Determine work distribution for the ITS project when selecting an appropriate procurement package.

Experience from a review of ITS contracting methods and practices. Step 2 of the Decision Model.

United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Following the initial decision to proceed with the Decision Model, the agency must determine whether the work will be distributed through a single contract or through multiple contracts. The following observations are made with regard to the second step of the Decision Model:
  • Utilize a single contract, if possible. Multiple contracts necessitate increased project management resources. However, as noted below, there may be reasons to consider multiple contracts.
  • Utilize multiple contracts if there is significant software and systems development, in addition to field construction. This research concluded that a key factor in the success of a project is the ability of the agency’s project engineer to interact directly with the contractor whose work represents the highest risk to the project’s success (software development). This may require the use of multiple contracts. For example, if the largest dollar amount of an ITS project is in field construction, but the project also requires a significant amount of software and systems development, then multiple contracts are advised so that the systems developer can be assigned as the prime contractor.
  • Distribute work to multiple contracts if the likelihood of selecting a satisfactory prime contractor for the overall project is uncertain.
  • Utilize multiple contracts if "politics" requires that the work be spread around. This may be particularly true if the project involves significant field construction.
  • Utilize multiple contracts if the project requires significant outside expertise. A complex project may require the assistance of supporting contractors who have specific expertise.
The agency should apply the Decision Model process separately for each contract, so that a procurement package that best addresses the nature of the work to be performed can be selected. For example, if there is one contract for software development and a separate contract for field construction, the Decision Model should be applied separately to each of those contracts.

Careful consideration of the work distribution is an important step performed early in the decision model process and contributes to the agencies' selection of an appropriate procurement package. By adhering to this step and subsequent steps in the model, agencies can experience cost as well as time-savings in the procurement of ITS. Moreover, an efficient procurement process can significantly influence the ultimate success of the ITS deployment.

Lesson Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this Lesson

To comment on this lesson, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


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

Other Lessons From this Source

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Kenneth R. Marshall
Edwards & Kelcey

Phil Tarnoff
University of Maryland
301- 403-4619

Lesson Analyst:

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


Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this Lesson

(click stars to rate)

Application Areas

None defined


None defined


United States

Focus Areas

None defined

Goal Areas



None defined

Lesson ID: 2007-00322