USDOT commissioned study researches and assesses the current state of the practice on the procurement of connected vehicle technologies.
The research team interviewed agency contacts that have either implemented or are planning to implement CV deployments. These agencies discussed their planned or implemented procurement approaches based on their own experiences. The participating agency contacts provided insight into those approaches and offered their views on best practices, challenges they faced or anticipated in their CV procurements, and future training and technology transfer needs.
Most interviewees noted that procuring connected devices was possible using current procedures, but did express concerns regarding the scalability of current procurement methods for large deployments of CV, a general lack of CV technological maturity, interoperability issues between devices, evolving standards and policy as well as technological uncertainty regarding communication technologies such as DSRC and 5G. Several respondents identified limitations of the procurement process that can affect the success or efficiency of the procurement. These limitations generally relate to the fact that traditional procurement mechanisms are not well suited for CV deployment, such as procedures that require low-bid source selection. Respondents also encountered some difficulties with the CV equipment procured, which included slow production times, interoperability issues, and system malfunction.
Despite the challenges and limitations above, CV project managers and stakeholders noted that none of the challenges were insurmountable. By utilizing both state and federal resources, along with assistance from their procurement/contracts office and consultant help, most projects have either been successfully implemented or are at least are beyond the design stage. Specific lessons learned, recommendations, and best practices gathered are summarized below.
Explore your contracting options for purchasing CV equipment such as communication devices, RSUs, and OBUs.
Find a way to test potential offerors equipment with your signal equipment, controllers, and related infrastructure as part of your overall procurement strategy and vendor selection process (e.g. attend a sponsored CV PlugFest event).
Source early in the process to help meet schedule goals.
- Obtain sourcing commitment from suppliers so that they can gear up to meet needed demand for equipment and work with you.
For big CV purchases with large quantities, consider contracting with multiple vendors to maximize flexibility and manage the risk of not meeting delivery targets.
Plan time in the schedule for achieving required levels of approval/sign-off for large procurements.
Consider technology and standards evolution in procurement and deployment strategy.
Make use of CV resources offered by the ITS Joint Program Office (JPO), National Operations Center of Excellence, AASHTO, etc.
- Model documentation (CV pilot program, SPaT challenge resources)
- ITS Public Data Hub
- Participate in CV/CAV -related peer exchanges
- Take advantage of training opportunities (ITS PCB program, webinars)
Use the right expertise.
- CV subject matter experts
- Partner with colleagues that have contracting and legal expertise
- Have the project requirements of RFPs vetted by SMEs to help contract with better qualified consultants and ultimately receive a better final product.
- Secure access to expertise in FCC licensing process for DSRC
CV technology is new and can be challenging to understand.
- Involve your contracting and procurement personnel from the beginning of the project
- Consider use of liaisons to accelerate effective communications
- Understand and be able to communicate the ultimate CV outcomes or benefits
Plan for ongoing vendor support during testing and initial operations stages.
- Consider use of service-level agreements
Start small to improve chance of success on bigger projects – begin on a small scale with your CV deployment before you tackle a large-scale project.
Consider ways to approach CV project development and procurement that are more flexible than the approach of fully specifying and documenting all requirements up-front.
- Consider phased or agile approaches
- Consider service provider model approach for CV deployments
Installation and Testing
Plan for hardware and software issues to occur during early testing periods.
Maintain vendor support to address problems during this period.
Use simple, rudimentary installs for prototype OBUs during testing period to find problems, investigate antenna placement, etc.
Realize that unique installation procedures are needed for special equipment like snow plows.
Build dashboarding type tools to track performance of procurement and installation activity.
Be conservative in your OBU installation schedule projections.
- If installing OBUs in private vehicles, be aware that many people will not keep their selected appointments
- May run into unique installation problems with different model vehicles
Allow sufficient time in the schedule for component and integration testing.