Ensure that qualified staff with expertise in telecommunications is involved, as planning for and designing a telecommunications network is complicated.

Experiences from the Departments of Transportation (DOTS) of multiple states in selecting telecommunications options.

Maryland,United States; Virginia,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

The telecommunications industry is large and complex, with a set of technical disciplines that DOTs may not be familiar with. In planning for, as well as operating and maintaining an ITS telecommunications network, agencies must ensure their staff has the appropriate skill set. However, most agencies do not have qualified personnel in-house, as telecommunications expertise generally requires in-depth knowledge about a range of different technologies. In addition, skills relevant to ITS telecommunications are in extremely high demand in the private sector, so agencies find it challenging to hire and retain qualified personnel.

The report included several examples of how agencies benefited from acquiring the support services of telecommunications experts:
  • Consider hiring an outside source experienced in both telecommunications and systems integration. Maryland State Highway Administration recognized that it did not internally have the required expertise and experience to conduct a requirements analysis, nor was this expertise available through its traditional transportation engineering consulting community. Maryland SHA hired a firm experienced in both telecommunications and systems integration to perform the telecommunications analysis. Over a period of nine months, the analysis included the following three key phases:
    • Functional and performance requirements and validation
    • Development of various network options
    • The costing of those options
  • Consider using the services of a systems firm with significant aerospace/defense background. Virginia DOT made use of systems firms with significant aerospace/defense backgrounds (already under contract) to evaluate plans for network implementation. In one case, a contractor who was performing a significant expansion of the regional advanced traffic management system (ATMS) presented a variety of alternatives to the recently bid plans and specifications. Virginia DOT did not have the in-house expertise capable of evaluating these alternatives, so it relied on a systems consultant to analyze the alternatives in detail.
A typical public agency will benefit greatly from access to qualified, professional telecommunications expertise in performing technical and business analyses and in the designing of the network. By acquiring such support services, agencies minimize the risk of making unwise cost or design decisions, and increase the likelihood that they will select an effective ITS telecommunications solution.

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Communications for Intelligent Transportation Systems - Successful Practices: A Cross-Cutting Study

Author: Vince Pearce

Published By: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration and Federal Highway Administration

Source Date: 2000

EDL Number: 11488

Other Reference Number: FHWA-JPO-99-023/FTA-TRI-11-99-02

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/2867

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Lesson Contact(s):

James Pol

Agency Contact(s):

Richard Dye
Chesapeake Highway Advisories Routing Traffic

Lesson Analyst:

Margaret Petrella
RITA/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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Lesson ID: 2007-00361