Stakeholder Group Participation
In general, Congress sets the overall policy direction for the country (such as through the ISTEA, TEA-21, and SAFETEA-LU transportation acts), determining the level of funding for transportation, programs to be emphasized, and mandates to be met. The U.S. Department of Transportation influences, interprets, and implements the legislation.
The state legislature and state departments of transportation perform similar functions for each state. In some states, transportation policy and funding is also shaped by voter initiatives, which can affect the level of revenue (e.g. through bonds), and the use thereof (e.g. for transit). There are also a host of related agencies (e.g. state level air resource boards) that can provide a regulatory framework for transportation (and hence ITS) deployment. Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) develop regional transportation plans and programs, playing a crucial role in developing regional system designs and public funding priorities for ITS. The state, county, and local government agencies are the primary transportation system operators and implementers of ITS. The nation's cities are hubs for jobs and traffic, and are responsible for managing the largest transit and rail systems. The state DoT's are primarily responsible for the freeway systems and state arteries which handle most of the long distance and high volume traffic.
The non-profit sector plays a key role in advising the public sector, and integrating public and private sector needs. This sector includes advisory organizations (such as ITS America), standard setting bodies (such as IEEE), advocacy groups (such as environmental and consumer groups), and educational organizations.
Private sector expertise is necessary to develop ITS technologies and to help ensure that new transportation system infrastructure is properly operated and maintained. While legislation and documented practices aid in characterizing public sector decision-making relative to ITS, private sector decision-making is even more diffuse. ITS has a variety of private sector participants, from automobile manufacturers (OEMs), to telecommunications companies, to product entrepreneurs, to major trucking companies. The private sector has established expertise in many areas including technology, traffic engineering, marketing, finance, research, and operations. It is driven to expand these areas by reinvesting revenue from product and service sales back into its business area.
Ultimately, ITS enhances the transportation services that are provided to the general public. A range of travelers are intended beneficiaries, including drivers, transit users, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Commercial users are vital stakeholders since they represent key early beneficiaries and adopters of ITS technologies. The general public also includes the public at large since many ITS services provide broad system benefits that are "used" by the public at large. Ultimately, the General Public pays for everything -- either directly through user fees and direct purchase of on-board or on-site equipment, or through taxes.