Categories
PILLAR Talk Save Money Save Time

The Value of Point Cloud Analysis for Transportation Infrastructure

Effective transportation infrastructure asset management starts with understanding your full inventory of assets and their condition. The resulting point clouds from Mobile LiDAR provide a clear picture of your transportation assets and their condition to make data-driven decisions quickly and cost-effectively.

Mobile LiDAR captures roadway and infrastructure assets at posted speed limits, thereby collecting data at a fraction of the time it takes traditional surveying methods.

Mobile LiDAR creates 3D point cloud models that are precise depictions of roadways and infrastructure. These give unparalleled accuracy in establishing relationships between your data points, revealing their true position and condition.

Maximizing the Value of the Point Cloud with PILLAR

PILLAR’s Mobile LiDAR service takes the significance of the point cloud to the next level with its proprietary Fully Automatic Feature Extraction System (AFES) that instantly extracts features and attributes (such as height, width, text, etc.) as data is processed. Machine Learning, AI, and Computer Vision are incorporated in the processing of this data with outputs to standard GIS formats, Shape files, geodatabases, and more.

Gone are the days of spending countless man-hours scrolling through pictures overlapped on the point cloud, pointing a cursor, and clicking on the asset to spatially link the two. Rather than traditional “point and click” semi-automatic extraction, Mobile LiDAR with AFES means fewer days to completion of your global view.

Decisions Backed by Data

Without a global view of your assets and infrastructure, it can be difficult to make decisions for asset managers to justify funding for projects and programs. Tasked with managing hundreds of assets, some organizations are unaware of more hidden assets such as pipelines, drainage systems, and paved ditches. This can account for poorly mismanaged asset maintenance, costing agencies thousands of dollars.

A point cloud analysis powered by PILLAR AFES gives decision-makers the ability to provide asset data across various departments and stakeholders, integrating databases and streamlining processes to cut time and share costs. With a geospatial inventory, transportation agencies can determine priorities and set those priorities with a ROI-focused approach.

Applications for Mobile LiDAR and Point Cloud Analysis

Mobile LiDAR and Point Cloud Analysis help departments of transportation and localities make data-driven decisions to effectively manage the state’s transportation assets. Applications of this technology also serve as a valuable tool for emergency planning, disaster response, and community resiliency in the face of climate change. Infrastructure plays a significant role in these efforts, creating a need to better manage and invest in infrastructure improvements.

With PILLAR’s AFES, data can be instantly extracted and processed as 3D environmental models – increasing efficiency, transparency, and better planning.

An innovative application of Mobile LiDAR with point cloud analysis for mowing management won the Virginia Department of Transportation – Staunton District the Environmental Agency Award. In collaboration with PILLAR, the team discovered it could allocate thousands of mowing acres as stormwater pollutant offsets. The discovery led to a 15,800-pound reduction in nitrogen, saving VDOT about $12.8 million in mitigation projects and nitrogen-credit purchases.

PILLAR Point Cloud Analysis in Miami, Florida

Save Time, Save Money, Save Lives

With the advances in surveying technology like Mobile LiDAR and point cloud analysis, asset management firms can help deploy effective asset management plans that will save time, save money, and save lives. PILLAR is trusted by departments of transportation that manage some of the largest state-maintained highway systems in the country to do exactly that. We help organizations make value-based decisions that proactively manages risk for the long-term needs of your asset base.

Contact us at info@pillaroma.com or (276) 223-0500 to discuss your asset management plans with a PILLAR expert.

Categories
Save Money Save Time

LiDAR-Based Mapping Method for Mowing Management Earns VDOT-Staunton District Environmental Stewardship Award

An innovative application of LiDAR-based mapping for mowing management implemented by the Virginia Department of Transportation -Staunton District is saving the agency millions of dollars annually by converting interstate rights-of-way into pollinator habitats. The innovative program just earned VDOT’s Staunton District the coveted agency’s Environmental Stewardship Award.

VDOT’s Staunton District Roadside Manager Scott Nye and Interstate Maintenance Contract Administrator Guy Tyrrell needed a better way to track vegetation mowing so they collaborated with PILLAR Operations & Maintenance Advisors to develop a solution.

PILLAR worked with Tyrrell and Nye to leverage LiDAR-based mapping and PILLAR’s proprietary automated feature extraction (AFES) software to quickly and efficiently identify VDOT acreage that requires mowing. The approach provides a highly accurate way to measure and track mowing costs and allows quick and easy adjustments to mowing operations. More importantly, the data from the LiDAR mapping method enabled the team to see a  better solution– a large percentage of the interstate rights-of-way could be set aside for pollinator habitats without compromising public safety or roadside aesthetics.

The Staunton District has now allocated more than 5,100 acres of mowing operations to only once per year in the fall. This acreage set aside as meadow can be transplanted into stormwater pollutant “credits” to support the total maximum daily load pollutant reduction requirements VDOT’s MS4 permit. The conversion of mowed turf into a meadow condition equates to a 15,800-pound reduction in nitrogen that would otherwise reach the Chesapeake Bay, saving VDOT about $12.8 million in mitigation projects and nitrogen-credit purchases.

Learn more about how Pillar can work with your DOT or municipality to see the bigger picture and develop cost efficient transportation asset management solutions.

Categories
PILLAR Talk Save Face Save Lives Save Money Save Time

Mobile LiDAR Improves Safety By Reducing Need for Work Zones

Transportation surveyors are frequently exposed to significant danger from traffic as they work to collect the asset data required to maintain, build, or repair infrastructure.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that transportation incidents accounted for 76% of roadway work zone fatal occupational injuries between 2011 and 2017. In 60% of these transportation events, the worker was struck by a vehicle in the work zone.

Clearly, roadway operations and maintenance require a safer, accurate, and efficient way to collect infrastructure asset data.

Reducing Traffic Exposure with Mobile LiDAR

A Mobile LiDAR scanning system is the efficient way to inventory transportation assets and their condition at highway speed, eliminating the need for a static work zone that impedes traffic flow as surveying staff conduct their work. Instead, Mobile LiDAR collects data from a vehicle driven at posted speed limits and creates a digital 3-D representation of existing road conditions within the right-of-way.

Mobile LiDAR scans the conditions of infrastructure assets like pavements, guardrails, mowing acreages, bridges, highway signs, and more. Mobile LiDAR takes transportation asset management to the next level, collecting massive amounts of data with speed, precision, and cost-efficiency. Complete surveys in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional survey methods and yield higher quality data for optimal operations and maintenance plans.

Advantages of Mobile LiDAR

  • Easily identify the location of all your transportation assets.
  • Gather robust data while mitigating exposure to dangerous working conditions for employees.
  • Avoid the extra cost and man-hours that come with work zones.
  • Reduced exposure to road accidents and other roadway related injuries.
  • Advanced collection methods ensure accurate asset data and rapid data extraction.
  • Integrate asset data with existing databases and workflows.

Minimize Employee Risk and Maximize Productivity With PILLAR

With advances in surveying technology, the transportation industry is investing in innovative asset management solutions to improve operational efficiencies, optimize budgets, and ensure employee safety in the field.  

As a transportation asset management firm, PILLAR houses advanced technological solutions like Mobile LiDAR, drone aerial collection, street level imagery, and geospatial inventory to locate your assets and identify their condition. Our robust approach to asset management merges technology with specialist expertise to optimize, develop, and execute tailored asset management plans to secure O&M funding and improve the service level of all infrastructure assets.

Partner with PILLAR today and discuss with our experts to figure out the best way to augment your staff safely, reduce traffic interference in your communities, and collect transportation asset data quicker and more accurately than ever before.  

Contact us at info@pillaroma.com or (276) 223-0500 to discuss our Mobile LiDAR solutions and more.

Categories
PILLAR Talk Save Face Save Lives Save Money Save Time

TRANSPORTATION ASSET MANAGEMENT: A VITAL TOOL IN COMMUNITY RESILIENCY EFFORTS

In recent years, local municipalities and the federal government have invested millions to make their cities more resilient and prepare for natural disasters, along with mitigating the imposing threats of climate change. Local and federal governments are realizing the critical role transportation infrastructure plays in assisting in disaster and climate adaption efforts and are searching for ways to increase community resilience, improve aging infrastructure, and decrease flood risks with transportation asset management.

Investing in Resilience and Sustainability

In 2017, the City of Miami passed a $400 million general obligation bond, with half of the investment funding community resilience, disaster, and climate relief efforts. This includes reducing flooding risks, mitigating rising sea levels, enhancing public safety, and improving infrastructure. As of March 2021, there are 7 on-going projects in the city to assess transportation assets and improve infrastructure.

In February 2021, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarded a $1.1 million grant to the Miami Conversancy District in Dayton, Ohio to protect communities from flooding and upgrade Dayton’s levee system. The grant is matched with a $276,254 local investment, all focused on supporting key infrastructure improvements in the Miami Valley.

Challenges of Resiliency Planning and Disaster Management

From mitigating flooded roadways to effectively planning emergency routes, community resiliency plans start with a comprehensive and accurate assessment of all transportation assets, including pavement condition, stormwater management systems, bridges, tunnels, signage, medians, and guardrails—just to name a few. 

A significant challenge for most asset management and disaster prevention systems is the lack of a reliable infrastructure asset collection, leading to delays in response time. In terms of the cost to human lives and properties, delays can be hazardous for disaster management agencies. A robust asset management and analysis system is required to ensure that the asset condition is properly assessed, so accurate insights for improving the asset are found.  

With lives at stake, effective transportation asset management requires industry expertise and next generation technology to make informed decisions based on data.

PILLAR’s Mobile LiDAR collects massive amounts of data with speed, precision, and cost-efficiency. This system helps us complete surveys in a fraction of the time compared to traditional survey methods. As a result, higher quality data is collected to develop effective emergency response and community resiliency plans and secure appropriate budgets for repair and ongoing maintenance.

With Mobile LiDAR’s fully Automatic Feature Extraction System (AFES), data can be instantly extracted and integrated with existing databases – increasing efficiency, transparency, and better planning.

BE PREPARED WITH PILLAR

Municipalities across the nation are using transportation asset management data to better prepare and protect their communities against natural disasters and the imposing threats of climate change. This is where PILLAR comes in. Equipped with the best asset management experts and advanced technology, PILLAR efficiently collects transportation asset data, accurately assess asset conditions, develops, and executes asset management plans to maintain and optimize their performance against climate change and natural disasters.

As a transportation asset management firm, we help organizations save time, money, and face (by preventing public outcry in the case of a disaster). Partner with us today and help the communities that you serve be more resilient.

Contact us at info@pillaroma.com or (276) 223-0500 to discuss your asset management plans with a PILLAR expert.

Categories
Save Face Save Money Save Time

Why You Need to Invest in Pavement Preservation

Pavement Preservation is a set of cost-effective treatments that are typically applied on pavements at their early stages and are relatively in good condition. Pavement Preservation allows transportation agencies to treat more lane miles with less cost, while lengthening the pavement’s service life. Transportation agencies adopting Pavement Preservation will extend the benefit of taxpayers’ dollars, among many other benefits.

Primary Benefits of Pavement Preservation

Transportation agencies are paying more attention to Pavement Preservation as their maintenance budgets get tighter each year. This led to the wide adoption of Pavement Preservation treatments within the agency’s operations and maintenance programs. Agencies adopting Pavement Preservation treatments record major benefits that include:

  • Improves the condition of pavements and investments
  • Remains cost-effective for service life and pavement performance
  • Quick application and reduces road user costs and closure times
  • Requires fewer resources and energy than reactive maintenance
  • Stops the future deterioration of the pavement under your watch

Arguments Against Pavement Preservation Just Don’t Fly

Despite significant benefits, there are some reasons cities and towns don’t invest in pavement preservation as much as reactive maintenance tasks.

Civilians typically prefer all new pavement with new layers of either asphalt concrete or cement concrete. At the early stages of preservation treatment, pavement appears rough and messy until the treatments completely cure. To combat public outcry, engineers must continuously meet with civilians to educate them on the pavement preservation process. Engineers should demonstrate how reactive maintenance is more time-consuming and expensive, costing tax payers more money to fix damaged roads in the long run (see Figure 1).

The primary reason transportation agencies in cities and towns don’t invest in pavement preservation is due to a lack of expertise and knowledge on preservation treatments. With the variety of preservation treatments available, engineers don’t include the preservation treatments in their pavement management programs because they lack the know-how to choose the proper treatments for all road conditions.

Operations and maintenance professionals default to focusing only on damaged pavements, ignoring pavements that are in good condition. Asset management budgets get eaten up by reactive maintenance when they could invest in preserving good roads, therefore investing less in reactive maintenance over time.

Some have the misconception that preservation treatments are an unnecessary expense. In reality, the treatments are quick while costs stay at a minimum. Some agencies in rural areas fear that hiring contractors with pavement preservation expertise will be more costly than local professionals, however, including pavement preservation in pavement management programs will extend budgets and the service life of pavements.

Figure 1. (Source)

Partnering with PILLAR Pavement Management Engineers

Sometimes an organization doesn’t invest in pavement preservation due to a lack of expertise. There is a certain complexity to managing a network of roadways at different stages in their lifecycle that requires insightful data and a guiding hand.

PILLAR can play a role in assessing needs and making important maintenance decisions.

For example, PILLAR uses ratings to assess the condition of pavements, watching as the condition rating changes with time. This can be helpful to maintain a standard while getting the expertise needed for these numerous treatments.

Choosing the Right Pavement Preservation Treatments

When choosing treatments, PILLAR helps you map out roads, traffic volumes, and regions to make sure that roads are treated in line with the best treatment. There is a wide variety of possible preservation treatments that make the care and maintenance of each road extremely unique.

Every preservation plan is unique based on the special features of the roadway and pavements that make planning your preservation techniques somewhat complicated without a competent partner. PILLAR works with you to identify the condition of the road or pavement and then develop a series of interventions to lengthen the lifecycle of the road, save time, and conserve budgets. Some noteworthy and famous pavement preservation treatments that can be used include:

  • Crack Sealant
  • Slurry Seal
  • Chip Seal
  • Cape Seal
  • Microsurfacing (Latex)
  • THMACO

Find a Partner in Pavement Preservation and Asset Management

PILLAR is a unique firm. It’s the only asset management team devoted at its core with maximizing the lifecycle of your assets. By delivering asset data that informs operations and maintenance decisions at every step in the complex process, PILLAR strengthens your maintenance and preservation plans in ways that could really benefit your infrastructure asset management programs.

Contact PILLAR at info@pillaroma.com or (276) 223-0500 to start with the only asset management firm that merges industry expertise, next-gen technology, and public safety to bring you unparalleled data, service, and expertise.

Categories
Save Face Save Money Save Time

Hiring Operations & Maintenance Advisors is a Sound Investment.

Assessing and leveraging data on all infrastructure assets within your right-of-way for long term sustainability can be a challenge. As a result, it becomes even more difficult to achieve long term infrastructure goals. Operations & Maintenance advisors can be a highly effective resource in managing your assets and securing the proper funding you need for improving your assets.

PILLAR is the only asset management firm whose core business is dedicated to maximizing the lifecycles of your assets by collecting and delivering asset data that informs operations and maintenance decisions at every step of the process. PILLAR’s focus is holistic and goes beyond the typical pavements and bridges that include assets such as ditches, signs, markings, fence, etc. Optimal asset management includes all assets to give a much wider and inclusive perspective to account for all variables.

Know the Location of Your Assets

Pillar’s collection process combines old school approaches with cutting-edge technology to bring you a cost-effective way to collect massive amounts of inventory data quickly and accurately. Create digital 3-D representations of the right-of-way with PILLAR’s Mobile LiDAR Scanning that includes our Automated Feature Extraction System, extracting features almost as quickly as data is collected. At the same time, you’ll work with boots-on-the-ground maintenance professionals to go places machines and technology can’t reach.

Identify the Condition of Your Assets

PILLAR doesn’t just collect asset data; our professionals assess the data collected to justify the costs required to improve asset conditions. Experts use Condition Indices to measure Condition Rating Criteria for various asset types beyond pavements and bridges, such as pavement markings, guardrails, signs, slopes, fence, and tunnels. Using computer vision allows us to use Street Level Imagery from video stills to detect asset deficiencies. Our geospatial technologies provide in-depth point cloud analysis to give you a global view of the location and condition of your assets. Experienced maintenance staff also perform on-site field assessments and visual inspections.

Take control of Your Operations & Maintenance Plans

Unlike other firms, PILLAR advisors go beyond delivering asset data and go to work on planning strategies for your assets and the future. Data integration is seamless between databases as PILLAR works with numerous suites of geospatial software. You’ll receive solutions within many different contexts, including contract development, daily, weekly, and yearly work plans, bottom-up budgeting and estimating, and response plans in the case of an emergency.

Execute Your Plans with Expertise and Certainty

The PILLAR team not only helps develop your plans, we make sure you execute them. We can augment your staff to meet your program’s needs and oversee staff to ensure your asset management plans reach an optimal result. To fully see your plans through, our advisors can hire Operations and Maintenance managers to manage and control your budget, schedule, quality, as well as your incident, disaster, and weather response. Integration is seamless, coordinated, scheduled, and proactive.

Transform Your Operations & Maintenance Plans with PILLAR

Across the board, PILLAR advisors are a valued part of your team, working to inform you about your assets, offer data-driven decisions to secure proper funding, with in-the-field experience to hire and organize the staff necessary to carry out your plans so you don’t have to.

Stop guessing what to do with your Operations and Maintenance plans and be certain with PILLAR. Email us at info@pillaroma.com or call (276) 223-0500 to get started with the only asset management focused firm merging industry expertise, next-generation technologies, and commitment to public safety.

Categories
Save Lives Save Money Save Time

Pillar Partners With Rose-Hulman Ventures

Rose-Hulman Ventures recently featured PILLAR and reviewed our patented salinity measurement device, SAM. PILLAR President Mark Boenke, shares his expertise on how SAM will reduce harmful salt usage on public roads and highways. Boenke partnered with Rose-Hulman Ventures back in 2017 when PILLAR was trying to find the best materials to use for the SAM device that would not be damaged by the highly corrosive saltwater. SAM was first developed by Mark’s daughter, Bridget, as her high school senior year science fair project!

SAM is a salinity measurement device that reads the salt concentration, via electrical conductivity, in the water spraying off of the salt spreader’s back tire. If the salt concentration levels are too low to prevent the forming of black ice, the driver is notified to apply more salt. If concentration levels are adequate, the driver is notified that no additional salt is needed.

PILLAR hopes to bring SAM to the market by 2021. Be sure to check back in for updates on SAM’s release and all of PILLAR’s projects!

Read the full article.

Categories
Save Face Save Money Save Time

P3 Market Outlook for 2020 in USA & Canada | Inframation News

PILLAR’s Dan Dennis, Vice President of Public-Private Partnerships was quoted on the positive trend of risk allocation in the P3 model. 

Read the full article to see Dan’s comments on risk allocation.

Categories
Save Face Save Money Save Time

Delivering Maintenance Cost Efficiencies in P3/O&M Projects

If you are performing an outsourced O&M project, it is very likely you have a fixed budget based on your contract price. Your cash flow is known upfront, the day you sign the contract. As the Maintenance Manager, your job is to meet the contract performance requirements as efficiently as possible while meeting your budget. How do you do this? Simple: Spend resources wisely and efficiently. Basic planning can help you do this.

A typical example could be: The roadway shoulder has accumulated dirt, weeds, etc. in the longitudinal joints on a narrow shoulder next to a barrier wall. Simple enough to clean up, right? But the work area is three feet wide and adjacent to the left (high speed) lane on a 75-mph urban interstate. MOT requirements called for a full lane closure – in both directions.

What does this all mean? Before any work starts, you have already spent $2,800 for the two lane-closures. To save money and be efficient, how many other tasks can be done in that lane closure?

  • Burn out the roots with a propane-hot lance torch.
  • Seal the joints with hot or cold-pour asphalt joint sealer = no more weeds for five years.
  • Jet-vac all the drop inlets within the lane closure.
  • Install barrier-wall mounted delineators.
  • Repair any potholes or crack-seal the longitudinal joint
  • Sweep/vacuum the dust and debris.

These additional tasks will be required at some point. Why not do it all at once? The additional labor is minimal, and you likely have all the small tools; if not then rent them. By combining the activities, you have saved multiple lane closures and perhaps up to $10,000. This adds up.

This is basic preventive maintenance. And all it takes is – a little planning.

To learn more about how Pillar can help more efficiently manage your P3 project, contact Mark Boenke at mboenke@PillarOMA.com

Categories
Save Face Save Money Save Time

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Transportation Asset Management

iPad showing screenshot

There have been numerous developments in recent years in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that are transforming our daily lives. Among the most commonly recognized are self-driving vehicles and voice recognition devices such as Amazon’s Alexa.

While perhaps not as flashy as having your virtual personal assistant, Pillar Operations & Maintenance Advisors is a leader in the important integration of AI into the world of transportation asset management.

Using AI, Pillar can collect and assess vastly larger datasets in less time with fewer resources than ever before. What once took months to identify, collect and assess transportation assets can now take as little as three days.*

Why does this matter?

Pillar can help clients make cost-effective, data-driven transportation maintenance decisions and plans based on actual priorities derived from clear and comprehensive data. This data results in safer, better-maintained roadways for the traveling public.

For example, we gathered guardrail length inventory by assessing its condition in accordance to the Maintenance Rating Program for a state Department of Transportation. This data enabled the state DOT to develop a maintenance plan, allocate the workforce and secure a budget for the project.

Here’s a more in-depth look at how AI is being used in Pillar’s proprietary CAPE approach to transportation asset management:

Collection – We are using AI to help identify assets for gathering a database of inventory. To do this, we have trained algorithms that scan our imagery and point cloud data to locate assets. We also utilize a system that automatically extracts these features into a legible format. The two systems provide a level of redundancy and quality assurance that is integrated with your GIS. Together, these systems create a sophisticated level of detail that was previously unattainable.

Assessment – AI helps us assess the condition of transportation assets by using algorithms to identify items such as a leaning sign, clogged ditch, and much more.

Planning – AI is an extremely useful aid in conducting research. By combining “big data” with the inventory collection and assessment data, we developed algorithms to build predictive analytics that make proactive maintenance possible.

Execution – We use AI to monitor operations to ensure quality standards are met. Further, the data stays current as tasks and projects are completed.

*Timeliness will vary from project to project based on size and number of assets collected.