User Needs

In a regional ITS architecture User Needs provide a starting point to determine system requirements that the ITS elements will need to satisfy in order to implement the ITS services.



A user need is a capability that is identified to accomplish a specific goal or solve a problem that is to be supported by the system. ARC-IT defines a set of user needs for all users that participate in ITS. These needs are apportioned to service packages according to the ability of those service packages to address these needs. User needs are then traced to requirements that are written for each functional object.






User Needs are the used to derive system functional requirements which are a required component of the regional ITS architecture as identified in 23CFR940.9(d)5 and FTA National ITS Architecture Policy Section 5.d.5.




Key Activities


If updating an existing regional ITS architecture:

-         Review service package changes since the last update

-         Select user needs for each of the service packages in the region

-         Update tailoring of the needs if stakeholder organization names have changed or other changes to the default needs


If defining a new regional ITS architecture:

-         Select the user needs based on the service packages

-         Review the selected needs for consistency and accuracy

-         Customize or tailor the needs to reflect stakeholders and their priorities

-         Review with needs with stakeholders and update as needed




Sources of Information


-         Service Packages

-         Stakeholder(s) current system capabilities

-         Stakeholder(s) planned system capabilities and deployment needs




Results of Process



-         A set of user needs based on the regional ITS architecture service packages




Relationship to Other Components

As shown in the figure below, user needs are mapped to several other components of the Regional ITS Architecture.


Same graphic as presented earlier showing the components that make up a regional ITS architecture with the User Needs button or item highlighted.

Regional ITS Architecture Components – Needs


The connection from Stakeholder to User Needs is an indirect though important connection. Users as represented by the set of stakeholders have needs that they expect to be met through their deployed ITS projects. These stakeholders' needs are reflected in the reviewed set of ITS elements and service packages. Once the service packages have been customized, reviewed, and updated to the satisfaction of the stakeholders then Needs become the starting point for tracing the requirements that are necessary to implement those systems.



The definition of User Needs relating to ITS Services were added in Version 8 of ARC-IT, so for most regional ITS architecture updates these will not have been previously defined.


The next sections describe the different activities involved in each approach:

-         Updating Existing User Needs

-         Defining a New Set of User Needs


Updating Existing User Needs

Some older architectures may have mappings to Regional Needs (or possibly even User Needs), which were usually related to the Planning attributes of regional objectives or strategies (see the Goals, Objectives, and Strategies section). These older references usually were not directly connected to transportation planning documents. The recommendation now is to try to make connections to the transportation planning documents. Use the Planning tab in RAD-IT to update the mapping between the Goals/Objectives to selected Service Packages in your regional architecture. Another approach is to update the needs using the User Needs drafted for ARC-IT for each service package.


RAD-IT iconRAD-IT includes the ability to automatically add User Needs to an architecture based on the service packages defined for the architecture (See RAD-IT Tab section below). A suggested approach is to perform the service package updates as part of the update effort and then create (or update if they did exist) the user needs for each service package (or service package instance if the architecture includes these).


Defining a New Set of User Needs

For a regional architecture that did not have a set of user needs defined before or for a new regional architecture the best place to start is with the services that are defined and selected for the region. Using the service packages in ARC-IT there is a list of user needs written generically for each service package. Start with these and customize them for your region's stakeholders. What is it that the owners and operators of ITS need to improve their operations? What are their needs in terms of infrastructure and systems integration? Those can all be captured using the service packages as a starting point. Review the draft set of needs with the core group of stakeholders as the services, needs, and roles and responsibilities have been drafted. Update the needs in order to be ready to select the appropriate requirements in the subsequent steps.



Tips iconConsider adding User Needs for projects defined in RAD-IT as this will make the service package-based user needs available for use in project development, including using SET-IT to develop more detailed project ITS architectures and to support development of project concept of operations (which will include the user needs).



The key information about User Needs can be found on the RAD-IT User Needs tab, where the needs are shown for each service package (or service package instance).


Needs Tab in RAD-IT


In RAD-IT, Autoselect can be used to add the needs for all service packages, or if you are just updating needs, then Autoselect will add needs only for those service packages (or service package instances) added since the last update. Note: Autoselect will also delete user needs for service packages that are deleted from the architecture as part of the update.



The list or User Needs, organized by Service Package, can be added to an architecture website. The following example is a partial list of User Needs taken from the Memphis Urban Area Regional ITS Architecture website.


Screenshot from the Memphis Urban Area Regional ITS Architecture the regional architecture showing a table of Needs for the region sorted by Need Area (service package).

Example Needs for the Memphis Regional ITS Architecture