ITS Standards

ITS Standards are fundamental to the establishment of an open ITS environment, the goal originally envisioned by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Standards facilitate deployment of interoperable systems at local, regional, and national levels without impeding innovation as technology advances and new approaches evolve.

The USDOT's ITS Joint Program Office* (JPO) is supporting Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) with an extensive, multi-year program of accelerated, consensus-based standards development to facilitate successful ITS deployment in the United States.

The USDOT ITS JPO's Standards Site provides current status on the ITS Standards Program. In addition, the site contains resource documents, fact sheets, testing, deployment contacts, training and application area information, an interactive ITS Standards Forum, as well as information about the new Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture (CVRIA).

The Architecture and Standards

The National ITS Architecture is a reference framework that spans all of these ITS standards activities and provides a means of detecting gaps, overlaps, and inconsistencies between the standards. The Logical and Physical Architecture provide a starting point for the standards development activities by identifying the applicable architecture flows and data flows to be standardized in the National ITS Architecture and the way in which the information is exchanged across those interfaces.

The following organizations participate in ITS standards activities:

Select an organization above to examine a list of ITS Standards Activities in which a particular SDO participates. Select one of these subsequent Standards Activities or Standards Activities Groups to see the corresponding architecture flows mapped to that standard. Note that some of the standards activities are collaborative between multiple SDOs (e.g., the NTCIP Joint Steering Committee is comprised of representatives from AASHTO, ITE and NEMA).

Frequently, architecture flows are mapped to several standards because communications protocol, data dictionary, and message set standards are all required to share information between systems. Since ITS standards development is ongoing, the standards support for some architecture flows is incomplete at this time. For example, in some cases architecture flows are only mapped to communications protocol standards where supporting data dictionaries or message sets have not yet been created. Only ITS standards activities that have actually been initiated are included in the mapping.

Some architecture flows, whether because they have just been added in this newest version of the National ITS Architecture or just haven't been addressed yet by the standards community, are prime candidates for future standardization efforts. Standards development categories, such as Transit Communications, ATIS, DSRC, etc., have been created, and each candidate architecture flow assigned to one or more of the categories.

A final few architecture flows are not mapped to ITS standards for other reasons. In some cases, the architecture flow is supported by proprietary or non-ITS (e.g., financial institution) information that is unlikely to be standardized by the ITS community and in other cases, the architecture flow may be futuristic in nature, and unlikely to be standardized anytime soon (e.g., Automated Highway System).

To assist deployers in selecting the ITS standards most relevant to the ITS services or systems they plan to deploy, ITS Standards are grouped in categories called Application Areas. Since each application area addresses a single interface type (e.g., center-to-center, center-to-field), deployers will typically implement multiple application areas to provide an ITS service.

For More Information

The best source of information regarding ITS standards is the USDOT ITS JPO's Standards Site. In addition, there are sites that provide detail for a particular standards area, such as communication between traffic management centers and other centers, exchange of information using Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), or the Commercial Vehicle Information Systems Network (CVISN). The table below provides links to SDO home pages as well as some of those specific ITS Standards efforts. Other organizations involved with ITS Standards development include the International Organization for Standards (ISO) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Standard Development Organizations (SDO)
Home Page
Applicable Interfaces in the National ITS Architecture ITS Standards Specific Sites
AASHTO, ITE, NEMA Traffic Management Center to other Centers National Transportation Communications for ITS Protocol(NTCIP)
Traffic Management Center to Field Devices
AASHTO, ITE Traffic Management Center to other Centers Traffic Management Data Dictionary (TMDD) and Message Sets
ANSI Commercial Vehicle Operations (CVO)-related system interfaces Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN)
ASTM Archived Data Management Center Interfaces Archived Data
ASTM, IEEE, SAE Vehicle to Vehicle; Field to Vehicle Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC)
IEEE Emergency Management Center to other Centers Incident Management
APTA Transit Center to other Centers and Transit Vehicles Transit Communications Interface Profiles (TCIP)
SAE Traveler Information (Information Service Provider interfaces) Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS)
Location Referencing