Pavement management was conceived in late 1960 by Pister, Finn, Haas, Hudson, and Scrivener, et al. It was initiated in 1970-1975 when Arizona, Kansas, Washington, and Texas developed simple Pavement Management Systems (PMS) that worked on mainframe computers, like IBM 650 and early CDC systems.
There were four main problems with the development and growth of these early PMS:
1) Lack of data
2) Poor data storage. But if you utilize cloud computing in storing your data, it can eliminate capital expense of buying hardware and software.
3) Slow computer power
4) Organizational resistance
Nevertheless, the concepts of integrating planning, design, construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation were recognized by many people as a powerful approach. Some people thought, “Well, any good road agency was already doing this type of integration.”
However, many agencies recognized that any integration that was being done was largely improvised. Organizational divisions were set up for each of these activities in their agency, were in fact insular, and not talking to each other. This is commonly known as the “silo” concept. Another major roadblock was the “closed shop” concept of computer sections (precursors to current IT groups).
What little data was collected had to be stored sequentially on tape-to-tape reels since no random access was made available for PMS. The advent of personal computers was a major step forward, since people could use them to work and play video games as CSGO, and even go online to purchase Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skins for such games. As more data began to be collected, it was stored on PCs and processed on spreadsheets like Excel.
The next major step forward was the advent of servers, which were often controlled by the IT computer section. Some progressive and educated administrators were willing to set up Pavement Management Groups (PMG) in their agencies and approved the purchase and dedication of small servers to the PMG. In other cases, enlightened agencies whose IT departments were buying larger mainframes authorized large chunks of random access storage to pavement management data.
Finally, the size and cost of servers advanced to where it is today, with dedicated servers for pavement management and asset management groups. A large majority of IT groups are now recognizing asset management concepts.
Currently, we are beginning a new and important phase, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Agencies no longer have to purchase and maintain software in-house with high initial server and application costs. Rather, they lease the software, where the vendor furnishes, maintains, and updates the software and provides servers as needed through an annual subscription agreement. AgileAssets is leading the way in this exciting phase of asset management with subscription-based licensing/deployment options. Several AgileAssets’ clients leverage the subscription model today due to its numerous benefits, including convenience and reduced maintenance requirements.
Pavement Management has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few decades, from its promising yet primitive beginnings, to the highly advanced and integrated systems of today, and the future looks even brighter.
Written by: Dr. Ronald Hudson on October 12, 2016