_Latest_ News

Latest News

MAP-21 Compliance for State DOTs – Risk-Based Prioritization using VUEWorks

Stefano July 15, 2016
featured image

MAP-21 addresses all things related to federal funding and oversight of our nation’s surface transportation and transit systems. The 581 pages of the act are broken down into eight major divisions. These divisions are further delineated into titles and subtitles. Although MAP-21 deals with numerous subjects from national freight policies to how transit funding is calculated for metropolitan planning organizations, our focus today is the portion that addresses how and to what extent State DOTs must proactively manage road and bridge networks through the use of risk-based asset management planning.

The FHWA has developed a proposed rule focused on clarifying and enacting the provisions of Section 1106. Section 1106, which requires a Risk-based Asset Management System, is influenced by Section 1203(a), which establishes national standards for performance management, targets and metrics. These performance measures are intended to provide standards for the inspection of infrastructure assets, pavement rating and maintenance for the National Highway System (NHS) non-Interstate pavements and NHS bridges. Section 1106 is also influenced by Section 1315(b), which requires State DOTs to conduct statewide evaluations to determine reasonable actions or corrections that can be taken on a project basis to alleviate the need for repeated repair or reconstruction of roads, highways or bridges that frequently require attention after an emergency event (i.e. weather event).

As part of the Asset Management Plan, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) has outlined the following process for State DOTs to use in the development of their Asset Management Plans. This process will need to be documented and discussed in each State DOT’s initial submittal of the plan to the FHWA for program certification.

The State DOT will establish a process for conducting a statewide performance gap analysis of the state’s Interstate and National Highway System (NHS) road assets. The process must also address strategies for closing any identified gaps. A performance gap analysis identifies deficiencies in the areas of asset condition, capacity, design or travel safety that are below the desired system performance level for those assets on the NHS as established by the State DOT.

The following graphic illustrates how VUEWorks can provide multiple Budget Forecasting scenarios can be run against an Asset Class (Pavement, Bridges, Stormwater, etc.) to determine the level of funding required to maintain the system in a state of good repair. The scenario can be run to see what funding is required as well as what existing funding will accomplish for the DOT’s pursuit to achieve a specific level-of-service (state of good repair).

image

The State DOT will establish a process for conducting life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) for the different asset classes that collectively make up the network in order to develop a Strategic Treatment Plan (STP) for the life of each asset – from the current state of the asset until its ultimate reconstruction, replacement or disposal. A Strategic Treatment Plan looks at all possible treatments over the life of an asset to keep the asset at a performance level that is cost-effective and does not compromise the network’s capacity, safety or long-term life-cycle cost.

As illustrated below, VUEWorks can be utilized to develop a strategic treatment program for the life-cycle of an asset. The current deterioration model and condition score for an asset can be compared to its projected life-cycle based on the results of each scenario. Specific preservation or rehabilitation techniques can be specified to achieve a state of good repair.

image1

image2

image_thumb3

The State DOT will establish a process for assessing risk related to a given NHS asset that could impact that asset’s physical condition, capacity or performance in emergencies or over the long-term. Risks to an asset’s physical condition or its ability to perform can include one or more factors including extreme weather and climate change, seismic activity, traffic volume, traffic loads, sub-par construction materials, time between treatments, etc. As part of the State’s Risk-based Asset Management Plan, the State DOT will be expected to develop an approach to monitor, measure and report on high-priority risks to an asset’s or network’s performance.

Here is an example of a true Risk matrix based on the requirements of MAP-21. This matrix is reading information from multiple data sources (Linked Data, GIS data and Condition Data) that is tracking each Risk category against each section of road. The matrix displays each individual category of Risk, ranks it on a scale from 0-10 and then summarizes the Road network as a whole for the DOT.

image4

2016-07-14-20_13_28-vueworksc2ae-10-2-1922-0-project_-vueworks-host_-demo-vueworks-com-user_-administra

2016-07-14-20_15_11-vueworksc2ae-10-2-1922-0-project_-vueworks-host_-demo-vueworks-com-user_-administra

2016-07-14-20_15_26-vueworksc2ae-10-2-1922-0-project_-vueworks-host_-demo-vueworks-com-user_-administra

2016-07-14-20_17_01-vueworksc2ae-10-2-1922-0-project_-vueworks-host_-demo-vueworks-com-user_-administra

Failure Modes

  • Age
  • Distresses
  • Deflection
  • Ride Quality
  • Rutting
    Work Orders/History

Consequences of Failure

  • Travel Delays
  • Rough Roads
  • Traveler Safety
  • Recovery Cost
  • Air Pollution
  • Traffic Congestion
  • Risk of Accidents
  • Traveler Fatalities
  • Climate Disturbance
  • Freight Delays

The State DOT will establish a process for developing, managing and updating a 10-year financial plan for the construction, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, reconstruction or disposal of assets in the NHS. The process must allow the State to determine the estimated cost of future work based on the Strategic Treatment Plan (discussed in Item 2 above) and the estimated available budgets.

Budget scenarios can be run against any Asset for any planning horizon to establish a financial plan for each Asset Class and Asset Type. Different strategies can be employed for each asset to identify the most effective maintenance, preservation or rehabilitation plan for the asset based on the best practices employed by the DOT.

image5

The State DOT will establish a process for identifying viable investment strategies for funding long-term operations. This is to ensure that assets along the NHS are maintained at a level that will help the State DOT achieve asset condition and performance targets in alignment with the national goals set forth under United States Code.

VUEWorks provides the ability to run budget scenarios for each Asset Class and Asset Type to determine the best investment strategies for the Asset’s Life-cycle cost. Target Deteriorations can be set for the Asset Network (Pavement , Bridge, etc.) and VUEWorks will identify the Target Deterioration that can be achieved or the Funding Strategy required to achieve these goals.

image6

The State DOT will use a Pavement Management System (PMS) and a Bridge Management System (BMS) to analyze the condition of Interstate and NHS pavements and bridges to develop, manage and monitor targeted investment strategies.

VUEWorks provides a single, Enterprise Asset Management Solution for State DOTs. Any asset can be managed within VUEWorks and the guiding principals of MAP-21 can be implemented as part of the DOTs day-to-day Asset Management activities.

image7

Work Bundling for Power Utilities

Stefano June 28, 2016
featured image

Many power utilities collect their infrastructure inspection data using a variety of techniques, sources and systems of record. Having many different repositories of digital information makes it difficult to make informed decisions about where to spend operations and maintenance (O & M) and capital project dollars. Having a “crystal ball” that aggregates all of this data into one single user interface could help these utilities make more informed decisions for their infrastructure as a whole, instead of using one inspection type to make these decisions.

VUEWorks is the “crystal ball” that utilities can use to better understand the Condition of their assets, calculate Risk and use all of their data to do better budgeting and forecasting. For example, utilities typically collect information related to their structures and spans using one or a combination of these inspection techniques:

  1. Patrols
  2. Corona
  3. Infrared Inspections
  4. Climbing Inspections
  5. Walking Inspections
  6. Vegetation Points-of-Interest (LiDAR and Visual) Inspections
  7. NERC encroachments (LiDAR) Inspections
  8. Comprehensive Visual Inspection (CVI)

All of these inspections generate a large amount of data independent of one another and can be very useful if combined based on a unique structure or span number. Once combined, this information can then be used to determine the best way to bundle work activities to achieve the greatest return on investment (ROI).

flow-chart

Work bundling is a concept that has been well understood in the utility industry but not commonly practiced due to the disparate ways in which inspection data is collected and accessed from within a single agency. Many work management systems only focus on the recording of work order information related to the labor, equipment and materials used to perform a project, but do not contain strategic planning tools. These tools allow an agency to conduct “what-if” scenarios by applying different budget amounts against a planned work matrix.

life-cycle

Once the optimal work matrix is determined, a work plan for that utility can then be planned and programmed, executed and tracked as a project or a series of projects for that planning horizon. All costs related to that work matrix can be applied to each asset and tracked against an overall work plan budget. These actual costs are then compared to the estimated costs to refine the planning matrix unit costs that are feeding the budget forecasting model.

As a utility completes the work for that particular period, it can then record the work activities against a particular asset which determines its next activity that is due in its life-cycle. As this feedback loop is established, more cyclical work can be planned and programmed for future fiscal years and budget plans.

This concept has been applied at several utilities through the United States using an asset management software called VUEWorks. This software is GIS-centric at its core and allows users to connect their GIS data to their asset management system through the use of Esri GIS software. The utility creates a map service which is consumed by VUEWorks and provides a mapping framework from which users can view inspection data from various sources.

For example, a helicopter inspection company collects CVI data by flying next to the transmission structures and collects high-resolution imagery of any defects located on that structure or its associated span. Another vendor collects walking inspection information which includes subterranean excavations around a structure and its supports. These inspections yield different defects which may require different types of activities to correct them. This is where the concept of work bundling can be used.

pole-connections

Since each inspection yielded different defects, the structure or span will need to be worked on at some point. It is important that all departments responsible for line maintenance understand all of the defects present on a particular structure or span so that they can conduct all work activities at the same time. In essence, VUEWorks provides this exact information, all in one place. The utility has the ability to link all of this data together based on a structure or span ID and can then view all inspection data from one single user interface.

wotk-plan

This concept is important because if a utility needs to de-energize a line for maintenance or capital improvements, it will want to ensure that all issues are resolved during one outage. Multiple outages cost money and this concept of work bundling is helping utilities achieve high ROIs for these projects by combining projects into one single project, instead of multiple projects.

In conclusion, the concept of work bundling saves utilities time and money through the aggregation of data into a single user repository. This information can easily and effectively be used to make informed decisions and avoid multiple outage situations. By combining multiple inspection data sets together, utilities can more proactively manage their assets cost-effectively while extending the useful life of their infrastructure investment.

Tim Pratt joins the development team for DTS

Stefano June 16, 2016
featured image

Orlando, Florida – Data Transfer Solutions, LLC (DTS) is pleased to welcome aboard our newest developer, Mr. Tim Pratt. Born and raised in Maine, Tim has a passion for learning, problem solving and building efficient but comprehensive software.

“With nearly ten years in IT and government support service roles, Tim’s addition to the VUEWorks team is a natural fit.” said Dave Paine, CTO. Tim’s background in relational databases and application development will be applied across the growing team to improve DTS solutions and help meet the growing list of new customers.

When Tim is not collaborating with the development team and building apps, he enjoys riding motorcycles and dirt bikes as often as weather and repairs allow.

timpratt_.132638

More VUEWorks Support for Our Number 1 Asset – Customers!

Stefano June 11, 2016
featured image

Orlando, Florida – Data Transfer Solutions, LLC (DTS) is pleased to announce the addition of Andrew Clem, ENV SP, GISP to the team. He will work out of DTS’ Orlando corporate headquarters and be part of the VUEWorks® implementation and support team. He comes to DTS by way of a large engineering firm.

A certified Envision Sustainability and Geographic Information Systems Professional, Andrew holds a Master of Science in Leadership from Nova Southeastern University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of Kentucky. He has an extensive background in GIS, asset management, environmental consulting, disaster recovery planning, stormwater infrastructure, airports, and utilities.

Andrew joins us at a perfect time, “I knew with 100% certainty that he’d be a great fit for the team here in Orlando from our first meeting. Our customers will love working with such a genuine person and his GIS skills started helping customers be successful will begin on day one.” said Brian Sovik, Vice President GIS Solutions.

When Andrew is not assisting customers or navigating GIS, he is most likely picking on a guitar or scouting out the next place to go paddle-boarding.

2016_Headshot_AndrewClem.155741

DTS Welcomes Ethan Christensen to the Team!

Stefano June 4, 2016
featured image

Orlando, Florida – Data Transfer Solutions (DTS) is proud to share that it has hired Mr. Ethan Christensen. DTS CEO Mr. Allen Ibaugh, states “Ethan’s addition continues our commitment to our existing and new customers for award winning high performance application development.”

Ethan is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids with a Bachelors degree in Computer Science. With a passion for web application development Ethan has hit the ground running and the entire development team is pleased with his coming aboard.

When not writing code, Ethan enjoys hiking, snowboarding, swimming, playing music and watching all kinds of sports.

EthanPicture.115949

Asset Management and ADA Compliance–Building a Risk Mitigation Strategy using VUEWorks – Part 2

Stefano June 1, 2016
featured image

In our last blog post, we introduced the concept of ADA compliance and discussed an approach to compliance through the utilization of Asset Management principles. To recap, we talked about the following steps in the process and how each step leads to a more strategic approach to ADA compliance:

annual work plan
 

  • Inventory – Utilizing GIS, mobile mapping and boots-on-the-ground inspection (where required).
  • Assess – Visually inspect infrastructure assets and quantify their compliance.
  • Prioritize – Develop a list of high-risk assets that need immediate attention.
  • Execute – Re-construct, upgrade or maintain infrastructure assets that are part of an annual work plan.
  • Rinse and Repeat – Execute work plan annually and re-assess the network of assets every 3-5 years to update the plan.

image_thumb1

Step 1 – Inventory

The initial inventory of your network can be accomplished is a variety of ways, but most common methods include Mobile Asset Collection and Boots-on-the-Ground techniques. Mobile Asset Collection is a fast and cheap way to gather imagery of your street network, from which you can conduct an initial visual assessment of your ADA compliance. Many agencies use this technology to establish the Location and Characteristics (attributes) of their Sidewalk and Curb Ramp infrastructure. Knowing this information is half of the battle, since many agencies cannot answer some basic questions related to their infrastructure, including:

  • How many miles of sidewalk do we own and maintain?
  • What kind of condition are our sidewalks (asphalt or concrete) in?
  • How many curb ramps to we own and maintain?
  • Where are we missing curb ramps?
  • Where are our compliance issues located?
  • And many more…

By collecting this initial inventory information, an agency can start to develop its internal plan to gain compliance over time while developing a budget to help achieve this plan.

Step 2 – Assess

The assessment procedure involves a series of steps that are both automated and manual, depending upon the technology used to conduct them. In most cases, mobile data collection is used to conduct the initial assessment of the assets and then a more rigorous boots-on-the-ground approach is used to fill in the gaps (obscured assets) and to collect data that requires precise measurement such as slope information (Ramps) and trip hazards (Slab faults and Cracks). This approach saves both time and money because it is basically a visual assessment that identifies major (Risky) issues and highlights areas that need immediate attention. Therefore, an agency can lower their risk of litigation by taking measures that focus on short-term, high-risk assets while still providing support for the assessment of longer-term (lower Risk) assets.

The assessment process can be facilitated within the VUEWorks Asset Management system through the utilization of the Condition (Inspection) module. As the inspector views the right-of-way imagery, they can record the assessment in a configurable condition form that is designed to record ADA compliance. The form below illustrates how different Items can be inspected and divided into specific categories. Each “Category” can be further broken down into specific inspection “Items” that can contain some kind of Condition rating (1-5, Good, Fair, Poor, 0-100, etc). Each of the individual Items can then be queried individually or combined into an aggregate score by Category and then further rolled-up into an Overall Condition Index for the Asset.

image_thumb2

Once the Condition score is generated, the resulting Condition Indices can then be symbolized in the GIS as a visual representation of the Sidewalk/Ramp condition.

image_thumb3

VUEWorks also provides some useful tools, including integration with Esri Basemaps (ArcGIS Online) and Google StreetView.

image_thumb4

Step 3 – Prioritize

VUEWorks provides the ability to assess Risk based on the criteria that matter to your organization. For example, would you go and fix a sidewalk or curb ramp on a road that was travelled by someone with a disability? Or, would you spend that money elsewhere? Risk can help you prioritize WHICH asset to fix and WHEN to fix it based on many different criteria. For example, an agency can look at a few different things when determining WHAT to fix and WHEN to fix it. They can observe the Consequences of Failure (What happens IF the asset fails) and the Failure Probability (Likelihood of Failure). As illustrated in the graphic below, the Consequences of Failure can be measured and rated for different categories. The Failure Probabilities can then be rated based on “How” an asset fails, or its Failure Modes. Each Failure Mode can contain a different Probability of Failure which allows the agency to understand what the Influencing Failure Mode is when determining what type of maintenance to prescribe for that particular asset.

image_thumb5

image_thumb6

Step 4 – Execute

The Budget Forecasting tool in VUEWorks allows user to develop “What-if” scenarios to plan and estimate the cost of projects based on the application of specific Jobs. Projects can be prioritized based on the Failure Probability, Risk Factor, Criticality Factor or any combination of the above. Once a project is involved in the plan, its Baseline Condition and the forecasted Condition can be viewed over its life cycle. All of this information can be used together to develop a Strategic Asset Management Plan utilizing the Intelligence gained for each individual asset the agency maintains.

image_thumb7

image_thumb8

At the end of the day, we understand that ADA compliance is a balancing act where limited resources are being applied against assets that are critical to the operation of an agency’s transportation network. Although other critical infrastructure (Pavement, Signs, Signals, etc.) usually get the bulk of the funding, it is time to focus a portion of these resources against assets that are critical to the safety of our disabled citizens.

Read Part One