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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-003     Date:  March/April 2017
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-003
Issue No: Vol. 80 No. 5
Date: March/April 2017


Internet Watch

by Carrie Boris

A Home for ITS Application Development

In recent years, the U.S. Department of Transportation has increased focus on intelligent transportation systems (ITS), an area of rapidly emerging, transformative technology. With many stakeholders involved in the research and development of ITS technologies and related applications, the Department identified the need for a centralized source for applications, research, and data.

The Open Source Application Development Portal (OSADP) provides a virtual community space to enable developers, State and local agencies, researchers, and industry to share ITS applications. USDOT developed the portal to provide access to and support the collaboration, development, and use of mobility and transportation-related applications. The OSADP helps USDOT facilitate the advancement of research, development, planning, testing, and deployment of connected vehicle and traveler-related applications and ITS.

USDOT launched version 2.0 of the OSADP in February 2016 at http://itsforge.net. This update “was to enable users to quickly browse, search, access, and download applications and their supporting resources of interest,” says Jon Obenberger, a senior transportation research engineer in FHWA’s Office of Operations Research and Development.

An Extensive Repository

The OSADP is a Web-based portal that features source code, software, applications, and resources (such as documentation, licenses, and data) to support the use of ITS-related applications or further their development. All applications developed under USDOT sponsorship are expected to make their source code and documentation, once completed, available on the OSADP. Public agencies, service providers, application developers, researchers, and others are able to use the open source applications, which are being added continually to the OSADP.

The portal provides a means for developers to upload and download completed mobility applications as well as collaborate on development projects in progress. The OSADP is intended to be a forum to enable developers to implement their ideas on new open source projects, collaborate on and discuss projects that are new or underway, and to use or augment other developers’ code.

Registered OSADP users can upload, download, and collaborate on open source applications. All users have access to the discussion forums and technical resources, as well as assistance in accessing and downloading the applications. As of December 2016, the site had more than 650 registered users.

Enabling Access, Innovation, and Collaboration

In addition to housing completed applications from federally funded projects, OSADP is open to emerging open source transportation applications, both in development or completed. All applications must be opensource and include source code and documentation, so developers can reuse, modify, or enhance existing applications to meet their needs or add their own software projects.

The interactive forums enable users to discuss applications under development and ideas for new applications, as well as to provide feedback about the OSADP. Users are encouraged to report bugs and fixes or ask questions, discuss ideas for new transportation applications or technologies, share ideas on how to improve the OSADP, collaborate to enhance existing transportation applications, and request the ability to collaborate onimprovements.

Screen capture. The home page of the Open Source Application Development Portal.

Users also can access a variety of other resources to support the use of different applications, including a range of project-specific documentation such as concepts of operations, requirements, and design documents; testing and evaluations; datasets; and resources to support the installation and use of applications. The portal also offers question-and-answer forums and links to external resources, including the Research Data Exchange, Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program, Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture, and the GitHub development platform.

For more information, contact Kate Hartman at kate.hartman@dot.gov.

Carrie Boris is a contributing editor for Public Roads



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