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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
ITS Joint Program Office

About ITS Standards

Application Areas

Application areas are deployment-oriented categories that focus on commonly deployed ITS services or systems. Application areas provide a starting point for identifying the ITS standards and other resources (e.g., case studies, lessons learned) that may be relevant to a specific type of deployment.

System Types

graphic image with Travelers (a bus), Field (a traffic light), Vehicles (cars), and Centers (a Traffic Management Center)The National ITS Reference Architecture, also known as ARC-IT, is divided into interface classes, which are further subdivided into application areas. Interface classes are defined by the type of system at each end of the communications path: center, field, vehicle, and traveler. An application area within the center-to-field interface class would include bidirectional communication between a center-type system (e.g., traffic management center) communicating with a field-type system (e.g., roadway equipment).

To determine which standards may be applicable, first identify the interface class for which you are looking for a standard, then find the application area within that interface class that best describes the project component. Use the table below to learn more about application areas and associated standards.

ITS projects will relate to one or more application area.

During the initial phases of a deployment, decisions should be made regarding:

  • The specific information flows from ARC-IT to be implemented, and the corresponding standards mapped to those flows.
  • The specific communications protocols to be used in the deployment, and corresponding standards.
  • The specific types of messages to be used in the deployment.

Contact your local FHWA ITS Division Specialist or an ITS Standards Program Field Support Team contact for additional help.

ITS Standards Application Areas Table

Interface Class Standards Application Areas
Center to Center – This class of application areas includes interfaces between transportation management centers. Data Archival
Incident Management
Rail Coordination
Traffic Management
Transit Management
Traveler Information
Center to Field – This class of application areas includes interfaces between a management center and its field equipment (e.g., traffic monitoring, traffic control, environmental monitoring, driver information, security monitoring, and lighting control). Data Collection/Monitoring
Dynamic Message Signs
Environmental Monitoring
Lighting Management
Ramp Metering
Traffic Signals
Vehicle Sensors
Video Surveillance
Center to Vehicle/Traveler – This class of application areas includes interfaces between a center and the devices used by drivers or travelers. It includes interfaces with motorists and travelers for exchange of traveler and emergency information as well as interfaces between management centers and fleet vehicles to support vehicle fleet management. Mayday
Transit Vehicle Communications
Traveler Information
Field to Field – This class of application areas includes interfaces between field equipment, such as between wayside equipment and signal equipment at a highway rail intersection. Highway Rail Intersection (HRI)
Field to Vehicle – This class of application areas includes wireless communication interfaces between field equipment and vehicles on the road. Probe Surveillance
Signal Priority
Toll/Fee Collection