Leased fiber optic services that include favorable maintenance agreements can be more cost effective than owned services that have high maintenance costs.

December 2002
Tennessee,United States

Summary Information

The Federal Highway Transportation report entitled Guidelines for Transportation Management Systems Maintenance summarized traffic management systems (TMS) maintenance practices utilized by state and local transportation agencies and offered professional analysis and recommendations for development of a comprehensive traffic management systems maintenance program. The report emphasized the need for life-cycle analysis in determining the cost effectiveness of a TMS communications infrastructure. Both policy and technical considerations play a major role in an agency’s choice of certain type of communications infrastructure. For example:
  • Agency-owned versus leased. Whether a traffic management agency will own or lease the communications infrastructure is more often a policy decision than a technical one. Research shows that the systems built prior to 1996, have the agency-owned communications infrastructure. Since 1996, the year the Telecommunications Act was passed, the data communication market has become more competitive, the cost competiveness and reliability of leased communications service have improved. Evaluating the life-cycle cost of leased service versus owned, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (DOT) concluded that leased services were more cost effective, based largely on the cost of maintaining a fiber-optic communications plant. The conclusion was also influenced by the fact that the State of Tennessee had a favorable existing contract for leased services that included a service level agreement for on-going maintenance.
  • Design impact on maintenance. The life-cycle cost is an important factor in evaluating the TMS design alternatives. For the communications infrastructure, which is usually the most expensive element of a TMS design, the life-cycle cost analysis is particularly important, both in terms of the capital costs as well as the operations and maintenance costs.

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Guidelines for Transportation Management Systems Maintenance Concept and Plans

Author: Vick, Cary and Roy Sumner (PB Farradyne)

Published By: USDOT

Source Date: December 2002

EDL Number: 13882

Other Reference Number: FHWA-OP-04-011


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Cost ID: 2008-00163