Increasing responsiveness and maximizing resources are important factors in how transportation agencies improve their business in today's data-driven, performance-based environment. The ability to deliver projects on time and within budget is one measure of a transportation agency's performance. The effective delivery of real property by the right-of-way office is fundamental to achieving this agency objective. A well designed and implemented information management system can substantially improve this capability. Adding geospatial capabilities (GIS) to the system to replace reliance on hardcopy maps and tabular information and to give additional management and analysis functions can significantly increase its usefulness.
Understanding the critical factors necessary to successfully implement an information management system can ensure the best value for the necessary outlay in resources and can substantially improve the realization of the system's full potential. Obtaining strategic buy-in from agency executive-level decision makers to pursue implementation will provide the necessary foundation for system.
The process to implement an information management system is well documented and follows standard procedures:
Implementation is typically considered complete at the point when the system being implemented has transitioned to "business as usual" for its users.
Knowing this information will ensure that appropriate coordination is considered in the design.
The current evolution and expansion of technology is extremely rapid and most transportation agency policies and procedures are not designed to operate at the same rate of change. Innovative and flexible approaches to supporting improved information management tools could save money and time both in their implementation and use.
From concept to operation, a comprehensive information management system can take 12 to 24 months or longer, and, during that time, technology will become more powerful, faster, and more flexible at the same time that the general public will become more technologically sophisticated with fingertip access to information through smart phones and other similar devices. A flexible design can readily take advantage of this changing technology without requiring major modifications. However, waiting for the next advancement before initiating the process can, and often does, result in never starting.
Many transportation agencies are in the process of either designing or building an agency-wide infrastructure for sharing data and/or integrating computer systems. Although, the desire to fold individual systems into this larger initiative is compelling, the reality may be more problematic given the scale, complexity, and cost of the larger effort. With current technologies, consideration should be given to supporting individual systems if they provide the necessary connections to and support for integrating with the larger initiative.
This document is part of the National Cooperative Highway Research Project 8-55A "Developing a Logical Model for a Geo-Spatial Right-of-Way Land Management System". The project was managed by Ed Harrigan EHARRIGA@nas.edu and was performed under Kathleen Hancock firstname.lastname@example.org at Virginia Tech and was completed in 12/10. A detailed implementation guide was developed as part of this project and will be available through TRB.
Results of the first phase, 8-55 "Integrating Geo-Spatial Technologies into the ROW Data-Management Process", including the documented savings reported here, are available at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rrd_310.pdf and www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=7308
A well designed and implemented information management system can substantially improve management of resources – personnel, money, information, and time – which is critically important to successfully meeting state performance goals and budgets. Adding geospatial capabilities (GIS) to the system to replace hardcopy maps and tabular information and to give additional management and analysis functions can significantly increase its usefulness.
In the Right-of-Way office, this is particularly important because of the resources required to deliver real property for transportation improvements and manage state-owned land.
Pennsylvania invested $829,000 on a ROW information system that reduced annual operating costs by nearly $680,000 while providing greater convenience to users. Because the system integrates with their financial system, the time to process payments reduced from several days to several minutes.
In Virginia, the ROW information system provides over 500 staff and contractors all information on ROW projects, providing exceptional customer service. Information is entered only once, eliminating duplication of effort. Clear project tracking provides staff with a comprehensive understanding of the status of each project including resource allocation.
In Maryland, research staff has been reduced by half because parcel and other geospatial information are available through the intranet. In-person courthouse research and travel time have been eliminated.
New Mexico uses GIS to generate summaries on excess property for sale to the public, reducing the time required to provide this information from several hours to several minutes. The information includes a map with an aerial photograph image background resulting in dramatically reduced questions from the public.
Using GIS, the San Antonio district of Texas provides its staff with electronic access to project drawings, thus eliminating the manual locating and reviewing of large drawing sets. Drawings are accessed by simply clicking on a desired section of road.
In Illinois, a multi-million dollar airport project is managed by a single person who has desktop access to near real-time information about the project.
A primary purpose of this type of information management system is to facilitate standard business operations and support information and decision making by providing easy access to both internal and external information relevant to meeting the goals and operational needs of the transportation agency and the real estate office.
Without such a system, decision makers are limited in their ability to monitor performance and identify opportunities quickly and make strategic adjustments to resource allocation as needed. The real estate office will be limited in its ability to respond to the rapidly increasing reliance on digital information exchange to perform its functions.
Expectations in the current technological environment are for faster, more accurate information with fingertip access to on-line maps. Without a geospatially enabled system, these expectations cannot be met for staff or the public.
This document is part of the National Cooperative Highway Research Project 8-55A "Developing a Logical Model for a Geo-Spatial Right-of-Way Land Management System". The project is managed by Ed Harrigan EHARRIGA@nas.edu and is being performed under Kathleen Hancock email@example.com at Virginia Tech and is scheduled to be completed in 2/10 [sic; The research is now complete].
Results of the first phase, 8-55 "Integrating Geo-Spatial Technologies into the ROW Data-Management Process", including the documented savings reported here, are available at: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rrd_310.pdf and www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=7308