Execute thorough configuration management from the start of an ITS project to help prioritize implementation activities.
A Utah experience in technical integration.
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

Maintaining accurate information about the current configuration was a challenge during the CommuterLink deployment. On a frequent basis, the contractor would add components and integrate new capabilities to the TOC. There were also frequent changes in the communications channels as new backbone communications came on line. A Configuration Management (CM) approach should have been in place from the start that identified the naming conventions, interfaces, and required protocols.

CM formalizes the process of making changes to a system under development so that the system’s builders maintain an appropriate configuration record and can always ensure that they know what the correct version of the system consists of. It is intended to establish and maintain the consistency of a system’s performance, functional, and physical attributes with its requirements, design, and operational information throughout the system’s life and is considered a "best practice" within the system engineering discipline. Managing changes to requirements is essential to minimizing cost and schedule overruns on transportation system projects. CM’s ability to control changes to requirements is a major reason for employing it on ITS projects.[1]

In the case of the UDOT deployment, there were other lessons that stemmed from the need for a mature CM process, including:

  • Use configuration management to help manage multiple contractors working on a single, complex, deployment. The CommuterLink system was deployed through a series of contracts that included the Highway Construction, the System Manager, the TOC construction, and the Systems Integrator contracts. There were additional subcontractors associated with these deployments and improved communication between the prime and subcontractors was warranted as well. Poor coordination between the Systems Integration contractor and their subcontractor eventually affected the delivery of the ramp metering system. Had configuration management been in place from the start of the project, miscommunication could have been avoided and schedule slippages avoided or at least acknowledged and adjusted for.
  • Consider the urgency for operation of the systems being deployed within the configuration management process. UDOT required that components be brought online as soon as possible for their use in operation. Given that much of the CommuterLink system was being concurrently developed, components were often brought on line prior to the final communications infrastructure being in place. This required interim solutions to be developed and resulted in frequent configuration changes between the methods in which data / control were brought back from field elements to the operations staff.

A CM approach should have been in place from the start that identified naming conventions, interfaces, and required protocols. This would have ensured consistency between the Highway Construction integration work and that of the Systems Integration contractor. It would have also allowed for the development of test apparatus (simulators) to effectively test the functionality of the deployed components without the need of having an operating ATMS system.

[1] Gonzalez, P.J. A Guide to Configuration Management for Intelligent Transportation Systems United States Department of Transportation (DTFH61-00-C-00001) Washington, DC. April 2002

Goal Areas