Strengthen existing maintenance and repair capabilities at Transportation Operation Centers (TOCs).

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

January 2005
Newark,New Jersey,United States; Los Angeles,California,United States; Minnesota,United States; Florida,United States; Washington,United States; New York City,New York,United States; Maryland,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Many TOCs in the country have now entered into their second-generation life cycle and have successfully implemented day-to-day TOC operations in their jurisdictions. TOCs from California, Minnesota, Florida, Washington, New York, and Maryland as well as cities like Los Angeles and New York City have successfully built second-generation systems with a good level of operational support. Their experience suggests that including the ability to conduct in-house maintenance and repairs greatly improves management of ITS resources within TOCs. Strengthening these capabilities will result in increased operational efficiency through preventive maintenance, faster repair time, and less reliance on vendors. It will also reduce costs and unnecessary staff time.
  • Research and implement a statewide ITS maintenance management system (MMS). An MMS logs and tracks ITS maintenance activities, resulting in more efficient TOC operations for both in-house and contract maintenance.
  • Develop in-house fiber optic cable maintenance and consider adding network systems technician positions. An in-house maintenance capability will ensure that resources are available to fix ITS systems, thus keeping downtime to a minimum. Major problems associated with fiber optic cable maintenance include the slower response time of outside contractors and their lack of expertise. Their performance also requires close monitoring for quality control. Two TOCs in New Jersey have expressed a preference for maintaining fiber optic cable links internally if proper resources are made available. Such resources include trained crew, spare cables, splicing equipment and diagnostics scopes, fusion process materials and equipment, and continuous training.
  • Strengthen statewide ITS support contracts. Statewide ITS maintenance contracts should include preventive maintenance of ITS devices such as closed circuit television (CCTV), variable message sign (VMS), highway advisory radio (HAR), and detector stations, along with a preventive maintenance checklist and performance measures. With a preventive maintenance program in place, ITS devices will be checked more frequently, which will in turn result in improved system operations.
  • Purchase vehicles dedicated to performing in-house maintenance. The availability of on-site vehicles to perform repairs and routine maintenance will significantly reduce costs and system downtime. It will also add capabilities to meet statewide emergency needs; for example, a dedicated vehicle can be quickly deployed to facilitate installation of temporary devices during an evacuation.
    • TOCs, including the New York City Department of Transportation, Colorado Transportation Management Center, and Los Angeles Department of Transportation, all report highly productive use of bucket trucks and network vans to repair CCTV, VMS, cable plants, and overhead microwave detectors.
Strengthening in-house maintenance and repair capabilities improves operational efficiency not only within TOCs but across regional boundaries as well. Because TOCs rely on vendors to perform maintenance and repairs, they experience prolonged system downtime and higher operational costs. Performing in-house preventive maintenance and repairs will not only keep system downtime to a minimum but will also cut costs associated with having to hire vendors. In order to conduct effective in-house maintenance and repairs, TOCs must have sufficient qualified staff on site, with the appropriate resources to complete the task at hand.

Lesson Comments

"Because of our in-house maintenance, repair and installations, our ITS equipment has very little down time. 96% of all ITS equipment is available at all times, 4% of equipment is down some time. At times our equipment will be at 100% working if there are no failures."

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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: 2007-00358