ITD staff outlines need for management systems
for transportation board members
Acquiring a maintenance management system to help plan highway maintenance activities should be a top priority for improving efficiency, according to a report recently presented to the Idaho Transportation Board.
Research Program Manager Ned Parrish presented the draft final report on the evaluation of ITD’s needs for maintenance management and pavement management software tools to board members on Jan. 22.
ITD has not had a computer-based maintenance management system to track maintenance activities since the Advantage Financial Management System was introduced in 2005. The maintenance management system in use at the time was not compatible with the new financial management system, so its use was discontinued. Now, pavement-related information is not easily accessible for use in selecting projects and designing treatments.
A replacement maintenance management system must provide basic cost accounting and budget information; the ability to analyze productivity rates and assess the level of service for performance measurement; and include condition information and maintenance history for system assets and features.
The system also should be accessible to ITD staff at Headquarters and in the districts, providing information at the state, district, and shed levels. Linkage to other systems, such as the Pavement Management System and Geographic Information Systems is critical, Parrish explained. The estimated cost for a maintenance system is $2.7 million, with an annual license fee of $300,000. Several options could the acquisition costs.
In reviewing the pavement management system, it was discovered that the current 20-year-old system is meeting some of the department’s needs.
Its weaknesses, though, are that it lacks analysis tools to examine preservation treatment strategies. The system also is centralized, requiring district personnel to request information from Headquarters. The estimated cost for a new basic pavement management system is just under $1 million, with annual license fees of $50,000.
Although the recommendations represent a significant investment, numerous benefits and savings can be expected. Advantages include the more efficient use of available resources, the ability to justify and secure more funding for pavement maintenance and rehabilitation, more accurate and accessible information on the roadway system, and the ability to show the impact of funding decisions.
Based on other studies about the return on investment, the recommended investment of $3.65 million for the two systems could result in estimated savings of $50-$110 million.
The next steps are to develop a Request For Proposal for the recommended systems and services, refine the estimated costs and identify the funding sources. ITD staff members will collect more information and expect to return to the board with an acquisition request.
Other board consideration
Exempt status approval for rail crossing
As prescribed in Idaho Code and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, specific vehicles are required to stop at every railroad grade crossing. However, if the rail line gets minimal usage and other control efforts, such as a flagger and/or stop signs are used, a crossing may receive an exempt status.
The transportation board approved an exempt status for the U.S. 95 railroad crossing in Craigmont. The BG & CM Railroad, with concurrence from ITD staff, requested the exemption because of the line’s limited use. The exemption will more efficiently accommodate highway traffic and eliminate unnecessary stopping. The BG & CM Railroad will stop and flag all railroad equipment when using the crossing.
Annual report from the Division of Aeronautics
The Aeronautics Advisory Board and Division of Aeronautics staff presented the annual report to the board on statewide aviation activities.
In 2008, Idaho recorded 34 aircraft accidents resulting in five fatalities. The 10-year average from 1999 through 2008 was 38.6 accidents with 11.3 fatalities.
Consumption of aviation fuel decreased last year, presumably because of the peak prices in July and slow economic conditions. Private flying and non-scheduled commercial flying were down from 2007 by approximately 35 percent and 50 percent, respectively. The forecast for 2009 is expected to be similar in both categories.
Airport revenue, primarily through aviation gas and jet fuel, is about 7 percent below projections. The Division of Aeronautics identified informal holdbacks to compensate for the reduced revenue.
A number of projects were completed at state-operated airstrips last year, including a restoration project at Cavanaugh Bay. Fifteen airports have been adopted as part of the Airport Adoption Program, resulting in a cumulative donation of 516 person-hours in 2008.
The Idaho Airport Aid Program contributed $491,000 to general aviation airports and five community airports during the past year. The FY08 FAA grants are expected to update the state system plan and complete three airport layout plans.