Use public sector workshops to increase awareness of ITS standards.
Minnesota DOT’s experiences with a public sector workshop on ITS standards.
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United States

ITS Standards Lessons Learned from Deployment: Raising ITS Standards IQ with a Public Sector Workshop


The ITS Joint Program Office of U.S. DOT has initiated a program to document lessons learned by first-time users of ITS standards. The program helps users of ITS standards to build on the successes, and avoid the problems, that early users have experienced. The reports are short, written in a non-technical style, and targeted to state and local public transportation audiences.

This lesson learned report describes a workshop held at Minnesota DOT (MnDOT) training facility in November 1999. The purpose of the workshop was to increase the awareness of the development process for ITS standards and for the potential impact that ITS standards will have on ITS deployments. The target audience for the workshop was public sector ITS staff.

Lessons Learned

Communicate information about ITS standards to public sector ITS staff by holding workshops. Keep in mind the following guidelines when planning and implementing the workshop:

  • Establish a small committee to plan the ITS standards workshop. Good candidates for committee members are those who already have some knowledge of ITS standards, have a stake in standards deployment, or have ties to key audiences targeted for the workshop. MnDOT started with several participants from an earlier workshop and added members who brought additional strengths to the committee.
  • Gear the agenda to audience interests in ITS standards. The agenda should provide a comprehensive introduction to ITS standards and respond to the needs of the target audience of the locale. MnDOT started with a set of questions it wanted addressed and made sure that the agenda would provide answers.
  • Structure the workshop to support the learning experience. To absorb the technical material in the presentations and apply it in interactive breakout sessions, a one-day workshop proved very effective. In fact, MnDOT held two one-day workshops, with the first workshop devoted to NTCIP standards. NTCIP proved to be a valuable first topic because it laid the groundwork for the second workshop by preparing participants to discuss the subject with a common base of knowledge and language.
  • Recruit the right ITS standards speakers to add value to the workshop. MnDOT staff most familiar with ITS standards activities at the national level used their contacts to identify speakers who could effectively address the workshop topics. Standards development organizations, such as ITE and IEEE, have committees devoted to ITS standards. Early deployers of ITS standards (e.g., state and local transportation agencies, product vendors, and system integrators) are another group of potential speakers.
  • Allow for breakout sessions during the workshop. Breakout sessions provide important opportunities for agency staff to share their perspectives and react to the material provided in the presentations. In MnDOT’s workshop, the breakout sessions led to recommendations that were used as the basis for a migration plan proposal.
  • Make sure the target audience and audience recruitment efforts are aligned. MnDOT successfully used its internal network to get appropriate MnDOT staff to attend. However, it had difficulty attracting city and county people to the workshop. A county traffic engineer attending the workshop explained that local jurisdictions need to understand the benefits of ITS and ITS standards before they will send staff to workshops. If that is a key barrier, workshop organizers will need a strategy to overcome it or a redefinition of the target audience.
  • Find ways to reinforce the knowledge about ITS standards gained at the workshop. MnDOT provided a workbook to each participant. However, more reinforcement may be needed to drive the message home. As one attendee stated, “I would like to see a follow-up workshop as we progress to help carry ideas one step further.” Other ideas might include regular communication with participants about progress in ITS standards development and the experience of their peers in deploying standards.

ITS Standards Lessons Learned from Deployment: Raising ITS Standards IQ with a Public Sector Workshop

ITS Standards Lessons Learned from Deployment: Raising ITS Standards IQ with a Public Sector Workshop
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Carol Zimmerman, Peggy Tadej

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