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Introduction This document provides a high level look at the Systems Engineering Process for ITS projects. More detailed information of the System Engineering process is available through FHWA’s publication, “System Engineering for Intelligent Transportation Systems”. The systems engineering should be viewed as an extension to the traditional project development process that is already established in the department. As the NDDOT gains experience with ITS projects and the systems engineering approach, we will find that we can weave the systems engineering processes and best practices into our overall project development process.
What is Systems Engineering? Since the term was coined in the 1950s, systems engineering has evolved from a process focused primarily on large-scale defense systems to a broader discipline that is used in all kinds of project development. Systems engineering can be applied to any system development, so whether you are developing a household appliance, building a house, or implementing a sophisticated transportation management system, systems engineering can be used. INCOSE defines systems engineering like this: Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary approach and means to enable the realization of successful systems. It focuses on defining customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem. Systems Engineering integrates all the disciplines and specialty groups into a team effort forming a structured development process that proceeds from concept to production to operation. Systems Engineering considers both the business and the technical needs of all customers with the goal of providing a quality product that meets the user needs. Note that this definition is very broad – it covers the project life cycle from needs definition to system disposal. It includes technical activities like requirements and design, as well as project activities like risk management and configuration management. Systems engineering provides a systematic process and tools that directly support project management.
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