ITS Procurement: Analysis and Recommendations

Report No: 95-R9

Published in 1994

About the report:

Virginia has met with a variety of difficulties and delays in its procurement of intelligent transportation systems, components, and studies. The Fastoll Automatic Toll System was initiated in 1987, and construction has still not begun. It has been through three rounds of proposals and two court challenges. The Northern Virginia Traffic Management System has had durability and maintenance problems with the changeable message signs it purchased. A number of vendors were reluctant to participate in a preliminary study for the Hampton Roads ITS Planning Study, because they were afraid they would be precluded from any resulting construction work. To determine what options exist, the constraints imposed on procurement by federal and state law were examined. Under both Virginia and federal regulations and laws, competitive negotiations may be used with the proper authorization. Virginia law provides unsuccessful offerors the right to both administrative proceedings and court challenges. If federal research funds are used, limitations are placed on the extent to which Virginia can obtain intellectual property rights for any innovations or inventions that result. There are two possible approaches to improving the procurement of ITS within the existing statutory framework. One would be to alter the regulations and guidelines to improve the procurement process, clarifying when it is appropriate to use competitive negotiations and what type of specifications are appropriate with competitive negotiations. Another possible change would be the drafting of regulations authorizing the construction of highway systems through approaches like design-build and systems integration. More drastic changes that should be considered include limiting court challenges of contract awards by unsuccessful offerors. This could take place either through placing limitations on the right to a court challenge or by allowing the state to substitute some other process, such as alternative dispute resolution, for the court challenge. Either of these changes would require legislative approval.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

Authors

Other Authors

Bradley P. Williams, Stephen C. Schott

Last updated: December 18, 2023

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