Evaluate and upgrade TOC maintenance programs on an on-going basis.
A New Jersey Department of Transportation experience with ITS operations and maintenance in Transportation Operations Centers (TOCs).
Made Public Date


New Jersey
United States

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) - Operational Support Contracts - Implementation Plan - Final Report


Many Transportation Operations Centers (TOCs) in the country have now entered into their second-generation life cycle and have successfully implemented day-to-day TOC operations in their jurisdictions. TOCs from California, Minnesota, Florida, Washington, New York, and Maryland as well as cities like Los Angeles and New York City have successfully built second-generation systems with a good level of operational support. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has faced significant challenges in keeping intelligent transportation systems (ITS) at a high level of availability at their two TOCs. As more components are added to the ITS infrastructure, system administration, management, and operational support become critical for TOCs.

The purpose of this report was to develop an ITS operational support and contract implementation plan for NJDOT TOCs. The project was initiated to review current operations and maintenance practices of NJDOT and to investigate further the best practices of other state TOCs to develop recommendations and lessons learned. On the basis of the review and investigation, specific recommendations were made in three categories: policy, staffing, and operational support.

Lessons Learned

As experience with ITS resources evolves, it is important that TOCs develop an on-going system for evaluating and upgrading their maintenance programs. Part of the evaluation process is developing quantifiable measures that can be tracked and reviewed. Measuring the effectiveness of these ITS maintenance programs will allow TOCs to continuously refine and improve their operational performance. The NJDOT study offers some lessons learned from their review of other TOCs experiences with improving the evaluation and enhancement of ITS maintenance programs as follows:

  • Evaluate ITS maintenance programs using established performance measures. Such measures include repair response time and device downtimes. The use of quantifiable measures will give TOCs an idea of their current level of operational performance. By conducting regular evaluations, TOCs can get a sense of how to improve on future designs so that maintenance needs are met. Key parameters that can be used include:
    • system availability
    • system reliability
    • mean time to repair
    • mean time to failure
    • number of failed devices
  • Institute spare parts and equipment management. The inability to replace a defective part, however small, can cause increased downtime and deficiencies in TOC operational functions. Using a purchasing assistant, TOCs can secure critical spare parts for in-house maintenance and warrantee care. ITS technologies are complex, and swapping a new part for a defective one can be a quick, simple solution that will keep benefits flowing. TOCs across the country are reporting inventories of 10%-15% spare parts in stock.
  • Develop and implement a policy on ITS standardization. Effective operations at TOCs require that devices are interoperable and interchangeable. By developing a policy for ITS standardization, TOCs can ensure that new ITS devices, systems, communications, and spare parts will all work as intended, in an interoperable manner. TOCs will also have the ability to replace parts without having to worry about using a different vendor’s product, and system operators will be better prepared to deal with operational details. Standardization will have the added benefit of reducing the number of on-hand spare parts needed to make repairs. For example, the NTCIP family of standards on variable message sign (VMS), traffic controllers, etc., will produce an integrated, interoperable system.
  • Implement a logging and event tracking system. In conjunction with a maintenance management system, TOCs can use a tag or barcode and a handheld scanner to automate inventory and event tracking, thus reducing or even eliminating much of the paper tracking. This will provide paperless long-term records with sorting capabilities.

Regular evaluations of ITS maintenance programs will allow TOCs to gauge their operational efficiency and to upgrade their systems accordingly. A spare-parts program is one way that TOCs have improved efficiency, allowing replacement of defective parts in-house. ITS standardization is recommended to ensure that any one part will be compatible with current systems as well as aiding in on-going inventory management. Taking time to conduct thorough evaluations and upgrades of ITS devices reduces system downtime and the financial burden of having to hire outside vendors.

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) - Operational Support Contracts - Implementation Plan - Final Report

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) - Operational Support Contracts - Implementation Plan - Final Report
Publication Sort Date
Patel, Raman K.
Transportation Research Center, Polytechnic University

(Our website has many links to other organizations. While we offer these electronic linkages for your convenience in accessing transportation-related information, please be aware that when you exit our website, the privacy and accessibility policies stated on our website may not be the same as that on other websites.)

Application Areas

Focus Areas Taxonomy: