The National Academies

NCHRP 03-77 [Final]

Guide to Contracting Intelligent Transportation System Projects

  Project Data
Funds: $437,874
Research Agency: Edwards and Kelcey, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Kenneth R. Marshall P.E., Phillip J. Tarnoff
Effective Date: 3/4/2004
Completion Date: 1/31/2008

Transportation agencies traditionally use low-bid contracts for capital improvements. This is often not the best approach for intelligent transportation systems (ITS), particularly when there is a substantial amount of software involved. Many state DOTs are installing or expanding their ITS infrastructure. Periodic rehabilitation of existing systems is needed because of obsolescence of computer hardware and software. Using an appropriate contract type and managing the contracting process effectively can greatly improve the quality of these systems and reduce conflicts between the agency and its contractor. At the end of the contract, both the owner and supplier of the system should be satisfied with the outcome.

The FHWA encourages consideration of nontraditional procurement methods for ITS, but state and local DOTs often find it difficult to use nontraditional methods because the project delivery system has been designed for low-bid contracts. These nontraditional contracting methods have different strengths and weaknesses that should be considered and addressed during the contracting process. Examples of how agencies have used nontraditional contracts will be very helpful in justifying their use and in successfully and effectively implementing them.

The objective of this research was to develop a guide to contracting ITS projects and services. The guide was intended to highlight best practices and recommend contracting strategies and contract types, terms, and conditions for the development, integration, system acceptance, warranty, maintenance, and upgrade of ITS.  Subsequent research explored the factors influencing agency success in ITS development and project implementation.

Status and Products Available:: All work has been completed.  The guide is available as  NCHRP Report 560: Guide to Contracting ITS Project.  An automated, interactive tool that applies the guide's decision-making process is also available. The contractor's 1st-phase final report is available as NCHRP Web-Only Document 85.  The research team prepared a second report on "Organizational Factors in ITS Development and Project Success;" the contractor's report is available upon request to NCHRP.

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