Establish a well defined process for monitoring and maintenance before expanding the base of field equipment.
Experience from iFlorida Model Deployment
- Establish a well-defined process for monitoring and maintaining field equipment before beginning a significant expansion. Consider streamlining the existing monitoring and maintenance process before expanding the base of field equipment. A simple system that works well for a small amount of deployed equipment may be less effective as the amount of deployed equipment increases.
- Ensure that the requirements for new field equipment include steps to integrate the equipment into the monitoring and maintenance process.
- These requirements should include tools and/or procedures for monitoring the equipment to identify failures that occur. In the case of the arterial toll tag readers, the deployment contractor provided no such tools and weak documentation. FDOT had to develop procedures for monitoring the equipment after it had been deployed, and it took several months before FDOT had developed an efficient process for doing so.
- Newly deployed equipment should be integrated into the monitoring and maintenance process incrementally, as soon as each piece of equipment is deployed. The arterial toll tag readers were deployed and inspected over a period of four months in early 2005, but FDOT did not begin developing procedures to monitor that equipment until the deployment project was completed in May 2005. By the time FDOT began monitoring this equipment, almost half the devices had failed. Despite the fact that the deployment contractor was responsible for the equipment during this period, it appeared that the contractor did not monitor the equipment for failures.
- These requirements should include maintaining a sufficient inventory of spare parts so that repairs can be made quickly. The contract placed requirements on the repair time for serviced parts, but the contractor failed to meet these requirements because insufficient replacement parts were available to make the necessary repairs. As a result, when FDOT discovered the large number of failures in the arterial toll tag readers, it took many months before a sufficient number of replacement parts were available to conduct repairs.
- Plan for the increased demands on maintenance staff and contractors as new systems are brought online. If possible, avoid bringing several new systems online at the same time. In the case of the arterial toll tag readers, almost half of the readers had failed before manual monitoring began. When monitoring did begin, it required a significant amount of FDOT staff time to poll each individual reader each day to identify readers that had failed. The same held true with the other deployed devices-FDOT staff was required each day to review the status of each field device and copy status information into spreadsheets used to monitor system status. Thus, even though FDOT had taken steps to reduce the demands on its maintenance staff by requiring warranties on much of the iFlorida equipment, monitoring the equipment for failures still required a significant amount of FDOT staff time. The amount of time required was larger when systems were first brought online, as FDOT developed procedures to integrate the new equipment into its monitoring and maintenance programs.
- Provide a mechanism to continue operations when field equipment fails. At FDOT, key equipment was available 80 to 90 percent of the time, with other equipment available less often.
- Decreasing the time to repair equipment is an effective approach for increasing the percent of time that equipment is available.
- Providing a mechanism to continue operations when equipment fails (e.g., redundant equipment, replacement of missing data from failed equipment with estimates based on historical data and/or operator observations) is needed.
Author: Robert Haas (SAC); Mark Carter (SAIC); Eric Perry (SAIC); Jeff Trombly (SAIC); Elisabeth Bedsole (SAIC): Rich Margiotta (Cambridge Systematics)
Published By: United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590
Source Date: 01/30/2009
EDL Number: 14480URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/31000/31000/31051/14480.htm
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