Potholes, Road Patrols and the ArcGIS Platform

June 4, 2019 Chaim Schwartz

Is your organization taking full advantage of the ArcGIS platform?  With the ArcGIS suite of apps you can build comprehensive and integrated maintenance management workflows that only a few years ago would have required expensive and resource-intensive software solutions. In this blog we will show you how our web and mobile apps can digitally transform your roads and right-of-way infrastructure maintenance management program.

With road ownership, there comes a substantial list of requirements and responsibilities. In some cases, these are legislated minimum maintenance standards (MMS), such as required frequencies for road patrolling and the timeframe for repairing identified deficiencies. In other cases, these are driven by established performance measures for meeting certain levels of service (LOS) and yet again in other cases certain maintenance activities are targeted at maximizing the useful life of assets.

Right-of-Way Infrastructure Maintenance Management

Whether legislated or driven by organizational standards, identifying the best tool for the job is key. The ArcGIS suite of apps offers a modular approach, where each app specializes in a certain functionality and can be added as required to fill its role in the larger process. The following is a discussion of three central aspects in roads operations and the role of GIS in enabling them. References are provided to some of the core ArcGIS apps for further reading.

  1. Maintaining an up-to-date Inventory

Knowing the locations of your guardrails, traffic signs, catch basins and sidewalks allows you to locate them when the need arises and tie maintenance activities and condition assessments to the relevant asset, thus being able to record the performance of assets across your inventory and over time. While this activity is at times best done in the office, major efficiencies and potential savings are dependent on being able to streamline data collected from the field. Collector for ArcGIS supports these field data collection activities and is your go-to app for this task.

  1. Patrolling the Roads

Complying with MMS is a data-intensive task that is challenging to satisfy with no supporting technology, but essential for maintaining a proactive maintenance strategy. Scheduling routes, recording observed deficiencies and complying with varying timeframes for repairing these deficiencies requires a synchronized system where these pieces all fit into place. The ArcGIS platform offers comprehensive routing solutions and the turn-by-turn Navigator for ArcGIS  app for predefined or optimized routes. Survey123 for ArcGIS  provides powerful capabilities for building a user-friendly inspection form to capture field observations and can support building in the logic for calculating the priority ranking and due dates based on observations such as road class and severity. These priority rankings and due dates can then drive scheduling and dispatching of work assignments. Tracker for ArcGIS is a new mobile app that tracks the location of your workers as work is performed, thereby mitigating risks inherent to roads operations. Analyzing your crews’ mobilization patterns over time will also allow you to identify opportunities for improvement, such as in under-served or over-served areas. Also look out for the exciting and soon-to-be-released ArcGIS QuickCapture app for at-speed data collection with a push of a button, allowing data collection from the seat of a driving car.

  1. Performing Field Work

As your field work accumulates and new work assignments are coming in, either from the field or through citizen requests, Workforce for ArcGIS allows you to quickly view your workers’ locations and workload, dispatch assignments, and assign and re-assign work as required. Accurately recording fieldwork forms the basis for understanding the performance of assets across your inventory. This includes capturing failure rates and failure modes to gain insight on how and why your assets are failing. Similarly, by capturing efforts and resources involved in repairs, you can use an evidence-based approach to estimate required funds for maintenance and re-investment programs. As the program manager or supervisor, you also want to have a real-time view of the work status and key performance indicators. This is where Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS comes in. More than just a high-level dashboarding application, with Operations Dashboard you can drill down into the specifics of work and observations as these come in and review previously recorded historic maintenance activities.

Each of the apps referenced above has the ability to introduce significant change into a roads operations program by its own. But it is through an integrated approach that a true digital transformation can be achieved. Leveraging your existing investment with the ArcGIS platform, you can build a cost-effective web-based solution for your roads infrastructure maintenance management program.

If your organization is interested in embarking on this journey with Esri Canada, our Public Works team has a service package to jump-start your program. It’s called the Workforce Starter Solution.

View our webinar recording for more details on this service and to see a demonstration of some of the workflows described in this article.

About the Author

Chaim Schwartz

Chaim Schwartz is a Technical Solutions Specialist (TSS) with the public works team at Esri Canada. Chaim’s efforts are focused on helping customers leverage the ArcGIS and Cityworks platforms for infrastructure management, specifically asset inventory management, work management, field mobility and asset life cycle analysis. In his role as a TSS, Chaim works on introducing new technologies and workflows for improved asset management. Passionate about everything GIS and driven by his experience with municipal infrastructure management, Chaim is motivated by customers being able to derive value from geospatial technology.

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