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Turnpike asset management goes wireless

POMPANO BEACH, Fla.—In an effort to improve on conventional manual data-collection techniques, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) put in place one of the transportation industry’s first Wi-Fi-ready highway-asset-data-collection systems. The new system allows FTE staff to copy live data onto their laptops, update or collect new data in the field, and then, when back in the office, instantly upload the new data to the Turnpike Enterprise Asset Management System (TEAMS). Live data access and maintenance will be available when Wi-Fi is accessible along the entire system. Wi-Fi is already available at some locations.

Previously, the data-collection process required as long as 60 days to get data from the field into TEAMS. The new system will reduce field-to-TEAMS time to hours, and is expected to save the equivalent of two-person-years annually.

Implemented in 2003, TEAMS provides inventory, reporting, condition, and budget projections for almost 2,000-lane-miles of roadway, 134 toll-collection facilities, and all appurtenant equipment and facilities. TEAMS is a web-enabled, enterprise-wide asset management system with full GIS capabilities that identifies and prioritizes transportation maintenance and project needs throughout the Turnpike road network.

According to Jesse Day, TEAMS data maintenance manager, "The ADE Remote system is essentially a map-based spatial data-collection tool with GPS capabilities. It provides access to high-resolution aerial photographs, asset photos, and asset data on a field computer. When maintenance staff is in the field, they can quickly and easily track such assets as signs, guardrail, or bridges, and then update them with a few simple clicks on the laptop. That information is then uploaded to the TEAMS database."

One of the FTE’s first new data-maintenance modules is a sign inventory tool specifically designed to support FEMA requirements for timely replacement of regulatory signs damaged or destroyed during hurricanes. Other modules under development include facilities, structures, and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

According to Bo Sanchez, PBS&J vice president and a Turnpike program manager, "Live field data maintenance is almost here. Very soon, asset data will be gathered quickly and accurately in the field with the same tools that are available on a desktop, and then just as quickly updated in our central database. We have the technology in place—we’re just waiting for wireless technology to catch up."