Strategically situated in the National Capital Region, Northern Virginia is a burgeoning, vibrant area of international importance. Its robust economy and desirable communities create unique opportunities and challenges for agencies operating and maintaining the region's transportation system.
To address these challenges, VDOT's Northern Region Operations (NRO) utilizes Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), under an integrated and intermodal program called the NRO Traffic Management Program. The success of this program hinges on the ability of VDOT and the myriad of county and local transportation, emergency response and enforcement agencies to cooperate, communicate, and exchange information. To maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of this program, the Northern Virginia (NV) ITS Architecture was developed which details the interconnection of VDOT facilities and stakeholders, and describes the flow of information between these agencies and VDOT NRO operations. Through the ITS architecture, the owners or stakeholders of each system can see what information is available in the region from other systems and they can plan how future systems might be implemented to better manage transportation, inform travelers and operate more efficiently. "Cookie cutter" approaches cannot adequately address transportation needs in an area like Northern Virginia. To truly meet the needs of the region, the NV ITS Architecture had to be both strategic and unique. The Architecture's strategic nature is evidenced in how it meshes with Architecture efforts in Maryland and the Washington Metropolitan area, in the significant participation of stakeholders other than VDOT, and through VDOT's role as a "champion" driving the process to successful completion.
The VDOT NV ITS Architecture process includes detailed elements that were defined through a robust Stakeholder Outreach program; and a Strategic Plan that guides implementation of the architecture. Finally, unique to the VDOT NV ITS Architecture is the development of a planning and program delivery process for how the Architecture will actually be used to program and implement projects. In 2006, a User Guide and Checklist were developed to assist project managers in developing ITS projects that follow the System Engineering process, comply with the NV ITS Architecture, and conforms to the federal Rule 940.
For a more detailed look at the NV ITS Architecture, please explore our web site. It contains a listing of stakeholders, a systems inventory, system interconnections and information flows that will support the information exchanges. All this information is provided in a hyperlinked format, making it easy to comprehend the relationships of the systems in this complex District. A standards document is available to download which identifies applicable standards for each information flow in the architecture. In July 2006, VDOT re-organized the operations boundary within VDOT and the Northern Region Operations was created. NRO includes the NoVA District and a portion of the Fredericksburg District. In 2009, the Northern Virginia ITS Architecture was updated to include this new boundary condition as well as to expand the formerly VDOT-Centric architecture to include non-VDOT systems intefaces. This update creates a more regional ITS architecture with the expansion of the systems interfaces represented. In addition, in 2009, VDOT completed the creation of a Virginia Statewide ITS Architecture and 4 Regional ITS Architectures for the Eastern, Central, Northwest and Southwest regions of the Commonwealth. The NV ITS Architecture has linkages to these architectures where appropriate, primarily the Statewide, Northwestern and Central architectures.
From this history, it is obvious that the result of this effort is a "living" Architecture that meets current needs, flexibly responds to a dynamic transportation system, and provides framework for future planning and integration. The NV ITS Architecture is the prototype Regional Architecture for all of Virginia, and offers a successful model for the entire nation.