Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) 

Rapid advances in technology have created many new opportunities for transportation professionals to deliver safer and more efficient transportation services and to respond proactively to increasing demand for transportation services in many areas and mounting customer expectations. However, many of these new opportunities are predicated upon effective coordination between organizations – at both an institutional and technical level.

To encourage this coordination, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has developed the National Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Architecture and related tools to help identify and exploit these opportunities for cost-effective cooperation.

In 1997, Congress passed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) to address the need to begin to work toward regionally integrated transportation systems. In January 2001, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published rule 23 CFR 940 and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published a companion policy to implement section 5206(e) of TEA-21. This Rule/Policy seeks to foster regional integration by requiring that all ITS projects funded from the Highway Trust Fund be in conformance with the National ITS Architecture and appropriate standards. "Conformance with the National ITS Architecture" is defined in the final Rule/Policy as using the National ITS Architecture to develop a "regional ITS Architecture" that would be tailored to address the local situation, ITS investment needs, and the subsequent adherence of ITS projects to the regional ITS architecture.

FHWA rule 23 CFR 940.9 Regional ITS Architecture states, in part:

"(a) A regional ITS architecture shall be developed to guide the development of ITS projects and programs and be consistent with ITS strategies and projects contained in applicable transportation plans. The National ITS Architecture shall be used as a resource in the development of the regional ITS architecture. The regional ITS architecture shall be on a scale commensurate with the scope of ITS investment in the region. Provision should be made to include participation from the following agencies, as appropriate, in the development of the regional ITS architecture: Highway agencies; public safety agencies (e.g., police, fire, emergency/medical); transit operators; Federal lands agencies; State motor carrier agencies; and other operating agencies necessary to fully address regional ITS integration.

(b) Any region that is currently implementing ITS projects shall have a regional ITS architecture by April 8, 2005."