Evaluate administrative and support staffing needs to close gaps in ITS operational support.

A New Jersey Department of Transportation experience with ITS operations and maintenance in Transportation Operations Centers (TOCs).

January 2005
Newark,New Jersey,United States; Los Angeles,California,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

TOC operational efficiencies can be greatly improved by placing added focus on network administration, thereby reducing downtime, improving system performance, and enhancing spare-parts and equipment availability. Overall ITS operations are better coordinated with support from system staff and technicians, who ensure that the network operates at an adequate level of performance. The following suggestions will assist DOTs in creating an in-house knowledge base that covers a range of ITS devices and functions.
  • Hire a systems administrator for each TOC. As ITS systems expand and complexities arise, a full-time systems administrator is needed to support ongoing operations at TOCs. Under the general supervision of the TOC manager, a systems administrator will install, revise, and maintain ITS computer software systems and resolve related problems; manage computer equipment maintenance, and undertake configuration management tasks.
    • The City of Los Angeles has an in-house software team to take care of its traffic signals; it receives software maintenance support from three IT department staff members.
  • Hire ITS purchasing assistants. This role supports system parts and equipment purchases and management of warranties at each TOC. A dedicated staff member will oversee in-house maintenance and also will coordinate the handling of materials with outside contractors. Purchasing assistants will help with the operations and active procurement of spare parts, which will allow the TOC to cut response time on field maintenance as procurement delays are reduced. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that the ability to get spare parts quickly is one of the most common reasons to rely on contract maintenance.
  • Hire network systems technicians. This role supports in-house maintenance of the expanding fiber optic communications and system networks at each TOC. Network systems technicians will assist TOCs in improving communications and lowering system downtime. At some TOCs, although in-house fiber optic maintenance is feasible, a shortage of experienced personnel and a lack of training on specialized equipment prevent them from doing so. However, in recent years, fiber optic cable installation and splicing techniques have matured, and training and other resources are widely available from outside service providers and contractors at competitive prices.
There are many benefits to providing TOCs with qualified staff in key positions. A systems administrator will allow for better functionality of the ITS system by supporting current and ongoing operational needs. Purchasing assistants who can manage equipment and warranties will enable TOCs to cut costs and reduce response times on field maintenance. Network systems technicians will help TOCs to reduce costs and repair times by allowing them to fix glitches in-house.

Note that the document appendix (see the document listed under Source) includes some suggested job specifications for the recommended employee titles, outlining functional requirements for the job as well as potential qualifications for job applicants.

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Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) - Operational Support Contracts - Implementation Plan - Final Report

Author: Patel, Raman K.

Published By: Transportation Research Center, Polytechnic University

Source Date: January 2005

Other Reference Number: FHWA-NJ-2005-010

URL: http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/refdata/research/reports/FHWA-NJ-2005-010.pdf

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Jane Lappin
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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Lesson ID: 2007-00357