Reaching a Decision

Over the years, officials tasked with caring for our infrastructure systems have professed the need for better coordination across city departments ? not only from finance, legal, administrative and public works, but also between water, wastewater, stormwater and other utilities. Better coordination of infrastructure construction and repair saves time and money, increases efficiency of city crews, and reduces disruption to city residents and businesses.

In response to this need, InfraMetrix LLC and Solutions Modex Inc. have launched InfraModex, an infrastructure information decision support system that helps municipalities predict and prioritize capital expenditure spending on physical infrastructure, as well as develop long-term, economical intervention plans while maintaining an acceptable level of service.

InfraModex applies risk management and financial analysis to infrastructure asset management, helping public CFOs, asset managers and other decision-makers understand the relationship between budget, asset failure risk and level of service. InfraModex uses aging models and user-defined decision trees (such as water distribution, wastewater collection, or roads) to simulate any number of maintenance scenarios (using the Monte Carlo technique), identifying the most economical solution for achieving the desired level of service. The system takes into consideration the actual and future condition of the asset, maintenance and investment policies, historical and forecasted behavior of the asset, and the relationship between all of these elements.
?Optimizing decision-making in the context of aging infrastructure and constrained budgets is vital to the survival of our cities,? said Bill DiTullio, President and CEO of InfraMetrix. ?InfraModex helps answer two crucial questions that must be asked prior to a CAPEX funding. ?Is my current level of funding adequate for the service level we want to provide to customers for an indefinite future? If the current funding is not adequate, when will there be noticeable service degradation?? InfraModex is geared not only at taking the right action (repair, rehab, rebuild, etc.), but also maximizing available human and financial resources and ensuring that a minimum quality/safety threshold is maintained in the long term.?

Pierre Levesque, Vice President of Marketing for Solutions Modex added: ?InfraModex is a unique and innovative software tool that optimizes your investments, quantifies your risks and increases the probability of achieving your goals based on your specific decision criteria and tolerance for risk.?

InfraModex is currently being used in the cities of Montreal, Quebec, and Hamilton, Ontario, among others. ?One of the strengths of InfraModex is its sophisticated financial modeling algorithms, which mimic random occurrences in life expectancy and cost of work,? said Normand Hachey, Engineer, Project Manager, City of Montreal. ?This approach we think is more in tune with real life and takes into account the variable nature of our business. This in turn helped us optimize our investment strategies on a life-cycle basis.

?Another strength of the software is the ease with which investment strategies can be modified. This permitted us to test more strategies in a short period of time and with a minimum of external support, giving us greater confidence that the end product was optimized. Last, but not least, is the capacity of the software to take into account decisions made for each individual asset and coordinate the results over time so that the end product is fully integrated. We intend to exploit this capability by producing for the end of 2012 a fully integrated investment plan for water and roads.?

In Hamilton, city leaders are using the software to assist in the decision-making process regarding right-of-way infrastructure, chiefly water mains, sewer mains, and roads. ?The main focus for Hamilton was a need to coordinate right-of-way infrastructure,? said Kevin Bainbridge, an engineer who recently joined Robinson Consultants Inc. and after 15 years with the City of Hamilton. ?Every city struggles with the decisions between the coordination of doing road work in addition to the water and sewer mains underneath the roads.

?There are many planning questions that arise. Do we sacrifice a road that might not need to be resurfaced because I need to do water or sewer repairs? Do I rehabilitate the underground using trenchless technology to extend the life? The balance of all those decisions and options are just enormous, particularly in a large city with thousands and thousands of right-of-way segments.

?This software is intended to look across the individual silos of water, wastewater and roads and bring into focus what the needs are and what the financial implications are. With that information it can assist in making immediate decisions based not only on current budget, but also long-range financial projections in terms of where the investment needs to be, what the risks are based on the city?s tolerance for risk of failure, the effect on desired service levels and long-term budget projections.?

This article was written by UIM staff based on information supplied by InfraMetrix LLC.

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