In recent years, state DOTs continue to mainstream the deployment of ITS into traditional infrastructure projects. As a result, ITS deployments are typically not selected as Field Operational Tests or demonstrations as they were in the 1990s, but rather as fundamental components of larger transportation improvement projects. Within this mainstreamed approach, ITS deployments are increasingly subjected to benefit/cost analyses, much in the way that pavement or structural projects are.
There has been a significant number of ITS benefit and cost analyses performed, and several tools exist to estimate the benefits and costs of ITS deployments. While these results are all useful, ENTERPRISE member agencies have expressed a need for an efficient and effective methodology to determine if ITS deployments are appropriate, and to support any internal justifications needed to decide whether ITS technologies should be deployed. Simply put, members have expressed a need to determine if the value that an ITS solution brings to a project warrants the costs of deployment and ongoing operation of the solution.
The manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) defines 8 warrants for traffic control signals. These warrants allow State DOTs to investigate the need for a traffic control signal by completing an engineering study of the traffic conditions, pedestrian characteristics, and physical characteristics. The results of the engineering study are then compared against the traffic signal warrants as an initial analysis to determine whether installation of a traffic control signal is justified. Meeting the requirements of a warrant do not mandate that a traffic control signal be installed, but rather indicates that other factors and circumstances should be considered further to determine if a traffic signal control should be deployed.
The concept for this project is to build upon the ‘model’ of the MUTCD warrants and to investigate and developed warranted installation parameters to guide initial decisions for the deployment of ITS solutions. The project will not attempt to influence the MUTCD in any way. Rather, the warranted installation parameters developed for this project will coordinate with the MUTCD as appropriate. A recommended ‘owner and maintainer’ of the ITS warranted installation parameters would be determined within the project, and could perhaps be the ENTEPRISE Program. The use of the ITS warranted installation parameters would be voluntary, and entirely intended to serve those State DOTs that wish to use them in their ITS deployment decision making process.
The structure of the project is proposed that ENTERPRISE representatives from each member state will work together as part of a facilitated process with the goal of reaching consensus on a small set of ITS warranted installation parameters, guiding the initial decisions of whether or not to deploy ITS solutions.
This project will begin by addressing one or two ITS solutions that are being considered by several (if not all) ENTERPRISE member agencies. The idea is not to have entirely theoretical discussions, but rather that representatives from member agencies will come to the table with real-life decisions that need to be reached, and collectively the group will determine a set of warranted installation parameters that support specific decisions being considered in member states (about real projects being considered) and can serve as specific warranted installation parameters for future considerations of both member and non-member organizations.
As an example, it might be that en-route roadside traveler information (e.g. DMS, HAR) is one area that is examined. It is likely that member agencies might be considering DMS or HAR deployments. Therefore, the discussion could focus on what factors would warrant the en-route roadside traveler information, resulting in a checklist of factors that could then be used by ENTERPRISE member states in supporting the case for either deploying the traveler information system or not deploying it.