Crews perform preventive maintenance at an intersection in Hernando County. The county received the National Association of Counties 2003 Achievement Award for its program “Applying Best Management Practices with In-House Designed Maintenance Management System.” Photos: Harry Lorick

The review anticipated that there would be efficiency and cost savings, since the approach would no longer be “fix it when it breaks.”

Implementing The Plan

Before setting up a preventive-maintenance plan, both the city and county implemented a complete computerized maintenance management system for infrastructure. While Reno opted for an integrated system designed by MainStar Inc., Lake Forest, Calif., Hernando County used an internally developed system. Both systems provide a tool to help manage maintenance resources, project the workload, and match that to the resource needs.

Once this was complete, Reno and Hernando County were able to use their systems to monitor traffic signal maintenance and response work. Tools that were put in place include: activity guidelines with work criteria, activity plans and monitoring capabilities for each activity, and customer requests. The systems track typical work like adjustment and minor maintenance of heads, traffic detectors, and pedestrian buttons. This maintenance is done to ensure that environmental factors such as dust, vegetation, and wind are not impacting the operations of signals.

Initially, an annual plan for each maintenance measure was set up to project an estimate for total workload. Work was then scheduled every two weeks and completed work was recorded in the system for both traffic signal overhead and cabinet maintenance. Based upon processes set up during the operations review and implementation phase, actual work was then compared to the planned amount of work. Throughout the year, traffic signal work was monitored continually to see if the established goals were being met. With each new fiscal year, goals were adjusted based upon work done and improvements recorded.

When Hernando County started a performance review, it was a result of a negative audit report—conducted by a private company—citing a problem with productivity. Since implementing the program in 2001, efficiency has increased 14%.

While the county has more assets (56% increase in signalized intersections), they are being more efficient and effective with their resources, and haven't had to add staff. In addition, repairs—which can be costly—have decreased as maintenance checks have increased. All information was monitored and tracked in the county's computerized maintenance management system and reviewed monthly.