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4.4 Relationship to Transportation Planning and Information Technology

 

OBJECTIVE:

This chapter describes the relationship of transportation planning and Information Technology to the project level systems engineering process.

For State and local transportation agencies and metropolitan planning organizations, comprehensive planning is a critical element in the development of Intelligent Transportation Systems. Planning professionals take a leadership role in developing regional ITS architecture. It sets the framework for future projects. It also sets the stage for individual projects to be developed and integrated together. The regional ITS architecture is intended to look at the big picture for the region by showing how individual projects will work together. The output of this strategic planning activity provides the foundational input to the project level development. In addition to traditional early planning activities, development of regional and state ITS architecture is strategically performed before either project identification, or programming into the Transportation Improvement Plans [TIP] for funding. Those roles will be covered in Chapter 3.2.1.

Participation by planning professionals in the early stages of system project development is important. Their differing perspectives on resources, budget, and timeline, help strengthen the Concept of Operations documentation by providing varied viewpoints regarding the system’s usage. These roles will be covered in Chapter 3.4.3.

The following is a comparison of roles played by the traditional DOT divisions in capital ITS infrastructure projects as compared to their roles in ITS system developments.

The role that the planning department currently plays in the development of capital ITS infrastructure projects is the same as the use of the left side of the Vee Development Model for ITS system developments [See Chapter 3.1]. Only, it’s performed at higher [regional or program] levels. Stakeholder’s needs are identified. The system and problem space is modeled. Alternatives are explored. All requirements for the project are defined. After the projects are defined by planning, they are placed into the TIP. Upon completion of this strategic process, a transitional hand-off to Project Development occurs. Then, Planning becomes minimally involved in the design and implementation of the individual projects. In concert with Traffic Operations, Project Development designs and implements the project. Traffic Operations manage the project. The Maintenance division maintains the facility and supports traffic operations. These roles are well defined.

A different pattern surfaces for ITS system development projects. The Planning division provides their traditional role in early project planning, including the development of the regional ITS architecture. From this point, there is often an activity undertaken [usually by the Traffic Operations division] to perform a feasibility analysis. Then, Traffic Operations addresses the more specific process steps that make up the left side of the Vee Development Model. These include:

1. identifying the more specific needs of the system user

2. breaking down the definition of system and sub-system requirements.

As was stated earlier, these definition steps before actual design are similar to traditional Planning strategic steps [except at a more specific project development stage]. This should not exclude Planning’s participation. Even though the traditional handoff has occurred, planning stays involved through the user needs stage, Concept of Operations. This will be further discussed in Chapter 3.4.3.

Information Technology departments have also become more involved with the implementation, deployment, and maintenance of these systems. They are introduced to the project with the development of a benefits analysis. Their requirement is discussed in Chapter 3.3.2. Additionally, the Maintenance division [who maintains the field elements] should be involved in the early stages of definition.

In summary, for ITS developments, it is important that an integrated view be adopted for the development, operations, and maintenance of these systems. This integration must have a clear and inclusive interface between Planning and ITS system development. Table 4‑3 illustrates the point of interface that exists between Planning/Regional ITS Architecture and Systems- Development/Project Development, and the bridge between them.

Table 4‑3 Bridging Between Planning and Systems Development at the Project Level

Planning Systems Development Comments
Regional ITS Architecture Project Development Bridge between Planning and Development

Inventory

Concept Exploration and Benefits Analysis

Concept of Operations

Existing systems and legacy interfaces

Stakeholder Identification

Concept Exploration and Benefits Analysis

Concept of Operations

Starting point… additional project stakeholders need to be added, such as: maintenance, operator, and managers.

High Level Needs/Services

Concept Exploration and Benefits Analysis

Concept of Operations

Goals and objectives for the regions. Specific project level goals must support these

Area of Coverage

Concept of Operations

Forms the boundary for the projects of the architecture

Operational Concept

Concept of Operations

Identifies the initial roles of the stakeholders

High Level Requirements

Concept Exploration and Benefits Analysis

Concept of Operations Requirements Development

Starting point for requirements. These requirements will need to be refined for each of the projects making up the regional ITS architecture

Interconnect/Information Flows

Concept of Operations

Requirements Development

 High Level Design

Provides the initial set of interfaces for the projects. These will need to be refined at the project level based on the tailoring of the service

ITS Standards

Requirements Development

High Level Design

Identifies a set of candidate ITS standards that can be used for interfaces

Project Sequencing

Project Planning

Concept of Operations

 

Defines the evolutionary path

Interagency Agreements

Concept of Operations

High Level Design

Defines stakeholders’ role in operations & maintenance, Interface Control Documents

 

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