To maximise return on investment, the Auckland Motorway Alliance (AMA) balances asset performance with cost. To help them manage their assets wisely and maintain Auckland’s motorways in a safe and cost effective manner, the AMA selected Esri’s ArcGIS solution as the backbone of their asset management system and engaged Eagle Technology to assist in implementation and on-going support.
As a result, AMA has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars through automation, reduced unscheduled road closures and extended the life of their asset base.
Challenge: managing assets and balancing costs across the consortium
The Auckland Motorway Alliance (AMA) constantly tries to balance asset performance with cost. “If your assets aren’t failing then you aren’t pushing them hard enough,” says Tony Darby, CIO for the Auckland Motorway Alliance. “That’s the commercial reality. We are trying to maximise asset performance – pavements, line markings, bridges, signage, etc - while trying to be as cost effective as possible. But in order to push our assets to the outer limits we need accurate detailed information about each asset and its condition. Otherwise we run the risk of becoming an unplanned reactive operation which causes even more disruption and cost.”
The Auckland Motorway Alliance, a consortium led by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) with Fulton Hogan, Opus International Consultants, Beca Infrastructure, Resolve Group and Armitage Systems, was established on 1 October 2008 to operate and maintain Auckland's motorway network and SH22 for ten years.
With over 60 professional staff and 90 specialist road crew, the AMA’s the primary objective is to provide a pleasant motorway network so that motorists know they'll be able to get to their destinations comfortably, safely and quickly at all times of the day and night. AMA’s contract includes renewals but not large capital projects or planning issues.
Solution: ArcGIS for everyday operation, planning and asset management
A 25-year veteran of GIS projects with a variety of organisations, Darby found the decision to adopt ArcGIS an easy one. “Simply put, ArcGIS has all of tools we needed to do the job,” he says. “ArcGIS provides complete ‘out of the box’ capabilities and, because it is a market leader in New Zealand, there is a wealth of Esri expertise available. Esri Business Partner Geographic Business Solutions (GBS) has been most helpful with our Highway Information Sheets application. And the team at Eagle has the experience and skills to back us up whenever we need specialist assistance.”
The first priority was cleaning up the data. “When we started, we didn’t even know what we didn’t know,” explains Darby. “Because there had been different stewards of the source data - contractors, consultants and engineers – there were varying levels of accuracy. Our focus was to update and automate our Highway Information Sheets, used since the 1960s, that were in CAD format.
We validated the content, separated the information into layers and added metadata descriptions. We now have a flexible spatial database enabling us to maintain our Highway Information Sheets to a much higher standard. We estimate that the automation aspect of the project alone will save us at least $600,000 over the life of the contract.”
AMA relies on the ArcGIS solution for everyday operations as well as planning, budgeting and asset management. “We have some 150 distinct layers of information in the system that can be displayed with a variety of base maps, scales and symbols, depending on the particular requirements of the user,” says Darby. “Currently, we have around 60 people viewing, on average, 22 maps per day, or about 26000 map views per month.”
The overriding benefit for AMA from their ArcGIS initiative has been the creation of a common understanding and awareness across the four operating teams within the AMA: delivery, asset, environment and traffic operations. This has decreased the need for unplanned closures which cost, on average, around $3000 each.
“Forward planning is a huge part of our processes,” says Darby. “With our ArcGIS, anyone scheduling resurfacing, an inspection, a repair or any other initiative can see, at a glance, what else is planned on that stretch of roadway so that we can minimise closures and duplication. For instance, we had resurfacing scheduled for 2013 and a re-vegetation project – which would have damaged the new surface – planned for 2014 on the same section of motorway. With a little flexibility on both sides we have combined the two, reduced the amount of time the road would be closed and ensured that the new surface wouldn’t be compromised.”
AMA is also using the ArcGIS solution to extend the life of their assets. “Because we now have a more detailed record of each square metre of pavement,” explains Darby, “we can micro-manage our assets to achieve maximum value. For instance, we can accurately measure surface roughness and skid resistance – two indicators of pavement integrity – and enter that information directly into the system quickly and easily. This gives us the ability to closely monitor the effect of traffic on the network and compare the network deterioration – using our own deterioration model - with the forward work program.
"Simply put, ArcGIS has all of the tools we needed to do the job. We are able to minimise risk while simultaneously reducing unplanned closures and ad hoc repairs which translates into significant savings.”
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