Creating the organisational capability for ITS needs vision and commitment from senior management. Any deployment of staff or organisational restructuring needs to be planned carefully – for example, when a road authority takes on new responsibilities for traffic operations. Effecting change needs champions – someone with leadership skills who can secure budget and finance for an initial programme of work and the staff to do that work.
“ITS systems involve a significant investment, in the form of capital investment and organisational commitment.”
The organisation’s capability in ITS is best developed by building-up a team with the knowledge and expertise needed to support the development of the ITS infrastructure. In a road authority, the ITS team will need to work closely with staff dealing with routine maintenance, road safety and emergency response. It is possible that some staff will already have a full appreciation of the potential role that ITS can play. It will be important to build on this core of ITS expertise.
Various tasks – some of them quite major, such as the development of a Traffic Control Centre – may need to be out-sourced. For example, the in-house ITS team could be supported by a technology consultancy who can help specify, install and maintain the IT and communications equipment.
At the organisational level, capacity building and capability in ITS requires action in four main areas – the assignment of roles and responsibilities, inter-agency teaming and partnership, leadership, and human resources
It may be useful – as part of planning for an ITS deployment – to develop a “concept of operations” that sets out the roles and responsibilities of the different operational units involved and identifies all interdependencies. This should be followed by analysing the gaps between the existing skills base of each unit – compared with the knowledge and expertise necessary. The gaps can then be filled with a customised training and development programme for key individuals. (See "Concept of Operations Document” in Using ITS Architecture)
The need for cross-boundary and inter-disciplinary coordination between the different organisations and agencies that are involved with ITS has led to partnerships being developed to achieve specific ITS service objectives. Even seemingly minority stakeholders can introduce issues that must be recognised and dealt with. Generally it is better to uncover all potential issues early on in the planning stages – so they can be taken into account. An effective communication strategy with stakeholders will provide the opportunity to develop contingency options. The aim is to build consensus on service priorities and requirements. (See Integrated Operations)
In the ITS, public agencies and private organisations must collaborate together. This requires building a knowledge base about the tasks performed by each. A capacity building programme to support inter-agency working and partnership will empower employees at each collaborating agency.
Leaders and champions are an important factor in speeding deployment of ITS-based services – by ensuring that organisations coordinate with one another. Finding at least one leader or champion from each stakeholder group, in different ITS application areas, will help to move ITS into the mainstream of solving existing and future mobility problems.
In time, it is possible that a requirement for certification of professional standards and levels of expertise will emerge in response to the ITS industry’s needs. For example, in future it could be a requirement that ITS professionals will not be allowed to practice without some type of certification. At the outset, the need for certification should be identified in consultation with the technicians, professionals, managers, and educators most closely involved.
Introducing this requirement could motivate ITS capability-building at a professional level and satisfy minimum ITS competency requirements. Professional organisations in the transport sector are well-placed to develop guidelines related to the certification process, which might include a code of conduct for certified professionals and enforcement strategies. An example is the UK’s Chartered Engineers programme – similar to the United States’ Professional Engineering programme. In both cases, professional engineering registration is a requirement for completing certain engineering tasks – such as design. Adapting these programmes to include ITS will support accelerated ITS professional capacity development.