March 25, 2010

Dear ITS Colleagues –

It is with mixed emotions that I prepare for my leave of absence.  My husband, Mike, and I look forward to spending time together exploring Europe.  We feel that life is too precious to miss the opportunity that good health affords to do the traveling we’ve always wanted to do.  I am fortunate and most thankful to have the full support of RITA leadership for this time away.

The ITS Program and IntelliDrive are entering an important time.  I feel good that we have the recently released ITS Strategic Research Plan to guide our way. The Plan has been well received in the community and I have every confidence in the Joint Program Office (JPO) and USDOT modal staff to execute the plan to move the program forward and make good progress.  You may not have seen much activity from us recently, but there is certainly work underway.  We committed within the ITS JPO to implement strong program management processes.  The first step in that process is the development of program charters for each of the research areas.  Those charters are nearing completion and we will make information from these charters available publicly.  The charters have already helped us better frame the work and solidify the working relationships across USDOT modal and JPO staff.  Each of the programs includes opportunities to engage with the stakeholder community to provide input.  You should see stakeholder opportunities soon, followed by contract opportunities.

IntelliDrive marks a new pathway forward from the original VII approach.  We’ve written a white paper that describes the new opportunities that we have today to achieve the original vision but, perhaps, through some new approaches.  That white paper will be on our web site soon – watch for a tweet when it’s released. The paper mentions technical issues that remain to be resolved. Research results from some of this technical work will be emerging soon. These results will help determine the way forward to the ultimately implementation of IntelliDrive. 

Please provide your support to Deputy Administrator Robert Bertini and to John Augustine, the Managing Director of the ITS JPO, as they lead the program over this year.  They are supported by a strong cast of JPO and modal administration staff from across the Department.  If we’ve done our jobs well, you won’t even know I’m gone!  I look forward to hearing about the your progress when I return in April 2011. 

Shelley Row
Director, ITS Joint Program Office