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

About ITS Standards

Final Rule/Policy: ITS Architecture and Standards

Standards-based ITS is most powerful and produces the greatest benefit when deployed under a comprehensive regional (or corridor) transportation planning effort. Such an approach ensures that the ITS requirements (and other transportation needs) of all transportation stakeholders in the region are identified, resulting in an integrated and multimodal transportation network. Standards allow agencies to integrate ITS functions and services. Standards work hand-in-hand with the National ITS Reference Architecture, enabling a systematic and comprehensive approach to ITS integration and deployment.

ITS standards are specifications that define how transportation system components interconnect and interact within the overall framework of the National ITS Reference Architecture. They specify how different technologies, products, and components interconnect and interoperate among the different systems so that information can be shared automatically. To facilitate interoperability and encourage the use of ITS standards in deployments, on January 8, 2001, the U.S. Department of Transportation published two important and related documents in the Federal Register:

  • The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Final Rule
  • The Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Policy

The FHWA and FTA are guided by these two rules for administering ITS projects.

This rule/policy supports the development and deployment of regional ITS architectures. A regional ITS architecture establishes a framework that helps guide the integration of ITS components. Applicable ITS standards can be derived from a regional architecture based on the information flows specified in the regional architecture. Standards can enhance the communications of ITS systems identified in the architecture and help to reduce stove-piping.

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