Select the applicable Systems Engineering Process in the procurement of ITS.

Experience from a review of ITS contracting methods and practices. Step 5 of the Decision Model.

United States

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Lesson Learned

The research for this document identified three basic types of system engineering processes, including waterfall, evolutionary and spiral. Each of these is appropriate for specific types of projects and agency capabilities. The selection of the systems engineering process will assist in the selection of the appropriate procurement package.

Observations regarding the use of systems engineering processes are presented as follows:
  • Utilize the waterfall approach for acquisitions of well-defined, mature technology. The waterfall model is most suited to highway design and construction processes, where the steps of planning, design and implementation are performed sequentially. This model is used for less complex ITS projects and can be applied under all agency capability levels.
  • Utilize the evolutionary approach for all but the simplest of systems development projects. The evolutionary approach involves a series of phases. It is suited for all agency capability levels and for most systems development projects.
  • Utilize the spiral approach when new technological capabilities are being implemented. The spiral method is appropriate when new, previously untested capabilities are being developed. This model involves multiple phases of planning, prototyping and evaluation. Given the significant resources required for this model, it is recommended for level 3 agencies that have experienced, full time ITS managers. This model is most commonly used by the Department of Defense and NASA, and is mainly used by the ITS community for the development of advanced systems, such as in-vehicle safety systems.
This lesson illustrates that not all systems engineering processes can be implemented using the same procurement approaches. This step, combined with the subsequent steps of the Decision Model, is designed to create an efficient and reliable procurement process. This increased efficiency can result in cost savings for agencies in the procurement of ITS. Moreover, by enabling agencies to choose the most appropriate procurement package, the Decision Model facilitates 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: 2007-00325