Road Network Operations
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Steps in Policy Framework Analysis

The process of developing an ITS Strategy or Framework Plan with multi-stakeholder cooperation contains a number of steps, which are described below.

Step 1: Establish User Needs

The starting point is to determine the major transport issues which ITS should address. Ideally, this will be based on a survey of the needs of users: shippers, carriers, distribution companies, bus and coach operators, commercial bodies, private individuals, and national and regional governmental organisations. The Framework needs to respond to current policy issues such as environmental sustainability, economic development, safety and security. A good example of such an analyses is the European Commission's Urban Mobility package from 2013.

The aim of a needs-driven Framework plan should be to define the basic supporting infrastructure for ITS - using existing services, projects and infrastructure as a springboard where possible. Existing services and projects that use ITS technology should be identified and brought within the scope of the plan. The Framework needs to be developed through discussion, consultation and meetings with the major stakeholders - and augmented, if appropriate, by  dialogue with key decision makers and politicians. The work can include mapping of transport problems to ITS user services. (See Benefits of ITS) ITS functions - or user services - relevant to industrial and regional needs should also be identified and prioritised.

Step 2: Make an Inventory of Existing ITS

An important input to the ITS Framework Plan is developing an inventory of existing ITS systems and services - that are either already operating or under development. This step follows on naturally from the analysis of stakeholders. For example, some of the road authorities and operators may already be operating freeway management, incident detection and management, or traffic signal control. They might add to these public transport management, emergency management, and advanced information systems in the pipeline. The future of these (what will become “legacy systems”) must be addressed specifically in the ITS Framework Plan. Decisions will be needed on whether to retain and upgrade them or to invest in new systems that have improved capabilities and performance. Decisions to terminate some services or to scrap some systems may also be taken in favour of purchasing better services from the ITS service market or using more cost-efficient technology solutions.

Step 3: Review the Plans of Key Stakeholders

It is likely that a number of different organisations will need to ‘buy in’ to the overall vision for ITS and the implementation process to make the vision a reality. Harmonising the positions of the principal stakeholders is probably the most important aspect for the deployment and operation of ITS. The successful development of new services will be much easier if stakeholder's individual motivations and interests can be aligned. Close contact with the key actors is needed throughout the planning and deployment process.

The list of organisations which might be involved can be extensive but only a few will play a leading role. The ITS service providers will naturally need to be involved. Almost certainly the list will need to include the agencies involved in operating the major highways, the local authorities responsible for the main arterial roads and local roads, the traffic police and other traffic management agencies. Depending on the specific ITS application, the operators of commercial vehicles, public transport operators, and the motoring organisations representing private motorists, may also need to be involved. 

Experience shows that ITS services involve an increasing number of organisations as the full potential of the new technologies is realised. The table below illustrates this point 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 be involved in the definition of the ITS Framework Plan - because of the level of commitment that is required to make the plans become a reality.

The body of stakeholders which will need to be consulted during the decision-making process depends on the local situation and the issues at hand. It is important to be aware and sensitive to potential issues at all times - in what may be an evolving situation - as ITS services develop. Even apparent minor stakeholders can introduce issues which must be recognised and dealt with. Generally it is better to uncover and address any issues early on in the planning stages, so proper adjustments can be made. An effective communication strategy with the stakeholders provides the opportunity to develop contingency options.

 Figure 2. Examples of Stakeholders for ITS Projects

Step 4: Build Consensus on Priorities and Requirements

If the consultations and preparation work has been done effectively the ITS Framework Plan will be supported by all the leading actors. For deployment to proceed, their awareness of ITS, and expectations of it, must be compatible. Focusing on ITS services as a whole, will enable identification of those services and  enabling systems with a broad context - which will require support from a strategic ITS framework. The architecture may need to support localised services such as common infrastructure used by ITS - for example communications networks, data exchange protocols, electronic payment services, where economies of scale and standards are required for economic viability.

The issue of multiple organisations, data and information exchange needs to be addressed both psychologically and institutionally. In day-to-day operations, protection of jurisdictional authorities and responsibilities is one of the most common problems encountered when integrating regional traffic control. Organisational culture conflicts need to be resolved in ITS public-private partnerships. Each of the multiple organisations involved has its own history and standard operating procedures that can make it difficult to build the necessary partnerships. While group decision theory (based on the concept of win-win solutions) may apply reasonably well to these situations, game theory (based on minimum-maximum principles which evaluate strategies under worst-case scenarios) may be more relevant to handle newer ITS applications - such as combatting or alleviating the impact of terrorist or cyber attacks.

The promoters of ITS services or projects need to consider the following:

  • What level of service should be achieved – in terms of coverage, quality, benefit/cost, user interaction and product development?
  • What are the expected impacts from implementing this service? From a public policy perspective, this will require clarification of the different goals related to ITS - whilst the benefits to users (corporate or individual) also need to be made explicit
  • What justifies the required investments for planning, infrastructure and operations? Here the public sector will have to demonstrate the public character of the expected benefits, while private sector will focus on profitability and strategic market perspectives
  • What shapes the practical implementation of the service? This means taking into account  general framework conditions (institutions, regulation, “IT culture”, market development, available services), as well as the concrete options for setting up the service (partners, technologies, delivery models)

Step 5: Analyse Roles and Responsibilities

Experience shows that it is helpful for the key actors to agree:

  • the activities that will take place – the scope of the ITS projects that will be undertaken, and the services that will be developed, and their inter-dependencies
  • the roles that specific people and organisations are required to play - taking care to distinguish between primary actors who will have a controlling responsibility and those in a secondary or advisory capacity
  • the interactions that must take place amongst the organisations, the services, the systems, and the environment in which the ITS developments are placed - and the timetables for the interactions including key milestones

Step 6: Document the Strategy Framework

The ITS Strategy or Framework Plan should be published alongside a set of documents which will describe the proposals and provide a basis for agreement between all the stakeholders. These documents will together provide the basis for further refinement and consensus building during the subsequent stages of ITS deployment. Together they will provide a comprehensive statement of the ITS policies and priorities and what is to be achieved.

Examples of the type of documents which should be published are:

  • a mission definition statement summarising the key objectives and priorities for investment in ITS
  • a popular “vision statement” to explain to lay people and politicians what will be achieved if investment in ITS proceeds
  • a more substantial summary or concept paper elaborating the implementation strategy for ITS - outlining the roles to be played by all major stakeholders


Reference sources

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