MH900448317.JPGTransportation and America's infrastructure. The enormous responsibility for managing our nation's infrastructure, is upkeep. This is how we get to work, obtain goods, transport our is the lifeblood of the economy and for many, serves as the circulatory system of life in America.

Planning, managing and appropriating funds for transportation related projects can be done more efficiently, faster and cheaper. For every Metropolitan Planning Organization, Transportation Planning Organization, and State, there is a Federal Requirement to manage a Transportation Improvement Program. The systems used to produce these reports range from the time consuming pen and paper process to a high tech, highly effective process. Stories of integration from a local government such as a city to the Federal Appropriations - Technology is ripe for improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings.

In an ideal world, each level of government could present transportation projects in a common, standard format. Local municipalities could leverage advanced database management technology to keep track of projects within their municipality or town. This information would seamlessly match their local Metropolitan Planning Organization’s format that fits with the required TIP. This would then match the format required at the State Department of Transportation level, for what is known as the STIP or State Transportation Improvement Program. STIPs, if standardized, would allow for cross state and agency (e.g. Bureau of Indian Affairs) seamless communication. At the core, by leveraging the World Wide Web, a cloud based solution would, by definition, house an authoritative source for this information. In real-time, stakeholders would be able to contribute, collaborate, and operate from authoritative sources as opposed to individual files being sent in e-mails or in paper format, which could easily be overlooked, misplaced or lost information.

So you may ask, what's at stake? Have you ever crossed a jurisdiction boundary such as a county or state line and noticed a change in transportation infrastructure? Road building equipment, materials, and resources do not change, just the responsibility for the geographic care of the transportation infrastructure. The management of transportation planning and related information is very much in the same state. Some jurisdictions are using web based applications to manage TIPs and STIPs, while others are using spreadsheets or worse, the old paper and pen method. These discrepancies leave room for human error and potentially present a significant cost to the tax payer. Similar to a road changing condition at a jurisdiction boundary, the handling of transportation projects and their funding makes for a bumpy road.

In the best interest of the American tax payers, leveraging technology and making minimal investments into the handling of this information, folding in best practices with standards, could allow for smooth TIP and STIP information management across the United States. This in turn would free up precious resources like the millions of man-hours spent across the country organizing and managing funds for transportation improvement programs.

Did you know?

The TIPVue Tool includes a customized interactive map allowing the user to search for projects geo-spatially through a map and view a PDF report of the project. The interactive map is developed on an Esri backbone.


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