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U.S. Department of Transportation

5. Your Action Plan for More Productive Architecture Use

This chapter provides recommendations for how you can advance the use of your region's regional ITS architecture in planning for operations.

Figure 34 shows the three key leverage points that can be used to improve capability and efficiency in any area, including the use of an ITS architecture in transportation planning. The three aspects that are shown are the major determinants of cost, schedule, and quality: the people involved, the technologies/tools that they use, and the processes and practices that are established. Your action plan should consider all three aspects so that your region can adopt a balanced approach that improves the skills of the people involved, arms those people with high quality tools (e.g., an improved, planning-supportive architecture), and adopts documented processes that help to ensure the capability improvements are sustainable in the long run. The following sections provide recommendations that employ all three leverage points: people, process, and tools.

While this chapter is focused on measuring and improving capability in the specific area of architecture use in planning for operations, other resources are available for transportation agencies seeking broader process improvement guidance. For example, the AASHTO Systems Operations and Management Guidance at includes a set of evaluation tools and process improvement guidance covering all facets of transportation system operations and management. The Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI) provides strong process improvement guidance for all aspects of project development and acquisition at


5.1. Establish Support

Regional ITS architecture use will only gain traction if it has support from decisionmakers. The executive summary and Chapter 1 from this primer can be used to help make the case with MPO and State DOT decisionmakers that drive the transportation planning processes. In general, the case is best made by identifying the tangible benefits of regional ITS architecture use as described in Section 1.1. Regulatory requirements for architecture use in planning also provide motivation. See Appendix B for relevant requirements in 23 CFR 450 and 23 CFR 940. Once decisionmaker support has been established, it may be helpful to develop a regional policy regarding improved architecture use in planning for operations. This will help ensure continuity even as decisionmakers are replaced. Additionally, it is important to establish a collaborative forum to coordinate and lead the effort that includes stakeholders with a vested interest in planning for operations and the regional ITS architecture. This may be an ad hoc committee or a new item of business within an existing policy or technical committee.

Figure 34: Three Leverage Points for
Capability Improvement.

Concept diagram figure illustrate the three leverage points for capability improvements: tools, people, and process. The figure shows the three element in a cycle where tools are on the top, an arrow down to people on the bottom right, an arrow to process on the left, and then a final arrow up to tools to complete the cycle.
Figure 35: Architecture Use for Planning Capability

Simple diagram depicts the capability levels for architecture use in planning.  The figure shows a three steps. Step 1 is 'ready for use.' On this level the architecture reflects input for planners and is ready to support planning. Step 2 is 'used,' which indicates that the regional architecture and plan(s) are consistent and include cross-references or other evidence of actual use. Step 3 is 'managed,' meaning that the architecture use in planning is guided by regional or agency processes that are maintained, used, and refined over time.

5.2. Self-Assessment

Once you have decisionmaker support, the next step is to perform an unbiased assessment of the region's capability to productively use the regional ITS architecture in planning. Figure 35 shows a basic capability maturity model that can be used to assess your region's capability in this area. The incremental capabilities reflect a natural progression from basic architecture updates to documented, productive use of the regional ITS architecture in planning. This model can also be used to plan and measure your region's improvements over time.

As shown, a region's ability to use a regional ITS architecture in planning begins with the architecture itself. Does the architecture reflect input from planners, and does it include components that are ready for use in planning? Architecture use will not be productive until these criteria are met. Refer to Chapter 4 for a broad range of architecture improvements that are oriented towards making the architecture ready for use in transportation planning. At the next capability level, the quality architecture is actually used in planning, as evidenced by consistency and interconnection of the architecture and related plan(s). The third level, "managed" architecture use and maintenance, is governed by regional or agency processes so that architecture use is better supported and more resilient to agency personnel changes.

Table 6 includes self-assessment questions you can ask to measure your region's architecture use in planning. The assessment tool presented in Table 6 should be regarded as a starting point for assessing the degree to which the architecture is used. It is not a comprehensive tool covering all aspects of architecture use, but it will help clarify certain areas and identify opportunities for future improvement.


Table 6: Self-Assessment for Use of Regional ITS Architecture in Planning for Operations.
Number Question Not Achieved Partially Achieved Mostly Achieved Fully Achieved
1. Architecture Supports Planning (Ready for Use)
A01 The architecture (and ITS strategic plan) includes a detailed description of how the architecture is incorporated and used in the metropolitan or statewide planning process.
A02 Planners from the MPO and/or State DOT were involved in developing/maintaining the architecture (and ITS strategic plan).
A03 The architecture (and ITS strategic plan) is used to identify an up-to-date sequence of ITS projects.
A04 The architecture (and ITS strategic plan) is used to identify an up-to-date sequence of ITS projects.
A05 The architecture (and ITS strategic plan) includes projects that directly support or implement M&O strategies in the plan.
A06 The region has developed an ITS strategic plan or similar document that provides a planning context for the architecture. It includes:
A06a Vision, goals, objectives
A06b Strategies for ITS deployment
A06c Funding considerations
A06d Detailed project definitions and cost estimates
A06e Benefits analysis
A07 The architecture includes inventory elements that support data collection and performance monitoring that support planning.
2. Demonstrated Use of the Architecture
U01 The architecture was updated to support the last update of the related metropolitan/statewide transportation plan.
U02 The metropolitan/statewide plan identifies M&O strategies that are defined in the architecture (or ITS strategic plan).
U03 The projects identified in the architecture (or ITS strategic plan) are integrated into the STIP/TIP.
U04 The metropolitan/statewide transportation plan contains language that refers to the ITS architecture and how it is linked to the plan.
3. Managed Use of the Architecture
M01 A regional stakeholder organization or committee has been identified to monitor and manage architecture use and maintenance.
M02 A documented policy is in place that supports use of the architecture in the planning process.
M03 Procedures that define the process that is used to develop the metropolitan/ statewide transportation plan cover architecture use.
M04 The STIP/TIP application process for ITS projects includes identification
of the relevant portion of the regional ITS architecture.
M05 The transportation project prioritization process takes into consideration how proposed projects support the regional ITS architecture.

5.3. Take Action

Once you assess where your region stands in the above capability model, it is time to take small, incremental steps toward increased capability. It will take time to progress all the way up the highest capability level, but major benefits can be gained through making a few basic improvements. Below is a sorted list of actions that correspond to achieving greater capability in applying the architecture to planning for operations.

Organize for Use

Build Professional Capacity

Align Regional ITS Architecture with Operations in Transportation Planning Process

Use Regional ITS Architecture to Support Planning for Operations

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