integral part of the systems engineering process. CM helps to verify that changes to subsystems are considered in terms of the entire system, minimizing adverse effects.
Benefits of Configuration Management
There are many reasons that personnel involved with transportation management systems (TMS) should be interested in Configuration Management. A CM program will ensure that:
"With almost 20 years experience in the design, implementation, modification and expansion of our system, the benefits of quickly being able to recover from problems by returning to an earlier working state are enormous. Our system has been very dynamic, and there is always an area where we are working on an improvement or upgrade, while still actively managing traffic."
"As in any large, complex system, CM can provide a constant understanding of the current state of the system….The key factor in CM is having a central repository of information for reference as personnel changes occur over the life of the system. It is also a great aid in maintaining the system when items are replaced for repair. Technicians should have ready access to configuration data when installing or re-installing standard system components."
— Comments obtained from Spring 2000 survey of transportation agencies
Maryland CHART II Program – This CM plan details the need for determining the overall structure of the system in order to determine the correct level of configuration identification. The plan states, "defining configuration identification (CI) at too low a level results in over-control of system development and overly complex and costly CM. On the other hand, identifying CIs at too high a level reduces management visibility into the project and can make progress difficult to control, manage, and verify."
Georgia NaviGAtor Program – This CM plan specifies a Configuration Control Board (CCB), which is made up of DOT personnel and consultants responsible for change control decisions. The CCB must review and approve or reject all requested changes to configuration items. The CCB is not tasked with investigations or feasibility analyses.
Configuration Management Process
The general CM process, graphically demonstrated below, is made up of the following elements:
The following nine principles serve as a starting point for any TMS to implement a CM process.
Additional Resources and Training
The handbook entitled Configuration Management for Transportation Management Systems is intended to provide guidance for transportation professionals that are responsible for developing and maintaining complex Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and TMS. The handbook expands on the information presented here, by detailing the various aspects and components of CM. For a non-technical audience, the CM for TMS Primer identifies key aspects of configuration management, identifies issues for their agencies to consider, identifies the benefits or value of a CM program, and profiles successful practices of existing programs.
These documents and additional training material are available on the TMC Pooled-Fund Study website at http://tmcpfs.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/.
For information on the TMC Pooled-Fund Study, visit our website at:
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