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.