T3 Webinar Overview

Systems Engineering: The “V” for Ensuring ITS Project Quality Control and Assurance

View Webinar: link to this webinar's archive materials

Originally presented under the title: Approaches for Integrating Systems Engineering into Your Agency's Business Practices

Date:   August 2, 2007
Time:  1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
Cost:  All T3 webinars are free of charge
PDH:  1.5   View PDH Policy

T3 Webinars are brought to you by the ITS Professional Capacity Building Program (ITS PCB) at the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) ITS Joint Program Office, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). Reference in this webinar to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by U.S. Department of Transportation.

This webinar is the second in a series of T3s that will focus on Systems Engineering at a practitioner level.


The purpose of this T3 webinar is to address one of the more challenging aspects of systems engineering (SE)—understanding and articulating where and how systems engineering applies in an organization’s day-to-day business processes and practices. To illustrate these concepts, separate case studies will be presented by two State agencies—the Virginia DOT and the Mississippi DOT—on the approach these agencies have used to incorporate systems engineering into their project delivery process. The webinar will explore how needed institutional changes occurred and what products had to be developed in support of the systems engineering application.


When planning, developing, and implementing an ITS project, knowing what specific systems engineering activities must occur, and where and when, can be confusing. In many organizations, the ITS project delivery process applied tends to be the same used on traditional road and infrastructure projects, which can lead to costly and delayed projects that do not meet their intended purpose. Instead, successful funding, planning, development, and deployment of ITS projects depends upon a well structured and documented process that includes operators, planners, designers, construction personnel, and other key stakeholders at the appropriate times.

However, to achieve such a process requires a change in agency business practices as well as a mindset shift in transportation project managers. Systems engineering provides ITS project managers with a proven process that emphasizes and formalizes quality control and quality assurance throughout. As demonstrated by the two participating agencies, use of systems engineering on ITS projects ensures that the delivered system is based on user needs and requirements, and more likely to be completed within the budget and time constraints established by the project manager.

Target Audience

State, and local transportation engineers, transportation planners, traffic operations engineers and managers, transit operations managers, and emergency management agency managers; and FHWA Division Office and FTA Regional Office ITS and Planning personnel.


Mac Lister, ITS Specialist, FHWA Resource Center
Mac has over 35 years of experience in the field of information systems. Before joining FHWA ten years ago, he had worked as an IT manager for 25 years, the last 12 of which were for a public transit agency. His ITS areas of expertise are 511 technology/overall operations, the National ITS Architecture, ITS professional capacity building, and systems engineering.

Mac provides training, outreach and technical support for the National ITS Architecture and Systems Engineering programs. He is also the team leader for the FHWA's National Field Support team; the field co-chair for the FHWA Operations Council's architecture and systems engineering working groups; and a member of the 511 Deployment Coalition Working Group.

Mac is a certified instructor and a master trainer for NHI. He teaches courses in ITS Software Acquisition, Systems Engineering and National ITS Architecture. He has also been an independent consultant to ITS America. Mac is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).


Emiliano Lopez, ITS Deployment Program Manager, FHWA HQ
Emiliano is currently the ITS Deployment Program Manager for ITS Regional Architectures and Systems Engineering in Washington DC. Prior to his assignment in Headquarters, Emiliano worked in the FHWA Resource Center providing technical expertise and assistance on ITS project development, review, deployment and operations/maintenance. He also provided expertise and assistance on ITS Standards. Before joining FHWA Emiliano worked at both the state and local levels with agencies such as the Virginia Dept. of Transportation, and the Cities of San Diego and Anaheim. Combined public agency work Emiliano brings 20 years of experience to the agency. He has a Masters in Public Administration from Central Michigan University, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering and minor in Electrical Engineering from San Diego State University.

Michael Stokes, Intelligent Transportation Systems Manager, Mississippi Department of Transportation
Mike has worked 17 years with MDOT, 14 years in the Information Systems Division and 3 years in the Traffic Engineering Division. While employed with the IS Division, Mike assisted with the design and deployment of MDOT's Wide Area Network. He developed MDOT's Exchange E-Mail system and was responsible for network upgrades and security. Three years ago, Mike was asked to manage MDOT's Intelligent Transportation Systems. Besides management of the overall statewide ITS program, Mike oversees the daily operations of three main systems: 1) Advanced Traveler Management System; 2) Coordinated Incident Management System; and 3) Advanced Traveler Information System. He currently oversees the development of two additional systems: the Road Weather Management System and the Advanced Construction & Maintenance System.
B.S., Business Administration, Belhaven College, 1986
Member of Institute of Transportation Engineers
Member of Deep South Chapter of Institute of Transportation Engineers
Member of ITS America

Amy Tang McElwain, Virginia Department of Transportation
Amy worked for a transportation consulting firm in Taiwan focused on transportation modeling and traffic impact analysis prior coming to the US. Amy worked at FHWA-IVHS (then) Division as a graduate research fellow. She joined Arlington County in 1993 and contributed to many important transportation and community efforts and later joined VDOT in 1998 as the ITS manager for Northern Virginia District (NOVA). She led the development of an easy to use User Guide and project checklist to ensure conformance to regional architecture, Rule 940, and through the use of System Engineering process, led to a strategic approach to Operations Planning. She became the manager of Operations Planning and Programming Section for VDOT’s newly established Northern Region Operations in 2006. She has since built a professional team to lead the region’s strategic investment on operations.

Amy has served as a member of the Board for ITSVA from 1997 to 2001 and since 2002. She represents VDOT at various Virginia statewide and Washington DC region-wide ITS committees and has been a strong champion for ITS integration and architecture.

Amy holds a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering, specializing in transportation, from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Traffic and Transportation Management from Tamkang University in Taiwan.

Systems Engineering Series

The T3 Program will be hosting a series of Systems Engineering webinars designed to give you practical advice for integrating SE into your ITS projects. All webinars will begin with an approximately 20-minute overview of the Systems Engineering practice, based on material found in the Systems Engineering for Intelligent Transportation Systems Handbook (January 2007), followed by transportation agency presentations that demonstrate the practice in action. As with all T3 webinars, the entire SE series will be recorded and posted, along with webinar presentations, in the T3 Archives.

We will promote these webinars through our regular venues as they are scheduled. Notify me as webinars in the SE Series are scheduled.

Proposed Topics

Approaches for Integrating Systems Engineering into Your Agency's Business Practices
The purpose of this T3 webinar is to address one of the more challenging aspects of systems engineering (SE)—understanding and articulating where and how systems engineering applies in an organization's day-to-day business processes and practices.

Establishing a Vision for Your ITS System through the Concept of Operations
The Concept of Operations (ConOps) frames the overall system and sets the technical course for a project. Its purpose is to clearly convey a high-level view of the system to be developed that each project stakeholder can understand. A good ConOps answers who, what, where, when, why, and how questions about the project from the viewpoint of each stakeholder. Read more about the ConOps in Section 4.3 of the Systems Engineering Handbook.

Defining What Your ITS System Will (and Will Not) Do Using Requirements Management
One of the most important attributes of a successful project is a clear statement of requirements that meet the stakeholders' needs. This webinar will focus on the different types of requirements that must be defined for a project, including Functional requirements ("what" the system must do), performance requirements ("how well" the system must perform its functions), and a variety of other requirements define "under what conditions" the system must operate. Read more about System Requirements and Requirements Management in Section 4.4 of the Systems Engineering Handbook.

Anticipating, Monitoring, and Controlling Risk in ITS Systems Using Risk Management
Risk management is the identification and control of risks during all phases of the project life cycle. The goal of risk management is to identify potential problems before they occur, plan for their occurrence, and monitor the system development so that early action can be taken if the risk occurs. Read more about Risk Management in Section 5.3 of the Systems Engineering Handbook.

Managing and Documenting ITS System Changes through Configuration Management
Configuration management (CM) can be defined as "A management process for establishing and maintaining consistency of a product's performance, functional, and physical attributes with its requirements, design and operational information throughout its life." (From ANSI/EIA 649-1998). Establishing the system baseline, or configuration, and managing change to that baseline, are key processes for ensuring that system integrity is maintained throughout the life of the system. Read more about Configuration Management in Section 5.4 of the Systems Engineering Handbook.

Tailoring Systems Engineering Based on ITS Project Size, Complexity, and Agency Resources
Many ITS projects are small or relatively low risk and low complexity. The systems engineering process can be tailored to fit all project types. Section 6.2.3 of the Systems Engineering Handbook provides a more comprehensive discussion of how to tailor the systems engineering approach.

SE Tools for Everyday Practice: The Systems Engineering Guidebook
Trying to navigate the many available system engineering tools and understand how to apply them to your ITS project can be confusing. Help is available. The FHWA California Division and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) jointly developed the Systems Engineering Guidebook for ITS. This session will provide a quick tutorial on information and tools in the Guidebook that state and local agencies can quickly apply or adapt for their use. Read more about systems engineering resources in Section 7 of the Systems Engineering Handbook.

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