Foster efficiency and joint commitment by promoting an open and cooperative relationship among all parties involved in the project.

Virginia DOT’s experience integrating data from public works and public safety agencies.

January 2005
Virginia,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Foster efficiency and joint commitment by promoting an open and cooperative relationship among all parties involved in the project. This project involved the participation and cooperation of the following public and private organizations:
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – Sponsor
  • Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) – Sponsor and Project Management
  • Virginia State Police (VSP) – Sponsor and Project Management
  • Open Roads Consulting, Inc. (ORCI): VDOT software development contractor
  • Northrop Grumman Corp. (NGC): VSP software development contractor

Perhaps, the greatest key to the success of this project was the open exchange of ideas and information between all organizations involved. One quick example was when a developer from ORCI needed to talk to a developer at NGC, they could communicate directly without having to first go through VDOT, then to VSP, then to NGC. This saved innumerable amounts of time and provided for an efficient and beneficial exchange of information that was needed during the development phase.

FHWA and VDOT Cooperation

Cultivate commitment by the FHWA. While a contractual relationship existed between FHWA and VDOT, it became clear early on that FHWA was committed to the mission and success of the VDOT Richmond District during this project. For example, when issues were raised about the exact protocol to use for the exchange of information between VSP and VDOT, FHWA was willing to evaluate the available protocols. This evaluation is documented in the paper titled “Final VSP Standards Whitepaper.” After reviewing the candidate standards' stability, the current usage of the standards by others, the usability of the standards (considering the fact that the VSP legacy CAD system would not be changed), and other issues with standards (e.g. TMDD and the IEEE-1512 family of standards) as they relate to the VSP CAD system, FHWA concurred in VDOT's recommendation to use the Common Alert Protocol (CAP). This one decision contributed significantly to the timely completion and success of this project.

VDOT and VSP Cooperation

Foster enthusiasm and cooperation between project partners. Both VDOT and VSP shared a common commitment to the successful development of the integration between their two respective systems. Both organizations embodied a, "What can I do for you?" attitude. It was their joint commitment to the project that facilitated the rapid resolution of issues and the continued good morale on the project. The Richmond Regional Data Sharing Concept Study was undertaken at the start of the project. It provided for a common understanding of the project and established a common goal for both agencies. This document also aided in communicating these goals and understandings to the other members as they were added to the team.

In hindsight, one step that would have furthered cooperation even more between the two agencies would have been the use of a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). While there was a good understanding of the expectations of both agencies during the design, development, and deployment phases, there was some ambiguity regarding the on-going support required for the long term operations phase. This ambiguity was not intentional, but was simply an oversight of the support activities that would be required during the operational phase. If time had been taken up front to develop a formal MOU, it is possible that the operational needs might have been identified earlier on in the process so they could be properly addressed by both agencies.

VDOT and Contractor Cooperation

Build on relationships with contractors. This project benefited from the well-established relationship between VDOT and ORCI staff. In fact, many of the same staff responsible for the development of the Richmond STC central software also participated in the VDOT/VSP integration project. ORCI's intimate knowledge of the Richmond STC system and software allowed them to identify any technical issues related to the integration early in the design process. The existing working relationship between VDOT and ORCI helped facilitate open and effective communications between the two organizations.

ORCI and NGC Cooperation

Foster cooperation between contractors. The general atmosphere of cooperation that prevailed during this project encouraged direct communications and cooperation between the technical staff of ORCI and NGC. The ability for the technical counterparts of each organization to communicate and discuss issues on an ad hoc basis eliminated delays sometimes associated with asking and receiving information between contractors. Another key aspect to the cooperation between ORCI and NGC is that neither company was overly concerned with "defending their turf." Both parties related on a professional level and issues were resolved based on the needs of the client, not each other's system. Both companies realized that they could only be successful if the other company was also successful.

Lesson Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this Lesson

To comment on this lesson, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


Challenges Faced and Tactics Used to Integrate Real-Time State Police CAD Data with the VDOT Richmond District Smart Traffic Center: Lessons Learned Document

Author: Robison, David, Matt Sargent, and Steve Beckwith

Correspondence with Robb Alexander , Virginia DOT, on April 6, 2006

Published By: Virginia DOT

Prepared by Open Roads Consulting, Inc. for the Virginia DOT

Source Date: January 2005

EDL Number: 14115

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/4228

Other Lessons From this Source

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

David Robison
Open Roads Consulting

Agency Contact(s):

Robert Alexander, P.E.
Virginia Department of Transportation

Lesson Analyst:

Firoz Kabir


Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this Lesson

(click stars to rate)


Lesson of the Month for November, 2005 !

Lesson ID: 2005-00056