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  1. 1. 7 IMPLEMENTATION RECOMMENDATIONS As a pilot project, one of the primary objectives of this study is to develop the expertise necessary to implement asset management programs on a statewide basis. As the single most valuable asset held by most Wyoming counties, roads must be managed effectively and efficiently. Applying the knowledge developed during this project should be combined with an honest assessment of county governments' needs in their efforts to provide a good county road system. This chapter provides recommendations on how to implement future asset management systems for Wyoming counties. It is in the best interests of Wyoming's counties to have a standardized method for tracking road and bridge assets. This will provide consistent figures for the State legislature and for WYDOT when assessing counties' road and bridge needs. Without any standardized procedures, it is very difficult to compare the needs of various counties. Without any standardized procedures, counties may be tempted to overestimate the severity of their problems in an attempt to secure funding, or they may be tempted to minimize their problems due to political pressures. Without a consistent means of gathering data and evaluating road networks, it will not be possible to realistically assess the condition of county roads on a statewide basis. Without a realistic assessment of current conditions, it is very difficult to assess the counties' needs on a statewide basis. Timely updates are crucial to the success of any asset management system. Old data is of little value. Without a commitment to keep an asset management system current and a procedure in place for ongoing data collection, a system will soon become obsolete. A commitment to keeping a database current is essential to the successful implementation of any asset management system. The goal of further implementation efforts is to establish effective asset management systems for other counties throughout the State. Some counties have fairly well developed asset management systems already in place, while others do not yet have the in-house expertise, particularly GIS-trained personnel, to undertake such an effort at this time. However, there are a number of counties within the State that do not have a well developed system, but who have the necessary tools to begin developing an effective asset management system. These counties, with assistance from the T 2/LTAP Center, are ready to implement an asset management system. Sections 7.2 and 7.3 below describe some of the implementation processes and issues they will face, along with the role the T2/LTAP Center might play as these systems are put into place. 7.1 Implementation Processes The Wyoming T2/LTAP Center is prepared to assist the Counties of Wyoming with their own asset management systems. Details on some of the implementation processes and issues are summarized in Appendix A.16. Standardized financial and engineering assessments can be achieved with training and analysis provided by the Center. 59
  2. 2. Implementation should take place with the advice and assistance of the county's personnel who have relevant expertise. Road and bridge personnel should be involved, as should GIS professionals already working with the county. The steps below are possible steps a county might take, with assistance from the T2/LTAP Center, for such implementations: • County and T2/LTAP develop a general plan, budget, and proposal • Secure funding from WYDOT and others • Develop specific software, hardware, and training needs • Acquire and modify existing software and hardware • Hire and train personnel to perform initial data collection activities • Train personnel to perform field data updates Once these steps have been taken and data has been collected, the Center could analyze a county's data on an annual basis, generating reports with standardized methods and formats, using data collected in a timely, standardized manner, thereby providing consistent financial and engineering reports from across the State. 7.2 Implementation Issues 7.2.1 Training The Wyoming T2/LTAP Center has the capacity to provide standardized training in data collection and analysis. The primary goal of this training would be to have all counties rate features in a consistent manner. Ratings for roads – asphalt, sealcoat, earth, gravel, and concrete roads – should be based on the Wisconsin Transportation Information Center's PASER (pavement surface evaluation and rating) manuals and these manuals should be provided to the road evaluators to maximize the consistency of ratings from county to county. Training materials already developed by the Center (see Appendix A.17) would be used to provide consistent evaluation training across the State. 7.2.2 Software Training should be preceded by development and installation of software for performing data entry on the modules in which training is to be performed. Though data could be collected manually then entered into a database in the office, this unnecessarily adds an extra step. For a module rarely used, such as concrete roads, this might be practical, but the additional labor entailed by entering data twice, once be hand on paper, and once transferring data from hard copies to the electronic database is a waste of effort. The T2/LTAP Center could provide counties with the data collection software developed as part of this project. For this to be practical, a number of fields currently entered by hand, such as road names and sign MUTCD codes should be selected from a drop down list for each county. Analysis time for this project has been significantly hampered by having slightly different formats for a number of entries. Providing drop down lists, 60
  3. 3. rather than text entry fields, would significantly reduce these problems. It might be possible for GIS personnel in counties around the State to share improvements to the software in an open source code environment, possibly expanding to other states in the future. Similar sharing could aid in map and report generation, as well. 7.2.3 Analysis of County Surface Condition Data Analysis training, at least for GIS based applications, could consist of training in the ESRI ArcGIS products which were used by T2/LTAP for the asset management program described in this report. The mechanics of generating of maps and reports tailored to a county's current needs would be the primary focus of this training. Such training would consist of generating maps in ArcMap and transferring data to Excel for report generation, unless software was developed to automatically generate reports. Additional training in report generation in Excel might also be provided. If counties generated data following the models presented in this report, the analytical software developed as part of this project could be used to analyze condition data from the counties. For this to be practical, counties would need to submit data in formats consistent with those used by T2/LTAP in this project. Between the software developed at T2/LTAP and at several counties around the State, a significant amount of software has already been developed. This software would be useful to other counties with less advanced asset management systems in place. Sharing code between T2/LTAP and county GIS personnel might make the process of developing asset management systems much easier throughout the state. Communication and sharing between those managing these systems should make the entire process easier and more efficient for all. 7.2.4 Integration of Cost Tracking and Asset Management Most counties already have some way of tracking their costs. Since cost data is a critical input into the asset management system, taking cost data generated by the counties and inserting it into the analytical software used to perform projections and analyses of county data would help to provide more accurate results from the asset management program. The cost data found elsewhere in this report could easily be updated with data from an individual county so the analyses performed for that county would more accurately reflect their actual costs. If cost data can be tracked by individual road segments, the performance and maintenance demands of specific segments can be compared to other roads throughout the county and the state. 7.2.5 Updating System and Cost Inputs The numerous tables in section 3 of this report should periodically be evaluated and updated to reflect the practices and performances observed throughout the State. Such 61
  4. 4. updates should be performed on an ongoing basis as more is learned about the performance of roads throughout the state. Collecting data in a consistent manner will allow for further refinement of the models described in this report, thereby generating more accurate projections in the future. 7.2.6 Additional Areas of Analysis The system described in this report focuses primarily on road surface conditions. Other features could also be incorporated in an asset management system. The following list contains some of the additional features that might be collected as part of an asset management system: • Crash data • Right-of-way and easements • Utilities • Snow fences • Hydrology • Bridge conditions • Fences • Roadway geometry and safety • Approach permits • Guardrails • Delineators • Maintenance requests • School bus routes • Postal routes 7.3 Conclusions The Wyoming T2/LTAP Center with advice and cooperation from the Wyoming Department of Transportation and Sheridan, Johnson, and Carbon Counties has developed an asset management system tailored to the needs of Wyoming's rural counties, with a focus on gravel roads. This system provides assessments of the county roads' current conditions and evaluates their maintenance and rehabilitation needs now and in the future. This report contains information on the fiscal needs of Carbon, Johnson, and Sheridan Counties that should be used by these counties' commissioners as they allocate funds to their road and bridge departments. When these needs cannot be met with county funding sources, other funds should be sought from, among others, the State legislature. The Center has developed several products that may be used as other counties implement their own asset management systems. Data collection and analysis software developed for this study may be used by other counties as they develop their own systems. The 62
  5. 5. training materials and analytical procedures developed during this study can be used to provide consistent assessments throughout the State. As more counties put asset management systems in place, they should use the data collection and analysis techniques developed for this study so the needs of different counties can be compared and evaluated with the knowledge that they have been obtained using consistent methods. The Wyoming T2/LTAP Center is prepared to provide data collection training and analysis services, thereby making realistic county-to-county comparisons so policy makers can compare maintenance and rehabilitation needs of different counties with the knowledge that the data and results have been obtained using the same procedures. The Wyoming T2/LTAP Center recommends that the following steps be taken as other county road and bridge departments implement asset management programs: • Encourage county commissioners and state legislators to act on the results presented in this report. • Regularly update the GIS-based database included on the CD that accompanies this report. This will require a commitment by the counties to routinely update their databases. • Encourage other counties to adopt the data collection and analysis standards developed as part of this study so that consistent, statewide analytical results may be achieved. • Modify and improve the data collection and analysis software developed as part of this study. • Modify and improve the data collection training materials developed as part of this study. • Provide training on data collection methods so roads and other features are rated throughout the State in a consistent manner. • Perform analysis using uniform methods such as those presented in this report so comparable and consistent statewide results may be derived and presented to policy makers. • Assess needs not addressed by this study on a statewide basis, particularly bridge upgrades, geometric improvements that enhance safety and serviceability, and structural improvements that enhance durability and lower maintenance costs on county roads. • Compile statewide data on the needs of each county's road and bridge departments. The Wyoming T2/LTAP Center recommends that this pilot study be expanded to include other counties that are well positioned to implement or upgrade their own asset management programs. 63
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