Consider including in-house ITS expertise and task order project configuration for complex ITS projects.

Colorado's DOT (CDOT)'s experience implementing an integrated TMC.

Date Posted

Colorado Transportation Management Center (CTMC) Integration Project (FY01 Earmark) Local Evaluation Report

Summary Information

The Colorado Transportation Management Center (CTMC) Integration Project is the result of a FY01 federally funded project to improve transportation efficiency, promote safety, increase traffic flow, reduce emissions, improve traveler information dissemination, enhance alternate transportation modes, promote tourism and build on existing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

The project funding supported work for the design and construction of Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) new CTMC facility, including electrical, communications and computer equipment. The new building comfortably houses CDOT’s operation and has capacity for substantial future growth. Via a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, CDOT obtained the services of a Systems Integrator to develop the statewide ATMS/ATIS "umbrella" software. Work was prioritized and broken into phases with the first three software deployment iterations funded by this project, including the "core" system; and DMS, speed and travel time subsystems. Project funds supported systems engineering, software development, documentation and testing, and hardware purchases.

The CDOT now has a state-of-the-art CTMC as well as the first three modules of its new statewide ITS management software. The CTMC increased efficiency in transportation management by reducing demands on CDOT staff; simplifying data sharing; and boosting amount, accuracy and timeliness of data in and out of the system. The CTMC Integration Project was a critical building block for Colorado, providing critically needed facilities, hardware, software and systems integration.

Lessons Learned

CDOT believes the CTMC Integration Project was a success. Goals and objectives were met or surpassed. Deficiencies in ITS infrastructure, functionality, automation, information dissemination, data sharing; and amount, accuracy and timeliness of data were addressed. The project dovetailed with related activities but most importantly was an important building block and catalyst for the Colorado ITS program. Momentum generated by federal funds has allowed CDOT to develop order-of-magnitude improvements in devices; data collection and dissemination; communications; interfaces with partners; and operations, maintenance and program management. Lessons learned from the implementation of the CTMC Integration Project include the following:

  • Include in-house expertise in ITS specialty areas for successful ITS projects. CDOT believes that having current levels of in-house expertise throughout the duration of the ITS Program would have been beneficial and would have lessened or avoided difficulties at the outset. Addition of these skill sets ultimately allowed CDOT to subdivide technical responsibilities for completion of multiple task orders between several capable and knowledgeable individuals. CDOT believes in-house skills in ITS-related technical areas are an indispensable resource definitely required for success in complex ITS projects.
  • Consider task order (or phased) project configuration. Although task order project configuration is not necessarily more efficient for a contractor (if one is involved), it provides a better mechanism for the owner to track progress and control schedules and costs. Task order and/or phased software iteration configuration in the CTMC project provided much better control than did previous ITS projects that dictated delivery of one large product at the end of the schedule. A small amount of additional time is required on the part of the owner in a task order environment to better monitor and manage progress on a greater number of total activities. CDOT will continue using task order and/or software iteration configuration for later and ongoing Colorado ITS projects.
  • Ensure open communications to ensure project success. Frequent communications engender trust and are critical to success in a complex systems engineering project environment.
  • Consider opportunities to share resources with local agencies. For example, on other projects including local agency participation, the agency contributed to the project in terms of purchasing, in-kind services, assistance in obtaining related services or contracts, or the provision of ancillary materials. The result of such partnerships was deployment with a total value exceeding that originally planned. These partnerships have helped set the basis for additional coordinated work in the future with current and new partners and also set the basis and example for such participation with new agencies as part of future projects.

The lessons provided by the CDOT are helpful to other agencies to ensure the success of a complex ITS project. By following the lessons learned through the implementation of the CTMC Integration project, other practitioners can improve the productivity and efficiency of other Transportation Management Center projects.

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