Projects, Programs, the STIP and MAPS:
Sharing Project Info with the Enterprise
June 16, 2015
Summary of the Federal Highway Administration’s Quarterly Webinar: Applications of Geospatial Technologies in Transportation
These notes provide a summary of the PowerPoint presentation discussed during the webinar and detail the question and answer session that followed the presentation.
The presentation is available upon request from the webinar speaker Pat Broussard (Pat.Broussard@pmgpro.com).
The webinar recording is available at: https://connectdot.connectsolutions.com/p24yjuft9bw/.
Approximately 66 participants attended the webinar.
Introduction to Presentations
Mark Sarmiento of FHWA thanked participants for joining the webinar. This webinar was the 26th in a quarterly series of FHWA-sponsored webinars. The series deals with the application of geographic information systems (GIS) and other geospatial technologies to transportation. This webinar focused on two of SCDOT's two new map-based management and planning applications, the Project Programming System (P2S) and eSTIP.
Mark also discussed upcoming reports on Regional Geospatial Collaboration and Return on Investment.
Pat Broussard of PMG Software Professionals began the discussion by reviewing the two tools that PMG has worked with SCDOT to develop:
- Project Programming System (P2S): an updated project management and programming system.
- eSTIP: an automated, online tool designed to manage the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP), which ties in directly with P2S.
Lynsee Gibson of SCDOT reviewed the development history and origins of these two projects.
In 2009, SCDOT formed a committee to document project information and goals and to consider developing an improved project management system. SCDOT wanted a system that could prevent overlap since projects often originated from different areas of SCDOT without overall coordination. The project management system SCDOT used at the time was insufficient, as it allowed users to leave project information incomplete and would generate erroneous data because the system could not validate routes.
At the end of 2009, the committee decided to develop a new project programming system. The system used the SCDOT's existing linear referencing system (LRS), but improved upon features. Through an iterative development process, the agency launched the new system in October 2013.
P2S offers SCDOT a number of benefits:
- It uses the SCDOT's current network exchange system to validate users, so users do not need to create a separate log-in and password.
- Any DOT staff person can see project information, while editing is limited to staff with direct project management roles.
- The system is able to validate additional users without maintaining a separate user database. Any new staff member is therefore able to access the system once they have access to the network exchange.
Following the development of P2S, SCDOT officials realized there was a difference between project information and what was included in the STIP. SCDOT still had to update project information in the STIP manually, and the STIP was maintained in an Excel spreadsheet. SCDOT wanted to increase the transparency of its transportation planning to the general public and make sure information was accurate and up-to-date, but its existing STIP process made that a challenge.
SCDOT sought PMG's assistance with the eSTIP project, which is currently in design and planned for implementation in Summer 2015. P2S will be the interface for all planned and upcoming projects, but the eSTIP will:
- Streamline planning and programming processes by requiring information to be recorded in one place
- Automatically modify projects in eSTIP based on modifications to P2S
- Provide concise and clear reporting on STIP progress, particularly for executive leadership
Since all projects are created in P2S under the new eSTIP, other applications will feed off of P2S and data can be pulled from other sources. Integrated applications include Primavera, Webtrnsport, Sitemanager, and the SCDOT accounting system.
Demo of P2S
Following the background presentation, Lynsee Gibson provided a live demonstration of the P2S project. Lynsee reviewed the following features:
- Homescreen and Layout: The P2S Homescreen displays a map that can be zoomed in to see individual projects or zoomed out for project groupings. Tabs on the top list additional options and features.
- Map: The map view displays projects color-coded by category, aligned with the SCDOT budget categories. As the map is zoomed in, projects change from dots to lines to show full geography. The map is built using Google Maps, so full Google Maps features are available (Street View, layers, etc).
- Project Search: Users can type in a project ID or search by other terms. The search results will automatically filter as results are refined. By clicking “Go to project” users with appropriate permissions can edit the project.
- Project Edits: Project pages display the project name, description, funding type, and STIP item if applicable. All Federally-funded projects must tie to a STIP item.
From the project view, users can view the following items:
- Uses road inventory management (RIM) data and automatically pulls roads from RIMs to verify the route type, which is particularly valuable for hurricane evacuation routes in South Carolina.
- Allows users to see which bridges are on or off a given system (NHS, etc.)
- Phases: Allows users to sort projects by project phase (e.g., right-of-way certification)
- Schedule: Pulls high-level milestones for each project, without going into full detail.
- Pay Items: SCDOT requires all road & bridge designers to enter pay items into P2S to facilitate coordination with the Letting & Award system (Webtrnsport).
- Approvals: The entire approval process is now electronic. If a user modifies a project, P2S has a built-in workflow and knows who to e-mail for approval. This area also shows the history of approvals, justifications, and by whom and when it was approved.
The tool also allows users to see all projects let under one contract and details about the contract, run standard and custom reports, and view what SCDOT has obligated in a given year.
PMG Software - Demo of eSTIP
Finally, MaryGail Broussard of PMG Software presented an early demonstration of the eSTIP project, slated for release and implementation in Summer 2015. At a high level, eSTIP:
- Has the same look and feel as P2S, with an overview map and zoom in/out function;
- Varies how the STIP is displayed based on how a user defines the budget; and
- Includes both highway and mass transit activities.
Key features of the eSTIP that MaryGail reviewed include:
- Budget: Displays the budget for each year.
- Displays STIP items in a similar way as the project layout in P2S, with STIP name, entered description, date for public comment, etc.
- For each STIP item, the user can assign phases of work, and allocate work to a particular fund.
- If a user exceeds a project's budget, the system displays an automatic warning.
- Allows FHWA to access and approve the project.
- Allows users to amend the STIP and send for approval.
- Analyze Function: Allows users to view all STIP items and analyze what is currently budgeted for each item, which is an easy and quick way to examine “what if” scenarios.
- Standard Reports (e.g., Highway Funding Summary): The system can develop standard reports. Users can also add custom queries and save them to specific reports.
Question and Answer Session
Are you defining “letting” as going to bid or going to construction?
SCDOT refers to letting as bid opening.
How and who locates the projects?
Project managers and program managers are responsible for developing the route for each project. Once approved in the STIP, project and program managers go directly to P2S to plan and program the project, adding route information. If they determine, after a planning meeting for example, that they need to modify a route for a project, they can do that directly in P2S.
Can users have more than one location per project?
Users can certainly have more than one, for example, on resurfacing projects which can have 20-30 locations in a single project. There is no limit in how many route locations can be stored with a project.
Do Metropolitan Planning Organizations do TIP Ballots in the system? Does full TIP integration mean that MPOs in South Carolina will be using P2S for their TIPs?
Full TIP integration is a Phase II priority. SCDOT and PMG are currently underway with prototype development.
How is project geometry added? Is it added/modified within the interface or are you consuming a GIS service?
P2S does not create linework, it refers to linework that is already there. The enterprise LRS is being used to place projects and P2S is overlaying them on Google Map, but the geographies are in sync with the enterprise LRS.
How much did P2S cost and how long did it take to develop?
SCDOT started the committee in 2009. It took almost one year to finish recommendations and six months to get internal approval on the budget and schedule. SCDOT spent two years designing the application. It was a very extensive process since every item in P2S was customized to how SCDOT wanted the process to work, and all the legacy data had to be migrated from the agency's mainframe into P2S.
The original task order to create P2S was procured under an existing IT services contract that includes applications that integrate with SCDOT's Integrated Transportation Management System (ITMS). The price for all deliverables under the original task order was $1,318,640. The project included process analysis and improvement, software design and development, compatibility changes to integrating software and legacy data migration from a mainframe environment to the newly developed database.
Does SCDOT have access to the P2S database tables to be able to perform different analyses on the raw project data?
Yes, SCDOT has access to the Structured Query Language (SQL) database and can perform queries. The application and database is owned by SCDOT.
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