The increased focus of active transportation has presented many interesting opportunities within the areas of transportation planning and asset management. Beneficially, active transportation promotes healthier lifestyles and healthier people. It provides environmental benefits – less reliance on carbon based fuels, GHG reduction, and less air pollution. Economically, bicycle paths and walking routes are less expensive to build and maintain, in terms of construction materials.
As these pathways and trails become part of the mainstream transportation infrastructure, the need for defined levels of service and management of these assets becomes increasingly important. Comprehensive Active Transportation programs a) allow for identification and scheduling of proper maintenance activities, b) quickly identify urgent safety concerns, and c) predict long term needs of the infrastructure in the future. Each of these are necessary as part of any asset management plan, and are needed for these active transportation assets.
One of Rival’s customers wanted to do some proactive planning around their dedicated bicycling pathway network. With approximately 105 kilometres (65 miles) of paved pathways, they needed to gather information related to the condition of the paths, identification of any safety concerns, and an assessment of the accessibility of the pathway network. Using already owned hardware (tablets and smartphones) and Rival’s RUBIX platform, they were able to complete a full assessment of the bike paths. The first of its kind, the customer gathered roughness data from a bike platform and combined this with a detailed surface analysis producing enough data to answer the following questions:
What condition is it in?
With a jointly designed data dictionary and customized rating scores, the user was able to provide a complete and relative assessment of the pathway network in order to prioritize maintenance activities and ensuring the optimal spend of their dollars.
Do I have urgent or long term safety risks?
Identification of safety concerns as part of the condition assessment allowed for proactive risk management by the agency as well as providing an opportunity to ensure safe pathways for the users.
What is my current accessibility situation?
Identification of potential accessibility issues along the bike paths provide an opportunity to develop plans to ensure pathways meet current or upcoming legislation, and to also ensure that the level of service exceed the users expectations.
Additionally, the inspection teams worked with Rival and added the concept of identifying an “Urgent Need” during field work. This special rating provided a consolidated list to stakeholders presenting condition, safety, or accessibly issues requiring immediate attention. The RUBIX dashboard allows for near real-time feedback to both field crews and office supervisors. With information being referenced spatially to the bike network, and field images available at the touch of mouse, urgent actions and long term planning can be managed from a common location, from day one of the project.