How will the business processes need to change to take full advantage?

Themes: Functional identification; Business processes review; Implementation plan

Organisational change and ITS

A wide range of international experience shows that organisational change occurs in transport operators when ITS is implemented.

The most effective ITS deployment occurs when organisational change, business process change, and ITS deployment are designed together. In these cases, the organisational change leads, and the ITS is designed as a core enabler of the new processes. In other cases, gradual organisational and process changes occur after the ITS deployment, as the possibilities are understood.

Experience in a number of cities has shown that this can be an evolutionary process. At the time of the first ITS implementation, many transport entities are not able to envision or appreciate the potential of the ITS, or they do not know how to harness it. Following a learning period, the potential can be exploited in subsequent deployments or when they are renewing older systems. 

A small, but increasing, number of transport authorities and operators are using new business models and processes for the ITS itself. This includes outsourcing the system and service provision, various forms of PPP, and purchase of computing and data services which would traditionally have been done in-house. This can relieve the transport authority or operator of the technical and financial investment burden of developing the ITS system. However, it also contains the risk that the transport client does develop its knowledge of ITS systems, and remains vulnerable to capture by the system or service supplier. 

Different levels of change

Change to organisations inevitably occurs when ITS systems are implemented. The greatest advantage is achieved when ITS is implemented because the organisation seeks to change – and hence the organisational change actually drives the process – compared to some organisations where change is a reaction to a new technology.

Changes tend to occur at six distinct but related levels:

  • Organisational structure
  • Business processes
  • Operating procedures
  • Personal responsibility, authority and skill levels
  • Business outputs, quality and efficiency
  • Corporate management and performance assessment

The scale and impact of such changes will normally be proportionate to the scale of the implemented ITS and whether ITS is already in use in the organisation.

Implementing change

The general direction and scope of the organisational, business processes and procedures should already have been identified in the User Requirements and Functional Specification phases. The detail should be developed in parallel with and in close co-operation with the detailed ITS design.

This will inevitably be an iterative process, reflecting the opportunities and limitations of the technology. Nonetheless, as a guiding principle, the Business Process and Operational Procedures should lead and the ITS design should follow. These need to be documented in a detailed and consistent manner, as they will not only provide the main reference point for the use-context, but will also provide the basis for manuals and training for all relevant staff. Following a drafting period, they need to be formalised, approved and should be subject to a Change Control process.

The Business Process and Operational Procedures will evolve, both as the ITS itself evolves, and as the organisation makes greater use of the operational and customer-facing service applications, and of the information which becomes available. Processes and procedures need to be developed and documented in a manner that facilitates experience-based amendments (including revising design-stage errors), additions or enhancements to the ITS and/or support systems, and periodic step-changes.

Development over time

The Case Studies of Zurich and Prince William County show a consistent evolution of approach and processes during successive ITS deployments. A similar pattern is identified in the Case Studies of Dublin and Florence.