Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, technology - intelligent transport systems, mode - mass transit


Transportation industry, Transportation, Transport, Transit, RTI, Road transport informatics, Public transit, Mass transit, Markets, Local transit, IVHS, ITS (Intelligent transportation systems), Intelligent vehicle highway systems, Intelligent transportation systems, Freight and passenger services, Development, Customers, Consumers, ATT, Advanced transport telematics


This is the first in a series of three articles concerning the National Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Architecture. The objective of the series is to convey key ITS Architecture facts and concepts to transportation practitioners who will be implementing and operating ITS systems. This initial article describes the National ITS Architecture using an economic analogy. Although many complexities surround the Architecture, the concept of the National ITS Architecture is simple and resembles the everyday concept of buying and selling to travelers, who are the customers. There are producers of transportation services (operating from center subsystem "factories") who deliver their products (market packages, which provide user service capability) through various distribution paths (communications networks transmitting data flows that connect the underlying processes) to the ITS marketplace ("shops" operating in roadside subsystems, vehicle subsystems, and traveler subsystems). Future articles will explore how transportation practitioners are putting these concepts to work.