Be aware that integration of advanced transportation management systems, regardless of size, creates challenges throughout project deployment.
Experience implementing an ATMS is Fort Collins, Colorado.
- Contact a standards expert during the design phase to assist in clarifying the intent of the standards protocols for system design. The national family of standards, National Transportation Communications for ITS Protocols (NTCIP), is improving but does not yet provide specification or policy that is cleanly providing interconnectivity between products and manufacturers. Each manufacturer is still left with the ability to meet NTCIP guidelines and specifications, as it deems appropriate. Therefore, inter-jurisdictional integration is still the biggest hurdle and expense.
- Have knowledgeable people on staff or under contract during planning, design and implementation, to assist in filtering out the hype and guiding decisions. Poor use of scarce resources is an easy trap to fall into in the high-tech environment. Even if traffic control is not considered cutting-edge, often it requires products and services that the industry has not utilized in the past (video, fiber optics, Ethernet, various electronic converters, software/firmware, communications to tie it all together, wireless technologies, etc). ITS require familiarity with a high-tech environment, even if some do not think such familiarity is necessary.
- Install as much capacity as possible and use it judiciously when planning and installing a communications network. It becomes surprisingly easy to waste communications capacity due to poor planning, particularly with the overuse of video, which uses a large amount of bandwidth. A common pitfall many transportation agencies encounter is when a device has lower throughput than it was expected to have when developing the overall communications design. Many products are still not Ethernet-capable and may require converting or single-stranding the communications medium to meet goals. Conversely, many products are Ethernet-capable, but to what extent can become an unexpected question or problem.
- Create relationships with other agencies that have any level of common interests. Throughout the project, the City was in touch with anyone doing underground work and tried to "co-trench" in order to get conduit in the ground at reduced costs. Eventually, utilities, agencies, and contractors contacted the City, asking about plans to dig in their areas, which helped reduce their costs as well. The City’s biggest partnering success was with an electrical utility, which had already installed a fiber optic network around Ft. Collins. The City government was able to partner with the power agency to use 12 strands of fiber around the whole network. These 12 strands form the communications backbone of the City’s integrated traffic signal control system.
- Be aware of external pressures and do not overpromise the impossible in terms of project performance, schedule, and cost. It is easy to underestimate the effect public pressure and the City Councils may place on a project, often squeezing timelines from well-planned to "scramble mode."
Published By: RITA ITS JPO
Source Date: 24 June 2008
EDL Number: 14452URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/30000/30500/30591/14452.pdf
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