United States Department of Transportation
Intelligent Transportation Systems

Guidance for Congressionally-designated ITS Projects

February 20, 1998

I. Introduction

The purpose of the this document is to provide guidance to Congressionally-designated ITS project recipients, as well as to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) field staff, on the specific requirements the recipients will need to meet in order to receive project funding. The purpose of these requirements is to ensure that Congressionally-designated ITS projects meet the Congressional directives contained in the fiscal year 1997 Appropriations Conference Report:

"The director of the [Department of Transportation Intelligent Transportation System] joint program office shall ensure that the operations of each of the ITS projects...is consistent with the national systems architecture... These projects shall contribute to the implementation of the standards development work and shall promote interoperability of ITS systems among the States."

Because successful implementation of ITS depends on bridging the technical and institutional gaps between numerous transportation agencies and across jurisdictional boundaries, Congress has clearly affirmed the goal of developing integrated intelligent transportation systems that are consistent with the National ITS Architecture and corresponding standards.

Historically, Congressionally-designated ITS projects were primarily geared toward operational testing. However, the projects contained in the 1998 Appropriations legislation are primarily oriented toward ITS deployment. As such, the thrust of this Guidance is aimed at ensuring Federal ITS funds are to be used to create technically and institutionally interoperable transportation systems. Furthermore, it is the DOT's intent to encourage partnerships with the private sector whenever possible and that Federal funds not be used to fund activities where the private sector has a market ability to provide services.


II. Approach to ITS Project Deployments

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) demonstrated how ITS can make the most of existing infrastructure and further the intermodal goals set forth by the tenets of ISTEA. Where the National ITS Program under ISTEA was primarily a research and testing program, under reauthorization it is primarily a research and deployment integration program.

Some of the lessons learned during the ISTEA era helped form the basic shape of the reauthorization ITS Program. For example, there is a strong need to have well informed leaders and decision makers who are aware of the operational benefits ITS offers and who can translate that awareness into transportation investment decisions. There is also a clear need for ITS planning and stakeholder buy-in at the regional level C that is, planning for ITS within the context of larger transportation plans and programs. There is a need for up-front commitment to long-term operations and maintenance of ITS components and their integration. This points to programming future financial resources through traditional or innovative financing mechanisms concurrent with project approvals. Finally, there is a need for a highly trained workforce in order for ITS to become a reality.

The DOT intends that all ITS funding will provide a greater multimodal emphasis in ITS by supporting technical integration and jurisdictional coordination of multimodal ITS infrastructure components that are self-sustaining and meet local needs. Ultimately, the deployment of ITS will help continue the fundamental shift in how the nation approaches mobility C to managing and operating the entire transportation system, with an efficient, multimodal, single-system view of regional mobility and an eye toward getting the most of out of every infrastructure dollar spent.


III. Role of Congressionally-designated projects

The Congressionally-designated ITS projects present an opportunity to ensure that ITS systems are deployed in a manner which fosters integration across modes and jurisdictional boundaries. This opportunity must be seized by making sure these projects support regional, multi-modal system development and do not create barriers to integration that will take years and significant resources to overcome.

Through this Guidance, the DOT plans to ensure these projects are carried out in a manner based on sound regional planning, and designed and implemented with technical integration in mind, and in accordance with the National ITS Architecture. In order to ensure that the requirements for each Congressionally-designated ITS project are appropriate and consistent with the size and scope of the project, the DOT has developed the following program framework under which the various projects fall.


IV. Requirements

This section outlines the specific requirements that ITS project recipients will have to meet and document prior to receiving funding. It discusses general requirements for every project, as well as the additional requirements for each specific project type.