Public transport expansion is on a roll. Delivery on major projects like Queensland’s Cross River Rail and Victoria’s Metro Tunnel has begun, while new rail projects are getting the green light. Take light rail’s Australian renaissance for example: besides the new G:link (Gold Coast, Queensland) and the long-running Yarra Trams (Melbourne, Victoria), there are also projects in Canberra and New South Wales in Sydney, Parramatta and Newcastle. In Asia, light rail, metro systems and intercity trains are all on track for construction or underway.
Each of these capital expansion projects entails the management of thousands of physical assets, all of which need to be purchased, maintained and replaced over their lifetime. With the scrutiny that billion-dollar investments inevitably draws, public transport agencies are under increasing pressure to become more innovative in how they approach the lifecycle management of their infrastructure.
How can you keep up?
In order to measure asset performance and prioritise capital projects across all modes of transport, you need an enterprise solution built for public transport. At the bare minimum, your system must be able to easily track each asset associated with your expansion projects. Leading transport agencies also recognize that it should offer off-the-shelf features for integration with other key back office and operational systems. Otherwise, you are looking at an expensive, complex integration process and a lifetime of custom software patches.
With that in mind, here are a few things to consider when assessing Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system requirements during a period of rapid capital expansion:
1. Multimodal means more ripples.
Every mode of service you provide – light rail, bus, train, ferry – has distinct EAM requirements. Performing accurate asset lifecycle management for even one asset class is complex, let alone a fast-expanding, multimodal operation. However, this challenge can be addressed with innovative, integrated technology solutions. The possibilities for the future are endless with integrated business intelligence from all modes of transport.
Side note: An EAM software that does not connect and visualise all your data in a way that makes it understandable and usable is likely to be poorly-utilised by your staff. So while it may be tempting to choose a system based on price, remember that you can pay in other ways besides money in the long run.
2. The pitfalls of generic solutions.
For a transport authority or rail operator with a large infrastructure footprint, it is simply not feasible to track thousands of capital assets in a spreadsheet. But diving into the first generic solution that comes along is not the wisest move either.
Software vendors who provide generic EAM solutions tend to think asset management is a ‘strategic’ exercise that you conduct once or twice a year using oversimplified reports. Real asset management requires analysing and comparing the performance of every class of asset on an ongoing basis so you can make more informed rehabilitation and replacement decisions throughout the year.
This proactive type of approach is essential for large organisations in particular, both so that you can prioritise capital projects and for the implementation of a leading lifecycle asset management strategy for the future.
3. Early wins come from innovation.
Public transport expansion projects are under the microscope from the moment you announce them. With awareness comes scrutiny and with public money comes urgency. Quick wins on big capital projects help to keep investors and the public aware of what is happening and demonstrate your progress towards long-term project goals.
Are you looking to improve your asset management capabilities with a new system? Make sure you ask these five questions before you make your choice.