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Systems Engineering Testimonials

photo of Casey Emoto

Casey Emoto, P.E.
Deputy Director
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
San Jose, California

I have twenty years of diverse civil/transportation engineering and planning experience, including the last 12 years with Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, California. As deputy director, I am part of an executive management team responsible for the delivery of capital projects. Also, I am responsible for other duties related to VTA’s role as the congestion management agency for Santa Clara County. Staff who work for me have had direct involvement in the development of systems engineering documentation for projects or have assisted other staff in the development of such documents. Such systems engineering documentation have been developed or are being developed for a wide range of projects, including for a real-transit traveler information project, a bus signal priority project, and express (also referred to as high occupancy toll) lane projects.

How long have you been using systems engineering on your ITS projects?

We have used systems engineering here at VTA on our ITS projects since the inception of FHWA’s New Rule and FTA’s New Policy that included the requirement to use a systems engineering approach on ITS projects.

Did you encounter any challenges in earlier ITS projects that a more formalized use of systems engineering would have minimized or avoided?

A major benefit of the systems engineering approach is that it allows for early identification of items that need to be considered in the planning, development, implementation and maintenance phases for an ITS project.  We have had our share of ITS efforts in our county with late identification of project issues.  Using a systems engineering approach to look ahead probably would’ve helped to address issues earlier to minimize their complexity.

How has systems engineering helped you and your organization?

The use of a systems engineering approach has allowed us to anticipate and plan for project issues. Using a systems engineering approach has also allowed us to develop projects on an agency-wide consensus-based manner in which staff have worked together in a very much collaborative fashion. 

What aspect of systems engineering have you found to be most helpful?

We have found the traceability aspect of the process to be one of the more helpful aspects.  This aspect of the process has allowed us to link outcomes for a project back to stakeholder needs, which in turn has allowed us to better keep to the intended scope of a project (i.e., prevent scope creep).

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