About ITS Architectures

What is an ITS Architecture?

ITS architectures provide the framework for communication within ITS systems. An ITS Architecture takes a holistic view at the entire ITS System, and defines the subsystems and communication flows between such subsystems.

What is the difference between a National ITS Architecture and a Regional ITS Architecture?

In some countries, such as the United States, the National ITS Architecture is essentially a template that provides a generic structure for developing Regional ITS Architectures. In these cases, Regional ITS Architectures are customized implementations of the National Architecture, which account for local needs, stakeholders, subsystems, ITS deployments, and institutional barriers. Where the National ITS Architecture might refer to a generic "Traffic Management Center," a Regional ITS Architecture might refer to the "XYZ City Traffic Management Center." In some cases, the National ITS Architectures can be designed more like a Regional ITS Architectures, with subsystems representing specific elements. Several national ITS Architectures use the US National ITS Architecture as the generic template.

What is 23 CFR 940 and how does that relate to Regional ITS Architectures?

In the United States, 23 CFR 940, commonly referred to as Rule 940, is the FHWA's "Final Rule on ITS Architectures and Standards Conformity" which defines the role of Regional ITS Architectures in defining the development of ITS Projects and Programs. Its corresponding FTA policy is the "National ITS Architecture Consistency Policy." According to the Rule/Policy, all regions with ITS projects using US Highway Trust Funds MUST have a regional ITS Architecture. According to rule 940.9, a regional ITS architecture MUST include the following components:
  1. A description of the region
  2. Identification of participating agencies or other stakeholders
  3. An operational concept that identifies the roles and responsibilities of participating agencies and stakeholders in the operation and implementation of the systems included in the regional ITS architecture
  4. Any agreements (existing or new) required for operations, including at a minimum those affecting ITS project interoperability, utilization of ITS related standards, and the operation of the projects identified in the regional ITS architecture
  5. System functional requirements
  6. Interface requirements and information exchanges with planned and existing systems and subsystems (for example, subsystems and architecture flows as defined in the National ITS Architecture)
  7. Identification of ITS standards supporting regional and national interoperability
  8. The sequence of projects required for implementation

How are ITS Architectures used?

In the United States, ITS Projects receiving federal funding are required to either comply with the existing Regional ITS Architecture or update the Architecture using maintenance processes defined during the creation of the architecture, as per FHWA Rule 940/FTA Policy. Components of the Regional ITS Architecture can be used to perform the Systems Engineering Analysis that is required for ITS Projects by the FHWA Rule/FTA Policy.

What is a strategic deployment plan, and how does that relate to an ITS architecture?

A strategic deployment plan is the plan for executing strategic ITS deployments within a region. It takes the projects identified, prioritizes them, and shows how they map to the ITS Architecture. Typically, this is done in tandem with the ITS architecture due to close relation of these two items. Whereas an ITS architecture shows the framework for ITS, the strategic deployment plan shows how and when the deployment of ITS can be executed.