Plan for ongoing logistical support, including the designation of a project champion.

Virginia's experience implementing a pilot automatic vehicle location (AVL) system in an urban winter maintenance operations setting.

Northern Virginia NOVA,Virginia,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

This study covers VDOT's experience in implementing a pilot automatic vehicle location (AVL) system in attempt to improve the management of operations and communications during emergencies. One finding discussed within this study is that ongoing logistical support for an AVL system should be a high priority because AVL is an expensive, sophisticated investment that requires considerable attention.
  • Update the system as necessary: Because the system was dormant between snowstorms, the inaction spawned problems. Because no one was assigned responsibility for periodically powering up the equipment and checking the network linkages and connectivity, every snowstorm yielded problems in just turning on the system. IP addresses expired, deleting vehicles from the tracking list; VDOT network passwords expired; unannounced configuration changes were not noticed until operational use was attempted; and IVU units requiring repair were left waiting for pick up, thus unavailable for use in storms. These technical difficulties with the AVL system contributed to low support of the system and a less than successful first and second year of the pilot.
  • Designate a person in charge of the system: Throughout most of its three-year pilot, the AVL project lacked a manager with time and authority to focus on this project and to address and fix problems. Although there are many people and organizations using and affected by the AVL pilot program, it was essentially an orphan. Appointment of residency personnel as champions of the project appears to have been a turning point in increased acceptance of the system. As residency management became more involved in the implementation of the system, they became the system's champion. This led to more involvement of the District Information Technology Section, which resulted in increased technical support for the system. By the third winter season, because of the new champion, improvements in the functionality of the pilot AVL system and increased IT support, field personnel and managers became more comfortable and confident with the use of the system.

Based on these experiences and observations, the report concluded that the following are needed to have a successful and productive implementation of an AVL system: (1) developed preventive maintenance procedures and personnel assigned responsibility for AVL system operations; (2) a project champion with the authority to draw on necessary resources and shepherd the system through implementation; (3) information technology personnel to support the operation of the system; and (4) trained field personnel who fully understand and support the system.

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Lessons Learned From a Pilot Project of an Automatic Vehicle Location System in an Urban Winter Maintenance Operations Setting

Author: Daniel S. Roosevelt, Robert A. Hanson, Virginia Transportation Research Council; William M. Campenni, Stuart AVL Technologies, LLC

Published By: Virginia Department of Transportation and the University of Virginia

Source Date: 4/1/2002

Other Reference Number: VTRC02-R11

URL: http://www.virginiadot.org/vtrc/main/online_reports/pdf/02-r11.pdf#search='Lessons%20Learned%20From%20a%20Pilot%20Project%20of%20an%20Automatic%20Vehicle%20Location%20System%20in%20an%20Urban%20Winter%20Maintenance%20Operations%20Setting'

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Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Daniel S Roosevelt
Virginia Transportation Research Council
(434) 293-1924

Agency Contact(s):

Renee Hamilton
Virginia Department of Transportation

Lesson Analyst:

Jane Lappin
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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Lesson ID: 2006-00260