Skip to content
U.S. Department of Transportation
People in shadow

Applying a Regional ITS Architecture to Support Planning for Operations: A Primer

Contact Information: Operations Feedback at

FHWA treskelion logo.
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Federal Transit Administration
Research and Innovative Technology Administration


Download the Printable Version [PDF, 8.7 MB]
You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. This United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

Table of Contents

[ Technical Report Documentation Page ] [ Acknowledgements ] [ Submittal Letter ] [ Acronyms ]

Executive Summary

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 The Motivation
1.2. How to Use This Primer

Chapter 2: Planning for Operations and Architecture – A Quick Tutorial

2.1. Operations and ITS – A Unified View
2.2. What is Planning for Operations?
2.3. What is a Regional ITS Architecture?
2.4. Making the Connections

Chapter 3: Opportunities for Architecture Use

3.1. Establishing Collaboration and Coordination
3.2. Developing Goals, Operations Objectives, and Performance Measures
3.3. Determining Operations Needs
3.4. Identifying, Evaluating, and Selecting M&O Strategies
3.5. Defining Programs and Projects
3.6. Selecting and Prioritizing Projects
3.7. Implementation and System Operations
3.8. Monitoring and Evaluation

Chapter 4: Creating a Planning-Supportive Architecture

4.1. Making the Architecture Connections to Planning Explicit
4.2. Keeping it Planner-Friendly
4.3. Adding the Planning Context – ITS/Operations Plans
4.4. Scheduling Updates to Optimize Use

Chapter 5: Your Action Plan for More Productive Architecture Use

5.1. Establish Support
5.2. Self-Assessment
5.3. Take Action

Appendix A: Turbo Architecture

Appendix B: Regulatory Requirements

1.1 Management & Operations and Architecture in the Planning Process
2.1 Transportation Systems Management and Operations
3.1 Congestion Management Process
4.1 ITS Architecture and Standards

List of Figures

Figure 1: Regional ITS Architecture Use in Planning for Operations.
Figure 2: A regional ITS architecture helps move regions from piecemeal improvements to integrated transportation solutions.
Figure 3: This Primer is Intended to Bring Together Two Audiences.
Figure 4: ITS Technology Supports Operations.
Figure 5: An Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach to Planning for Operations.
Figure 6: A High-Level ITS Architecture.
Figure 7: Example of Interfaces between Elements.
Figure 8: Illustration of a Service Package.
Figure 9: Illustration of Project Sequencing.
Figure 10: Regional ITS Architecture Development Process.
Figure 11: Diagram Depicting Scenario A: Regional ITS Architecture Updated Prior to the Metropolitan/Statewide Transportation Plan Update.
Figure 12: Hypothetical Example of Where the Regional ITS Architecture Assists Planning in Specific Operations Areas.
Figure 13: Diagram Depicting Scenario B: Regional ITS Architecture Updated After the Metropolitan/Statewide Transportation Plan Update.
Figure 14: Diagram Depicting Scenario C: Regional ITS Architecture Updated at the Same Time as the Metropolitan/Statewide Transportation Plan Update.
Figure 15: Minnesota Statewide Transportation Plan to Architecture Mapping.
Figure 16: Diagram Illustrating the Potential Data Sources Available to the Northwest Arkansas MPO.
Figure 17: Identifying and Filling the Gaps in the Phoenix Metropolitan Center to Center CCTV Network.
Figure 18: San Diego Intermodal Transportation Management System High-Level Architecture.
Figure 19: Using Service Package Customization to Define Projects in the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional ITS Architecture.
Figure 20: Excerpt from Project Proposal Template in the 2009 Virginia DOT's Northern Virginia Operations Planning Guide: Leveraging ITS Architecture and Systems Engineering.
Figure 21: The Systems Engineering "V" Model.
Figure 22: Using the Regional ITS Architecture to Support Project Development.
Figure 23: Key Connections in the Context of the Planning and Architecture Processes.
Figure 24: Connecting Objectives and Strategies with Needs and Services.
Figure 25: Connecting the STIP/TIP Projects with the Architecture.
Figure 26: MRCOG Regional ITS Infrastructure Geodatabase.
Figure 27: An ITS/Operations Plan Can Connect the Regional ITS Architecture with the Region's Transportation Plan and Program.
Figure 28: Adding Planning Context with an ITS/Operations Plan.
Figure 29: MDOT/SEMCOG ITS Deployment Plan - Livingston County Proposed ITS Deployments.
Figure 30: VDOT ITS Decision Support Tool - Cost and Beneft Data.
Figure 31: Connecting an RCTO, a Plan, and an Architecture.
Figure 32: Architecture Updates to Support Planning.
Figure 33: Excerpt from AMPA Regional ITS Architecture Addendum.
Figure 34: Three Leverage Points for Capability Improvement.
Figure 35: Architecture Use for Planning Capability Levels.
Figure 36: Turbo Architecture Uses the National ITS Architecture
Figure 37: Turbo Architecture Tabbed Interface – The Planning Tab.
Figure 38: Turbo Architecture Provides Many Output Options.
Figure 39: A Closer Look at the Right Side of the Planning Tab

List of Tables

Table 1: Hypothetical Example Showing Linkage Between Operations Objective and Strategies from Choices 2035 Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study Long Range Transportation Plan to Potential Regional ITS Architecture Service Packages.
Table 2: Memphis Regional ITS Architecture Projects Related to Incident Management.
Table 3: Planning to Architecture Connections.
Table 4: Techniques for Making the Architecture Planner-Friendly.
Table 5: Architecture and Transportation Plan Update Scheduling Options.
Table 6: Self-Assessment for Use of Regional ITS Architecture in Planning for Operations.