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4 Systems Engineering Environment



This chapter discusses a number of issues that affect the application of systems engineering for intelligent transportation projects. This chapter focuses primarily on institutional and project issues, such as why systems engineering is needed, how much systems engineering is needed for an ITS project, the relationship of systems engineering to existing agency systems engineering practices, and procurement issues. Finally, it focuses on the relationship of systems engineering to ITS standards, transportation planning, the ITS architecture, and Federal Final Rule. The following sub-sections is an overview of the Systems engineering environment described in this chapter.

4.1 Factors That Drive the Systems Engineering Environment

This sub-section describes factors driving the need for systems engineering, such as changing technology, maintaining the system, changing needs, stakeholder participation, and flexible procurement.

4.2 Development Models, Strategies, and Systems Engineering Standards

This sub-section highlights various systems engineering models, strategies, strengths, weaknesses, and applicable standards.

4.3 Relationship to the National ITS Architecture and the FHWA Final Rule

This sub-section discusses the relationship of this Guidebook to the ITS architecture, and the FHWA Final Rule.

4.4 Relation to Transportation Planning and Information Technology

This sub-section explores the relationship between traditional transportation planning and systems engineering including, the bridge between Planning and ITS projects.

4.5 Relationship to ITS standards

This sub-section discusses the relationship of systems engineering and ITS standards. It looks at the key ITS standards that systems engineering uses in systems development.

4.6 Systems Engineering Support Environment

This sub-section focuses on the importance of a good systems engineering support environment. It includes tools, processes, and training.

4.7 Common Agency Systems Engineering Activities

This sub-section discusses the existing systems engineering capabilities that may exist within the agency that can be leveraged for ITS project development.

4.8 Systems Engineering Organization

This sub-section discusses a typical systems engineering organization. This model can be used as a starting point when an agency needs to establish one for their organization.

4.9 Procurement Options

This sub-section discusses various procurement options that can be used for contracting systems engineering and systems development services.

4.10 Estimating the Amount of Process Needed

This issue is addressed at the beginning of each project. There are a number of factors that need to be considered. The cost of the project is not necessarily a significant driver. The scenario in this sub-section is an example of how much systems engineering is needed. However, each project must be assessed on its own merit. Chapter 4.10 provides details for this example.

4.11 Example Projects provides three example projects to illustrate the amount of process needed for the development of typical ITS projects.


The previous sub-sections amplify key issues that will be challenges to the application of systems engineering to ITS projects. These sub-sections are provided for guidance. They are not intended to be prescriptive. Each case will have exceptions and needs to be reviewed and tailored on its own merit. These challenges need to be factored into each agency’s systems engineering support environment.



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