Research has provided current practice, insights, and concepts for procuring and implementing information systems. The research was premised on the application of a business-systems approach to plan, develop, and implement new information systems. A business systems approach is a top-down approach involving an agency-wide or an enterprise-wide strategy for managing, providing access to, and sharing information resources.
Many transportation agencies have initiated and, in some cases, made substantial progress using a business-driven approach to develop information systems. The success of these efforts depends on strong commitments by an organization's personnel, beginning with its top management, and the allocation of considerable up-front resources. This business-systems approach starts with a model that defines the organization's business functions and proceeds with successive stages of refinement toward a logical description of the information (data) and procedural (process) requirements. This approach, with its view toward both horizontal and vertical integration, avoids many of the problems inherent in vertical-only, project-by-project development efforts that are conducted without a business-systems plan. The project-by-project method often results in systems the data of which cannot be integrated or shared, and, in many cases, the resulting systems either overlap each other or leave gaps.
Stone & Webster Transportation Services of Boston, Massachusetts, completed the research. Copies of the agency's final report were distributed to state departments of transportation and are available for loan or purchase by others on request.