Case Study - NTPEP DataMine

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Resource Optimization through Instant Sharing of Product Evaluation Results

UTILIZING FULLY THE SPEED AND FLEXIBILITY OF THE INTERNET, NTPEP DATAMINE REVOLUTIONIZES THE WAY AASHTO MEMBER STATES SHARE PRODUCT EVALUATION RESULTS. NTPEP DATAMINE REPRESENTS A QUANTUM LEAP IN THE OVERALL PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS, PROVIDING INSTANT GLOBAL ACCESS TO EVALUATION DATA IN VIRTUAL REAL TIME.
 
Client

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Its primary goal is to foster the development, operation, and maintenance of an integrated transportation system that serves the nation.

Challenge

The National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP) was developed by AASHTO in order to evaluate a variety of products including pavement striping and markers and sign sheeting materials. The objective of the NTPEP was to combine and focus the resources of participating NTPEP member departments in the evaluation of materials of common interest in order to improve cost-effectiveness. This was accomplished through an extensive process of gathering, consolidating, and distributing results of product evaluations carried out by various states. The NTPEP tasks involved collection of field and laboratory test results, compilation of test results into a yearly report, and distribution of the report to member states. Historically, this required an enormous amount of manual effort. AASHTO (through NCHRP) contracted iENGINEERING to develop a solution that would leverage the flexibility and speed of the internet to simplify the task of collecting and compiling test results, and distributing consolidated reports to member states.

Solution

iENGINEERING has provided AASHTO with the NTPEP DataMine–a web-based solution providing convenient and quick sharing of transportation product evaluation results among the member states. This web site allows the lead test states hosting product evaluations to enter the details of their tests into a centralized web-enabled database. This makes this information available through the Internet to all consumers of NTPEP (including state and local governments, industry, and academia). The web site features a flexible interface for generating detailed graphical reports based on customized criteria. The NTPEP DataMine consists of two main modules: the Sign Sheeting Materials Module and the Pavement Marking Materials Module.
 
Modules are expandable as the NTPEP program grows in scope and services. Both current modules provide the following features:

References–Disseminating Relevant Knowledge: NTPEP DataMine allows administrators to upload reference documents that provide necessary information about NTPEP data. Users will be able to view and download the reference documents, which are classified by year, thereby obtaining access to previous as well as the most recent references. Site administrators can upload any number of reference documents to the NTPEP DataMine. Examples of reference documents include user guides, testing standards, testing methods, and definition of attributes.

Product Search–Mining the Required Product Data: NTPEP DataMine provides an effective way of targeting required information when huge volumes of data are involved. Users can search the specific product details by selecting appropriate attributes. Further links allow the users to drill down to the test data, reports, and graphs for each product. User-friendly interface makes it easy for users to find exactly what they need with minimal effort. Two versions of search, namely “Simple Search” and “Advanced Search” are available, covering a wide spectrum of user needs.

Exploring Reports–Variety of Routes to the Required Destination: NTPEP DataMine provides users flexibility and variety, both of which are key requirements for covering the entire range of user requirements. Users have the ability to search specific and needed reports through a number of different options, such as by product, by manufacturer, by specific test deck site, or by comparison of various product properties. In this way, NTPEP DataMine provides a convenient access route to all types of reports.

Data Visualization–A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: NTPEP DataMine is equipped with features for providing elaborate visual interpretation of product evaluation data in the form of graphs. Users of the web site can draw x-y color graphs as well as property verses time graphs for various products. In addition, specifications can be overlaid on the graph to provide visual clarity on whether or not a product satisfies a standard.
 
In addition, custom specifications can also be overlaid in order to visually compare the product properties with the desired values.

Data Export–Freedom of Taking Data Anywhere: The NTPEP DataMine provides features for exporting data for further analysis. This feature allows users the ability to select the desired product and submittal year. Users can then download selected data as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or as a Microsoft Access database.
 
Site Administration–Ensuring Smooth Operations: Comprehensive site administration features have been provided to effectively manage the vast number of issues involved in collecting and maintaining huge volumes of NTPEP data. Some of these include user access management, features for collecting data from member states, reviewing and releasing data, and changing performance graph options.

Technology

The NTPEP DataMine uses the Active Pages (ASP) technology for server-side information processing. ActiveX Data Objects technology is used for database connectivity. The NTPEP data is stored in an SQL Server database. Data can be exported to a Microsoft Access database format. Third-party components include Chart FX that is used for generating online graphs and SA FileUp that is used for handling file uploads.

Additional Information

The NTPEP DataMine can be accessed at http://data.ntpep.org.

Contact Mike McGough at (202) 624-3632 or e-mail mmcgough@aashto.org for additional information on the AASHTO NTPEP program or NTPEP DataMine.

If you would like more information regarding the product/service described above or if you would like to implement a similar solution within your organization, please contact Riaz Ahmad at (703) 430-5570 or e-mail rahmad@iengineering.com