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ITS components account for approximately 10 per cent of the investment cost of a typical major road construction project. In terms of the lifecycle of the road, however, ITS accounts for a substantially higher proportion of investment costs. This is due to the fact that ITS components have a much shorter lifecycle and much higher maintenance and operation costs (up to 20 per cent p.a. of the total investment cost) than other road construction elements (1-2 per cent p.a. of the total investment cost).

ITS solutions are sometimes developed and produced at international level. Nevertheless almost all NRAs face a rather national market when procuring ITS. If NRAs were to adopt a more European approach, they could benefit from economies of scale and common approaches.

At its spring meeting in 2006, the CEDR Governing Board decided to study the procurement of ITS in more detail.

A taskforce of ITS experts was then asked to make an inventory of the actions that would need to be taken and the positions that would need to be adopted in order to allow NRAs to adopt such a European approach to the procurement of ITS applications and/or products.


A widely accepted approach to the procurement of ITS is the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, systems, and/or services for existing structures. In general, this is considered to be preferable to the production of customised solutions. This report focuses on the possibilities of using COTS products and procurement strategies.

NRAs would benefit from using more COTS products because they reduce both costs and risks. In order to be able to develop future COTS products, NRAs need to be given an insight into the opportunities offered by standards and the benefits of such standards. Since standardisation is a key factor in the interaction between NRAs and market parties, the standardisation process is highly relevant for NRAs.

Although some may consider Traffic Control Centres to be the most important part of the ITS infrastructure, in reality by far the greatest amount of money is spent on roadside equipment.

Procurement strategies play a vital role in the procurement of ITS components, systems, and/or services and differ from country to country. However, there is a general trend that sees NRAs changing from being ‘asset managers’ to being ‘managers of facilities’. Consequently, three procurements strategies can be identified:

- technology-oriented procurement, which is based mainly on technical specifications,

Procurement of ITS (COTS)

- function-oriented procurement, which is based on functional specifications, and

- service-oriented procurement, which is based on service specifications and service contracts.

Quick wins and pitfalls

The use of COTS products has many benefits. They can be implemented faster, are easier to maintain, cheaper, and involve lower risks than any other solution.

A number of quick wins have been identified. For instance the use of existing functional specifications and standards will lead to greater competition and better and cheaper products and maintenance. Proven customised systems used by one NRA could turn out to be COTS systems for another NRA. NRAs can benefit by making use of each other’s experience, expertise, and know-how.

There are also many pitfalls that need to be avoided or addressed in risk management processes.


Harmonisation and standardisation are of importance for NRAs because they reduce both costs and risks. ITS is becoming a safety- and mission-critical area for the networks operated by NRAs. Quality standards are needed in order to reduce the risks introduced by the COTS elements.

It is vital that NRAs exert an influence on the development of ITS through standards and harmonisation, which means that NRAs must focus more on standardisation processes.

Some conclusions

- Procurement strategies determine the extent to which COTS products can be used. Because the role of NRAs varies from country to country, NRAs will have different procurement strategies.

- In addition to the procurement report discussed at the GB meeting in Dublin in 2007, different types of procurement strategies need to be analysed in more detail, differentiating between situations and procurement strategies.

- In order to ensure better use of COTS products by NRAs, CEDR should take up and strengthen its knowledge exchange role with regard to ITS products and applications.

- NRAs should be aware of the importance of playing a more proactive role in the standardisation process.

The EB advises the GB to take the following actions:

1 Development of a ‘CEDR guide to the procurement of ITS’.

2 Establishment of a knowledge base and/or a (virtual) centre of excellence within CEDR. This would support the sharing of know-how, experience, and expertise and would help NRAs to make better use of COTS products.

3 NRAs/CEDR are advised to play a more active role in national and European ITS organisations within the framework of the existing MoU between the Technical Group on Standards and the Project Group Capacity and Users.

content link: http://www.cedr.fr/home/fileadmin/user_upload/Publications/2009/e_Procurement_of_ITS.pdf
content language: English
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created: Sylvia Derveaux, 27.08.2010 12:30:12
last modified: Sylvia Derveaux, 07.09.2010 11:14:48