In 2001, the U.S. Congress earmarked funds for projects that were designed to support improvements in transportation efficiency, promote safety, increase traffic flow, reduce emissions, improve traveler information, enhance alternative transportation modes, promote tourism and build on existing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) I-70 West Integration project, also referred to as "Trip-70", was one of the projects selected.
The purpose of this project was to address Colorado ITS infrastructure deficiencies along I-170 west of Denver. The funds allowed CDOT to augment previous ITS work and undertake critically needed integration activities and device deployment. In 2006, CDOT released a local evaluation of the project. The report concluded that the "Trip-70" project successfully met the projects goals and objectives of enhancing CDOT's capabilities to collect, compile and disseminate traveler information statewide. Such improvements have positively impacted CDOT's productivity and efficiency by enabling CDOT to generate and share more accurate and timely information with Colorado Transportation Management Center (CTMC) and with the public via Co-Trip, CDOT's road, weather and incident information website.
To address ITS needs of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) in areas ranging from planning through detailed design and implementation, the agency’s aim was to augment previous ITS work and jump-start priority subsystems. Specific activities focused on deploying technologies, including: 1) selected field devices to collect vehicle data for the speed map and travel time subsystems of CDOT’s developing central command and control system; and 2) communications equipment, computer hardware and software needed to achieve better communications and data exchange with CDOT’s Hanging Lake Tunnel Control Center and the City & County of Denver. The Colorado DOT found that dividing large-scale ITS projects into smaller, individual task orders can enhance project management capabilities.
CDOT, in agreement with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), divided the I-70 West Integration project into six task orders comprising a mix of deployment and integration activities. The six task orders were:
- Task Order 1 – Vehicle Probes
- Task Order 2 – Web Integration
- Task Order 3 – Center-to-Center (C2C) Integration
- Task Order 4 – Low Speed ITS Device Communications
- Task Order 5 – Denver International Airport (DIA) Integration Study, and
- Task Order 6 – General Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) Integration
Project scopes of work, estimates and schedules were developed for each task order. These were reviewed by a committee comprised of CDOT, FHWA, the maintenance contractor if applicable, the project manager and affected agencies. Upon approval by the committee, the six individual task orders were activated.
By dividing the I-70 West Integration project into six task orders CDOT experienced several advantages. This approach enabled CDOT to:
- Track the cost of labor and direct expenses on a task basis. By separating each task CDOT could more easily identify areas incurring a potential over-run, as well as areas not incurring sufficient labor to meet schedules. This tracking order system was deemed superior in tracking and controlling costs.
- Identify area encountering schedule difficulties. Because schedules were reported on a bi-weekly basis, CDOT management could easily identify problem areas.
- Assign multiple tasks order managers to specific responsibilities. By assigning managers to each task, CDOT increased the “eyes and ears” available to actively monitor progress of the work.
- Employ a modular aspect of deployment. In past ITS projects, a single large deployment was tasked for delivery at one time. This system ultimately led to major problems. The modular deployment schedule lead to better organization and helped ensure delivery and acceptance of the required product on budget.
The lesson suggests that the ideal deployment of large-scale ITS projects may not be the traditional approach of one large project. Dividing the I-70 West Integration project into six smaller, more manageable task orders enabled CDOT to successfully manage both the budget and schedule, leading to the successful deployment of the individual elements of the ITS project.
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