The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), enacted in 1998, requires that all ITS projects using highway trust funds (including the mass transit account) “conform” to the National ITS Architecture and standards. In January 2001, an FHWA Rule and FTA Policy were published that implemented the ITS architecture requirement of TEA-21. The Rule and Policy define conformance with the National ITS Architecture as adherence of ITS projects to a Regional ITS Architecture that is developed based on the National ITS Architecture. The Regional ITS Architectures for Massachusetts were developed with consideration of these federal requirements and using guidance prepared by USDOT.
The Rule and Policy that implement this section of TEA-21 require that any ITS project funded with highway trust funds(including the mass transit fund) be consistent with the relevant regional ITS architecture. This means that if agencies seeking federal funds want to avoid costly delays during the approval and funding process, they need to be sure that the consistency requirement has been met. The objective of the policy is to help a project proponent at the earliest stage possible in the transportation planning process to realize the opportunities for collaboration with other stakeholders, to take advantage of synergies with projects under development at other agencies, and to avoid conflicts or duplication of effort. The guidance provided on this website addresses the intial project consistency review that occurs at this early stage in the planning process.
The Rule and Policy also require that all ITS projects be based on a systems engineering analysis. Such an analysis is typical of any transportation engineering project involving the application of advanced technology. Additional Information on the federal systems engineering requirements can be found here.
For reference, the text of the FHWA Rule and FTA Policy are available for download. Further information on the federal ITS requirements is available online from the FHWA’s ITS Architecture Implementation Program website.