Build support for the use of an MDSS tool in order to overcome institutional barriers.
From the experience of Maine Department of Transportation.
- Be aware that it will take time for management and maintenance crews to adopt and accept an MDSS into their standard operations. The deployment of an MDSS necessitates organizational change, as managers and maintenance crews have to incorporate a new decision-making tool into their operations. Organizational change, however, tends to be slow and requires the support of strong leadership willing to champion the MDSS. At every level of the DOT in Maine, there was strong support for an MDSS; however, the Scarborough crew had no advance preparation or training, and the MDSS tool was deployed just as the winter season was getting underway. This meant that all the stakeholders in the process were learning together as the storms were upon them.
- Provide training to maintenance crews before MDSS introduction, in addition to ongoing support once the tool is being used. In order to achieve the full benefits of an MDSS, the users need to fully understand how it works, how to interpret the information it offers, and how best to apply it in support of decision making. This type of training needs to occur before the tool is even introduced. As described above, there was no initial training of the Scarborough crew since the project was initiated just as the winter season began.
Once an MDSS is adopted, the MDSS vendor can offer active support to the maintenance crew that is using the tool to explain its capabilities, answer questions that arise, and suggest effective ways to take best advantage of its capabilities. The more active this relationship between the vendor and the state DOT users, the more effective the MDSS will be in supporting the DOT’s maintenance operations. In Maine, the MDSS vendor worked closely with the DOT, offering MaineDOT the services of their meteorological staff and encouraging the Scarborough crew to call before every storm event to obtain further guidance and interpretation of the forecasts being provided.
- Offer the MDSS tool initially to one or more of the state's more progressive crews. An MDSS is a very different and more complex technology compared with many of the systems used throughout Maine and other states. Maintenance personnel who are uncomfortable with computers and related technologies may be resistant to work with an MDSS initially. MaineDOT selected the Scarborough crew for an evaluation project based in part on their enthusiasm and willingness to work with the MDSS throughout the winter season. If more progressive crews adopt MDSS initially, they can serve as an example to other crews, and can also provide training to other crews.
Author: Chris Cluett (Battelle) and Jeffery Jenq (Battelle)
Published By: United States Department of Transportation ITS Joint Program Office, HOIT 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE Washington, DC 20590
Source Date: September, 2007
EDL Number: 14387URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib//jpodocs/repts_te//14387.htm
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