Standardize the system environment.
Utah DOT’s experience using configuration management.
Made Public Date


Salt Lake City
United States

Intelligent Transportation Systems at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games: Traffic Management and Traveler Information Case Study


The Utah Department of Transportation contracted for several reports on the development, deployment, and operation of ITS in the Salt Lake City Region. CommuterLink is a network of traffic sensors, closed-circuit television, variable message signs, highway advisory radio, freeway ramp meters, internet information site, and other traffic-management and traveler information services, all of which are integrated into a Traffic Operations Center. CommuterLink’s purpose was to provide advanced transportation management and traveler information capabilities in the Salt Lake City area. The 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City added new functional requirements and a firm deadline for deployment.

This case study was performed to examine UDOT’s procurement and deployment efforts related to ITS in the region. UDOT followed a unique approach to contracting this deployment. The case study provides an overview of the successes and lessons learned related to configuration management, software selection, the system environment, staff and management roles in the development process, and meeting heavy system demand. This report presents findings from the ITS "Case Study" which primarily focused on deployment efforts before the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. A companion document, the Olympics “Event Study,” assesses how the CommuterLink system was used during the Olympic Games.

Lessons Learned

Standardize the system environment.

With a system deployed over the course of many years, one of the challenges is how to incorporate advancements in technology without ending up chasing technological fads. Interviews with UDOT staff identified concerns about how fragmented the technology is associated with the ATMS application. Without an extensive review of the technical design decisions, it is impractical (and unfair) to second-guess decisions made over the course of a four phase deployment effort. However, agencies should be cautioned in the future to be aware that every “new” innovation in “off-the-shelf” software comes with its own set of bugs, software licenses, languages, interdependencies, etc. A quick review of the Architecture Alignment document completed in Phase IV shows the varied software and development environments required to duplicate what is currently in place.

An example of this need to “standardize” the environment can be shown with a review of Phase IV development activity. Unified Modeling Language (UML) design methodology was utilized by the contractor for the design and development activity. UDOT staff indicated that they were not prepared to support such a change in methodology and did not have anyone on staff with that capability. This minimized the technical review provided by the agency staff. Therefore, it was recommended by staff that the agency determines its preferred design methodology and require the contractor to support that approach.