By Navin Nageli, Founder & CEO

Typically, traditional asset counts for transportation agencies (bridges, culverts, paved roadway miles, etc.), do not change much year-to-year. This means that most Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and government entities can reasonably predict maintenance and replacement costs. However, ITS assets vary from traditional assets in several ways and budget planning and asset management should be adjusted accordingly.  

ITS assets on a traffic signal pole.1. Counts change quickly. ITS asset counts can change dramatically each year (i.e., more cameras, more sensors, more switches, etc.). The changes make it difficult to predict annual maintenance and replacement costs. 
2. Life cycles are shorter. Depending on the ITS asset, a “lifespan” can be between 3 to 7 years; this is compared to 10 to 20 years for traditional assets. This needs to be considered in budget planning.
3. They can become outdated. Unlike traditional assets, ITS assets can easily become obsolete with changes to technology. As an example, traditional cameras should be replaced by edge analytics cameras regardless of life cycle. If not appropriately planned for, this can be a surprise hit to a budget.
4. Expertise is required. ITS assets require skilled personnel in electronics and/or networking to operate and maintain, compared to traditional assets. Additionally, the assets are more prone to cybersecurity threats, which means your expert needs to have a quality security plan in place.
5. Condition assessment is different. ITS assets are, for the most part, either functioning properly or not. Meanwhile, traditional assets can still be functional and operational even if not in optimal condition. ITS assets require constant attention to ensure proper functionality.  

ITS assets are specialized pieces of technical equipment and because of multiple components and electronics, require specialized skills to install, operate, maintain and replace.  When transitioning to utilize more ITS assets, it’s important to consider their differences and how that will fit into your current asset management strategy. They require a different kind of budget planning, which can be a challenge, but they also have unparalleled benefits like improved incident response time and valuable data collection.