Apply differentiators to select the appropriate procurement package for any ITS project.

Experience from a review of ITS contracting methods and practices. Step 6 of the Decision Model.

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Lesson Learned

Characteristics of the project as well as the capabilities of the procuring agency are critical to identifying the appropriate ITS procurement package. Included in this document is a decision matrix that outlines feasible procurement solutions based on the nature of the project and the agencies’ level of experience and organization. In some cases, however, the decision matrix identifies multiple procurement packages for a given project. Under such circumstances, an additional set of criteria, or differentiators, are applied to decide between the possible procurement packages.

More specifically, the differentiators include the following set of observations:
  • Utilize a systems manager rather than a design-build approach when new software development is required.
  • Utilize design-build (rather than systems manager) when a significant amount of field construction is involved, and there is a desire to reduce implementation delays associated with having to administer multiple contracts.
  • Utilize the evolutionary systems engineering model to the extent that it is possible. Utilize the spiral model for complex, untested, new developments.
  • Split a project into multiple contracts if it includes both new field construction and new software.
  • Utilize low bid contracting only if projects are limited to field construction and supply of off-the-shelf equipment. Low bid procurement is applicable only to extremely well defined projects.
  • Utilize commodity procurement if an existing ITS package is available that does not require any modification to meet agency requirements. Examples of exceptions are new drivers for interface with communications and field equipment; a new database reflecting system configurations, and new map graphics.
The set of differentiators presented in the Decision Model is an important tool for deciding among potential procurement packages and contributes to the overall efficiency of the ITS procurement process. By utilizing this process, agencies can experience cost as well as time-savings, and importantly, selecting the appropriate procurement package has an influence on the ultimate success of the ITS deployment.

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Guide to Contracting ITS Projects

Author: Kenneth R. Marshall and Philip J. Tarnoff

Published By: National Cooperative Highway Research Board

Source Date: 2006

Other Reference Number: NCHRP Report 560

URL: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_560.pdf

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Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Kenneth R. Marshall
Edwards & Kelcey

Phil Tarnoff
University of Maryland

Lesson Analyst:

Margaret Petrella
U.S. DOT/ RITA The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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Lesson ID: 2007-00326