The National Academies

NCHRP 14-09(4) [Completed]

Role of Highway Maintenance in Integrated Management Systems

  Project Data
Funds: $225,000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Michael J. Markow
Effective Date: 4/15/1991
Completion Date: 7/15/1993

Management systems have been developed and modified by units within highway departments since the introduction of the mainframe computer. Most were developed as independent systems within individual units and were not integrated with other transportation data bases. Moreover, these management systems were developed over many years and, because of the ever changing characteristics of computer hardware and software, are incompatible in terms of the efficient and timely flow of information between them. They are also based on various hardware systems from mainframes to PCs, in various configurations from centralized to decentralized management structures. The data structures vary from flat files through hierarchical and relational methods. Improvements in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for transportation, in recent years, show promise of integrating many of these incompatible data base systems.

Transfer of information among the various transportation data bases would allow a better coordination of maintenance programs with short- and long-term highway improvement programs and, thus, better resource utilizations. The data bases include but are not limited to pavements (PMS), bridges (BMS), equipment (EMS), roadway inventory and condition, design, construction, human resources, materials, finance, accidents, traffic, and safety. Transportation managers also need access to information in the Maintenance Management Information Systems (MMIS).

To exploit the full capabilities of transportation information systems, research is needed to evaluate the effective use of these systems for the purpose of planning, budgeting, scheduling, monitoring, and controlling highway maintenance programs and activities.

The objectives of this project are to design an idealized MMIS based on data available from all transportation information systems and develop a guide to assist state transportation agencies in moving toward implementation. Accomplishment of these objectives will require the following tasks: (1) Conduct a literature search and a survey of state DOTs to determine how maintenance information is generated and used. Identify the state of practice and planned improvements in MMIS and other transportation management systems. (2) Based on the results of Task 1, conduct an in-depth evaluation of a minimum of five DOTs representing the wide range of MMIS currently in existence. Identify and assess the availability of data in transportation management information systems that could be used in the maintenance management decision process. This evaluation should also identify maintenance information needs at all levels that are not currently being met with existing systems; systems components, relationships, and incomp atibilities; analytical tools and expert systems; standardization and data exchange issues; location-reference methods; accuracy and precision issues; and timeliness of information. (3) Based on the results of the previous tasks, develop the framework for an idealized MMIS. The framework should include a matrix of information needs, identifying the elements required with regard to the systems seeking and providing the information. In addition, establish criteria to measure benefits arising from the implementation of the proposed MMIS. The design should allow an incremental evolution from existing systems to the idealized MMIS. (4) Prepare an interim report documenting the research completed in the first three tasks. (5) Complete the design of the idealized MMIS based on the project-panel-approved framework in Task 4. The design should contain sufficient detail to allow for the incremental development from existing MMIS by any state DOT. (6) Identify how the implementation of the proposed MMIS will potentially benefit highway maintenance programs and other department activities. (7) Prepare a final report documenting the research effort. Based on the results of the previous tasks, prepare a management guide to assist transportation agencies in moving toward incremental implementation of the idealized MMIS. The guide must be capable of serving as a stand-alone document.

All work has been completed, and the final report has been published as NCHRP Report 363, "Role of Highway Maintenance in Integrated Management Systems."

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