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Thanks to ARA, It's Smooth Sailing on Maryland's Highways

MDSHA's RoadCare Web System (integrated with Google® Earth)
MDSHA's RoadCare Web System (integrated with Google® Earth). Click on image to enlarge.

ARA has reached the half-way point on a four-year, $2 million Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) services contract with the Pavement Management Division of the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Since 2008, ARA has been helping Maryland determine the rehabilitation needs of nearly 17,000 lane-miles of roadways of the state maintained pavement network as part of its annual capital improvement program. ARA's Mid-Atlantic Division is the lead division on this effort. Rich Speir is the project manager and Renju George is the lead for technical support and direct client interaction.

As part of the contract, ARA is utilizing RoadCare; a software developed by ARA's Midwest Division, and successfully customized to meet Maryland's unique requirements. RoadCare is a suite of client-side and Web-based infrastructure management tools, including optimization (benefit/cost, remaining life, etc.), asset management, GIS, image viewer, data warehousing, and data viewer tools.

Like most successful efforts, ARA won the (ID/IQ) contract as the result of nearly a decade supporting the MDSHA. "We were able to secure this contract as a result of our outstanding ongoing relationship with MDSHA and our excellent performance on our previous contracts. During the course of our other contracts, we had multiple opportunities to interact with the pavement management section and the existing pavement management process, as pavement design division is one of the primary customers of the pavement management data," said Rich Speir, Principal Engineer at the Mid-Atlantic Division. "These insights into the pavement management requirements, coupled with our years of experience in the pavement management field put us in a unique position. We were able to point out suggestions for process improvement to MDSHA."The success of the program is also attributed to the time savings in optimization analysis by using the RoadCare optimization module. MDSHA's previous analysis process required approximately 30 days to complete. RoadCare analyses can be modified and generated by the user directly within the user interface and can run the same analysis in approximately 15 minutes, reducing the work-time delay by 99.9%! Because of the faster access to information, the MDSHA faced a culture change.

"Historically, the pavement preservation project selection was done by State Highway Administration districts (various subdivisions formed based on geographical boundaries). District's project selection was based on worst-first criteria, rather than an optimized approach. This was not always beneficial for the network as the well performing parts of the networks seldom received maintenance treatments," Speir said. "The reasons for this disconnect were primarily the lack of an effective tool to transfer the network level optimization results to project level selections of treatment sections and also to interact with the districts during the project selection process. With the implementation of RoadCare, ARA provided MDSHA with a tool capable of transferring the network level optimization results to project level treatments. Also with the help of RoadCare, the MDSHA Pavement Management Section can effectively communicate with various districts resulting in an optimized distribution of rehabilitation and maintenance projects."

By focusing on our client's needs and employing a value-added strategy, this is where ARA excels time and again; and like many of ARA's projects, supporting the MDSHA is only the first step. This contract represents ARA's first ever statewide highway pavement management system implementation. Opportunities for other statewide support contracts are much more feasible now that ARA has a strong resume developing and implementing this system for the MDSHA.