Road Network Operations
& Intelligent Transport Systems
A guide for practitioners!

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Professional Capacity Building

Organisations that have traditionally dealt with the construction and maintenance of civil engineering infrastructure – such as highways, roads and bridges – will have a big adjustment to make when providing services through ITS technologies based on sensors, processors and communication technologies. Adapting to ITS technologies requires investment in human capital and organisational commitment – both of which will need organisational and political commitment.

ITS practitioners and decision-makers include the planners, designers, managers and technicians involved in developing, deploying and maintaining ITS systems. Each group will have its own ITS knowledge and competency requirements. For example:

  • ITS planners need to be experienced in interagency cooperation including partnership building between different stakeholders – as well as knowledge of the technology options and the means of procurement for equipment and systems
  • ITS designers need some knowledge of ITS architecture, standards systems specifications and technology evaluations
  • ITS managers require capability in staff training, operational requirements and inter-agency cooperation
  • ITS technicians need to be able to install and maintain ITS systems

Senior management must have a good level understanding of the functions, costs and benefits of ITS – if these technologies are to be embraced at the decision making level. Management will be responsible for planning, developing and directing the organisational changes in business culture and practice to ensure that ITS becomes a mainstream business activity. Mainstreaming helps ensure that ITS solutions and services are always considered as an option – but only selected, if it is better than other alternatives.

ITS specialists in a Road Authority should bring an in-depth understanding of ITS, able to plan deployments in some detail – perhaps with the help of the visiting experts. They will be expected to:

  • confirm the authority’s technical requirements for ITS
  • develop the performance specifications for ITS-based services and equipment functionality
  • handle discussions with potential suppliers

Building ITS Awareness

Key staff who are involved in the deployment of ITS will benefit from participating in “discovery” or “scanning” tours to peer organisations – domestically or abroad – to observe ITS operations in practice. This has proved effective, provided that sufficient preparation is made prior to the tour. Sponsoring and participating in field trials and test projects are also good ways to engage with new developments. Other opportunities for professional development are by participating in Webinars on specific ITS topics, or by attending one of the international conferences on ITS and road transport that take place every year.

Interactive and distance learning through the internet has been effective – especially for those who have time or geographical constraints or want to learn at their own pace. Internal staff members can periodically review the web pages of vendors and trade associations – and attend meetings and exhibitions sponsored by ITS organisations (national ITS group meetings and the ITS World Congress).

A good way to strengthen an organisation’s ITS knowledge is to recruit recent graduates from reputed colleges with ITS curricula. Workshops and seminars/webinars can be provided to the management of an organisation – to build their awareness of ITS in terms of planning, services, costs and benefits. Other staff – especially those who may become involved with ITS in a non-technical capacity, such as contracts and administrative staff – will also benefit from ITS awareness training.

Staff turnover can be a serious problem – making it necessary to repeat the same training process over and over again. Frequently, new staff simply have to learn by doing, without having gone through a systematic training process.

Over the years the US Department of Transportation has developed a comprehensive programme of courses, webinars and workshops in ITS – as part of a professional capacity building program. Some are available for distance learning. (See USDOT ITS Website and ITS ePrimer

Websites are also useful to gain an immediate (even if not, thorough) understanding of new technical terms and acronyms. 

ITS for Senior Managers

An important resource for developing an awareness ITS among senior staff is the World Bank ITS Toolkit (2011) – which is outlined in the display box below.

ITS Awareness and Senior Managers

The World Bank ITS Toolkit is described as a self-learning on-line resource for transport leaders and their advisers. It provides guidance in the planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of an ITS programme for urban transport.

Although designed for ITS in an urban context – with the emphasis on public transport – a number of the training modules are equally valid for ITS on major road networks and highways. Topics covered are:

  • Planning
    • what are the goals for ITS?
    • what approach to take?
    • is ITS the right route?
    • what must the system do?
    • what type of ITS application?
  • Design
    • what technology will it need?
    • what platform will it need?
    • what data will it need?
    • what other resources will it need?
    • what else can the technology, data and resources be used for?
    • how will the business processes have to change to take full advantage?
    • what will be the total cost?
  • Implementation – how to:
    • supply the needed system
    • install the system
    • deploy the system
    • make good use of the system
  • Evaluation – how to:
    • establish performance criteria
    • monitor
    • evaluate

A  handbook and a companion guide are available for download. 


Reference sources

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