Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations

3.0 Strategies

3.1 Overview

Deployment of roadside technologies can provide numerous benefits to State, Federal, and motor carrier stakeholders.  Deployment is associated with several significant challenges that pose potential obstacles that should be addressed during the planning process.

The goal of the project is to encourage and facilitate the deployment of roadside technologies to improve truck size and weight enforcement in the United States.  In support of this goal, strategies are recommended to assist states in mitigating the challenges and realizing successful deployment.  These strategies have been employed successfully by states to overcome deployment challenges.

Table 3.1 summarizes how these strategies address the challenges associated with the deployment of roadside enforcement technologies.  Descriptions of the strategies follow the table.

Table 3.1 State Strategies to Address Deployment Challenges

Challenges

Develop Business Case

Seek Best Practices

Develop Technology Roadmap

Identify Champions

Build Partnerships

Maximize Funding

Cost

yes

yes

yes

no

yes

yes

Manpower Requirements

yes

no

yes

yes

no

yes

Interagency Cooperation

yes

yes

no

yes

yes

no

Data Issues

yes

yes

no

yes

yes

no

Technology Performance

no

yes

yes

no

no

no

Funding

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

Lack of Standards/Architecture

no

yes

yes

no

no

no

3.2 Develop Business Case

In order to ensure a coordinated and strategic deployment of roadside technologies, it is recommended that states develop a business case and/or program plan to guide their deployments.  A business case enables a State to obtain management commitment and approval for investments in technologies and provides a framework for planning and managing the “business” changes that will occur when new technologies are introduced.

Each State’s business case for technology deployments should be based on their particular environment and needs.  A typical business case will include a description of needs and/or problems, proposed solutions, assumptions and constraints, alternatives, and benefits and costs.  For deployment of roadside technologies, the following questions should be part of the business case:

  • Where on the highway system do size, weight, and safety problems exist?
  • What technologies are available, through procurement or development, to address the problems?
  • What resources are available in the State (e.g., human, existing technologies/systems, access to Federal grants) to apply to the problems?
  • What other agencies, organizations, or parties in the State (or region) have a potential interest or stake in solving the identified problems?
  • What issues/obstacles have to be dealt with in order to move forward (e.g., lack of staff, lack of funding, lack of expertise)?
  • How can the State obtain the best return on investing in technology?  For example, a State may combine near- and long-term objectives into an incremental plan:
    • Invest initially in “low hanging fruit”  (i.e., quick, inexpensive “wins”);
    • Leverage and enhance existing deployments; and
    • Follow with more expensive technologies that will be integrated with operating systems.

The business case may reflect the adoption of new or modified size and weight enforcement strategies that support non-traditional enforcement operations in order to alleviate the high costs of weigh station construction and attendant manpower requirements.

3.3 Seek Best Practices

The data collection approach of the project was to capture the “best practices” of states with differing approaches to utilizing technologies.  Best practices, and the related “lessons learned,” consist of guidance and instruction on practices and planning, policy, technical, or funding issues from experienced peers.  Because states deploying roadside technologies face the same problems and struggle with the same issues, transferring information and lessons learned from states experienced in particular technologies to relative newcomers provides benefits of prior work and reduces costs and risks.

Task 2 of this project evaluated the state of the practice for using roadside technologies in enforcement activities.  The task deliverable described how roadside technologies are deployed, and how they work with other technologies, to support roadside enforcement.  Contact information is given in the deliverable for all states that provided detailed interviews or hosted site visits of their deployments.  These states can be contacted for additional information and to answer specific questions about their deployment experiences.

The Roadside Identification Ad Hoc Team draws its 50 to 60 members from various commercial vehicle-related regulatory agencies in different jurisdictions throughout the United States.  The ad hoc team meets on a monthly basis via teleconference to discuss current and evolving technologies that capture information about commercial vehicles at the roadside.   Jurisdictions share their experiences with a variety of roadside technologies and systems, provide evaluation results, seek information from other jurisdictions, and discuss how the technologies can be used in new ways to facilitate roadside enforcement as well as produce efficiencies for motor carriers.  The team is part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Expanded CVISN program.  Section 4.0 also documents how FHWA will make these best practices available to stakeholders.

3.4 Develop Technology Roadmap

Many states have supported an incremental approach to deploying a suite of systems and technologies.  Budget constraints and the need to sequence information technology projects make an incremental approach attractive. Sequential, integrated investments can be expected to lead to optimal program build out and successful delivery of full program capabilities.

A general recommended approach for building a Smart Roadside consists of the following sequence:

  • Use of traffic monitoring data (vehicle classification count, continuous classification counts, WIM) to understand where the heavy loadings are occurring on the network;
  • Informed placement of enhanced monitoring capabilities supporting effective enforcement resource deployment;
  • Installation of automated inspection technologies supporting screening of CMVs for targeted inspections;
  • Intervention targeting persistent illegal loading practices observed through effective surveillance; and
  • Possibility for direct enforcement (which is NOT a current goal of the Smart Roadside).

A technology “roadmap” must be developed according to the State’s particular circumstances, as well as its business case, regardless of whether one was developed formally (in a structured document) or informally (e.g., memorandum, verbal argument).  The roadmap will build on the business case by specifying technology solutions, with defined timelines, to help meet established goals.  Overall, the roadmap will help plan and coordinate technology deployments.

The roadmap should consist of answers to the following questions:

  • What technologies already exist/are used today?
  • What technologies can be leveraged?  What changes will be needed?
  • What technologies need to be replaced?  When will they be replaced?
  • What technologies need to be procured?  When will they be procured?
  • What technologies will be operating in the next three to five years?
  • What costs will be associated with these decisions?  How will the costs be borne (e.g., most of the costs at the outset, or spread out over time)?

3.5 Identify Champions

A champion is a special stakeholder who is effective at promoting a program or initiative.  States may find that inertia will hinder the deployment of new technologies.  With respect to roadside technologies, inertia may come from the State’s enforcement agency that is resistant to moving from traditional practices such as weigh stations and mobile patrols to virtual weigh stations; or it may come from the State’s highway agency that prefers doing “business” the old fashioned way with weigh stations and mobile patrols.   Change may be very difficult given conditions such as these, but a champion (or champions) can provide the focused leadership that can “turn the tide” toward new technology deployments.

An effective champion for new roadside technologies can mobilize support within the dissenting agency to obtain buy-in.  This individual can communicate the benefits of deployments to all stakeholders, and address the challenges and issues that have the potential to prevent technologies from being deployed.  The business case and technology roadmap may be tools that the champion uses to counter resistance.  The champion also may lead efforts to identify and secure funding and may coordinate policy and funding decisions.

It is likely that the champion will emerge from the agency that has the most to gain from the technologies.  This provides an incentive to work hard to implement the technologies.  If the champion is not an agency executive, executive-level support from all affected agencies will be essential for ongoing support in the form of labor and monetary resources.

3.6 Build and Nurture Partnerships

Some states have successfully deployed roadside technologies by forging partnerships between the State’s enforcement and highway agencies.  A team approach helped several of the states participating in the project install new WIM systems to support mobile screening and virtual weigh stations.  Almost all states commented on the need to involve more than one agency to deploy mobile screening and virtual weigh stations.  Historically, WIM systems were used by State transportation/highway agencies for statistics collection and planning.  In many states, existing traffic monitoring WIM sites were upgraded (or retrofitted) for screening purposes, with new communication capability, computer operating system, and data processing applications.  In order for this to occur, the highway agency and the enforcement agency must agree on the mutual benefits to be derived from “double duty” WIM installations.

Similar to the multi-agency teams that support State CVISN programs, these partnerships will provide ongoing interagency communication and ensure that the appropriate stakeholders and decision makers are involved in key decisions throughout the process.  One enforcement agency said that becoming partners with the State DOT allowed it to deploy the components needed for mobile screening/virtual weigh station operations.  The agencies formed a Commercial Vehicle Strategy Team and embarked on a series of meetings that were specifically designed to improve commercial motor vehicle enforcement.  Today, the agencies jointly issue a “Call for Projects and Guidance” related to CMV enforcement and work together to jointly decide where to locate mobile screening locations.

3.7 Maximize Funding

The costs of technologies are a challenge for many states intent on deployment.  Various funding sources are available to support deployment.  It is important to make use of as many eligible funding sources as possible and to maximize funding sources by pairing technology purchases with sources that may be limited to certain uses.

For example, Federal-Aid Highway Program (FAHP) funding eligibility is determined by the primary intended purpose and use of the WIM system that will be deployed.  Construction of WIM systems “that directly facilitate an effective vehicle weight enforcement program” are eligible for FAHP funding as defined under “construction” in Section 101 of Title 23, United States Code (USC). (23 USC Section 101(a)(3)(H).) Therefore, deployment of WIM systems in conjunction with a VWS deployment may be an eligible FAHP expense.  WIM systems that are built to primarily support the statewide traffic monitoring program for uses including analysis of travel and weight trends, pavement and bridge monitoring and management, and pavement design, qualify for funding through the State Planning and Research (SP&R) program.  These WIM sites can be used secondarily by enforcement personnel for resource planning and commercial vehicle weight screening.

In the past few years, over a dozen states have used Federal CVISN Deployment Grant funds to implement virtual weigh stations.  Among components of the virtual weigh station that are eligible expenses for CVISN funding are WIM scales, cameras, OCR technology, system electronics, screening software, and system integration.  A State’s Commercial Vehicle Information Exchange Window (CVIEW) system, which is an eligible CVISN expense, also can serve as a key data repository in support of VWS deployments (e.g., serve as a database of motor carrier and commercial vehicle safety and credentials data that can be queried by the VWS screening system, serve as a repository for data collected from the VWS).  CVISN funds also can be used to support expanded communication networks to support the timely and secure transmission of virtual weigh station data to users, as well as integration of safety data/screening algorithms into roadside operations.

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