Include ITS in the State's long-range transportation plan (LRTP) to take advantage of project synergies and stable funding.
A Delaware DOT experience in ITS Planning.
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United States

An Evaluation of Delaware's DelTrac Program - Building an Integrated Transportation Management System


In 2000, the U.S. Congress earmarked funds for projects that were assessed as supporting the improvements of transportation efficiency, promoting safety, increasing traffic flow, reducing emissions, improving traveler information, enhancing alternative transportation modes, building on existing ITS, and promoting tourism. The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) Statewide Integrated Transportation Management System (ITMS) Integration project was one of the projects selected. The ITMS is now called DelTrac.

The purpose of this DelTrac project was to begin the process of integrating DelDOT's ITS applications. The project was intended to establish a data repository for sharing ITS data and a Web server for making ITS functionality available over the Internet. In 2004, the U. S. Department of Transportation released an evaluation report for the DelTrac project. This lesson is based on the findings presented in the DelTrac evaluation report.

Lessons Learned

ITS projects should be included in the statewide long-range transportation plan. This has the obvious advantage for the transportation department of exposing ITS projects to the same competition for funding as traditional projects. The department can be more certain that ITS projects are being implemented because they are cost-effective solutions to transportation problems.

Winning buy-in for an ITS project as part of the department’s long-range plan is often easier in the long run than winning on-going battles for approval for each project. As an example, a primary radio license became available in 2000, well before the ITS infrastructure was in place to provide real-time traffic information by travel advisory radio. However, because the long-range plan at DelDOT called for radio broadcast of traveler information, DelDOT was ready to take advantage of the opportunity to use the available radio license to plan for its traveler information system.

The DelTrac evaluation provided a number of suggestions for inclusion of ITS in the department’s long-range plan:

  • Include ITS projects in the department’s long-range plan in order to receive more stable and predictable funding.
  • State the expected transportation benefits of an ITS project to increase its potential for inclusion in the long-range plan.
  • Highlight ITS integration opportunities with other transportation projects to obtain support for ITS across divisions within the department.
  • Gain management buy-in to the benefits of ITS in order to include ITS in the long-range plan.
  • Show foresight for better deployment decisions by incorporating ITS in the long-range plan. For example, if the long-range plan calls for signal priority for transit vehicles, then a traffic signal control system can be selected that has the capability to support this feature.
  • Take advantage of cost-effective deployment choices once ITS projects are in the long-range plan. For example, in Delaware the long-range plan for ITS called for connecting many miles of road to a common telecommunication backbone. Actual installation of segments of this backbone was then linked, whenever possible, to existing buildings or maintenance projects, resulting in much more cost-effective fiber installation.

An example of how ITS was integrated in the DelDOT’s long-range plan was the direct reference to the DelTrac ITS program in the 2002 Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan. The long-range plan noted, --- “we will improve the management of Delaware’s transportation system through the application of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies.” This level of commitment to ITS was observed not just in the planning documents, but also in the personnel with whom the evaluators spoke.

This lesson suggests that the practice of including ITS projects in the State’s long-range plan leads to cost-effective deployments. It is highly probable that if a project is included in the long-range plan, it will likely be funded and implemented as scheduled. The lesson also makes a case for having an effective ITS planning process in place. Thus, when an agency envisions that a project has the potential for enhancing ITS goals, it is imperative for the agency to include such projects as part of the State’s long-range transportation plan.

An Evaluation of Delaware's DelTrac Program - Building an Integrated Transportation Management System

An Evaluation of Delaware's DelTrac Program - Building an Integrated Transportation Management System
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Application Areas

Focus Areas Taxonomy: