Develop requirements using widely accepted standards, preferably the open source compatible ones if available, and review those requirements immediately before requesting proposals from contractors.
Washoe County’s experience implementing a comprehensive transit ITS program.
- Review system requirements immediately before requesting contract proposals. Developing system requirements can be a time-consuming process. There are many agency staff user groups who will provide input, including technical and non-technical staff, before the requirements are released to potential contractors. Reviews can delay the release of Request for Proposals (RFP), and during that delay the underlying transit ITS technologies may change. Therefore, it is imperative that requirements are reviewed and updated immediately before an RFP is released.
- Use widely accepted standards, preferably the open source compatible ones if available, in developing system requirements. At RTC, the procurement process from RFP to contracting was delayed due to a series of factors, which resulted in the agency getting some functionality that had become unnecessary or not state-of-the-art. A specific example of this was the requirement for a wireless data network to communicate between vehicles in the maintenance yard and the ITS servers. The wireless network supplied by the contractor was PROXIM, a proprietary wireless protocol. While it was suitable at the time the requirements were written, an open standard (IEEE 802.11b/g/n) has emerged. The rapid success of the open standard resulted in the PROXIM system quickly becoming obsolete. RTC had difficulty getting technical support for or buying replacement of PROXIM hardware.
RTC eventually converted its network to the open standard at its own expense. Had RTC been able to make last-minute changes and perform a review of its requirements immediately before release to potential contractors, the additional expense of the conversion may have been avoided.
- Clearly delineate where contractors shall be using open standards. Open and widely-accepted standards should be used wherever possible in the development of requirements. The developer of the requirements should be knowledgeable of the National ITS Architecture and any other network or communications standards that will be affected by transit ITS. The requirements should clearly identify where contractors will be expected to use open standards.
Author: Tina Wu, Matt Weatherford, Ancila Kaiparambil, Linna Zhang
Published By: Federal Transit Administration U.S. Department of Transportation
Source Date: May 2010
Other Reference Number: FTA Report FTA- NV-26-7005-2010.1URL: http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/RTC_ITS_Eval_Study_section508.pdf
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