Use in Programming/ Budgeting

Regional and statewide programming and agency capital planning (a.k.a. budgeting) involve identifying and prioritizing ITS projects. The result is funded projects.


Using a regional ITS architecture to define an ITS project links the objectives and strategies of the region, which are referenced in the architecture with the ITS deployed in the field. In a region, ITS projects are deployed by many organizations including the State Department of Transportation, transit agencies and many local agencies and authorities. The regional ITS architecture provides a common reference point for projects deployed by various organizations allowing improved coordination between agencies as they implement projects that integrate systems within the region.


ITS projects in a region may be funded by a variety of sources. ITS projects that are funded with federal funds are programmed by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and State DOTs with input from transportation agencies in the region. All organizations in a region, whether they use federal funds to deploy ITS or not, perform short term planning via their capital planning (i.e. budgeting) process.



Architecture Use in Programming Federal Funds:

The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a staged, multiyear, intermodal program of transportation projects that is consistent with the long range transportation plan for a metropolitan area. At the statewide level there is a corresponding Statewide TIP (STIP) that is consistent with the long range statewide transportation plan. The TIP/STIP assigns federal funding to a prioritized list of specific projects to be constructed over a several-year period (usually three to six years) after the program's approval.


The regional ITS architecture can be used to support definition of ITS projects that are submitted for federal funding. In some regions, ITS projects in the TIP/STIP are not defined in much detail. Sometimes merely a placeholder for ITS projects is included. A benefit to using a regional architecture to define ITS projects is that the projects can be specified in greater detail thereby allowing more realistic estimates of the costs, benefits, schedule, etc.


Tips iconWhen project sponsors submit ITS projects for programming, some planning agencies require that the sponsors submit architecture-related information about the project. Some agencies merely require yes/no questions to be answered regarding the project's inclusion in the regional architecture while others request more detailed information such as the elements, services, and/or interfaces of the architecture to be deployed in the project. If an ITS project is submitted which is not included in or is not consistent with the regional architecture, the project sponsors can consider how to use the architecture to define projects, which is discussed in Architecture Use to Identify and Define Projects.


In the TIP/STIP, projects that contain ITS elements should be designated as ITS projects so that projects sponsors are aware of the associated requirements from the federal regulation on architecture.


An example of this is from the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). MTC identifies ITS projects in their TIP (within their TIP software system, WEB FMS) as shown below.


Project listing report from the 2019 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) from Metropolitan Transportation Commission of the San Francisco Bay Area showing the I-880 integrated corridor management project, its description, and the programmed budget for the next 4 years.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission TIP Report


The programming process involves prioritizing projects and using federal funds to fund the top priority projects. Each region has a process for prioritizing projects. The regional ITS architecture can be useful in this process as it reflects the vision for ITS in the region so a factor in prioritization should be how well a project fits within the regional architecture. In some regions, projects (of some categories) are allotted additional points if they include elements or interfaces of the architecture. For example, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) assigns points to projects that enhance their ITS network based on the scale shown in the figure below.


Excerpt of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority prioritization criteria in transportation projects. Shows that 'Projects that include ITS designed to help manage traffic foster multimodal connections and interconnect regional and local systems" can get up to 31 points.

NJTPA ITS Prioritization Criteria


In another example of project prioritization, Maricopa Association of Governments has defined, in their Transportation Programming Guidebook, a set of criteria specifically for ITS projects. In the evaluation there are two key "essential" requirements:

-         All projects must be identified on the list of strategies recommended in the Systems Management and Operations Plan (SM&O) Plan.

-         All projects must be in compliance with the Regional ITS Architecture.

In addition, the projects are evaluated against criteria such as how well the project meets objectives specific to a SM&O priority category.


Tips iconA regional architecture may better support programming if the project sequencing and related architecture elements are updated on a maintenance schedule that supports the TIP cycle. The architecture should be updated prior to a project submittal request so that it can be used by project sponsors to identify projects. If thorough updates to the architecture are to correspond to LRTP updates, less major revisions to the architecture can be made to correspond to the TIP cycle.



Architecture Use in Organization Capital Planning

All agencies including State DOTS, transit agencies, local municipalities, etc. use a budgeting process to allocate funds to projects. A regional ITS architecture should include the existing and planned elements of all stakeholders and how they are or will be interfaced with other ITS elements in the region. Therefore, all organizations can use the architecture to define ITS projects, as defined below, and feed them into their budgeting process.


Tips iconMany ITS improvements are implemented as part of larger capital improvement projects. As traditional capital projects are defined and programmed, it is important to identify the associated opportunities for efficient ITS implementation. The regional ITS architecture is a record of the ITS implementation planned by each agency that can be used to identify these opportunities. Some agencies are considering policies to review each capital project to determine if ITS measures should be included before the project moves forward. Many agencies do this type of review as good practice, but these opportunities would be identified more consistently and "carry more weight" if this check was formally defined and required by an established policy. For example, the Albuquerque MPO is incorporating such reviews to their Plan Development Process that sets the procedures and steps for administering Federal-Aid projects from project identification through construction award.



Architecture Use to Identify and Define Projects

A regional ITS architecture includes a sequence of projects as described in Project Sequencing. Projects from the architecture are meant to feed into the programming and/or capital planning processes.


Some agencies and regions have created and used ITS Strategic Plans to define ITS projects. A strategic plan determines the ITS vision of the agency or region and how the vision will be deployed. A strategic plan identifies location-specific projects and the timeframe for deploying them. Typically, an implementation plan for deploying the projects is defined. ITS projects can then be taken directly from the plan and submitted for funding (with Federal or other funds.)


As the projects defined in a regional ITS architecture are sequenced and have defined characteristics (See Project Sequencing for information on defining projects), just as in an ITS strategic plan, organizations can use the architecture to define ITS projects to be submitted for funding from any source. The information contained in a regional ITS architecture can be used to define projects with more detail in order to better scope them and establish project budget requirements. If the project is defined in the regional ITS architecture then the portion of the regional ITS architecture relating to the project can be used.


Defining Projects Not in the Architecture

If the project is not currently in the regional ITS architecture, there may still be information in the architecture that can be used to define the ITS project:

-         Review the list of stakeholders to identify those that should be involved with the project and those that are or may be impacted.

-         Use the stakeholder roles and responsibilities defined in the operational concept to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders involved in the project.

-         Review the relevant service(s) (i.e. service package(s)) to identify elements potentially directly or indirectly associated with the project and recognizing potential partners to share development costs, material and/or labor, facilities, etc.

-         Use the defined interfaces between ITS elements to identify current and future integration opportunities.

-         Utilize the sequence of projects to gain insight into the timetables and other dependencies of a project with others including identifying opportunities to coordinate with capital projects.

-         Apply the project description of the project sequencing including any additional information about the project (e.g. costs, benefits, and potential institutional issues) to clearly define the project.