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This paper provides an overview of the evolution of the new Asset Technology Program (ATP), the value created for Transport for NSW (Transport) and the broader NSW community as a result of the innovations being delivered by the program.
The goal of the ATP is to provide a more efficient and effective transport system by delivering innovations that improve financial and environmental sustainability, safety, reliability, resilience and customer experience. This is achieved through research and development, improvements to existing technology and the evaluation and trial of new technology or engineering innovations prior to their introduction across the transport network.
A Framework and suite of supporting business processes have been developed and deployed to provide a consistent, multi-modal, and whole of life cycle approach in the way innovation projects are developed, managed, and governed to improve engineering assets and business processes. These enable the ATP to realise the strategic objectives of the Asset Management Framework.
The Asset Management Branch (AMB) is the sponsor of the ATP and has established a collaborative governing body consisting of senior leaders from across the Transport cluster. A Project Management Office (PMO) administers the Asset Technology Program with support from the Engineering team.
In its inaugural year from June 2021 the program evaluated 81 submissions and funded 42 projects. Projects were delivered across multiple modes including roads and rail to a value of $7.8M with the majority of projects providing a broad range of both financial and non-financial benefits and technologies. This financial year the ATP has deployed 40 technology projects to a value of $10.5M.
The ATP is one of several programs developed to support the introduction of new technologies and innovations as part of the continuous improvement and asset management maturity journey.
Keywords: innovation, engineering, asset management
Transport for NSW (Transport) has undergone a transformational journey which saw all NSW transport related agencies and their service providers – covering heavy rail, light rail, metro, roads, maritime, ferries and active transport – come together. The Transport cluster works to provide better integrated services across all modes, driving a stronger focus on creating better places, and delivering customer and community outcomes.
Transport has a coordinated approach to manage its large portfolio of assets which is defined in the Transport for NSW Asset Management Framework (AMF). The AMF is a set of connected and related tools and includes policies, plans, strategies and business processes. This provides Transport with the assurance that asset management activities will deliver an integrated, modern transport system that puts the customer at the centre.
Transport’s Asset Technology Program (ATP) supports delivery of the ‘Improvement’ requirement within the AMF and is an example of one of our asset management system and improvement programs.
Figure 1 – Transport for NSW Asset Management Framework
Implementation and application of the AMF is how Transport:
- demonstrates a structured and systematic approach to asset management for the long-term sustainable management of assets and delivery of services to our customers
- enables integration between the AMF and other management frameworks within the organisation
- describes alignment between the organisational objectives and asset management objectives
- highlights the important connection between asset management, investment, and business decisions
- aligns with corporate and state government planning
- outlines our key systems, governance, processes, and planned improvements that advance asset management maturity
- provides a foundational document that our divisions and agencies can align to while developing their asset management documents
Transport currently manages an asset intensive portfolio of network assets with a book value of circa $178bn (Transport for New South Wales Annual Report, 2022). In addition, Transport has significant intangible assets including our people, standards and asset information.
Figure 2 – Transport’s Asset Portfolio
The Asset Technology Program (ATP or the Program) was initially established as a Roads based R&D program. Within the transformed Transport, the Program, has been reviewed and redeveloped as a multi-modal, whole of transport innovation program with a focus on assets and engineering business processes. At its heart the ATP seeks to provide technology innovations that work to deliver better integrated services across all transport modes. The Program has been extended from just an R&D focus and realigned to support achievement of our organisational and asset management objectives.
By realigning the ATP with asset management objectives the program is now able to deliver technology projects that relate to any mode and any phase across the whole asset life cycle: from identification of need through to disposal.
The objective of the Program is to promote continuous value creation across the whole of lifecycle in accordance with the pillars noted in Table 1:
Table 1 Program objectives
|Delivering new technology innovations that will create value for Transport
|Between innovation and our asset management objectives
|Commitment to objectives and effective communication
|To provide informed, risk-based decision making
The ATP Framework (the Framework) supports alignment between Transport’s strategic technology roadmaps, asset management and technology innovations to delivery improved customer and community outcomes.
The Framework establishes the goals and objectives of the Program, including eligibility and sets out the process, roles and responsibilities of both project management and program management and governance. Application of the Framework supports project delivery and value creation.
The Framework addresses all aspects establishing and deploying a technology innovation project from eligibility, the identification of need or problem statement, development of the business case and the approval process through to the implementation of a project and evaluation.
Projects delivered by the ATP typically include:
Table 2 Typical technology project categories
|Research, development, trialing, monitoring, approval and audit of new or alternative materials, systems, products, technologies, procedures
|Innovative applications of equipment, materials and technologies
|Training for new or innovative technologiesResearch and investigation of best practice methodologiescross-cluster integration
The ATP is administered in accordance with the ATP Framework and program delivery is supported through the establishment of strategic relationships with Transport finance, asset custodians, asset stewards and industry partners.
Value creation is dynamic and constantly present across any business or organisation. An organisation’s principles, are critical in the creation, erosion, or transformation of value. The constant flow of information, for e.g. data streams, feeds, analytics are all governed by the value creation process. For the ATP this process is defined in the ATP Framework and the TfNSW value creation toolkit.
In the context of Transport context, and with respect to ATP, value is articulated as achieving that balance of cost, risk, and performance across a broad but not exhaustive set facets. These can be coarsely outlined into financial and non-financial, with the latter encompassing a raft of different categories as depicted by Figure 3.
By embracing value creation, it enables us to foster a culture of recognition for our individual and team efforts which in turn contribute to the success of others, celebrate our technical achievements and innovation whilst at the same bring focus that these activities are for the direct benefit of our customers and more broadly the public.
Figure 3 – Facets of Value
Value creation measurement and articulation are key components of our cultural change shift towards outcomes-based thinking for the customer and the communities we serve.
This has been endorsed by our executive leadership which resulted in a cluster-wide program to achieve Future Sustainability – living within our means so we can afford to invest in the right things for our customers and communities with less reliance on taxpayer subsidies.
Figure 4 below provides a program summary and breakdown of the value creation generated by the program in FY21/22.
Figure 4 – Asset technology Program Summary
Case Study 1: Mobile Laser Scanning (MLS)
The objective was to investigate all aspects of the implementation of MLS to demonstrate feasibility for Survey Services.
Transport (Roads – Survey Services) has been spending approximately $10M per annual on MLS engagements this is expected to continue to grow. Delivery through private partnerships has become an ever-increasing challenge with lead times and costs growing due to increased demand, therefore exposing Transport to the risk of not delivering on commitments, as well as scope and budget creep.
MLS was proven to be a safe, efficient and accurate method for collecting spatial data, and it enhances our final deliverable by collecting all data in the field of view, not just discreet data that a particular client may need. This allows for extended used of the spatial data for other applications such as conditions assessment of assets, asset data collection and BIM.
Mitigate supply risk with the market and also provides internal capability as an informed client or buyer from the market. Potential to expand application to cover surveying for other modes.
Case Study 2: Skid Resistance Monitoring
Pavement flushing and bleeding is a significant road safety issue. The project will trial technological innovations to restore skid resistance to wheel paths.
There is a road safety issue associated with pavement flushing / bleeding.
Skid resistance monitoring tests at two initial trial locations (Cowra and Cobargo) was completed in June 2022.
Initial trial results are positive with the average skid resistance reading improving from <40BPN to >60BPN after 8 months, while the technical guideline require >60BPN at 6 months after construction.
Although the initial trial has shown a positive result, the monitoring also identified a potential failure issue of pinhole / bleeding. The recommendation was supported for further trial to ensure the product can maintain good performance under high traffic loads.
The value creation achieved in this phase of the project was the initial positive improved skid resistance from <40BPN to >60BPN, reduced resourcing and reduced costs (if the further trials are successful). This project is expected to provide significant financial benefits which are being further explored.
Transport has embarked on an asset management journey of maturity to deliver integrated services for our customers and the communities we serve. The Asset Technology Program and Framework has been developed to provide a consistent, multi-modal, and whole of life cycle approach in the way technology innovations are identified, developed, managed, and governed for application to assets to realise strategic objectives.
The Framework in and of itself has been a significant improvement in managing innovations and the deployment of the program has been aligned to meet the principals demonstrated in the asset management lifecycle. Each project carries its own distinct lifecycle and has been embedded with core principles reflecting strategic organisational direction. Each project is further complimented with a focus on value creation, embracing innovation, technology disruption and thinking out of the box, to deliver the right balance of cost, risk, and performance.
Transport for New South Wales, Annual Report, Volume 1, 2020-21 (https://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/system/files/media/documents/2022/transport-for-nsw-annual-report-2020-21-volume-1_1.pdf),
Transport for New South Wales, T MU AM 01001S, Life Cycle Costing, Version 3, 2018.
Transport for New south Wales, Asset Technology Program Framework.