Establish and follow a comprehensive project plan in anticipation of the deployment of ITS resources.
Five rural transit agencies' experiences in applying ITS to rural transit.
Statewide,New Mexico,United States; Austin,Texas,United States; St. John's County,Florida,United States; Marion County,Florida,United States; Putnam County,Florida,United States; Ottumwa,Iowa,United States; Williamsport,Pennsylvania,United States
- Follow the steps of a technology-driven planning process for ITS deployment: Base your deployment on a systematic planning process, insuring that the technology (s) selected meets a specific agency need. A systematic planning process for ITS projects should include the following steps:
- Issue/Problem Recognition
- Project Definition
- Needs Analysis
- Planning and Design
- Development/Procurement (includes Specifications Development)
- Installation and Testing
- Systems Maintenance/Upgrading and Evaluation
- Consider the use of outside expertise. The use of outside professional expertise for activities such as writing system specifications or providing systems integration support may be helpful for rural transit agencies planning ITS procurements. It is important for agencies to provide consultants with a clear scope of work that is consistent with their contractual arrangements with vendors and their expectations. This scope should include roles and responsibilities for both the consultant and key agency staff. Additionally, agencies using outside consultants need to make sure that key agency staff continue to be involved in the deployment.
- When planning their Transportation Information System (TIS), River Valley Transit in Williamsport, PA hired the architectural/engineering general contractor to develop the functional specifications as a way to solve their bus staging/space constraints.
- The Florida Center for the Transportation Disadvantaged (CTD) required the demand-response software vendor to provide an explanation of the needs for data “scrubbing” and conversion, minimum hardware specifications, and training plans for the various rural transit providers known as Community Transportation Coordinators (CTC)
- Address system expandability early in the process. It is important to keep expandability of the system in mind, as the needs of end-users will likely change over time. ITS systems should have the capability to handle changing needs.
- In New Mexico the Client Referral, Ridership, and Financial Tracking (CRRAFT) system has not incorporated GIS into the software package. However, recognizing that it may become a priority in the future the Alliance for Transportation Research Institute designed the software in a way that will accommodate the integration of GIS capabilities in the future.
- The Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) in Austin, Texas has future plans to implement a smart card system. CARTS would like to use that card as a smart card, tracking the customer's usage for the appropriate agency and using the information for billing purposes.
- If your agency lacks technological expertise, use proven technologies. Agencies that are not technologically sophisticated may want to concentrate their planning and procurement efforts on proven technology.
- CARTS felt that they needed a proven, successfully implemented technology and did not want to be a test site for new software. Therefore, they found an off-the-shelf product that met their needs and helped them "keep it simple."
- Conduct formal technical and organizational needs assessment prior to beginning your ITS deployment. The needs assessment helps to determine exactly what technology is needed and can help identify the technical and organizational barriers that might hinder the successful deployment of the ITS technology. Additionally, the needs assessment can simply help agencies learn more about their own operations.
- The Florida CTD conducted operational studies of each of the participating CTCs in order to identify their needs and changes that needed to be made prior to the ITS deployment. The results of the operational studies led to recommendations to upgrade computer hardware and software.
- Realize that the integration of various ITS elements is critical to getting the most out of the technologies. It is important to address ITS integration issues early on in the planning stage, especially if the deployment is designed to take place incrementally.
- Since each component of their system was installed separately, CARTS thought carefully about the integration of the different components prior to installation helping to avoid any integration problems later on
Author: Joana Conklin, Carol Schweiger, Buck Marks, Yehuda Gross, William Wiggins, Karen Timpone
Published By: Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT
Source Date: March 2003
EDL Number: 13784
Other Reference Number: Report No.FHWA-OP-03-77URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/jpodocs/repts_te/13784.html
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
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