Performance-Based Asset Management Best Practices – Making Your Data Work for You with Dashboards

We are all familiar with the day-to-day activities happening throughout our organization.  Lots of things are happening and this information is being captured in our Asset Management System throughout the day, week month and year.  Information is an asset in and of itself, but it is neglected at many organizations because of the focus on “today’s” activities.  Dashboards can provide a passive way of visualizing data so that Performance metrics can be monitored (e.g. How many Issues are older than 24 hours?).  It can also provide Insights into your data that are not easily seen in tabular layouts of data Filters and Reports. This information should be presented to the Asset Management user in a way that is relevant to their day-to-day activities and should be interactive, giving the user control over the information in front of them.

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VUEWorks set out to create this exact user experience when we decided to overhaul our Dashboard tools.  The following goals were presented to the Development team along with their associated User Stories.  This process would focus on the User, so we also enlisted many key clients from our customer base to provide the guidance necessary to achieve these goals:

  • Provide a Unique User Experience, focused on the Individual User as well as Groups of Users who share the same, common information.
  • Provide a Wizard-driven User Interface (UI) to make it easy for anyone to author their own Dashboard Widgets.

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  • Expose all Data Sources and GIS Layers to allow for ANY type of Dashboard to be created.
  • Provide a series of commonly used Dashboard Widget Types and share them among users within the organization.

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  • Integrate with / Leverage Existing Filters throughout the VUEWorks interface to make it easy for users to get their specific data delivered to their Dashboard without having to re-create anything.

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  • Provide a series of Mathematical Functions (e.g. Count, Average, Min, Max, Sum) that can be organized by Values (Good, Fair, Poor) or Ranges of Values (Bins).

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  • Allow the user to change the Appearance (2D or 3D), Legend Settings (Marker Types, Position) or General Settings (Labels, Font and Margins) related to the Widget.

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  • Integrate with Existing User and Role-based Security found throughout VUEWorks.

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  • Provide easy to use Help and On-line resources to help train users and expose them to new functionality.

2017-02-01 10_07_19-Dashboard – VUEWorks

2017-02-01 10_08_06-Video Tutorial - Dashboard Introduction – VUEWorks

2017-02-01 10_11_01-Video Tutorial - Working with Existing Widgets – VUEWorks

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

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).

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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.

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imageThe 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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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:

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Strategic Asset Management vs. Work Management–What’s the Difference?

We do business with a lot clients these days who are looking for an “Enterprise Asset Management” system .  They use this term during the procurement process, but in a lot of cases their requirements are centered on Work Management and barely scratch the surface of Asset Management.  This is easy to do since most of an organization’s daily activities are focused solely on today’s maintenance of their Asset Infrastructure, but there is very little focus on how they will manage and maintain assets into the future.  Our clients are always answering questions related to the fiscal activities centered on asset performance.  The questions from management are centered around:

  • How much are we spending on maintenance?
  • How long does it take us to respond to and fix an issue?
  • Are we meeting Federally mandated requirements?
  • Anything else relating to money…

The IAM defines asset management as the “coordinated activity of an organization to realize value from assets”.  This involves the “balancing of costs, opportunities and risks against the desired performance of assets, to achieve the organizational objectives.”  An additional objective is to “minimize the whole-life cost of assets but there may be other critical factors such as risk or business continuity to be considered objectively in this decision making.”  All of these factors can be combined together to make informed decisions regarding how assets are managed and maintained throughout their life-cycle.  These decisions involve monetary expenditures, but they also involve strategic thinking centered on the “How” and “Why” to fix an asset as well as “When” and “Which” portions of this process.  This is the “Strategic” piece of an Asset Management system.

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Work Management is one small component of Asset Management.  It is typically focused on the day-to-day operations and expenditures related to operating and maintaining asset infrastructure.  The Work done against an asset can track cost information, but can also be used to build a strategy around the operations and maintenance related to that asset.  This strategy focuses on the “How” and “Why”.  It answers what “Activity” should be completed for an asset (Install, Maintain, Repair, Replace) and “Why” (It’s old, looks bad, is dangerous, could cause injury, get us sued) this should happen.  Next, it answers “When” (now, next year, or never) an asset should be maintained as well as “Which” (most critical, most likely to fail, the Mayor’s sewer line) assets should get priority.  All of these factors are important and ALL of them should be utilized when making a Strategic Asset Management decision.  Be reminded that Work Management is only one component of this decision-making criteria which is applied to an overall Strategic Asset Management plan.