Strategic Planning Group Charter

Annex A - Strategic Planning Process

The ITS strategic planning process is designed to develop a balanced strategic direction that integrates the ITS JPO vision of mid-to-long term goals with modal-specific ITS-related proposals. A unifying influence on the process is that the ITS JPO and the Department’s operating administrations share a commitment to develop an ITS Program in alignment with Departmental strategic goals. The ITS strategic planning process ensures that ITS research activities are aligned with these Departmental goals, and that multiyear priorities are considered in the context of the ITS JPO budget development cycles. The ITS planning process incorporates the components described below in the ITS Strategic Planning Framework.

The ITS Strategic Planning Framework

The components:

  • Multiyear Strategic Direction and Vision.
  • Multiyear Program Development.
  • Setting Priorities.
  • Budget Development.
  • Roles and Responsibilities in Program Implementation.

Required data elements and procedures:

  • US DOT goals.
  • Modal goals.
  • ITS goal areas.
  • ITS JPO multimodal research program proposals.
  • Modal-specific ITS-related research program proposals.
  • Anticipated funding levels.
  • Integration of the proposals into a unified ITS Program.

Criteria for identifying/selecting research programs and projects:

The research areas must:

  • Support identified US DOT goals and priorities.
  • Support identified modal goals and priorities if applicable to modal-specific research.
  • Offer high potential for return on investment.
  • Represent areas where Federal research investment is appropriate and not potentially duplicative.
  • Reflect primarily multimodal-focused research while also accommodating modal-specific research.
  • Reflect, as appropriate, considerations and recommendations provided by the ITS Program Advisory Committee.
  • Reflect, as appropriate, considerations and recommendations provided by external (non-governmental) stakeholders’ communities.

The plan development process:

  • Identifying areas of research interest.
  • Establishing ITS Program goal areas.
  • ITS Management Council validation/revision of, or concurrence, with goal areas.
  • Development of high level draft program proposals.
  • Development of prioritized, budget-constrained ITS programs of work.
  • ITS JPO-SPG reconciliation of draft plans.
  • ITS Management Council concurrence/comment on draft plans.
  • Final ITS Strategic Plan.

Strategic Planning Process Development

  • The ITS JPO briefs the ITS SPG on major industry trends, stakeholder community needs, and other relevant information to identify potential multimodal areas of opportunity for:
    • Major research initiatives - Will be primarily multiyear
    • Exploratory research - Assumed to be fully funded in one FY
    • Short term research - Assumed to be fully funded in one FY
  • The ITS SPG members/modal staffs present modal-specific perspectives on the same research categories.
  • The ITS SPG merges the proposed research areas of interest resulting from steps 1 and 2 above, and achieves consensus on the goal areas that will be advanced in the planning process.


The outputs of steps 1 and 2 are:

  • Goal areas for the ITS Program in terms of –
    • Multimodal goals:
      • Major research initiatives.
      • Exploratory research.
      • Short term research.
  • Modal-specific goals:
    • Major research initiatives (while not precluded, it is expected that most major research initiatives will be multimodal).
    • Exploratory research.
    • Short term research.
  • The ITS JPO and ITS SPG conduct a joint briefing for the ITS Management Council, and seek validation and/or guidance for all research categories.
  • On receipt of ITS Management Council guidance and/or changes, the ITS JPO assesses budget projections, and provides guidance on funding targets. Senior modal administration managers will identify staff members with responsibility for developing draft program proposals. The ITS JPO-modal teams develop and coordinate high level draft outlines of a multiyear ITS Program reflecting two components:
    • A draft multimodal program component, led by the ITS JPO.
    • Draft modal administration-specific program components, led by the modes.

Draft program proposals include:

  • Statements of the research question, program objectives and metrics.
  • Desired/anticipated research program outcomes.
  • Draft benefits/costs analyses and business cases.
  • Statements of the Federal role and exit strategy.
  • High-level work plan by fiscal year.
  • Major milestones and decision points.
  • Implementation considerations (N/A for exploratory research).
  • Evaluation considerations.
  • Budget estimates, (multiyear if applicable), for the life of the program by fiscal year.


Draft program proposals are intended to be concise statements of the research need. As such, they will generally conform to the following page count:

  • Major research initiative: 5 -10 pages.
  • Exploratory research: 2 - 8 pages.
  • Short term research: 1 - 3 pages.

  • Based on these data, the ITS JPO develops a family of prioritized, budget-constrained draft ITS programs. The budget will be developed at a program level (vs. the detailed level of a spending plan), and will provide a multiyear funding projection for multiyear projects based solely on a given year’s legislative allocation (i.e., excluding any possible carryover funding). These draft ITS programs are coordinated with the appropriate modal partners for input prior to presentation to the ITS SPG (step 7 below).
  • The ITS SPG validates/comments on draft programs.  The ITS JPO integrates ITS SPG revisions, and reconciles priorities among competing programs to identify feasible funding levels.  The intent is to reach consensus between the ITS JPO and modal administration management on the prioritized strategic plan. If necessary, however, ITS JPO is the final arbiter between priorities within established budget parameters. Program proposals without sufficient justification or support are deferred or eliminated from consideration.  This step produces final goals and research programs in all categories.  All components are integrated into a multiyear strategic plan. 
  • The strategic plan is briefed to the ITS Management Council. Upon ITS Management Council concurrence, including approval of the research initiatives by the affected modal administrator(s), the output is an approved multiyear ITS Strategic Plan.

The ITS SPG will review the strategic plan annually, and adjust selected elements as deemed necessary by conditions governing at the time.

Annex A | Annex B | Annex C