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Data Integration

Transportation Asset Management Case Studies
Data Integration: The Pennsylvania Experience

What Has PENNDOT Learned?

Asset Management Implementation

  • When managing a transportation network as large as PENNDOT's, there are several opportunities to improve efficiency by applying the principles of Asset Management.
  • Agencies should not wait until their entire wish list of rigorous and sophisticated analysis tools are in place before implementing Asset Management.
  • The ability to track some measure of customer satisfaction can be helpful in a variety of decisionmaking contexts.
  • For a large agency such as PENNDOT, a department-wide champion for Asset Management may be advisable to provide vision and day-to-day encouragement for timely implementation of Asset Management.

Data and IT Resources

DOTs should strive to use existing tools to do the most rigorous analysis possible given current data resources.

  • It is very easy for an agency to become "data rich and information poor." DOTs should strive to use existing tools to do the most rigorous analysis possible with current data resources. In addition to a better understanding of asset conditions, early analysis, even with less sophisticated tools, may help DOTs determine if they are collecting the "right" data.
  • The selection and use of good performance measures help in establishing goals and budgets, while providing the means to monitor the effectiveness of management decisions. DOTs should minimize the collection of data that do not support management decisions. They should also be prepared to modify their set of performance measures as circumstances dictate.
  • Apply basic Asset Management principles now with the information currently available. Even the use of simple trend lines can provide an improved perspective of historical and future directions.
  • Implement Asset Management tools using an incremental approach. It may be difficult to simultaneously bring all current management systems to the same level of development to allow for a comprehensive conversion. It is better to implement systems or subsystems "as you go" to take advantage of systems that are ahead of the curve.

GIS Implementation

  • PENNDOT's GIS work has spanned several years and addressed a wide range of issues. Staff have identified the critical success factors for this effort:
    • Adherence to and periodic review of a GIS strategic plan
    • Development of a GIS plan that focuses on the problems but does not constrain the solutions
    • Utilization of strong project management methods
    • Development of contractor relationships that promoted training and technology transfer
    • Emphasis on outreach and public relations efforts
    • Project objectives that included keeping up with latest technology advancements as they became available
    • Documentation of the data structure and available applications in order to facilitate use and understanding of the system by data customers
    • A balance between strategic planning, practical applications, and future maintenance and operations requirements

IT Benefits of Reengineering Business Practices

  • PENNDOT began the rewrite of its BMS after reengineering key components of its bridge management practice. The rewrite is currently in progress, so it is too early to fully evaluate this approach to system enhancement. However, several benefits of this approach have already been identified:
    • The effort helped PENNDOT identify new opportunities for rapid implementation (e.g., the development of a network planning tool based on existing tools).
    • It helped limit the scope of the software development process.
    • It established a common vision for the new BMS across the agency.
    • It enabled creative technological solutions because the process concentrated initially on bridge management practices rather than on potential IT tools.
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Updated: 10/23/2013