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Mid-America Transportation Center

Investigating RFID for Linear Asset Management

Final Report
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University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Transportation Systems Engineering

Prairie View A&M University


  • Principal Investigator: Erick Jones ( (402) 472-3181)
  • Graduate Students
  • Judith Mwakalonge
  • anali Huggins
  • Project Status
  • Start Date: 7/1/2009
  • End Date: 7/1/2010
  • Sponsors & Partners
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    Due to the fact that linear assets, traffic lights, and highway billboards can be hard to physically access and information files that were captured previously may be inaccurate, local Departments of Transportation and Departments of Roads are investigating technologies that will assist in solving this asset inventory problem. The focus of this project is to evaluate the feasibility of utilizing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) as a means of gathering, verifying, and storing information.
    Research Objective
    In order to utilize automated technologies for more effective asset management pertinent information must be accessible and collected in a reliable way. In this proposal we evaluate a means for accomplishing these goals by investigating Radio Frequency Identification. We hypothesize that RFID technology can be used to automate data collection of linear assets, including roads and guardrails, as well as reducing out-of-date and incorrect information being stored in databases.
    Potential Benefits
    Other future benefits include: This project will extend the relationship between the Nebraska Department of Roads, the University, and other states' Departments of Transportation. This project will support students who may become employees, and provide positive marketing of the State for future NDOR and other transportation initiatives that support future funding.
    This proposal requests $ 60,000 from the Mid-America Transportation System (MATC) to explore and evaluate linear asset tracking methods. This twelve month project partners researchers and students from University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Prairie View University in transportation research. The project will utilize information from the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) as well as a literary search to determine critical needs and several methods of tracking linear assets. These methods will then be evaluated to determine their ability to meet project-critical needs. Finally a feasibility study on the use of RFID for linear asset management will be performed, and the results will be compared to the previous methods.
    Total Project Cost
    $ 60,000
    Technology Transfer Activities
    This project is relevant to the MATC program because it directly supports MATC's focus area of developing a systems-based approach for quantifying infrastructure, which will result in improved data quality, data accuracy and timeliness of data information that can be utilized by several surface transportation agencies. This improvement will allow for timelier maintenance and replacement of missing, damaged, or obsolete assets which further enhances one of MATC thrust area of increasing the overall safety of the surface transportation system users. Moreover, the data collection methods and information systems can be enhanced. Manual tracking of signs and other assets on location with the associated data entry are time-consuming and error-prone tasks. This can lead to false positives where missing signs are marked as present, as well as false negatives where orders are placed for the replacement of signs that are present and up-to-date. Finally, passive RFID technologies have become one of the most cost effective forms of data capture technologies due to recent research innovations and may at some point in time provide cost effective options for minimizing asset tracking costs.