Overview of ITS Architectures


Overview of ITS Architectures

Slide 1

  • Hello and welcome to the concise module for training on Intelligent Transportation Systems Architectures. This training is designed for transportation professionals that want to understand what an ITS Architecture is, and how a National Reference ITS Architecture, such as ARC-IT, can be used to support planning and developing integrated transportation systems.

Slide 2

  • Disclaimer
  • Transport Canada does not endorse products or companies. Reference to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or  favouring by Transport Canada and shall not be used for advertising or service endorsement purposes.
  • Transport Canada does not guarantee the accuracy and completeness of information

Slide 3

  • We would like to acknowledge the assistance and supporting material that has been shared by the U.S. DOT and their ITS Architecture contractor. That material contributed considerably to this presentation.
  • We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the members of the ITS Architecture for Canada Stakeholders Advisory Committee.

Slide 4

  • This module will look at the following:
    • First, we are going to start with a look at the role of transportation professionals and an overview of cycle for planning and project development
    • Then we will introduce ITS architectures, and look at their structure and content
    • We will then highlight how an ITS architecture may be used and the benefits of doing so
    • And finally, we will point you to some additional resources of information that may be of interest

Slide 5

  • To begin, let's first agree on a broad definition of Intelligent Transportation Systems, or ITS.
  • ITS integrate different information and communications technologies into road transportation infrastructure and vehicles, to help make the transportation system safer and more efficient.
  • ITS include the electronics, communications or information processing technologies that may be deployed singly or integrated to implement strategies to address identified needs and objectives, from the perspective of a region and/or a specific project.

Slide 6

  • ITS are critical tools in the toolbox of Transportation Professionals whose role is to plan and provide solutions to transportation needs.
  • In simplistic terms, transportation professionals identify the transportation needs of a region which become the basis for the transportation goals and objectives of the region.
  • Transportation professionals then identify solutions to address those goals and objectives.
  • To implement the solutions, transportation professionals first design the necessary facilities and systems and then oversee the development and deployment of those solutions. Once deployed, the systems are then operated and maintained.

Slide 7

  • Let's consider those transportation solutions and the underlying needs, goals and objectives that they may address.
  • Many factors are considered in the development of regional goals and objectives, including, but not limited to, economic vitality, safety, security, accessibility and mobility options, environmental impact, modal integration and connectivity and support of efficient management and operation of assets.
  • The goals and objectives may be defined in general terms, such as reduce congestion, or specific terms, such as provide timely road condition information.
  • It is important for a region to have a plan for deploying ITS and technologies to meet those goals and objectives and ensure that the systems are interoperable, and services are consistently provided across the region. That plan can be described in an ITS Architecture for that Region.

Slide 8

  • As alluded to earlier, transportation professionals are involved in two general areas of transportation - Planning and Project Development
  • (CLICK): Transportation Planning has two key aspects:
    • Long range planning, which looks at providing a framework to achieve transportation goals and objectives and allows a region to coordinate transportation investments over a long horizon, such as 20 plus years
    • Short range planning considers programming of projects over a short period, such as 5 years, to achieve compliance with the goals of the Long-Range Transportation Plan
  • (CLICK): Once a project is programmed a typical process for the development of the project is shown to the right of the vertical line.
  • Project Feasibility considers the basic needs of the project and performs any tradeoffs or studies regarding how to meet the needs. This may include development of a Concept of Operations
  • Environmental considers the environmental impact of the project and obtains any needed approvals before the project can proceed. This step has the sense of defining the requirements that must be satisfied by the project.
  • Preliminary Design (sometimes call 30% design) considers basic design elements such as geometric design, structures, pavement, and guidelines for system deployments
  • Final Design (sometimes called Plans Specifications and Estimates (PS&E)) is the detailed description of what will be constructed.
  • Construction is the actual building and deployment of the project.
  • (CLICK): After Construction is complete, the project moves into Operations and Maintenance phases.

Slide 9

  • This chart starts the discussion of additional planning outputs that are often created to supplement the Long-Range Transportation Plan and Short-Range Program Plan.  
  • (CLICK): When considering ITS projects, those overwhelmingly relate to Operations, which doesn't just “happen”, but does so as the result of Operations Planning 

Slide 10

  • So, let's look at Operations Planning, which considers Problems and Solutions, Strategies to be implemented, and may be developed around specific problem areas, or on a Corridor-by-Corridor basis
  • Operations Plans look at identifying governing goals and objectives, identification of problems, and then the strategies to address the problems. They also typically address Staffing, Equipment, and Facilities

Slide 11

  • Because the ITS strategies, such as those relating to Capacity Management for example, require devices on the roadway as well as centers that manage the devices, the implementation of ITS is something that needs to be planned for.
  • In addition, many capital transportation projects have technology pieces to them. Think of building a new freeway interchange, it is likely that it will include ITS devices as part of the build.
  • (CLICK): Infrastructure Planning that goes beyond the planning done for the roadway is important for the success of an individual project, as well as the overall capital program for an agency.

Slide 12

  • ITS Infrastructure Planning considers the What, When, and How
  • With respect to the What, based on the Operations Plan it will identify the infrastructure needed to support the operations strategies. This will include the ITS systems, devices and supporting communications.
  • It will include a logical implementation schedule of projects based on technical considerations for interdependencies of common elements between projects

Slide 13

  • The final piece of successful planning is an ITS Architecture.
  • (CLICK): In most cases it would be on a regional level and comprehensive, and will provide a framework for an integration plan for all potential Capital Projects and will integrate and build from information form the Operations and Infrastructure Plans
  • (CLICK): Later when an agency has secured funding and approval to proceed with one of the projects, more detailed Project ITS Architectures can be defined and developed to support both preliminary and detained design for each individual project.
  • (CLICK): There are a couple of key points here:
    • First, ITS Architectures are developed to align with stakeholders' vision for ITS Operations and Infrastructure Planning
    • And second, between Regional and Project ITS Architectures, they can address both long-term planning strategies and short-term requirements of individual projects

Slide 14

  • So, let's take a quick step back and understand what is an ITS Architecture?
  • Basically, it's a reference framework that provides a common basis and language for planning, defining, and integrating ITS into road transportation infrastructure and operations, without mandating any particular technology or implementation.
  • The key aspect of an architecture is that it identifies:
    • Organizations involved - called stakeholders
    • Systems and devices operated- such as centers and vehicles
    • Functions performed by the systems and devices
    • What information the systems exchange
    • What communication types are used to exchange the information.
  • A key aspect of an ITS Architecture, or other reference framework for that matter, are that they are technology neutral, and they allow for design flexibility for any specific implementation.
  • Let's use the analogy of a buffet. It gives you more than you could ever imagine or need. You can choose to have the beef, chicken, seafood and/or vegetarian option. And for each you can choose how each are prepared and what ingredients and accompaniments are included. In the rare instance it does not have what you want it provides the facilities to allow you to prepare it.

Slide 15

  • As mentioned, an ITS Architecture provides a reference framework that is technology and design neutral.
  • As such, it should not be interpreted as, or intended to be, a design document
  • Additionally, it does not define institutional or development processes

Slide 16

  • One of the fundamental concepts of an ITS Architecture is providing a framework for defining integration.
  • This diagram shows the integration of centers as an example and illustrates how end users can benefit from the shared information.
  • This can include travelers directly accessing that information, or traffic management systems using it to manage traffic and advise motorist, and transit and emergency service operators using it to manage their fleets and operations.

Slide 17

  • There are generally three types of ITS Architectures.
  • The first, (CLICK) a reference architecture, is a general template covering a wide range of ITS services. An example of this is the Architecture Reference for Cooperative and Intelligent Transportation- ARC-IT.
    • Provides a national “vision” for ITS and the concept of how “system of systems” come together
    • Guides sound ITS planning and investments at government levels
    • Supports systems engineering analysis for projects deploying ITS
    • Identifies and scopes the needs for standardized interfaces
  • The second level of architecture (CLICK) is called a Regional ITS Architecture, which describes the ITS deployed in a specific region (e.g., a Municipality like York or a Province like B.C.). This level aligns with the ITS Architecture discussed earlier as part of the Planning phase.
  • The third level of architecture (CLICK) is a project architecture. This can represent a subset of the regional architecture that covers just a single project (for example implementing a TMC) or a could be developed separately. In either case, a project architecture can be a more detailed view of the stakeholders, systems, and interfaces represented by the project. This level aligns with the ITS Architecture discussed earlier as part of the Project Development phase.
  • For the next few slides, we will concentrate on the highest level, using ARC-IT as an example of a Reference ITS Architecture.

Slide 18

  • A recent jurisdictional scan undertaken for Transport Canada found that the U.S. ARC-IT framework is a gold standard for reference ITS architectures due to its maturity and breadth of coverage as a result of nearly 30 years of history and ongoing enhancement and maintenance.
  • The ITS Architecture for Canada has a history of periodically aligning with the U.S., and in the most recent Canadian update a strategic decision was made to ensure that all common content with ARC-IT was directly aligned.
  • The subsequent Version 9 of ARC-IT integrated the four remaining unique Canadian-developed Service Packages which had been developed in coordination with the U.S. Architecture Team.
  • The is now a single common set of databases which the U.S. maintains, and the ARC-IT website and supporting tools, now full support the entire ITS Architecture for Canada.
  • Given this, the current approach for Transport Canada is to encourage use of ARC-IT as opposed to maintaining a parallel architecture and continue to develop separate and compatible Service Packages as necessary.

Slide 19

  • ARC-IT is a comprehensive framework that supports a wide range of ITS Services, or Service Packages. Services are organized within these 12 service areas. In total there are over 150 Service Packages, which are organized within these 12 service areas.
  • Included in these Service Packages are a number that are international examples from Europe, Australian and Canada.
    • The first two relate to supporting expedited customs clearance programs and coordination at shared borders.
    • The Signal Enforcement Service Package relates to red light cameras
    • And the Roadway Micro-prediction relates to local forecasts needed for focused warning systems.

Slide 20

  • ARC-IT has a structure which follows recognized standards for reference architectures and is defined around four distinct views.
  • The enterprise view of ARC-IT defines relationships between organizations and the roles those organizations play in providing ITS services.
  • The functional view of ARC-IT defines the set of Processes that implement the functionality required to provide services.
  • The most familiar view of ARC-IT is the physical view which groups the functionality into physical objects and identifies the interfaces between the objects.
  • Finally, the communications view identifies the communication solutions needed to send data along the interfaces defined by the Physical View.
  • Let's take a bit of a closer look at each of these views.

Slide 21

  • We'll start with the Physical View as it is the best understood and most used of the four views
  • The Physical View represents physical elements that operate in the field and back office, as well as the functionality contained within those elements, the roles those elements play in delivering ITS services, and the connections between those elements.
  • What we are seeing here are the core Physical Object entities that make up the Physical View.
  • They are grouped into common entity categories, including Center, Field, Vehicle which are basically self-explanatory.
  • There is also a group for Personal which represents devices that the public may use to access ITS services.
  • Finally, a Support category which includes systems and devices that align with more traditional IT type services
  • Let's consider, from a physical perspective, what may be needed for Transit Signal Priority (TSP)
  • (CLICK): Firstly, you need to have signals equipment in the field, including controllers and signals themselves. There may also be equipment to either detect and or communicate with the transit vehicles. You can see that ARC-IT, as a reference architecture, identifies these as a common ITS Roadway Equipment object
  • (CLICK): Next you have the transit vehicle, and more specifically the Onboard Equipment on the vehicle. This may include Automatic Vehicle Location technologies to track the vehicle, communications equipment, and mobile data terminals.
  • (CLICK): Depending on the implementation you may need central systems at the Transit Management Center, to monitor and track schedule performance and evaluate the need for TSP
  • (CLICK): similarly, there may need to be central systems at the Traffic Management Center to coordinate with the Transit Management Center or to process requests from the controller in the field
  • (CLICK): And then there is the Communications to tie everything together.
  • So, the Physical View identifies the necessary systems and devices, as well as the interfaces between them.

Slide 22

  • Let's now consider the Enterprise View which addresses the policies, funding incentives, working arrangements, and jurisdictional structure that support the technical layers of the architecture. Basically, it is a framework for who is involved in carrying out ITS services, and how.
  • Building off the Physical View, it is important to identify who is responsible for each entity.
  • For a given City or Region, the owners of the Traffic Management Center and ITS Roadway Equipment would likely be their Transportation Services Division – (CLICK)
  • The owners of the Transit Management Center, Transit Vehicle and the Onboard Equipment would be the City's Transit Service Division or a higher-level regional entity. – (CLICK)
  • However, ownership is only one role, and an architecture may identify other stakeholders that may lead different lifecycle stages for (CLICK) development, installation, operations, and maintenance.
  • Also, the lifecycle of ITS is not so simple
    • Depending on the stage of a project's lifecycle, one or more of these roles may not be known at a particular time. In many cases, particularly in planning future projects, the own may be identified initially as they will be responsible for procuring those services.

Slide 23

  • On to the Functional View which provides an analysis of abstract functional elements and their logical interactions. Which is basically identifying what is involved in carrying out ITS services.
  • Let's look at just one of the devices that we have discussed, the traffic controller in the field. Within ARC-IT there is a Functional Entity related to that controller, which is Roadway Field Management Station Operation (CLICK). Again, you can see that as a reference architecture the naming is not specific
  • And under that Functional Entity are a list of potential functional requirements for that device.
  • These are a menu of Shall statements (CLICK) that can be used during planning stages to understand the scoping for a project, and/or used as a starting point for procurement specifications as the project moves beyond planning.

Slide 24

  • And finally, we have the Communications View – which takes the physical interfaces to a lower level of detail, which can be useful for preliminary and detailed design. It provides a framework for identifying the protocols necessary to implement an information flow between the various systems
  • To the degree possible, ARC-IT provides Communication Solutions as a reference to all of interfaces within its framework. Each solution points to relevant standards and protocols.
  • (CLICK): The example here is for the center to field interface for 'signal control commands' for NTCIP Signal System Masters
  • We won't get into the details, but should highlight that it points to relevant NTCIP and IT standards and provides a wealth of direction to transportation professionals and system designers in particular

Slide 25

  • So, in the proceeding slides we looked at different views of an ITS Architecture and illustrated the structure and content of each and used a common example through each view.
  • In essence, we illustrated how ARC-IT can be used as a reference framework that can be customized to support an organization's, such as a municipal government's, specific ITS Planning and Design needs.
  • (CLICK) Essentially choosing applicable parts and components and customizing those to fit their plans.
  • So, what is considered a Traffic Management Center in ARC-IT may be customized more specifically as the municipality's Central Signal Control System (CLICK), and the ITS Roadway Equipment more specifically as Signals and Controllers (CLICK)
  • At its highest and broadest customization level, that may be to develop a Regional ITS Architecture to support suite of projects and initiatives as part of a short- or long-range plans
  • (CLICK) ARC-IT includes a software tool, called Regional Architecture Development for Intelligent Transportation (or RAD-IT), which is designed specifically to support Regional Architecture Development. It should also note that RAD-IT is an updated and re-branded version of the previous Turbo software tool.
  • Taking it one step further, the most detailed level of customization would be to develop a Project ITS Architecture focused on a specific ITS deployment project.
  • (CLICK) Again, ARC-IT provides a Systems Engineering Tool for Intelligent Transportation, or SET-IT tool, to develop and define these detailed elements.
    1. With respect to using ARC-IT to develop lower-level architectures it is important to two to emphasize a couple of things.
    2. ARC-IT is a very mature reference architecture that's origin dates back to the early 90s. And is the product of a significant amount of stakeholder effort and investment made to continue its evolution, expansion, and maintenance.
    3. In the U.S. they mandate that all projects that include federal funding are required to follow a system engineering process and be included in an architecture. This is not related to highest Reference level of architecture but means that the project must be included in either regional planning architectures or one specific to the project.
    4. These mandates are not in place at the whim of the FHWA and USDOT, they are there based on their assessments of best practices. As a result, there are hundreds of Regional Architectures in the U.S. with essentially all Metropolitan Planning Organizations (or MPOs) each having one that supports their planning efforts, which may help with access to federal funds.
    5. Canada does not have similar requirements, and as a result there has not been the same uptake and use of the architecture here as in the U.S. That said, using an ITS Architecture is a good practice and there are many benefits to doing so.

Slide 26

  • Now consider the previously discussed Project Planning and Development Lifecycle and how ITS Architecture application can be integrated into the process. Let's consider it as more of a cyclical process, as illustrated on the right. (CLICK)
  • Efficient Transportation Planning is not just related to new projects and initiatives, but also needs to consider existing legacy ITS systems and operations and evaluating when there will be needs for updates and enhancements and when necessary, replacement.
  • (CLICK): We have discussed how application of the ARC-IT Reference Architecture can be useful during an agency's Transportation Planning efforts to ensure that their long-range plans align with the needs and vision, and that their short-range plans incorporate programming and budgeting of projects in a logical and achievable sequence.
  • Development of a Regional Architecture using the RAD-IT tool may be a key supporting task to achieve these goals. It can help identify opportunities for additional information sharing and to promote integration of planned projects.
  • Based on the short-range plan for capital projects, further development of ITS Project Architectures can also help support the design and procurement of those. By defining projects in greater detail, programming or budgeting processes are also easier

Slide 27

So, let's look at some of the reasons for, or benefits of, developing customized region and project specific ITS Architectures.

  • First, Regional architectures are developed to support Capital Plans which are themselves developed based on regional needs and vision.
  • Integrating architecture development into the planning process can ensure continuity to those needs and that vision are maintained.
  • Integration into the planning process, particularly early on, can also help reduce risks overall and improve chances of success for each of the planned ITS projects and initiatives
  • ARC-IT is a mature and comprehensive reference architecture and provides a common set of industry standard vocabulary and nomenclature, which can bring consistent language to stakeholder planning efforts and engagements, as well as consistent content and structure to documenting projects.
  • ARC-IT can also help identify additional possibilities with respect to system functionality and broader information sharing
  • Additionally, the RAD-IT and SET-IT software suite are built to ensure that common physical systems and devices are consistent across multiple projects and initiatives
  • And finally, ensuring compliance with the relevant and recent standards can make it much cheaper to procure and integrate faulty or outdated equipment

Slide 28

  • It is important to note that Stakeholder involvement and input is critical to the success of ITS projects and operations. This includes ensuring that all stakeholders are engaged, not just the planners but also those that will be involved in operations.
  • In many cases, the development of a regional ITS architecture can be a catalyst that brings together planning and operations professionals in a region. Initial architecture development puts planners and operators on the same page and periodic coordinated updates keep them on the same page.
  • There have been examples where using the same committee that supported architecture development to also provide oversight over architecture use and maintenance has proven successful by build on the architecture development experience and the established relationships to keep ITS and broader operations initiatives coordinated and moving forward.

Slide 29

  • If you are interested in more information, many of the resources available to you can be found either from Transport Canada or the ARC-IT website.
  • The Transport Canada website address shown here and is dedicated to ITS Architectures.
  • You will be able to access documents and guides that have been produced by or for Transport Canada. It will also have the latest information on any planned training programs or offerings.
  • There is also a dedicated support email that you can send inquiries to.
  • The ARC-IT website is where all of the ARC-IT content is hosted and available in an easy to navigate hypertext format.
  • In addition, it also includes access to a wealth of other resources, include a series of recorded training sessions that will allow you to stream at your convenience. The recordings relate to ARC-IT and its use, as well as how to use the RAD-IT and SET-IT tools.
  • Other content includes access to the RAD-IT and SET-IT tools themselves, and relevant primers, guides, and handbooks.

Slide 30

  • This module introduced ITS Architectures and an overview of how the ARC-IT Reference Architecture can be used to support planning and project development.
  • Now you hopefully understand that ITS Architectures provide a framework for developing integrated transportations systems.
  • ARC-IT itself is a Reference Architecture that is comprised of 4 complimentary views, and together with the RAD-IT and SET-IT tools, provide resources that can help support transportation professional with planning and project design for ITS deployments and operations
  • Such application of ARC-IT can be integrated into day-to-day planning and programming processes.