To address the growing problems of congestion and incidents in the Miami tri-county region, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) implemented a regional Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) program (SunGuide) in the Miami tri-county region. The SunGuide program selected Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) as the most effective integration, implementation, and congestion mitigation tool given its current situation.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support the project was negotiated by the stakeholder agencies and signed in August 1999. All referenced agencies are signatories to the MOU, and are collectively designated as "PARTNERS."
The PARTNERS determined that establishing a public-private partnership would be the most cost-effective and efficient means to obtain ATIS services. A procurement method permitted under Florida procurement laws known as Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) was selected to obtain the services of a private partner. Based on the results of the negotiations, SmartRoute Systems (SRS) was selected in March 2000 as the information service provider (ISP) in support of the project. Under the contract terms SRS was to develop new business areas and revenue sources to support the ATIS.
The evaluation was developed as a case study providing a qualitative assessment of the project. The main study areas identified for the evaluation were the public-private partnership, the procurement process, and the business model. Additionally, a comparison was made between the SunGuide system and the basic content guidelines version 1.0, for 511 services, which were being developed at the time the evaluation was taking place.
Entering into negotiations with vendors when procuring ITS resources allows public agencies the most flexibility for evaluating different approaches to ITS deployments. When looking to obtain the services of a private partner, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) used a procurement method known as Invitation to Negotiate (ITN), permitted under Florida procurement laws. The ITN process is best suited when the scope of work for a project cannot be accurately and completely defined by the agency; the process occurs most often for acquisitions of rapidly changing technology, outsourcing, or complex services. Under the ITN, a statement of work (SOW) is issued and vendors submit responses. The State then negotiates a final SOW and selects a vendor. Overall, the goal of using ITN to successfully procure an ITS project was achieved, and the success of this approach is reflected by the fact that FDOT plans on using this process for future ITS projects. Based on the experience of using ITN, the following lessons have been identified:
- Involve all potential beneficiaries as project stakeholders when undertaking large ITS projects. Relying on a single vendor and a limited number of public sector agencies, when implementing ITS, does not adequately spread the potential risk and financial obligation among all involved parties. FDOT recognized this shortcoming when implementing the ATIS in the Miami tri-county region. Due to this FDOT has decided that future use of the ITN process will be based on a business model that expands the number of public and private partners, and includes both direct and indirect beneficiaries. For example, FDOT has considered using the ITN process for an ITS project along Interstate 4 in the Orlando region, a major tourist area. If used, the process would most likely seek participation from the tourism and hotel industries, as they would be potential indirect beneficiaries, as improved access would make the Orlando area a more attractive destination.
- Identify the services to be provided by the information service provider (ISP). Negotiating what services are to be provided gives the vendors a clear idea of what is expected, and it gives the public sector a method for gauging the success of the project. When negotiating implementation of ATIS in the Miami tri-county region, FDOT identified eight categories of services to be provided by the ISP, including:
- Data and information collection
- Data fusion and development of advisories
- Information dissemination
- Marketing and outreach activities
- Record keeping and documentation
- Evaluation support
- System deployment, operations, and maintenance
The scope of services should also specify that any additional service requested of the ISP, outside the negotiated scope, would be considered a supplement to the contract.
- Identify the responsibilities of the participating public agencies. By addressing what is to be provided by the public sector, vendor(s) are better able to gauge what is required of them. As part of the scope of services for the Miami ATIS project, FDOT agreed to do the following:
- Provide resources to the ISP as appropriate for the agreed upon deliverables.
- Operate and maintain their ITS systems and provide the ISP needed output for the proposed service at no additional cost.
- Make available to the ISP other relevant data and information systems needed for the proposed service at no additional cost.
- Provide access to the public right-of-way structures (for the installations if ITS infrastructure), subject to the provisions that the ISP follow FDOT design and construction requirements and comply with all applicable zoning, permitting, and other local requirements.
- Share with the ISP knowledge about local conditions relevant to providing the proposed service.
- Provide full and open communication with the ISP.
- Monitor the progress of service and performance of the ISP and take appropriate action they deem fit.
By entering into comprehensive negotiations with vendors, agencies are better able to procure ITS projects that will provide optimal levels of service. The Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) experience with the invitation to negotiate (ITN) procurement process was successful in that it enabled FDOT to negotiate concessions from each vendor, increasing the services to be provided through the project. To ensure a smooth implementation process it is crucial that all parties are fully aware of their responsibilities and what is expected of them. To spread out the risk and financial obligations, associated with most ITS projects, it is wise to involve various public and private stakeholders. The ITN procurement process allows public agencies, implementing ITS, a wider range of choice in selecting a private sector partner.
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