Evaluate and upgrade TOC maintenance programs on an on-going basis.

A New Jersey Department of Transportation experience with ITS operations and maintenance in Transportation Operations Centers (TOCs).

January 2005
Newark,New Jersey,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

As experience with ITS resources evolves, it is important that TOCs develop an on-going system for evaluating and upgrading their maintenance programs. Part of the evaluation process is developing quantifiable measures that can be tracked and reviewed. Measuring the effectiveness of these ITS maintenance programs will allow TOCs to continuously refine and improve their operational performance. The NJDOT study offers some lessons learned from their review of other TOCs experiences with improving the evaluation and enhancement of ITS maintenance programs as follows:
  • Evaluate ITS maintenance programs using established performance measures. Such measures include repair response time and device downtimes. The use of quantifiable measures will give TOCs an idea of their current level of operational performance. By conducting regular evaluations, TOCs can get a sense of how to improve on future designs so that maintenance needs are met. Key parameters that can be used include:
    • system availability
    • system reliability
    • mean time to repair
    • mean time to failure
    • number of failed devices
  • Institute spare parts and equipment management. The inability to replace a defective part, however small, can cause increased downtime and deficiencies in TOC operational functions. Using a purchasing assistant, TOCs can secure critical spare parts for in-house maintenance and warrantee care. ITS technologies are complex, and swapping a new part for a defective one can be a quick, simple solution that will keep benefits flowing. TOCs across the country are reporting inventories of 10%-15% spare parts in stock.
  • Develop and implement a policy on ITS standardization. Effective operations at TOCs require that devices are interoperable and interchangeable. By developing a policy for ITS standardization, TOCs can ensure that new ITS devices, systems, communications, and spare parts will all work as intended, in an interoperable manner. TOCs will also have the ability to replace parts without having to worry about using a different vendor’s product, and system operators will be better prepared to deal with operational details. Standardization will have the added benefit of reducing the number of on-hand spare parts needed to make repairs. For example, the NTCIP family of standards on variable message sign (VMS), traffic controllers, etc., will produce an integrated, interoperable system.
  • Implement a logging and event tracking system. In conjunction with a maintenance management system, TOCs can use a tag or barcode and a handheld scanner to automate inventory and event tracking, thus reducing or even eliminating much of the paper tracking. This will provide paperless long-term records with sorting capabilities.
Regular evaluations of ITS maintenance programs will allow TOCs to gauge their operational efficiency and to upgrade their systems accordingly. A spare-parts program is one way that TOCs have improved efficiency, allowing replacement of defective parts in-house. ITS standardization is recommended to ensure that any one part will be compatible with current systems as well as aiding in on-going inventory management. Taking time to conduct thorough evaluations and upgrades of ITS devices reduces system downtime and the financial burden of having to hire outside vendors.

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Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) - Operational Support Contracts - Implementation Plan - Final Report

Author: Patel, Raman K.

Published By: Transportation Research Center, Polytechnic University

Source Date: January 2005

Other Reference Number: FHWA-NJ-2005-010

URL: http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/refdata/research/reports/FHWA-NJ-2005-010.pdf

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Jane Lappin
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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Lesson ID: 2007-00359