ITS Architecture for Canada Update Project

"It should be noted that this project received funding support through Transport Canada’s Program to Advance Connectivity and Automation in the Transportation System (ACATS). The views and opinions expressed here, and in background material, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Transport Canada."
Background Material
Details on the project tasks relating to the analysis of needs for this update, and development of the following approach may be found in the Background Material.
Update Objectives
Since 2010 and the publication of the ITS Architecture for Canada Version 2, the U.S. has subsequently undergone two major revisions and integrated the Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture (CVRIA) and re-branding is architecture as the Architecture Reference for Cooperative and Intelligent Transportation (ARC-IT).
The objective of this project was to undertake an English update of the ITS Architecture for Canada to re-align with the current U.S. ARC-IT (Version 8.3) and incorporate the recent and substantial Connected Vehicle (CV) related enhancements, providing a framework and tools that have a national and international benefit, and:


  • Better reflect new and emerging technologies and initiatives; and
  • Map to current and relevant standards.
NOTE: The scope of the current effort has focused on developing the English version of the updated ITS Architecture for Canada first, but has included identification and scoping of options for supporting for the French language.
Update Approach
Through engagement with stakeholders, and assistance from the Project Steering Committee, the following two Guiding Principles were identified that provided overall governance of the update:


  • Re-align with the latest U.S. ARC-IT – to bring the Canadian architecture up to date; and
  • Avoid, or at least minimize, differences in comparison to the latest U.S. ARC-IT – to facilitate adoption of future updates and reduce future maintenance needs.


Based on the above Guiding Principles Version 3 of ITS Architecture for Canada fully adopts all of the current U.S. ARC-IT (Version 8.3), which has been accomplished through following approaches:


• Supporting four complementary Views of the architecture:

  • Enterprise - Describes the relationships between organizations and the roles those organizations play within the connected vehicle environment.

  • Functional - Describes abstract functional elements (processes) and their logical interactions (data flows) that satisfy the system requirements.

  • Physical - Describes physical objects (systems and devices) and their functional objects as well as the high-level interfaces between those physical objects.

  • Communications - Describes the layered sets of communications protocols that are required to support communications among the physical objects that participate in the connected vehicle environment.

• Adoption of 141 Service Packages

  • Service Packages represent slices of the Physical View, and help organize and provide linkages between all views.

• Adoption of all lower-level elements, across all four Views.

  • Includes Physical Objects, Flows, Functional Objects, Processes, Data Flows, etc.

• Ensuring 1-to-1 mapping of all common services and elements above, which itself entails:

  • Use of U.S. Spelling (e.g. ‘center’/'traveler' as opposed ‘centre’/‘traveller’).

  • U.S. Element Names (previously there were a limited names differed where common nomenclature was different in Canada and the U.S.).

  • Exploring the potential use of generic terms in future versions of U.S. ARC-IT, with the U.S. ARC-IT Team.


Canadian-Unique Service Packages
It was important that through this update process that services and functionality that were included in previous versions of the ITS Architecture for Canada that expanded beyond the U.S. at those times were continued to be supported where warranted.


The warrant analysis process used considered whether the service/functionality had been subsequently added to the U.S. and is now included in ARC-IT Version 8.3, and if not, whether it remains relevant and applicable to the industry today.


Where warranted, the approach for continuing to support the functionality was to ensure that all necessary Canadian-unique elements (e.g. Physical Objects, Flows, Functional Objects, Processes, Data Flows, etc.) are only included in separate Canadian-unique Service Packages. Version 3 of the ITS Architecture for Canada includes the following four Canadian-unique Service Packages:



To fully develop the above Service Packages and support all four (4) architecture views, existing elements from ARC-IT Version 8 were used to the degree possible, and the unique elements were defined as necessary. The following provides a summary of the number of key unique elements:


  • 2 unique Physical Objects
  • 9 unique Information Flows
  • 5 unique Functional Objects
  • 3 unique Processes
  • 27 unique Data Flows
  • 9 unique Needs
  • 25 unique Requirements