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Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) & Operations

Intelligent Transportation Systems
(ITS) Systems Engineering
Joint Process Review

Final Report

By

Federal Highway Administration
(FHWA)Washington Division

Washington State Department of
Transportation (WSDOT) Traffic
Operations Division


Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Purpose of Review

Team Members

Scope of Review

Process Strengths

Significant Observations and Recommendations

Observation #1

Observation #2

Observation #3

Observation #4

Implementation Plan

Appendix

Executive Summary

The purpose of this review was to examine the existing WSDOT intelligent transportation system (ITS) project delivery process and determine whether federally funded WSDOT ITS projects are complying with federal ITS Systems Engineering requirements contained in 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 940. While the primary purpose was to check compliance with federal regulations, a secondary purpose was to identify opportunities for better incorporating Systems Engineering practices into the WSDOT ITS project delivery process. The ultimate goal of this review is to ensure that WSDOT has a project delivery process that allows ITS projects or projects that contain ITS elements to be implemented successfully and minimize the risk of failure.

Following is a brief summary of the primary observations and recommendations from this process review. More detail is available in the remainder of the report.

Observation #1: WSDOT has a documented process in the Design Manual Chapter 1050 that complies with the systems engineering requirements in 23 CFR Part 940. However, implementation of the process is not consistent from project-to-project.

Recommendation: Better ensure the Design Manual Chapter 1050 systems engineering requirements are being followed and the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form is being completed for all ITS projects through the following:

  1. Provide clear language in Design Manual Chapter 1050 that systems engineering is required on all ITS projects regardless of funding source or program.

  2. Add the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form" to the Project Design Documentation Checklist.

  3. Reference the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form" in appropriate sections of Design Manual Chapter 300.

  4. Perform outreach and education to the Region Traffic Engineers and FHWA Washington Division Area Engineers that the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form" needs to be submitted to the FHWA Division Office for federal ITS projects or projects that contain ITS prior to construction authorization.

Observation #2: The level of systems engineering should be commensurate with the scale of the project scope. In particular, higher risk and complex ITS projects should more rigorously follow the "V" diagram than low risk, straight-forward ITS projects. Beyond the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form," Design Manual Chapter 1050 does not provide specific guidance on how to determine and document the appropriate level of systems engineering for ITS projects.

Recommendation: Modify Design Manual Chapter 1050 to provide clear guidance on how to determine and document the appropriate level of systems engineering based on the complexity, risk, and scope of ITS projects:

  1. Provide definitions of categories of ITS projects based on level of risk, complexity, and scope.

  2. Provide guidance on how to classify an ITS project into one of these categories.

  3. Provide guidance on how to apply systems engineering, including the steps of the "V" diagram, for each project category. Identify any documentation required (e.g., checklists or forms), checkpoints when the documentation is required, any approvals needed, and how the documentation should be filed.

Observation #3: The current WSDOT project development process makes it difficult to deliver ITS projects using the systems engineering "V" diagram. Based on WSDOT staff experience, the Q Program has inherent flexibilities that allow the "V" diagram process to be followed, whereas ITS projects in the I and P Programs have difficulty following the "V" diagram due to the limitations of the traditional project development process.

Recommendation: ITS projects that require a more rigorous systems engineering analysis (i.e., higher risk, complex ITS projects as discussed in Recommendation #2) should be given the flexibility needed to complete the steps of the "V" diagram, which is often not the case when programmed under the I or P Programs. This flexibility can be achieved by programming complex ITS projects under the Q Program. However, further investigation of recent I Program ITS projects (e.g., SR 167 HOT Lanes and I-90 VSL projects) that successfully completed the steps of the "V" diagram is needed to better understand how the inherent inflexibilities of the I and P Program can be overcome. The bottom line objective is to structure the ITS project development process in a way that places the individuals most knowledgeable of the ITS being deployed in the key decision making roles in the process to ensure effective project delivery.

In addition, incorporating core ITS elements into the WSDOT Design Matrix procedures, Design Manual Chapter 1100, should be considered to allow ITS to be scoped early in the project development process, which will allow a proper systems engineering analysis to be completed. The objective is to institutionalize ITS, as set out in the WSDOT ITS Statewide Plan, as a standard component to the Highway Construction Program.

Observation #4: There are no on-going and accessible systems engineering training opportunities currently available to WSDOT staff. This training is critical to successful implementation of systems engineering on ITS projects.

Recommendation: Leverage the following opportunities to increase the availability of systems engineering training to WSDOT staff:

  1. FHWA can provide periodic funding for systems engineering training, such as the training given as part of this process review, through the ITS Peer-to-Peer Program or the FHWA Washington Division office.

  2. Web-based systems engineering courses are available through the ITS Professional Capability Building Program (http://www.pcb.its.dot.gov/) and the Consortium for ITS Training and Education (CITE) (http://www.citeconsortium.org).

  3. Systems engineering concepts can be incorporated into current WSDOT ITS training classes.

  4. Professional groups such as ITS Washington or the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) can potentially organize training opportunities.

  5. Expertise at the University of Washington or other universities can potentially be used to provide local training.

  6. A National Highway Institute (NHI) course should be developed on systems engineering and be made available on an on-going, as-needed basis.

Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review was to examine the existing WSDOT intelligent transportation system (ITS) project delivery process and determine whether federally funded WSDOT ITS projects are complying with federal ITS Systems Engineering requirements contained in 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 940. While the primary purpose was to check compliance with federal regulations, a secondary purpose was to identify opportunities for better incorporating Systems Engineering practices into the WSDOT ITS project delivery process. Specifically, the objectives of this review were to:

Systems engineering is a systematic process that was developed specifically for complex technology projects. The systems engineering process, often referred to as the "V" diagram, is shown in Figure 1. As shown in the figure, following the systems engineering process contains a number of steps that are not included in the traditional project delivery process.

Using systems engineering on ITS projects has been shown to increase the likelihood of project success; for example, projects completed on-time and on-budget, meeting stakeholder and project sponsor expectations, and being efficient to operate and maintain. Thus, the ultimate goal of this review is to ensure that WSDOT has a project delivery process that allows ITS projects to be implemented successfully and minimize the risk of failure.

Figure 1. Systems Engineering Activities. Source: Systems Engineering for Intelligent Transportation Systems. January 2007. FHWA. Publication No. FHWA-HOP-07-069.

Source: Systems Engineering for Intelligent Transportation Systems. January 2007. FHWA. Publication No. FHWA-HOP-07-069. Figure 1. Systems Engineering Activities.

Team Members

The review team was comprised of individuals from the FHWA Washington Division office and WSDOT Headquarters and Region offices. As this was a joint process review, there were two co-leaders of the team, one from FHWA and the other from WSDOT. The team members were:

While the majority of WSDOT team members were from the Headquarters office, the data collection, analysis, and workshop stages (described in the Scope of Review section) provided many opportunities for other WSDOT Region offices to give their input and perspectives to the review team.

Scope of Review

The review focused on WSDOT ITS projects authorized after December 2005, when the current WSDOT Systems Engineering guidance was published in the Design Manual Chapter 860 Supplement, "Systems Engineering for Intelligent Transportation Systems." The team selected a representative sample of ITS projects for study (e.g., rural and urban projects, small and large projects, projects from various WSDOT Regions). Table 1 shows the ITS projects selected for review.

Table 1. WSDOT ITS Projects Reviewed.

Project Region Location Cost Completion
Puget Sound Traffic Map Extension Olympic Urban $1,700,000 July 2008
Spokane Traffic Operations for Arterials Eastern Suburban $830,000 October 2008
US 2 Stevens Pass Variable Speed Limit System North Central Rural $580,000 June 2005
Northwest Region Traffic Flow Map Extension Northwest Urban $2,420,000 June 2009

The team assembled and reviewed all available project documents associated with these projects, including but not limited to the ITS federal program project application, Design Documentation File, Design Documentation Package, Project Design Document Checklist, and Work Plan.

The team also assembled and reviewed general WSDOT project delivery process documents, including the Design Manual Chapter 300 (Design Documentation and Approval), Design Manual Chapter 1050 (ITS and Systems Engineering), Design Documentation Package Checklist, and WSDOT Project Management website (www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/ProjectMgmt/).

After the data collection phase, the team organized a two-day training and process review workshop as a primary means of analyzing the specific ITS project and general process delivery documents. The workshop was instructed and facilitated by:

The workshop was held March 17-18, 2009 in Lacey, WA and consisted of two parts:

1. Systems Engineering Training – The workshop began with a focused one-day course on systems engineering. It began with general concepts and progressed to specific techniques for applying systems engineering to ITS project development within an organization. There were over 40 attendees from across the state representing WSDOT (Headquarters and all six Regions), local agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs).

2. Process Improvement Review – On the second day, a smaller group of participants from FHWA and WSDOT (the Process Review Team and WSDOT representatives for the projects shown in Table 1) applied what they learned about systems engineering to their own ITS project delivery process as they answered a series of process improvement review questions. The questions were structured to explore various aspects of systems engineering and project implementation for ITS projects with a focus on project development. Facilitators and participants worked together to develop a set of recommendations, which are documented in a Workshop Report contained in the Appendix.

The review team then screened the recommendations in the Workshop Report to form a concise, core set of observations and recommendations that are documented in the body of this report. While the review team concluded that all of the recommendations in the Workshop Report are valid and would benefit WSDOT and FHWA, the team also felt it necessary to focus on a handful of key observations and recommendations that were specific to the objectives and goals of this review and were feasible and implementable within a period of a few years.

Process Strengths

WSDOT has a long history of successful ITS projects. For example, the first Traffic Management Center (TMC) in Seattle was built in the late 1960s and the first ramp meter was operational in the early 1980s This success was built on a foundation of close working relationships within the transportation community, competent WSDOT agency staff, university connections, and skilled consultant support. A number of strengths were identified during the process review:

Figure 2. WSDOT Systems Engineering Activities.

Figure 2. WSDOT Systems Engineering Activities.

Significant Observations and Recommendations

Observation #1 WSDOT has a documented process in the Design Manual Chapter 1050 that complies with the systems engineering requirements in 23 CFR Part 940. However, implementation of the process is not consistent from project-to-project.

Discussion: 23 CFR Part 940.11 states that:

"(a) All ITS projects funded with highway trust funds shall be based on a systems engineering analysis.

(b) The analysis should be on a scale commensurate with the project scope.

(c) The systems engineering analysis shall include, at a minimum:

(1) Identification of portions of the regional ITS architecture being implemented (or if a regional ITS architecture does not exist, the applicable portions of the National ITS Architecture);

(2) Identification of participating agencies roles and responsibilities;

(3) Requirements definitions;

(4) Analysis of alternative system configurations and technology options to meet requirements;

(5) Procurement options;

(6) Identification of applicable ITS standards and testing procedures; and

(7) Procedures and resources necessary for operations and management of the system."

Design Manual Chapter 1050.06-07 also requires these seven elements for federal ITS projects as summarized in Exhibit 1050-2a in a form called the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form." As such, the WSDOT project delivery process as documented in the Design Manual complies with the systems engineering requirements in 23 CFR Part 940. However, our review of specific ITS projects (see Table 1) and discussions in the workshop revealed that systems engineering is not being applied consistently from project-to-project. Further, the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form" is not being completed for all ITS projects. There are multiple reasons for this, including:

In addition, 23 CFR 940.13 states that compliance with systems engineering needs to be demonstrated before authorization of the construction phase. Chapter 1050 is consistent with this by stating that the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form" should be submitted to FHWA with the construction authorization request for federal ITS projects. However, this is currently not being done consistently from project-to-project. Thus, outreach and communication of this requirement should be undertaken to make the Region offices aware that this is a requirement both in 23 CFR Part 940 and the Design Manual Chapter 1050. The FHWA Washington Division Area Engineers should also be made aware of this requirement, as they typically approve construction authorizations for FHWA on individual projects, including ITS projects.

Recommendation: Better ensure the Design Manual Chapter 1050 systems engineering requirements are being followed and the ITS Systems Engineering Review Form is being completed for all ITS projects through the following:

  1. Provide clear language in Design Manual Chapter 1050 that systems engineering is required on all ITS projects regardless of funding source or program.

  2. Add the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form" to the Project Design Documentation Checklist.

  3. Reference the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form" in appropriate sections of Design Manual Chapter 300.

  4. Perform outreach and education to the Region Traffic Engineers and FHWA Washington Division Area Engineers that the ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form needs to be submitted to the FHWA Division Office for federal ITS projects prior to construction authorization.

Observation #2: The level of systems engineering should be commensurate with the scale of the project scope. In particular, higher risk and complex ITS projects should more rigorously follow the diagram than low risk, straight-forward ITS projects Beyond the ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form, Chapter 1050 does not provide specific guidance on how to determine and document the appropriate level of systems engineering for ITS projects.

Discussion: Both 23 CFR Part 940.11 and the Design Manual Chapter 1050 state that the systems engineering analysis should be commensurate with the scale of the project scope. Per 23 CFR Part 940.11, the seven elements included in the ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form are considered the minimum level of systems engineering needed for ITS projects While these seven elements may be sufficient for low risk ITS projects, current guidance and practice indicates that higher risk, complex ITS projects should more rigorously follow the steps in the diagram.

Other states have developed guidance and processes on how to determine an appropriate level of systems engineering tailored to the complexity and scope of an ITS project. For example:

In Washington, the Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) and Active Traffic Management (ATM) projects are recent examples of ITS projects that appropriately followed a more rigorous systems engineering process following the "V" diagram. However, our review revealed that these more rigorous systems engineering activities are often done in isolation within a project and not consistently from project-to-project. This is due to the fact that there is no guidance in Chapter 1050 or elsewhere that would aid a project team in determining when and how to undertake a more rigorous systems engineering analysis beyond the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form."

Recommendation: Modify Design Manual Chapter 1050 to provide clear guidance on how to determine and document the appropriate level of systems engineering based on the complexity, risk, and scope of ITS projects:

  1. Provide definitions of categories of ITS projects based on level of risk, complexity, and scope.

  2. Provide guidance on how to classify an ITS project into one of these categories.

  3. Provide guidance on how to apply systems engineering, including the steps of the "V" diagram, for each project category. Identify any documentation required (e.g., checklists or forms), checkpoints when the documentation is required, any approvals needed, and how the documentation should be filed.

Observation #3:The current WSDOT project development process makes it difficult to deliver ITS projects using the systems engineering "V" diagram. Based on WSDOT staff experience, the Q Program has inherent flexibilities that allow the "V" diagram process to be followed, whereas ITS projects in the I and P Programs have difficulty following the "V" diagram due to the limitations of the traditional project development process.

Discussion: The Q Program is used for many ITS projects in the state. This has allowed the ITS group within WSDOT to establish a project development process that aligns with the systems engineering "V" diagram for complex stand-alone and software integration-type projects.

I and P Program projects are for more traditionally funded transportation projects that follow the traditional development processes. ITS elements that are part of I and P Program projects have experienced difficulty in following a "V" type systems engineering process due to the limitations of the traditional processes. The challenge is seen especially in the testing and validation phases when the construction group wants to shut the project down but more regression testing might be needed on some of the electronics and software.

However, the Northwest Region has recently completed a series of complex ITS projects, such as the SR 167 High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lane project and I-90 Variable Speed Limit (VSL) project, programmed under the I Program. These projects generally followed each step of the "V" diagram. These projects should be investigated further to see if there were staffing, scheduling, or funding-related issues related to the I Program that made it more difficult to deliver these projects.

Funneling ITS projects through the Q Program would likely be more conducive to the systems engineering process, but may not be feasible for every project. The difference being, for example, a project that is scoped primarily as ITS versus a project that is a paver or is intended to add capacity that also happens to include some new ITS elements or enhancements to the existing system. I and P program projects are primarily scoped, designed, and constructed by offices other than the Traffic Offices and are also tied to the traditional project delivery mindset, which does not typically require the V diagram. For the installation of low risk ITS components (e.g., junction boxes, conduits, camera poles, and electrical services), it may be more efficient to use the traditional project development processes present in the I and P Programs. However, for complex and high risk ITS projects, such as software integration and other ITS projects that are laden with a myriad of complex ITS elements, it may be more practical and cost effective to direct project development through the Q Program due to its inherent flexibility and ability to adhere to the systems engineering "V" diagram.

Recommendation: ITS projects that require a more rigorous systems engineering analysis (i.e., higher risk, complex ITS projects as discussed in Recommendation #2) should be given the flexibility needed to complete the steps of the "V" diagram, which is often not the case when programmed under the I or P Programs. This flexibility can be achieved by programming complex ITS projects under the Q Program. However, further investigation of recent I Program ITS projects (e.g., SR 167 HOT Lanes and I-90 VSL projects) that successfully completed the steps of the "V" diagram is needed to better understand how the inherent inflexibilities of the I and P Program can be overcome. The bottom line objective is to structure the ITS project development process in a way that places the individuals most knowledgeable of the ITS being deployed in the key decision making roles in the process to ensure effective project delivery.

In addition, incorporating core ITS elements into the WSDOT Design Matrix procedures, Design Manual Chapter 1100, should be considered to allow ITS to be scoped early in the project development process, which will allow a proper systems engineering analysis to be completed. The objective is to institutionalize ITS, as set out in the WSDOT ITS Statewide Plan, as a standard component to the Highway Construction Program.

Observation #4 There are no on-going and accessible systems engineering training opportunities currently available to WSDOT staff. This training is critical to successful implementation of systems engineering on ITS projects.

Discussion: WSDOT is a national leader in professional training and certification for its professional staff. However, WSDOT does not routinely provide training on systems engineering, and systems engineering is not well understood by the civil engineering/ transportation community because it is not typically taught in civil engineering university programs.

On-going systems engineering training is needed for WSDOT staff to successfully implement systems engineering in the state. Even if a project is sourced outside WSDOT, staff needs to understand what the contractor is doing and know how to review work products in order to provide a meaningful check-and-balance to the process.

There are a number of systems engineering training opportunities that can be leveraged in the state:

  1. FHWA can provide periodic funding for systems engineering training, such as the training given as part of this process review, through the ITS Peer-to-Peer Program or the FHWA Washington Division office.

  2. Web-based systems engineering courses are available through the ITS Professional Capability Building Program (http://www.pcb.its.dot.gov/) and the Consortium for ITS Training and Education (CITE) (http://www.citeconsortium.org).

  3. Systems engineering concepts can be incorporated into current WSDOT ITS training classes.

  4. Professional groups such as ITS Washington or the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) can potentially organize training opportunities.

  5. Expertise at the University of Washington or other universities can potentially be used to provide local training.

  6. A National Highway Institute (NHI) course should be developed on systems engineering and be made available on an on-going, as-needed basis.

Recommendation: Leverage the opportunities listed above to increase the availability of systems engineering training to WSDOT staff.

Implementation Plan

Based on the recommendations documented above, an implementation plan was developed that provides a framework for ensuring that the recommendations are not forgotten over time, but are instead implemented within a certain time frame and tracked to measure success of the process review. Table 2 shows the implementation plan as developed by the review team. The implementation plan is considered living, in that it can be refined over time as agreed to by the review team.

Progress on the implementation plan will be documented by the FHWA Washington Division Office. Progress will be tracked through informal quarterly updates by the WSDOT review team members. Communication amongst the review team and those responsible for implementing the recommendations will be the key to achieving the objectives of this process review.

In order to implement many of the recommendations multiple WSDOT programs beyond Traffic Operations will need to be included throughout the decision making process. Strategic Planning and Programming, Design, Construction and Maintenance will be consulted along with outreach to ITS stakeholders statewide within WSDOT. In addition, many of the recommendations will involve significant changes to the WSDOT Design Manual which will involve FHWA concurrence and approval. Due to the number of decision making bodies involved a relative time schedule as noted below is recommended as a starting point. As the implementation plan moves forward, more precise completion dates will be determined. For this report, three broad timeframes were considered for each recommendation:

Table 2. Implementation Plan - Best viewed in full screen

Recommendation Person(s) responsible Timeframe Comments
Recommendation 1: Better ensure the Design Manual Chapter 1050 systems engineering requirements are being followed and the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form is being completed for all ITS projects through the following: The recommendations outlined here will need to be implemented and revised multiple times as the Systems Engineering Process evolves and becomes clearer over time. The Near Term implementation date will spread the work about the current process while WSDOT simultaneously begins the process to increase guidance and direction in the Design Manual.
1.Provide clear language in Design Manual Chapter 1050 that systems engineering is required on all ITS projects regardless of funding source or program. Ted Bailey Near Term
2. Add the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form" to the Project Design Documentation Checklist. Ted Bailey Near Term
3. Reference the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form" in appropriate sections of Design Manual Chapter 300. Ted Bailey Near Term
4. Perform outreach and education to the Region Traffic Engineers and FHWA Washington Division Area Engineers that the "ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form" needs to be submitted to the FHWA Division Office for federal ITS projects prior to construction authorization. Ted Bailey
and James Colyar
Near Term Ted Bailey will provide outreach and education to the Region Traffic Engineers. James Colyar will provide outreach and education to the FHWA Washington Division Area Engineers
Recommendation 2: Modify Design Manual Chapter 1050 to provide clear guidance on how to determine and document the appropriate level of systems engineering based on the complexity, risk, and scope of ITS projects: The time frames for these recommendations are primarily contingent upon the level of detail in guidance pursued. Other states such as California and Virginia will be used as a guide. See the following link for more information: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/cadiv/segb/
1. Provide definitions of categories of ITS projects based on level of risk, complexity, and scope. Ted Bailey
Matt Neeley
Ron Vessey
James Colyar
Near Term
2. Provide guidance on how to classify an ITS project into one of these categories. Ted Bailey
Matt Neeley
Ron Vessey
James Colyar
Near Term
3. Provide guidance on how to apply systems engineering, including the steps of "V" diagram, for each project category. Identify any documentation required (e.g., checklists or forms), checkpoints when the documentation is required, any approvals needed, and how the documentation should be filed. Ted Bailey
Matt Neeley
Ron Vessey
James Colyar
Mid Term
Recommendation 3:

1. ITS projects that require a more rigorous systems engineering analysis (i.e., higher risk, complex ITS projects as discussed in Recommendation #2) should be given the flexibility needed to complete the steps of the "V" diagram, which is often not the case when programmed under the I or P Programs. This flexibility can be achieved by programming complex ITS projects under the Q Program. However, further investigation of recent I Program ITS projects (e.g., SR 167 HOT Lanes and I-90 VSL projects) that successfully completed the steps of the "V" diagram is needed to better understand how the inherent inflexibilities of the I and P Program can be overcome to use the steps of the "V" diagram. The bottom line objective is to structure the ITS project development process in a way that places the individuals most knowledgeable of the ITS being deployed in the key decision making roles in the process to ensure effective project delivery.
Ted Bailey;
WSDOT Strategic Planning and Programming; WSDOT Design;
James Colyar
Long Term Institutionalizing ITS has been a topic of discussion for a long time. It is anticipated that multiple discussions will be necessary to determine if and how this concept could be implemented into a core part of WSDOT business. An underlying mid term goal would be to determine the feasibility of this recommendation and level of support from the many stakeholders.
2. In addition, incorporating core ITS elements into the WSDOT Design Matrix procedures, Design Manual Chapter 1100, should be considered to allow ITS to be scoped early in the project development process, which will allow a proper systems engineering analysis to be completed. The objective is to institutionalize ITS, as set out in the WSDOT ITS Statewide Plan, as a standard component to the Highway Construction Program. Ted Bailey;
WSDOT Strategic Planning and Programming; WSDOT Design;
James Colyar
Long Term
Recommendation 4: Leverage the following opportunities to increase the availability of systems engineering training to WSDOT staff: The recommendations outlined here will need to be implemented and revised multiple times as the Systems Engineering Process evolves and becomes clearer over time.
1. FHWA can provide periodic funding for systems engineering training, such as the training given as part of this process review, through the ITS Peer-to-Peer Program or the FHWA Washington Division office. James Colyar Near Term Options 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6 under this recommendation will be indentified and made available through WSDOT ATMS training system and/or communicated statewide to ITS Stakeholders through a variety of methods.
2. Web-based systems engineering courses are available through the ITS Professional Capability Building Program (http://www.pcb.its.dot.gov/) and the Consortium for ITS Training and Education (CITE) (http://www.citeconsortium.org). James Colyar Near Term WSDOT resources for conducting in-house ITS training are limited and given the current economic forecast may continue to be on-hold throughout the 09-11 biennium.
3. Systems engineering concepts can be incorporated into current WSDOT ITS training classes. Ted Bailey Mid Term
4. Professional groups such as ITS Washington or the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) can potentially organize training opportunities. James Colyar Near Term
5. Expertise at the University of Washington or other universities can potentially be used to provide local training. James Colyar Near Term
6. A National Highway Institute (NHI) course should be developed on systems engineering and be made available on an on-going, as-needed basis. James Colyar Near Term

Appendix

Systems Engineering for ITS Workshop Recommendations Report

Acknowledgements: The Review Team would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. David Binkley from Lockheed Martin (FHWA Systems Engineering Contract Support). Mr. Binkley was the primary moderator for the Systems Engineering Workshop held in March 2009 and primary author of this Workshop Recommendations Report. Mr. Ron Ice from Ice Associates (FHWA Systems Engineering Contract Support) and Mr. Nathaniel Price from the FHWA Resource Center also made significant contributions to the Systems Engineering Workshop. Finally, the Review Team would like to acknowledge Mr. Emiliano Lopez from the FHWA Office of Operations and Mr. Steve Sill from the ITS Joint Program Office for providing funding support for the Systems Engineering Training and Workshop.

Purpose of Report

This report documents the results of the Systems Engineering for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Workshop that was conducted with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) on March 17-18, 2009. This workshop combined systems engineering training with a process improvement review that explored WSDOT's current use of systems engineering.

This report identifies WSDOT's successes and analyzes areas of its ITS project development process that could benefit from improved usage of systems engineering approaches. All of the recommendations that are offered were identified during the workshop by the workshop participants in an open-discussion forum. These recommendations are intended to further strengthen the process for the development of ITS projects in the state.

Better systems engineering processes will improve WSDOT's capability to deliver ITS projects. The goal is to continue WSDOT's successes by systematically applying systems engineering to higher risk ITS projects so that they are on-time and on-budget and are efficient to operate and maintain as they meet stakeholder expectations. In addition to these benefits, adopting the recommendations will also enable WSDOT to meet the systems engineering analysis requirements that are identified for ITS projects by 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Subchapter K – ITS, Section 940.11 (a.k.a. Rule 940).

To summarize the Key Recommendations:

These will be discussed in more detail later in this report.

Background

In 1998, Congress passed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Section 5206(e) of that law required USDOT to develop regulations to implement the ITS program. The FHWA went through the rule making process and developed the regulations contained in 23 CFR, Sec. 940. This rule requires use of a systems engineering analysis on all federally funded ITS projects.

Over the last century, a robust, systematic process for developing traditional roadway projects has evolved. WSDOT, like most DOTs, has a rigorous set of procedures that define how these projects are developed. The more recent introduction of ITS adds a new level of complexity to transportation projects that cannot be managed in the same way that more traditional construction projects are managed. Systems engineering is a systematic process that was developed specifically for complex technology projects. Good technical control of ITS development using systems engineering is critical to project success.

The Systems Engineering for ITS Workshop focuses on the application of systems engineering to the existing project delivery process. The workshop covers: 1) the benefits of using systems engineering, 2) how to satisfy the Federal requirements for systems engineering as documented in Rule 940.11, and 3) how to apply systems engineering to an agency's existing project delivery processes.

As shown in Figure A-1, WSDOT project delivery documentation was reviewed prior to the workshop. This documentation review allowed the workshop facilitators to familiarize themselves with WSDOT's current process and tailor the workshop. During the workshop, the facilitators and participants worked together to review WSDOT's ITS project development process and identify process improvement recommendations. Following the workshop, this report was prepared by the facilitators and FHWA.

As shown in Figure A-1, WSDOT project delivery documentation was reviewed prior to the workshop. This documentation review allowed the workshop facilitators to familiarize themselves with WSDOT's current process and tailor the workshop. During the workshop, the facilitators and participants worked together to review WSDOT's ITS project development process and identify process improvement recommendations. Following the workshop, this report was prepared by the facilitators and FHWA.

Figure A-1: SE Process Review Process

Data Collection and Review

Workshop participants did an excellent job of providing documentation prior to the workshop. General process documentation and strategic planning documents were provided along with documentation for four ITS projects. The documents that were reviewed are listed in Table A-1. This documentation was reviewed by the workshop facilitators prior to the workshop and was the subject for the discussions on day 2 of the workshop.

Table A-1: Reviewed Documentation

Project/Area Document Name
WSDOT General Process Information Design Manual, Chapter 860 – Supplement for ITS Systems Engineering, 12/30/05
Design Documentation Package Checklist
Design Manual, Chapter 330 – Design Doc, Approval, & Process Review
WSDOT Project Management Website (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/ProjectMgmt/)
WSDOT Olympia Region, Puget Sound Traffic Map Extension Design Documentation File, April 2007
WSDOT Eastern Region, Spokane Traffic Operations for Arterials Work Plan
ITS Partnership Agreement Between FHWA & WSDOT for Spokane Regional TMC Integration
ITS Integration Program Application – Project Description
ITS Standards Testing Program, Test Site Profile Information
ITS Evaluation Interviews – Assistant Traffic Eng and the former TMC Manager
Letter to FHWA
Phase III Work Plan (Contract Amend 5)
WSDOT North Central Region, US 2 Stevens Pass VSL System FY03 Integration Program - US2 Stevens Pass Variable Speed Limit Proposal
Design Document Package
Project Related Email
Other correspondence, files
WSDOT North West Region, Traffic Flow Map Extension Design Documentation Package Approval Memo
SR 18 – XL2289 PIN 101800H/FA project # ITS-2005(033)
Design Documentation Package Design Approval
DDP Estimate (spreadsheet)
DDP Memo
Ramp Evaluation Upgrade Memo
Project Design Document Checklist (spreadsheet)

Workshop Summary

Workshop Findings

This section identifies WSDOT's strengths and specific challenges that were identified during the workshop.

Process Strengths

Washington has a long history of successful ITS projects. This success was built on a foundation of close working relationships within the DOT community and competent agency staff, university connections, and consultant support. A number of strengths were identified during the workshop:

Figure A-2. WSDOT Systems Engineering Activities

Figure 2. WSDOT Systems Engineering Activities.

Specifically:

Identified Challenges

During the workshop, participants identified challenges that they have encountered in developing ITS projects. The challenges discussed were:

ITS Project Development Process

A high-level diagram of the WSDOT Project Management Process that has been defined for all projects is shown in Figure A-3. This general process was acknowledged by the project managers in the workshop as being representative of their general approach. This process is well defined on the WSDOT Project Management Website (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/ProjectMgmt/).

Figure A-3: High-Level WSDOT Project Management Process
Figure A-3: High-Level WSDOT Project Management Process

Figure A-4: High-Level WSDOT ITS Project Processes (in-progress)

Figure A-4: High-Level WSDOT ITS Project Processes (in-progress)

Figure A-4 above is a similar high-level diagram that was created on day 2 of the workshop to relate the high-level WSDOT management processes to the ITS process described in the WSDOT Design Manual Supplement for ITS. This process diagram was not completed in the interest of time, but the preliminary version supported initial discussion of where an ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form would be completed and some of the traditional project outputs (e.g., the work plan) that could be used to address selected systems engineering requirements. Note that the pure "V" process that is shown in the Design Manual Supplement should be reconciled with the acquisition process (something akin to Figure A-4) that is typically used by the agency. Identification of the connections between the "V" process and the agency acquisition process will facilitate integration of systems engineering activities with traditional WSDOT project development activities and the Design Manual.

Recommendations

This section lists all of the recommendations that were identified during the workshop by workshop participants. These recommendations are intended to further strengthen the process for the development of ITS projects in Washington. The key recommendations that could be prioritized by WSDOT during the coming biennium are highlighted with a star (Blue Star). Discussion that occurred during the workshop follows each recommendation.

General Process Recommendations

Blue StarExpand applicability of WSDOT Design Manual Supplement on Systems Engineering for ITS to include all projects, regardless of funding source. The group agreed that the systems engineering approach described in the Design Manual Supplement should be followed regardless of funding source; whether federal or state sources are used.

Blue StarIncorporate Core ITS elements into the WSDOT Design Matrix Procedures. The Design Matrices covers all aspects of a traditional construction project. Project scoping is driven by the design matrices. Adding ITS to the matrices will make sure it is considered along with other aspects of design, e.g. traffic signals and illumination. This will ensure that ITS doesn't fall through the cracks. Get ITS into the solutions being considered for any roadway or corridor improvement. Currently ITS is seen as an add-on to a project or a stand-alone special project. ITS needs to be more central to the overall process. FHWA division office approves changes to the design matrices.

Blue StarProgram the project appropriately based on risk. Low risk projects can remain in larger highway construction projects and follow the established traditional processes of the I and P Programs while higher risk projects should follow the Systems Engineering "V" process best facilitated by the Q Program.

Blue StarExpand the use of Systems Engineering Process Review Form for ITS Projects. It has been used to date at basic level that meets rather than exceeds the Rule 940 requirements. It should be used to guide the development of the project, serving as a reminder to the manager of what tasks to include and what questions to ask as plans are made, concept of operations and specifications written, and tests completed.

Blue StarWork with FHWA to Provide statewide/regional ITS architecture training. FHWA, WSDOT HQ and Regions should collaborate to ensure that everyone involved in ITS project development is equipped to access and interpret the statewide and regional architectures to be able to relate them to ITS projects.

Technical Process Recommendations

Blue StarExpand the documentation of roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder during the project scoping process in the ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form. Stakeholder roles and responsibilities should be defined and documented for all large and complex ITS projects. A concept of operations should also be developed for large and complex projects that includes roles and responsibilities. This activity should be included in the ITS project development process so that roles and responsibilities are defined consistently. Currently it is being covered very generically in the completion of the ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form. Roles and Responsibilities should be firmly established for large and complex, "High Risk", ITS projects.

Blue Star Expand the documentation of need for the project at the beginning of the project development process in the ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form. The practice of defining the project needs during project initiation should continue to be institutionalized so that needs are developed and documented for all projects. Particularly for complex or risky projects, the development of a detailed Concept of Operations (ConOps) should be considered to define the operational needs in more detail. Every large and complex ITS project should have a documented set of needs that are agreed to by project stakeholders since the needs form the basis for the systems engineering process. WSDOT currently defines needs through a collaborative effort during project initiation but this practice needs to be expanded into the documented project development process at WSDOT.

Blue Star Expand the documentation of project requirements and relate these requirements to the needs for the project in the ITS Project Systems Engineering Review Form. WSDOT has some projects that have documented requirements but not in a formal way nor is it consistent across projects. Some ITS Project Systems Engineering Process Review Forms included a bulleted list of required functionality, which for a project should include more detailed shall statements to govern the technical aspects of the project. WSDOT should continue formalizing the process to ensure that 1) requirements are documented in a timely fashion, and 2) requirements are validated by stakeholders to address (trace to) project needs.

Project Management Recommendations

Blue StarCreate a configuration management process and use this process to manage ITS project changes to scope, budget and schedule for large and complex ITS projects. WSDOT has a project control reporting form for changes to scope, budget, and schedule. Changes to design and other aspects are maintained in the Project Files; even email correspondence is used to document key decisions on a project. For earmark projects, which are no longer used, there was an informal process to inform FHWA of the need for a change to get their buy-in. This hasn't been done for CMAQ projects but it should be the same process. WSDOT should establish criteria that defines when formal change management is required in terms of 1) when in the project development process it is required, and 2) the magnitude of change that requires formal change management.

Support Environment Recommendations

Blue Star Work with FHWA to Increase Systems Engineering training. WSDOT is a national leader in professional training and certification for its professional staff. In-house or consultant led Systems Engineering training should continue to be made available to project managers and others involved in the development of projects. Even if a project is sourced outside WSDOT, staff needs to understand what the contractor is doing and know how to review their SE work products in order to provide a meaningful check-and-balance to the process.

Name Organization Title Contact # Email
Ted Bailey WSDOT Signal, Illumination & ITS Engineer 360-705-7286 baileyte@wsdot.wa.gov
Stan Markuson WSDOT SWR Traffic Ops Engineer 360-905-2241 markuss@wsdot.wa.gov
Michael Novak WSDOT ITS Supervisor 360-905-2017 novakm@wsdot.wa.gov
Robert Stull WSDOT ITS, Signals 509-667-3079 stullr@wsdot.wa.gov
David Kieninger WSDOT NCR Asst Traffic Engineer 509-667-3081 kienind@wsdot.wa.gov
James Todd Daley WSDOT SCR ITS Engineer 509-577-1992 daleyt@wsdot.wa.gov
Tony Leingang WSDOT OR Freeway Ops Mgr 360-239-0843 leingaa@wsdot.wa.gov
Stephanie Rossi PSRC Senior Planner 206-971-3054 srossi@psrc.org
Diane Hilmo WSDOT Project Manager 206-440-4399 hilmod@wsdot.wa.gov
Scott Nutter City of Auburn Traffic Operations 253-804-5068 snutter@auburn.wa.gov
Dave Rosen City of Olympia Public Works Project Engineer 360-753-8576 drosen@ci.olympia.wa.us
Jim Johnstone WSDOT Signal Ops Engineer 360-357-2707 johnsja@wsdot.wa.gov
Ken Burt WSDOT Signal Operations 360-704-3216 burtk@wsdot.wa.gov
July Dizon WSDOT ITS Design 360-357-2756 dizonj@wsdot.wa.gov
Ray Crumbley WSDOT OR Asst Traffic Design 360-704-3206 crumbld@wsdot.wa.gov
Fred Housman City of Seattle TMC Manager 206-684-5122 fred.housman@seattle.gov
Fay Schafi City of Issaquah Sr ITS Engr 425-837-3422 fays@ci.issaqua.wa.us
Raid Tirhi City of Bellevue Sr Transp Engr 425-452-6052 rtirhi@bellevue.wa.gov
Jesse Hannahs City of Federal Way Sr Traffic Engr 253-835-2744 Jesse.hannahs@cityoffederalway.com
Richard Gamble County – Clark County Traffic Engr 360-397-6118 Richard.gamble@clark.wa.gov
Sanjeev Tandle City of Puyllup Traffic Engr 253-841-5591 standle@ci.puyallup.wa.us
Michael Villnave WSDOT Traffic Ops Engr 360-357-2683 villnam@wsdot.wa.gov
Dick Adams City of Lynnwood Traffic Engr 425-361-6803 Dick.adams@atecorp.net dadams@ci.lynnwood.wa.us
Ken Kakuk City of Camas GIS Coordinator 360-817-1561 kkakuk@ci.camas.wa.us
Ali Eghtedari City of Vancouver Traffic Engr 360-487-7705 ali.eghtedari@ci.vancouver.wa.us
Becky Spangle WSDOT Traffic Supervisor 509-324-6560 spalglb@wsdot.wa.gov
Larry Frostad WSDOT ER Asst Traffic Engr 509-324-6194 frostal@wsdot.wa.gov
Anthony Dorrovah WSDOT Traffic Engr 360-357-2787 dorrova@wsdot.wa.gov
Steve Kim WSDOT Region Traffic Engr 360-357-2670 kims@wsdot.wa.gov
Ron Vessey WSDOT ITS Field Operations Engr 360-705-7942 vesseyr@wsdot.wa.gov
Matt Neeley WSDOT ITS Engineer 360-705-7297 neeleym@wsdot.wa.gov
Scott Davis County-
Thurston County Public Works
Traffic Engr 360-709-3034 davissa@co.thurston.wa.us
Martin Hoppe City of Lacey Transportation Manager 360-491-5600 mhoppe@ci.lacey.wa.us
Vinh Dang WSDOT Freeway Ops Engr 206-440-4462 dangv@wsdot.wa.gov
Wendy McAbee FHWA WA Div Area Engineer 360-753-9025 Wendy.mcabee@dot.gov
James Colyar FHWA WA Div ITS Mobility Engineer 360-753-9408 James.colyar@dot.gov
Nathaniel Price FHWA OR Div + Resource Center ITS Engineer 503-587-4709 Nathaniel.price@dot.gov
David Binkley Lockheed Martin Systems Engineer 703-367-3148 David.binkley@lmco.com
Ron Ice Ice & Associates Systems Engineer 714-692-0180 ronice@ronice.com

Note: As a result of a major Design Manual reorganization in June 2009, this Supplement is now incorporated into the full ITS Chapter, which was changed from 860 to 1050. There were no changes in the language to the systems engineering guidance in this reorganization. This report will hereafter refer to the current systems engineering requirements in Chapter 1050.

Systems Engineering for Intelligent Transportation Systems. January 2007. FHWA. Publication No. FHWA-HOP-07-069. Located at: http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/seitsguide/index.htm.

California Systems Engineering Guidebook for ITS. January 2007. FHWA California Division and Caltrans. Located at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/cadiv/segb/

Page last modified on April 1, 2013.
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