Road Network Operations
& Intelligent Transport Systems
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ITS includes diverse stakeholders in terms of disciplines, business areas and ownership:

  • discipline diversity – includes different areas of engineering, economics and public policies
  • different types of businesses areas – includes government departments of transport (DOTs), enforcement agencies, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and communication service providers
  • ownership – includes public and private entities depending on the type of applications. For example, management of public roads is the responsibility of public agencies with technical support provided by private companies

Traditionally, the public sector has been responsible for the operation and maintenance of roads and highway infrastructure. Public agencies, such as a road or highway authority or a public works department, have had primary responsibility for the planning, design, operations and maintenance. For example, public agencies are usually responsible for ITS enabled services – such as incident management and traffic signal operations.

Similarly, the public sector has, in the past, taken full responsibility for the planning, design, investment, operations and maintenance of the dedicated ITS infrastructure (which includes management centres, field devices and communication infrastructure). Increasingly much is being out-sourced to the private sector under service contracts. Nevertheless the public sector continues to take the lead in long term planning for traffic and highway ITS infrastructure. (See Dimensions of ITS Deployment)

Experience shows that ITS involves an increasing number of organisations – as the full potential of new technology is realised. The table below illustrates this with examples of the more common objectives for investing in ITS – showing the varying degrees of complexity and stakeholder groups. Senior officials of public agencies and chief executives of private sector companies will often have a close involvement because of the level of commitment required.

Examples of Stakeholders for ITS Projects
Strategic Objective Stakeholder Groups Candidate ITS Applications
Improved urban traffic management
  • Local traffic management agencies;
  • Regional transport authorities;
  • Private sector collective transport operators;
  • Police / enforcement agencies;
  • Emergency services Freight operators;
  • Other road users (pedestrian /cycle priorities);
  • Local businesses;
  • Owners and occupants of properties affected by the scheme (access, stopping, loading);
  • Local residents.
  • Real-time adaptive traffic signal control;
  • Integration of urban arterial and urban freeway traffic management systems;
  • Introduction of active bus priority schemes.
Introduction of new automatic payment systems or access controls Many of the above, plus:
  • Toll road operators and electronic payment managers.
  • Non-stop electronic tolling;
  • Congestion charging and price-related access control.
Strategic and tactical management of inter-urban traffic Many of the above, plus:
  • Expressway, toll road and freeway operators and managers;
  • Traffic police and roadside emergency services.
  • Regional traffic control centres;
  • Better incident detection;
  • Emergency response;
  • VMS and driver information support.
Better integration of transport modes Many of the above plus:
  • Operators of railroads, inland waterway terminals, sea-ports and airports.
  • ITS plus park-and-ride schemes;
  • Multi-modal traveller information systems;
  • Paperless intermodal trans-shipment.
Added-value services for private motorists and vehicle fleet operators
  • Private driver information service providers;
  • Users of these services.
  • Freight logistics;
  • Driver information systems;
  • Dynamic (traffic responsive) in-vehicle navigation.


Primary and Secondary Stakeholders

Stakeholders can be categorised into primary and secondary stakeholders. Primary stakeholders are distinguished by the level and nature of their involvement:

  • level of involvement – those with direct responsibilities in managing, operating and maintaining the system will be primary stakeholder. Others – with a lesser impact on the business practices and usage of a system – will be secondary stakeholders
  • nature of involvement - service providers, service users and customers are always primary stakeholders:
    • private sector service providers include automobile manufacturers and their suppliers, commercial vehicle operators, private transport companies and value-added service providers
    • public sector service providers include government departments of transport, regional planning organisations, public transport planning agencies, local government and enforcement agencies
    • users or customer groups include drivers, passengers, pedestrians and customers receiving shipments

For example, in deliveries and commercial vehicle operations, the vehicle owners and delivery services providers and their customers are the primary stakeholders for ITS services to customers. Enforcement bodies such as the police and vehicle examiners are primary stakeholders in relation to weights and permits regulations and enforcement. From the public policy perspective local communities will also have an interest, albeit a secondary one unless there is public concern about the potential impact of operations.

Both primary and secondary stakeholders have roles in the planning, development, operations and maintenance of ITS projects. All stakeholders with a potential interest in the project must be identified and engaged – from planning to operations and maintenance stage of a project. Their input and participation is necessary for the successful realisation of an ITS project.

It is important to be aware of, and sensitive to, possible issues at all times – in what may be an evolving situation, as an ITS project develops. Secondary stakeholders can introduce issues which must be recognised and dealt with. Generally it is better to uncover interests and issues early on in the planning stages – so that proper adjustments can be made. An effective communication strategy with stakeholders provides the opportunity to develop contingency options.

ITS investments usually need political and public support. Public agencies must communicate the anticipated benefits of the ITS deployment in terms that policy makers and the public can understand. In the early stages of ITS deployment, a careful assessment of risk is essential covering the technology, market perspective, political and public acceptability. Some aspects may require a regulatory framework to ensure public safety, interoperability and rules for procurement – and where necessary an enforcement policy (such as speed control.) (See Contracts)

Building Partnerships

A priority for ITS is to consult the widest possible range of interests and to build local partnerships to achieve consensus on objectives and scope of investments in ITS – and joint problem-solving. Stakeholders are impacted by any failure or success of an ITS project. This means there is a need to develop an all-inclusive process to identify and engage all stakeholders from the start of the planning phase of ITS projects. This may lead to the involvement of new stakeholders, such as financial institutions, retailers, broadcasters, telecommunications providers and value-added service providers. Each stakeholder will have their own distinct business practices and goals – and should take ownership of their roles and responsibilities in any ITS project at each stage of the project.

There is often a role for an ‘ITS champion’ to take the initiative, drive forward consultation and keep all partners and stakeholders on board.

Operating Context

A total system approach to ITS deployment means paying attention to both technical concepts and institutional measures needed to integrate key technologies to deliver effective user services.

Successful ITS operations are enabled by a regulatory and institutional framework that is fit for purpose – with cooperative agreements between stakeholders that define clearly each party’s role and responsibilities. An equitable cooperative agreement between stakeholders – guided by suitable risk distribution, cost sharing and revenue or benefit sharing – may solve some of the regulatory and institutional challenges. (See Interagency Working)

A self-contained ‘silo’ mentality within an organisation may frustrate the development of ITS services. A lack of attention to end-user needs and requirements and poor management and project control in a primary stakeholder organisation – may also undermine the planned ITS deployment and incur excessive cost. Deficiencies such as these, may make the ITS service economically unfeasible.

Concept of Operations

A cooperative agreement can take the form of a ‘Concept of Operations’ – where each stakeholder’s roles and responsibilities are described and each party agrees on the allocation of operational roles and responsibilities.

The agreement should be based on appropriate risk distribution, cost sharing and revenue or benefit sharing – according to the role and level of involvement of each stakeholder. This must be developed at the planning stage of an ITS project and may have an important place in defining any ITS architecture. (See How to Create and ITS Architecture?)

By way of example, the table below summarises a Concept of Operations that was developed for Bloomington/Monroe County in Indiana USA, as a part of the county’s regional ITS architecture. Stakeholders are mapped to different transport services and each stakeholder’s roles and responsibilities are specified.

Transport Service Stakeholder Role/Responsibility
Concept of Operations for ITS Services (Based on Bloomington City/Monroe County, Indiana State, USA)
Emergency Management Public Safety Agencies
  • Provide emergency call taking
  • Dispatch appropriate agency(s) to incidents
  • Coordinate various systems and agencies during emergencies
Freeway (Motorway) Management Highway Operator
  • Operate traffic information devices (DMS, HAR)
  • Monitor traffic conditions
Incident Management Highway Operator
  • Operate Freeway Service Vehicles
  • Provide information to travellers using traffic information devices (DMS, HAR)
  • Provide assistance to Public Safety Agencies responding to incidents on roads under INDOT’s jurisdiction
Public Safety Agencies
  • Receive emergency calls for incidents
  • Dispatch appropriate agency(s) to incidents
Maintenance and Construction Management Highway Operator
  • Provide maintenance of national and regional (Interstate Routes)
  • Coordinate with other agencies that provide maintenance and construction
City/County Authority
  • Provide maintenance of urban streets and rural roads
  • Coordinate with other agencies that provide maintenance and construction
Highway Pavement Management Highway Operator
  • Collect data using roadside devices
Surface Street Management City/County Authority
  • Collect data using roadside devices
Public Transport Management Bus/ Coach
  • Provide fixed route bus service
  • Provide demand response (Paratransit) bus service
  • Monitor Public Transport assets (vehicle locations, video surveillance)
Traveller Information Highway Operator
  • Provide information to drivers (Dynamic message Signs, Highway Advisory Radio)


Advice for Paractitioners

The leading stakeholders in an ITS deployment may parallel those involved in a construction project: the client, professional consultants, products and service suppliers, contractors and specialist subcontractors:

  • the client can be a public authority or private operator – or, often, a multi-agency grouping under a lead agency
  • ITS professionals who advise on, and manage, an ITS deployment – are typically drawn from the disciplines of civil, electrical or transport engineering and transport planning. Their specifications define project needs and anticipated costs, and guide the developers and suppliers – including computer software and hardware, detectors and sensors, communications networks, cameras and infrastructure equipment, fixed and portable devices
  • system integrators may be needed for complex ITS projects – especially when the component systems must operate together reliably

Transport professionals who are responsible for launching ITS at project or programme level, may be unfamiliar with certain aspects of a deployment – either technical or institutional. (See ITS Technologies and Strategic Planning)


Reference sources

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