Systems Engineering Research Program


The Systems Engineering research program is a key program of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) within the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). Through the multimodal connected vehicle program, the ITS JPO and the private sector have begun to harness wireless technology and information sharing capabilities between vehicles and infrastructure to achieve transformative safety, mobility and environmental benefits to the multimodal transportation sector.


The vision for the Systems Engineering research program was to update the ITS Concept of Operations (ConOps) and broaden the scope that has evolved from the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) program; to update the system architecture and requirements to accommodate the new definition of the system; identify critical risks to deployment and to provide recommendations for new standards and updates to existing standards used to define system elements and interfaces. Additionally, stakeholder needs were elicited through a series of meetings and were incorporated into the new system definition development.

Research Plan

The ConOps, architecture, standards interfaces, and the system requirements are based on the previous work that defined the VII system and the requirements of the Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) technologies. In 2008, the USDOT expanded the VII scope to include both DSRC and non-DSRC-based technologies, and the VII program evolved into a program focused on smart communications including, vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, and vehicle-to-hand held device connectivity.

To complete the research needed to develop the new wireless communication technologies, a systems engineering process was used to update the baseline system documentation (ConOps, architecture, standards interfaces and system requirements). The U.S. DOT used a systems engineering approach to ensure that the final products considered the full scope of user needs.

The elicitation of requirements from stakeholders was key for development of the system.  A series of stakeholder meetings and technical walkthroughs were conducted to incorporate new and updated information including:

  • A revised ConOps that is based on the needs of users
  • Revised and refined requirements for the core system. These requirements define the key interface requirements that govern how applications gain access to new capabilities and services.
  • Development of a system architecture description. The architecture documents describe:
    • An enterprise viewpoint describing relationships between organizations
    • A communications viewpoint showing communication interfaces
    • A connectivity viewpoint that identifies system components
    • A functional viewpoint that identifies major subsystems
    • An information viewpoint describing data relationships
  • A standards recommendations report based on the interfaces identified during viewpoint development.
  • Development of a Critical Risk Assessment report for deployment to aid Deployers’ with system deployment decisions.

Research Goals:

  • To describe and define the elements of the Connected Vehicle Core System
  • To capture and reflect needs of stakeholder groups across the Country
  • To update and refine existing documentation from the VII POC

Research Outcomes:

The research outcomes will result in a set of critical products that define the Core System as a comprehensive and interoperable system:

  • A revised Concept of Operations for connected vehicles
  • An updated Architecture showing all components and interfaces, and identifying how security processes will ensure the integrity of the system and protect the privacy of its users
  • A refined System Requirements Specification that will result in inputs to standards updates
  • A report identifying critical risks to Core System deployment
  • A standards report that identifies Core System interfaces that may require new and/or updated standards

The U.S. DOT is using a systems engineering process to ensure that the final products are comprehensive, thorough, and reflect user needs.

Identification of architecture components will provide a robust set of criteria for further analysis and stakeholder review. .

To learn more about this research, contact:

Steve Sill
Program Manager
Vehicle Safety Technology, ITS Architecture and Standards
ITS Joint Program Office
Research and Innovative Technology Administration
(202) 366-1603