AWS Public Sector Blog

5 benefits of modernizing transportation asset management software in the cloud

ship at a dock with truck and plane

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), commonly referred to as the Infrastructure Bill, allocates over $350 billion in funding for major projects in the United States. As they consider where to allocate these funds, public infrastructure owners, especially Department of Transportation (DOT) and public works agencies, have to assess the condition of their assets, determine what to prioritize while rebuilding, and identify what needs maintenance.

These assets take many shapes and forms across the infrastructure landscape—on land, air, and water. Agencies use asset management software and services to monitor, maintain, and control these types of operational assets and equipment. Asset management software can help agencies optimize the quality and utilization of assets throughout their lifecycle, increase productive uptime, and reduce operational costs. However, these types of asset management software solutions are typically hosted on-premises, where the data is kept in silos, making it challenging for departments to get a holistic view of the condition of all assets and efficiently optimize their operations and resource allocation.

Agencies see key benefits from using cloud-based asset management software, like those provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Infor. “Management of our infrastructure has moved beyond the traditional reactive/basic planning practices of the past,” said Bob Benstead, director of public sector and utilities at Infor. “With the huge federal investment in our water, transportation, and public assets, government agencies are moving towards more advanced practices and investment prioritization. It is imperative that agencies have the capability to manage and scale cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), sustainability, and advanced analytics to successfully modernize our infrastructure.”

Using cloud-based asset management software can provide transportation and public works organizations with key benefits, including:

1. Accurate data collection
Currently, most data on asset conditions is collected manually by field personnel and not done uniformly. With an AWS-hosted solution, field personnel can instead use digital devices and collect data in a simple, accessible, and standardized way. Additionally, the data can be logged immediately or upon entering an area with communication service. Updating directly from the field site, allows time for more sites to be viewed daily by doing away with the need for personnel having to commute to a central office to submit the data.

“By providing project data in an electronic format, we’re no longer sending paperwork to the home office, we’re not having to send boxes and boxes of information because it’s all readily available online, in the cloud. Using the cloud, our audit group can access critical data immediately rather than waiting, potentially, months,” said a construction division systems engineer, at a state department of transportation (DOT) using Headlight‘s construction management software.

2. Modern data architecture and analytics
Today, multiple departments within transportation and public works agencies have silos of data that are seldom exchanged. Therefore, performance reports and other useful metrics are difficult to access and hard to consolidate. This impairs full situational awareness, and maintenance can be scheduled erratically. But by using AWS, multiple datasets can be combined, including real-time streaming data from GPS devices, sensors, third-parties (e.g. apps, roadway inspection providers). With AWS data analytics services, agencies can create a modern data architecture that enables collaboration across previously siloed data to glean insights to improve operations, reduce waste, and identify opportunities to improve business operations and support their constituents.

3. Cybersecurity and business continuity
Agencies need to protect asset data from cybersecurity threats. An agency’s asset management systems not only indexes what equipment and rolling stock they have, but is also the primary systems used for tracking the location of assets such as tow trucks, snow removal vehicles, infrastructure-supporting equipment, and safety-related items. If these systems go down, it impacts the safety of constituents, business productivity, and other critical responsibilities of the government. Protecting this data from attacks and making sure of system high availability is critical.

Solutions deployed on AWS can benefit from the security and compliance accreditations of AWS’s global infrastructure, as well as leverage the breadth of managed security services in AWS’s portfolio and the numerous security and compliance partners in the AWS Partner Network.

4. Asset management system maintenance
Systems running on-premises can be time-consuming and challenging to maintain, to scale with the growth of an agency’s infrastructure, and to keep updated with the latest software releases and patches. Often on-premises deployments of asset management software aren’t highly available and suffer more frequent outages or performance lags than is acceptable. AWS-hosted solutions offer agencies the ability to make sure they are running the latest software versions provided by the vendor and have the latest features and capabilities at their disposal. Traditional system upgrades are typically managed centrally by IT and upgraded only every three to five years. With an AWS-hosted system, agencies can develop a solution that makes sure they are continually running the latest versions of their software.

5. On-demand scaling to support high availability
During certain times, the asset management system can see heavy usage. While running analytics and generating reports, a system hosted on-premises can reach server limits. With a cloud-hosted application, it is simple to scale to meet demand. This uptime performance is especially important during times of disaster to coordinate mitigation and maintenance activities, such as during heavy storms when it is critical to have data on asset conditions, and for roads and snow plow equipment inventory and location to manage snow-clearance and recovery solutions.

Get started with asset management solutions on AWS
As state and local governments get funding for infrastructure projects, investing in the right asset management solutions is key, and building these solutions in the cloud is the foundational step. These solutions can help agencies not only meet their asset goals, but also move closer to achieving broader goals around smart-city initiatives and improving pedestrian and traffic safety. Cloud-based asset management solutions provide a central location to consolidate and act on data — whether it’s determining where to install smart street lighting to reduce traffic accidents, proactively scheduling highway repairs and maintenance, or optimizing bus routes to reduce traffic congestion and advance sustainability goals. Reach out to the AWS team to get started.

Learn more about how transportation agencies and authorities around the world use AWS to make traveling safer, improve mobility and sustainability, and deliver savings at the AWS Cloud for Transportation hub.

Read more stories about Amazon Web Services (AWS) for transportation:
Working backwards from Vision Zero to improve road safety
Maximizing Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) Grants to Advance Transportation Modernization

Prachi J. Vakharia

Prachi J. Vakharia

Prachi J. Vakharia recently joined Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help government agencies innovate, successfully modernize their digital infrastructure, and adopt new solutions. In her previous role with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Prachi tested and piloted new AI and ML-based solutions that make transit safer and more accessible. She is based in Washington, DC, and has worked on transportation innovation, standards and infrastructure advancing projects in public transportation, automated vehicles, and shared and electric mobility.

Jesse Roberts

Jesse Roberts

Jesse Roberts is a senior solutions architect supporting Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers in state and local government and education. He is based in Albany, NY, USA. Jesse’s core interests are in the areas of serverless architecture, data analytics, and application design drawing on 25 years experience leading solution design and development Fortune 500 companies in aerospace, energy, health and human services, and the public sector.