Municipal construction projects aimed at improving infrastructure are often some of the most expensive public works programs carried out by municipalities of all sizes.
This financial burden is only made worse by the often-unnecessary relocation of underground utilities during the planning stages of utility operations. When it comes to projects affecting large swaths of city land, decisions like these are usually the result of convenience rather than financial efficiency.
The economic impact of these large-scale projects is estimated to be in the billions of dollars each year.
Although cities are increasingly investing in more reliable planning and construction systems, the mapping and locating techniques used to build the complex composites of citywide subsurface utilities are still lagging behind the times, using decades old technology in many towns and cities across the country.
Research points to better asset management tools as a cost-effective solution
With costs piling up as older infrastructure continues to age and budgets continue to tighten, a smarter approach to municipal asset management is the natural solution for many communities in need of a better system.
Using detailed utility location data to determine which areas are free of underground hazards, new construction projects can minimize their impact on buried assets by developing around these problematic areas.
This low-impact approach to citywide development requires highly detailed and accessible utility location data to ensure areas are indeed free of hazards.
According to a survey conducted by Purdue University and sponsored by the USDOT, a total of $4.62 was saved for every $1.00 spent when advanced underground utility maps were available.
A 2010 study by the University of Toronto monitored nine city and highway rebuilding projects, which used advanced underground asset mapping tools. It found a positive return on investment in each of the nine cases ranging from $2.05 to $6.59 for every dollar spent to improve subsurface utility data.
In addition to these, traditional systems can lead to long project delays when field crews need additional time to find and relocate underground assets. Annual maintenance and operational costs can increase considerably as a result.
According to research conducted by Auburn University, the time taken to retrieve an asset’s location was just 2.51 minutes when using RFID and GPS combined. Compare this to the 14.11 minutes it took using GPS alone, and the potential cost savings are clear.
How the InfraMarker gives municipalities a 21st century solution to asset management
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology was first introduced to the subsurface utility industry all the way back in the 1980s, but until now, these systems haven’t been able to integrate marking, locating, and mapping into an easy-to-use array of tools.
The InfraMarker RFID infrastructure marking system uses a unique tagging and locating process to mark virtually any kind of asset location and then locate them with pinpoint accuracy using electronic locators capable of reading a range of information about a particular asset.
In addition to significantly enhanced marking and locating techniques, the InfraMarker can also be integrated with your preferred data mapping system to generate detailed asset maps giving field crews a wealth of data about an asset’s location, identity, and more.
By integrating with InfraMarker, municipalities along with utility agencies and contractors can enjoy the long-term savings that come with a more efficient and precise management system.
Interested in learning more about the InfraMarker System? Click here to get started. If you have questions for us, or would like to learn more about which InfraMarker System package might be right for you, contact us today for more information.
Photo credit: sbamueller