Training for ITS specialists requires a multidisciplinary approach that is not confined to a single engineering programme, such as civil or electrical engineering. It should be geared towards educating professionals in a range of subjects – traffic engineering, computer networks, telecommunications and information technology – with in-depth training in specialist topics, such as traffic flow, system integration and technology evaluation.
Areas that are essential to become familiar with – for professionals working at an advanced level in planning and project management for ITS – include:
ITS educational and training programmes need to encompass multiple disciplines and application areas – such as planning, systems analysis and design, technology evaluation, data analysis and management, system integration and the organisational and institutional aspects of ITS.
ITS planning for a region will comprise documents developed using the methodology of “describing the answers to the questions”:
A regional ITS architecture and ITS standards supporting interfaces within the architecture can go some way in answering these questions. ITS architecture defines functions and associated subsystems, and interfaces, information and data flows between subsystems. (See ITS Architecture)
Capacity building in project appraisal will require an ability to perform the following tasks:
An investment appraisal before any decisions are made to implement an ITS deployment is an essential step in making the business case for ITS – and to secure funding for it. (See Finance and Contracts)
Evaluation of ITS Projects
It is likely that ITS will require both traditional and non-traditional financing methods – as public funding for transport infrastructure tries to keep pace with the demand for mobility. For example, toll roads and traffic control centres are sometimes developed through a public-private partnership – and this may become more common in future.
ITS staff must also be capable of selecting and managing ITS contracts, which differ from those required for procurement and contract management in construction projects. ITS professionals should be able to select contractors, develop test plans, conduct product acceptance testing, and identify warranty requirements for ITS projects. (See Finance and Contracts)
Details of the technical specifications for the equipment used in providing the service are left open for the contractor to propose. With information and communications technology developing apace, this flexibility is needed to ensure that the ITS equipment is fit for purpose and not obsolete or likely to become obsolete in the near future.
ITS service specifications need to be written using the legal language of contract documents (such as using a “shall” statement for a requirement) and in a format that can be readily adapted to form a schedule of technical requirements. ITS professionals can develop these skills with practice and by working alongside technical experts who have the know-how.
In a performance-based contract, payment depends on achieving satisfactory service performance – and not on a bill-of-quantities. Payment to the contractor is determined by how well the service output requirements are met – these are fundamental to the contract for:
Financial penalties will be specified in the contract – that would be triggered if service requirements are not met or maintained. These penalties have to be reflected in the service payment mechanism – which is another area where an agency needs to develop expertise or create an Expert Advisers Panel for support.
Very often an organisation or agency that is developing an ITS programme for the first time will need experience of selecting and working with international suppliers of ITS equipment and services. For example, it is likely that a road authority will wish to form a partnership with a preferred supplier – such as a systems integrator – who can work alongside the authority to assist with ITS deployments and operations. Typically the process of selecting a partner organisation will go through a number of stages.
Stage 1 Informal Discussions
These can be held with potential partners on a bilateral basis without prejudice to the final outcome of the procurement process. Potential candidates will often be a consortium, based on a local company paired with a major international ITS service operator or ITS systems integrator.
Stage 2 Pre-qualification
When the client organisation is ready to commit to an ITS project it will issue a public notice and a request for proposals from companies and consortia with the required knowledge and experience for formal prequalification.
Stage 3 Evaluate Proposals
To be accepted for pre-qualification, a candidate will be expected to supply evidence showing a comprehensive track record which demonstrates the consortium’s ability and technical capacity to deliver the project requirement. Candidates will usually be assessed against three main criteria:
Based on the information provided – and after further inquiries, if necessary – the organisations that meet, in full, all the prequalification requirements, are accepted on the tender list.
Stage 4 Request Tenders
Organisations who pre-qualify (and only those who pre-qualify) will be requested to submit tenders to provide ITS services against the authority’s service requirements specifications
Stage 5 Evaluate Tenders
Tenders are evaluated and the selection of a partner organisation proceeds on the basis of formal negotiations with a preferred partner – leading to a “best and final offer”. Sometimes negotiations take place in parallel with the second place candidate in order to have a supplier in reserve if negotiations with the leading contender fail unexpectedly.
ITS specialists need to be very familiar with the fundamentals of road traffic flow and the interactions between different roadway elements such as the vehicles, drivers, pedestrians, passengers, environment, traffic control and road geometry. They need to know how to manage and control the negative impacts of interactions – such as congestion, accidents and collisions. This knowledge is vital for many road-based ITS applications. It requires a knowledge of the basic characteristics of traffic flow at both a:
Most academic textbooks on traffic engineering and traffic flow theory offer a useful resource for developing knowledge of the fundamentals of traffic flow and traffic control. Traditional civil engineering programmes at colleges and universities offer undergraduate courses on transport engineering – which focus on road and traffic engineering. Graduate courses tackling traffic engineering and traffic flow theory are also available.
At a conceptual level, system design refers to the process of defining what system components are necessary to satisfy the user requirements. In practice, system design requires more detailed investigations to determine:
A part of system design is integration. System integration requires connecting different components seamlessly to provide the required services with the lowest possible investment.
Successful data analysis and management requires a knowledge of data collection and how to store, manage and distribute it – so that useful information can be extracted. ITS professionals should be able to develop and execute a data management plan, which includes the following:
The core ITS applications for road network operations include:
Professionals associated with ITS operations need to develop capabilities in all these areas. Similarly, maintenance engineers and technicians need to develop skills to enable them to troubleshoot and fix ITS devices when necessary. ITS maintenance differs significantly from traditional highway maintenance activities for bridges and road pavements. A practical training programme is needed.
ITS Learning Partnership Programme
This one-off World Bank programme provides a model for ITS training and professional capacity development. It was offered in 2010 for Eastern Europe and Central Asia to raise institutional capacity in ITS. The goal was knowledge exchange to promote the development of ITS through dialogue with technical experts and centres of excellence. A series of six webinars was arranged.
1 – Introduction to ITS
2 – Interurban ITS applications
3 – Electronic tolling and payment
4 – Cross regional cooperation
5 – Freight and Logistics applications
6 – Urban ITS applications