Replacement of Roadway Evaluation Equipment

Roadway evaluation equipment presently in use at the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) employs instrumentation, video cameras, computer hardware and software, and exacting survey procedures to acquire data ultimately used in various analysis of roadways. In combination, the equipment collects video images, roadway profile data, roughness measurements, pavement distress, and faulting values. The collected data is referenced spatially through inherent Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities, and also linearly to roadway centerlines using the SDDOT Mileage Reference Marker (MRM) system. Technological advancements coupled with the need to continuously seek ways to improve operations often render data collection equipment, computer hardware and software, and survey procedures to become outdated after a certain time. Also, systems that receive the data often undergo upgrades and transitions that tend to make the data collection systems obsolete. Pavement Management Systems (PMS), computer operating systems, and videolog viewing software are just a few examples of "receiving" systems that might be upgraded and thereby force corresponding changes to roadway data collection processes. The SDDOT Office of Transportation Inventory Management's vehicle and corresponding equipment are now five years old. Because technology has changed over that time and the vehicle currently has 80,000 miles on it, the SDDOT will soon need to consider either replacement, or else renovation of the existing equipment. A needs assessment will be essential to the decisions on the most appropriate configuration of the roadway evaluation equipment. Determining the needs will help define the configuration's functional requirements and the ultimate system specification. Once acquired, the roadway evaluation equipment will need to be validated through a pre-defined testing process that will ensure integrity of the operations, technology, and use for several years. Research Objectives: 1)Identify the SDDOT needs for roadway evaluation equipment through assessments internal to the Department, reviews of similar equipment presently in use at other states and Canadian provinces, and appraisals of newly emerging equipment and technology. 2)Develop a specification for an optimum roadway evaluation equipment configuration that is based on departmental needs and functional requirements, and also includes equipment testing criteria that can be used to validate performance before final acceptance. 3)Validate the roadway evaluation equipment performance over a timeframe appropriate to the system configuration ultimately approved so that the SDDOT can ensure integrity of the intended use well into the future. Research Tasks: 1)Meet with the project's technical panel to review the project scope and work plan. 2)Internally to the Department, conduct thorough documentation reviews and interviews with appropriate office personnel where any SDDOT systems, departmental operations, and/or processes that employ or use the data collected by the roadway evaluation equipment might potentially be impacted. 3)Conduct thorough reviews of the state of-the-art and practice at other states and Canadian provinces of the employment and use of roadway evaluation equipment. 4)Identify the user needs based on technical panel input, departmental interviews, and in-house surveys for any current or newly conceived uses of data that could be collected and assimilated by the roadway evaluation equipment. 5)Based on the findings of SDDOT operational needs, availability of practical equipment alternatives, and user needs, develop a list of alternative roadway evaluation equipment that is deemed viable to either renovate, or else entirely replace existing equipment. The list will contain criteria that the project's technical panel can use to prioritize equipment alternatives, including: intensity of need, estimated costs, perceived reliability of the various technological aspects, and any operational constraints or benefits. 6)Develop a minimum of 3 systems configuration options that can be cost estimated and pre-specified, and that will be derived from the optimum equipment alternatives previously identified and prioritized by the project technical panel. 7)Develop specifications for the roadway evaluation system configuration chosen by the technical panel, and as approved by the Research Review Board (RRB), Information Systems Review Board (IRB), State of South Dakota Senior Information Technology Review Committee, and the SDDOT Executive Team. The specifications will include a plan that provides equipment testing criteria that will need to be met prior to final acceptance by the SDDOT. 8)Upon review and approval of the final system specification by the technical panel, provide support as desired from the panel during development of the Request for Proposal (RFP), and also during the proposal review process that will ultimately lead to the selection of a system to be tested on-site. 9)Upon delivery of the selected system and in close coordination with the project's technical panel, provide on-going support throughout the time deemed necessary to fulfill all acceptance testing specifications. 10)Prepare a final report summarizing the project activities, findings, conclusions, and results. 11)Make an executive presentation to the South Dakota Department of Transportation Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.