Frequently Asked Questions - ITS Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource

What is a lesson?

A lesson learned is the knowledge gained through experience or study. It is a reflection on what was done right, what one would do differently, and how one could be more effective in the future.

An ITS stakeholder experience of what worked and what did not work in the procurement of traffic management systems software is a valid candidate for the Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource.

Each lesson captured in the ITS Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource is described in a concise format. A lesson description is included items such as a lesson title in the form of a recommendation, a summary of major outcomes, context description, and identifying information such as date, location, source, and contact.

What are the sources for lessons?

Lessons are collected primarily from ITS case studies, best practice compendiums, planning and design reviews, and evaluation studies.

The ITS Electronic Document Library, Transportation Research Board’s Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS), international transportation literature database (e.g., Transport), and conference proceedings are major sources for the documents that are reviewed for collection of lessons. Interviews of subject matter experts are also used as sources of new lessons.

Why did the ITS Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) develop the Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource?

The ITS JPO's major objectives for the Lesson Learned Knowledge Resource are:

  • Capture experiences of stakeholders in their planning, deployment, operations, maintenance, and evaluation of ITS;
  • Provide all ITS stakeholders with convenient access to the lessons learned knowledge so that they can make informed decisions in their future ITS actions.

In gathering ITS lessons learned, researchers have observed many lessons that appear over and over again in multiple reference sources. To some, these lessons will appear obvious. Nevertheless, these lessons need to be told to a new generation of ITS professionals. As Peter F. Drucker once observed, "...(t)he obvious is precisely what needs to be pointed out – otherwise, it will be overlooked."[1]

How often is the ITS Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource updated?

The ITS Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource is updated continuously as new source material becomes available. When new written reports become available, analysts review these documents to determine if there are any lessons learned suitable for dissemination to wider audience. If so, team members summarize such information in one or more succinct lesson narratives and post them on this Web site.

How many entries does the ITS Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource include?

As of March 1, 2015, there were 593 unique lessons learned articles posted on this Web site.

How can I find out if new lessons have been added to the ITS Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource?

The What's New link (from the Home page) lists the 10 most recent additions to the site. In addition, you can sign up to receive notifications of new lessons learned entries through our ITS Information Subscription Service, which provides updates for a wide variety of topic areas, available in Really Simple Syndication (RSS) or e-mail formats. To sign up, visit the Lessons Learned Web site Home page and click on one of the RSS or e-mail subscription links at the bottom of the page.

Who can I contact about a lesson?

Each lesson has points-of-contact. These points-of-contact include a lesson analyst and, when available, the author(s) of the lesson’s source document, and a representative of a local agency where the project was implemented.

How can I contribute a lesson?

Your contributions are welcome. In order to contribute a lesson, please use the "Contribute Lessons" link in the navigation area on the left. After clicking on this link, please fill out the very brief form and attach any supporting documents.

Your contribution will be reviewed and a lesson analyst will contact you to clarify any aspects of your lessons and/or to let you know when it will be published on the Web site.

How can I learn more about the Lessons Learned Knowledge Resource?

"How to" pop-up windows are included throughout this site and the "ITS Help Line" information is provided at the top right-hand corner of the Home page. Training sessions on how to use this resource as well as other ITS JPO-supported resources are presented in various venues and formats. An archived presentation of one such training session from the T3 (Talking Technology and Transportation) series, sponsored by the ITS Joint Program Office, is available on line - ITS Decision-makers' Resources.

For more information, see the About This Site or Contact Us pages, also linked from the Home page.

[1] Sussman, Joseph. Introduction to Transportation Systems. Norwood, MA: Artech House Publishers, 2000.

Last Modified: 03/01/2015