Data collection is a pricey endeavor. It requires time, effort, coordination and money. For municipalities that manage large infrastructure networks, data collection will drive the consolidation of information to inform better decision-making and planning. When it comes to data collection, the idea of “less is more” will help you keep your Road Management System relevant.

A ROAD MANAGEMENT SYSTEM


A Road Management System (RMS) is a road authority’s systematic strategy to meet defined transport policies and levels of service in the most cost effective manner. Although such systems are dependent on context, some key principles can be highlighted. A RMS should 1:

Assist in determining fit-for-purpose transport solutions by identifying the need for new capital investment and enabling maintenance of existing assets over their life-cycle.

Enable the provision of advice to stakeholders on appropriate and affordable levels of service that balance performance, cost, and risk over the asset’s life.

Align asset management practices with international best practices (e.g. ISO 55000).

For a RMS to inform management decision-making, data is imperative. Data collection is however a costly and complex exercise.

The following points were proposed by the World Bank’s East-Asia Pacific Transport Unit (EAPT) to guide the establishment of sound data collection practices.

IS THE DATA REQUIRED?


According to the EAPT Unit, if data does not have a bearing on management decision-making or RMS output, it should not be collected. They highlight the problem of collecting data in too much detail compared to the need, for example when project-level data is collected for network-level analysis.

HOW MUCH DATA IS ENOUGH?


There is a difference between data that changes rapidly, such as signs and markings, versus some inventory data that only need to be updated when there are changes in the network, such as new roads or re-alignments. According to the EAPT Unit, it becomes difficult to keep data current when too much data is collected.

MINIMISE DATA COLLECTION


The inability to sustain data collection due to the practice of over collecting or gathering in too much detail threatens the value of your RMS. For the RMS to be relevant to planning, data needs to be kept current. The idea is then that quality is far more valuable, cost effective and sustainable than quantity.

HOW CAN IMQS HELP?


IMQS’s Mobile Asset Verification Service allows teams in the field to easily and cost-effectively collect and up-date geo-referenced data. Take a quick look at our product page here for more info or read Asset Management Interventions That Support Road Maintenance.