United States Department of Transportation
2011 Intelligent Transportation Systems
Program Advisory Committee
Report to Congress
Section 5305(h) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), Public Law 109-59 directs the U.S Department of Transportation (Department) to establish an Advisory Committee to provide advice to the Secretary of Transportation on the scope and direction of the Department’s Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Program by providing input into the development of the ITS aspects of the Department’s strategic plan and reviewing ITS research being considered for funding. The Department also is directed to submit an annual Report to Congress in February of each year that includes:
- All recommendations made by the Committee during the preceding calendar year;
- An explanation of how the Secretary has implemented those recommendations; and
- The reasons for rejecting the recommendations not implemented.
In response to the SAFETEA-LU requirement, the Department established the ITS Program Advisory Committee (ITS PAC or Committee). The ITS PAC has met seven times since its inception and provides a critical link to the ITS stakeholder communities across public agencies, academia and the private sector. The meetings have focused on strategic planning activities and program reviews that have been critical to development of the ITS Joint Program Office’s (ITS JPO) Five-Year ITS Strategic Research Plan for FY 2010 – FY 2014. In 2008 and 2009, the Department solicited the Committee’s specific input on the ITS JPO proposed future mission, goals, and focus areas. Also, as required under SAFETEA-LU Section 5305(h)(3)(B), the ITS PAC was asked to review proposed ITS research initiatives and provide the following input:
- Whether current research activities are likely to advance either ITS state-of-the-practice or state-of-the-art;
- Whether ITS technologies are likely to be deployed by users, and if not, to determine the barriers to deployment; and
- The appropriate roles for government and the private sector in investing in the research and technologies being considered.
The ITS PAC submitted two advice memoranda with several recommendations about the future direction of the ITS research program and related ITS JPO activities. As detailed in the Department’s 2009 Report to Congress, the Department addressed the ITS PAC’s recommendations, integrating them into the ongoing ITS strategic planning process and shifting direction as suggested, particularly in the area of sustainability.
During the first two meetings in 2010 with the reconstituted committee, the focus was on the roles and responsibilities of the Committee and information on the Department’s initial ITS Program strategic planning efforts and processes. The ITS PAC made no formal recommendations to the Department in 2010 but plans to do so in 2011.
ITS PAC Activity in 2010
The ITS PAC was reconstituted on December 17, 2009, and members were appointed to 2-year terms. The ITS PAC membership consists of 20 members, 7 of whom served on the previous Committee, and 13 new members. The Committee met twice during the past calendar year and focused broadly on the strategic planning activities and program reviews that will be critical for the next phase of the ITS Research Program.
The first meeting was held February 24, 2010, and the second meeting was held April 7, 2010. The first meeting of the Committee was held via web conference and provided basic information to Committee members on the roles and responsibilities of the ITS PAC (including a review of the SAFETEA-LU legislation and Federal Advisory Committee Act procedures), information on conflicts of interest, and an initial overview of the Department’s ITS program. The second meeting was held at the Department’s headquarters and provided the Committee members with more detailed information on the ITS JPO’s strategic planning efforts and solicited specific input on the proposed future mission, goals, and focus areas of the ITS JPO.
The ITS PAC made no formal recommendations to the Department in 2010. However, the Committee submitted a list of issues and questions intended to stimulate discussions, form the basis of specific agenda topics for future meetings, and help shape the planning and execution of the ITS research program. To summarize, the ITS PAC included the following issues for ITS JPO consideration:
- Whether the ITS JPO should have a role in integrating technologies, and setting the national agenda;
- Whether the ITS JPO should develop a “big picture” that encompasses multiple Government agencies as a bold and innovative initiative;
- Whether the ITS JPO should conduct a preliminary assessment of the implications of developing and maintaining databases currently residing in other organizations;
- Whether the ITS JPO should adopt a systems approach; and
- Whether the ITS JPO should engage the ITS Strategic Planning Group, the multi- modal ITS Program steering committee, in a review of the way it has articulated the ITS Program’s multimodal goals and the way the Program implements them.
In addition, the ITS PAC provided the following list of agenda topics for future meetings:
- The Platform Approach;
- The Federal/States Interface; and
- The Public/Private Interface
The ITS JPO concurs that the above proposed issues are worthy of full consideration and the proposed agenda topics will provide a useful structure for a substantive dialogue with the Committee membership, and will serve as thought-provoking input that will affect the planning and execution of the ITS research agenda. As such, the ITS JPO has communicated its concurrence to the ITS PAC chairman and vice chairman on its desire and intent to focus on these agenda topics for the next ITS PAC meetings. The Committee met January 6 and 7 and March 2 and 3, 2011.
In summary, the Department looks forward to continuing the important discussions with the ITS PAC membership and the broader stakeholder communities that they represent on the future of ITS research within the Department. The Department values the nationally-recognized expertise represented on the Committee, and appreciates the many contributions of the ITS PAC in the ITS strategic planning effort. The ITS JPO will continue to leverage the Committee’s broad range of experience and expertise in the implementation of the Five-Year ITS Strategic Research Plan.