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