Arterial Management Program

Model Systems Engineering Documents for Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) Systems

Executive Summary

The vision of the Every Day Counts Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) Initiative is to mainstream the use of adaptive signal control technology. "Mainstream the use of" suggests that when traffic conditions, agency needs, resources and capability support the use of ASCT it should be implemented. These model systems engineering documents support the process of exploring the need for ASCT and articulating a set of requirements that enable agencies to specify, select, implement and test adaptive signal control technology. Over the last two decades a significant number of adaptive systems have been deactivated well before the end of their useful life due either to a lack of adequate resources or agency capability to support system operation and maintenance, or in some cases a failure to properly align agency and system operations objectives. The risks associated with ASCT implementation are significant.

These documents will assist agencies to apply the systems engineering process in a manner that is commensurate with the scale of the project, in order to substantially reduce the level of effort and address many of the risks associated with procurement of ASCT. The process will also help an agency confirm that its expectations are realistic and achievable before committing to a system. Federal regulation (23 CFR 940.11) requires that any ITS project funded in whole or in part with Highway Trust Funds must be based on a systems engineering analysis, and that the level of effort should be commensurate with the scale of the project. By following the guidance provided in this document and using the model documents, an agency will be able to comply with this regulation while at the same time improving the likelihood of a successful ASCT implementation.

These model documents will provide valuable support to agencies at two distinctly different stages of project development.

  • During the planning phase, the preparation of a Concept of Operations will clarify the agency's and other stakeholders' needs for an ASCT system that supports the mobility, air quality and other transportation objectives of the region. This will provide sufficient information to clearly define a project with an appropriate schedule and budget.
  • During the project phase, the Concept of Operations can be used to develop system requirements to a level of detail sufficient to successfully procure an ASCT system, and then confirm the system successfully meets the agency's overall objectives.

This document helps accomplish the tasks of clarifying objectives, identifying needs and defining constraints by leading the reader through a series of questions. The outcome of selecting and tailoring the sample responses will be a set of clear and concise statements to formulate the required systems engineering documentation. By following this guidance an agency can expect to produce the following documents:

  • Concept of Operation;
  • System Requirements;
  • Verification Plan; and
  • Validation Plan.

In addition, it is expected that an agency would prepare a procurement plan to provide an appropriate framework for the ASCT acquisition. It is strongly recommended that ASCT systems not be procured using traditional low-bid process, because experience has shown that ASCT systems are complex and require sufficient integration and customization that they cannot be successfully treated as COTS purchases.

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