OVERVIEW: The importance of managing transportation assets is essential to retain the value of the initial investment. Currently, engineers around the world are creating innovative solutions to manage infrastructure. Since its inception at the University of Waterloo in August 2005, The Annual Inter-University Symposium on Infrastructure Management (AISIM) has critically contributed to graduate education. Not only has it been an avenue for students to exchange both knowledge and research ideas with their peers (including internationally), it has also provided an opportunity for students to interact with global leaders in the field of transportation asset management. The 4th Advanced Infrastructure Management (AIM4) “Bootcamp” was also held in conjunction with AISIM12.
EVENT SUMMARIES: This year, the 12th AISIM (AISIM12) was held at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, Oklahoma in June 2016. It commenced with a workshop entitled, “How to work with a social scientist” delivered by Alex Greer, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at OSU. Some of the symposium participants are shown in Figure 1.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) Secretary, Gary Ridley, delivered the keynote address at the symposium. He discussed the role of government in providing health, security, education and transportation. The major emphasis was that transportation personnel work to meet user needs so that the traveling public can have a better quality of life. With a perspective resulting from five decades of experience, he emphasized his desire to see academic professionals be more deliberate about decisions related to infrastructure, including determination of research topics to improve transportation systems. He also noted that “moving forward, we need to do it right the first time; sometimes we have to step back and look at things since we are always good to under promise and over deliver.”
Fifteen presentations were organized around four topics: asset performance, data for asset management, statistical analysis, and decision making. David Ooten, ODOT Division Engineer for Strategic Asset and Performance Management Division talked about Asset Management Implementation in the Oklahoma DOT. James Bryce from AMEC Foster Wheeling, an AISIM alumnus, provided an overview of his experience while working in industry.
Awards for best paper were presented. The five best papers were invited to present at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 96th Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.
The 4th AIM “Bootcamp” was also held at OSU in conjunction with AISIM12. The objective of this two-week long intensive course was to provide an opportunity for students to gain in-depth knowledge about advanced infrastructure management, acquire related management skills, and develop a mini-project. It also provided a platform for students to network with others with similar interests in Civil Infrastructure Management. The bootcamp brought together 13 students, a visiting professor from China and 8 instructors. The students and instructors came from Georgia Tech, Purdue University, Texas A & M, Virginia Tech, University of Delaware, University of Iowa, and Oklahoma State University. International students from China, Japan, Germany, and Switzerland also participated. The course covered performance and asset management, sensors and instrumentation, deterioration modeling, data management, sustainability, risk and reliability, asset valuation, public-private partnership, optimization, and research methods. Some of the participants are shown in Figure 2. Students participated in lectures and completed homework and a final project.
IMPACT: The AISIM12, a graduate student focused, graduate student organized event, provided a welcoming environment for graduate students working in infrastructure management to present their research, build a network of peers, and gain experience.
Bootcamp provided an opportunity for students and practitioners to have an immersion experience in an advanced Infrastructure Management course that focused on physical assets.
About the Researchers: Dr. Joshua Q. Li from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Oklahoma State University (OSU) organized the event and Professor Sue McNeil from the University of Delaware (an ASCE T&DI committee member and former chair of the ASCE Infrastructure Systems Committee) led the class.
Support for AISIM and Boot Camp came from the Southern Plains University Transportation Center (SPTC), AMEC Foster Wheeling, the School of Civil and Environment Engineering, the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology at OSU. The activities were also supported by the Infrastructure Systems Committee in TD&I of ASCE.
The Southern Plains Transportation Center is a consortium of eight universities in U.S. Department of Transportation Region VI: the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Langston University, University of Arkansas, University of New Mexico, Louisiana Tech University, University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Tech University.
The SPTC provides a unique opportunity through multi-institutional initiatives to develop comprehensive, cost-effective, and implementable solutions to critical infrastructure issues facing the transportation systems of the region and the nation, and to prepare transportation professionals for leadership roles through Research, Leadership, Collaboration, Education, Outreach, Tech Transfer and Workforce Development activities.