VicRoads, the road and traffic authority for the Australian state of Victoria, is always eager to embrace new technology to enhance its strategic asset management approach.
Faced with the need to deliver a maintenance programme for two large-scale Maintenance Alliance Contracts, encompassing more than 7,500 kilometres of arterial road network, VicRoads formed an alliance with asset management delivery leader, Fulton Hogan.
The two organisations recognised the opportunity to improve network data visualisation and broaden the scope of long-term analysis. As things stood, they were restricted to using engineering/condition-based factors to shape their asset maintenance management strategy.
VicRoads and Fulton Hogan needed a system that could visualise highways maintenance information and present it to a diverse range of stakeholders.
They also needed a solution that could move beyond traditional condition-based data and leverage other economic, environmental and social data sources to help drive maintenance planning and make decisions on future schemes of work.
Specific challenges included:-
- Lack of a single source of truth for data
- Challenges in engaging with different types of stakeholders
- Low level of transparency and confidence in maintenance renewal forecasting
- Restricted to using condition-based planning
- Difficulty adapting to changes in network performance and business processes
- Financial constraints resulted in short-term maintenance focus
- Provide up-to-date information by amalgamating datasets from all business systems, including condition, completed works and defects data
- Enhanced engagement with larger diversity of stakeholders through smart network data visualisation
- Increased transparency and confidence in results through detailed justification of works planned
- Adapting to Government initiates by using political factors such as shifting budgets
- Reducing future costs on reactive maintenance by incorporating that data into the modelling
- Increased community satisfaction by including socio-economic factors such as school zones and tourist routes
- Higher accuracy of planned works by using detailed condition data and business rules
- Improved community safety by integrating accidents and road defects data in the planning
- Enables resources within the authority to be freed up and re-assigned away, thereby reducing costs and driving operational efficiencies
With the software implemented, VicRoads decided to use a ground-up approach, engaging with workers at the coalface to establish what kind of maintenance activities were required.
This has been balanced against a top-down strategy based on the available budget. Helping to make this possible is Horizons’ ease-of-use and rapid analysis capabilities.
Horizons helps VicRoads utilise detailed network condition data, enabling the authority to assess how far its budget would extend with existing resources and therefore what schemes of work it should opt for.
The use of Horizons also enables VicRoads to adapt to changes in government funding and help shape future budget discussions by presenting proof of what the network will look like under different budget scenarios.
A prime example was; in one of the two regions covered by the project, Horizons analysis showed a particular sub-network was becoming ‘distressed’ and therefore required additional funding.
Based on Horizons’ analysis, VicRoads secured additional funding for a four-year period. A hugely positive outcome for the local community that will provide wider economic benefits for the region.
“Using Horizons has helped us to visualise the road network for Fulton Hogan and VicRoads and present different options. We use it as part of an integrated approach.”
Bruce Clayton, Sector Leader Infrastructure Asset Management, Opus
Bruce Clayton adds “If we make a recommendation, it is not just our viewpoint.
We can provide evidence based on the analysis of relevant data sets. We can, for example, say to VicRoads: ‘If you were to receive additional funding at a given level, this is the range of choices you could explore.’ “allowing us to demonstrate and visualise outcomes and plans to stakeholders in a transparent way.
Instead of using numbers and tables, that most people struggle to relate to, Horizons employs eye-catching visuals and dynamic graphs that people can immediately understand. It is an approach that helps win ‘hearts and minds’ inside and outside the organisation.”