Driving efficiency: How Australia manages roads across a million square miles

Western Australia (WA) is the biggest state in Australia and the second-largest state/province/national region in the world. The region occupies the western third of the Australian continent and is bigger in size than Western Europe, four times the size of Texas, twelve times bigger than the UK, and twenty times bigger than England. When you’re managing 18,000 kilometers of roads in an area this large, you need a system that can literally cover great distances while increasing efficiency at every turn.

Main Roads WA—the state organisation responsible for implementing Western Australia’s policies on roads—found the answer with the Maintenance Management Information System (MMIS), a joint effort of Main Roads WA and Birchman.

The MMIS application was designed to increase efficiency, lower costs, and solve specific problems of the legacy system, such as data duplication and errors. Main Roads WA needed to cover all regions across the state, and the new application needed to integrate well with central databases and geographic information systems.

MMIS was deployed on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM framework, which enabled two key operating modes for different types of users: a desktop mode was deployed for office-based staff who need to schedule and approve inspections and generate reports, and a field mode was developed for inspectors and field crews working across a sparsely populated area of 2.5 million kilometers (nearly 1 million square miles).

With MMIS, employees in the field can now report and locate faults nearby using ESRI ArcGIS facilities and can easily send information back to the home office, no matter how remote the area. Office users can quickly schedule and approve jobs and create reports based on a range of factors related to road asset defects. Two key requirements for rollout:  Meet the needs of all users—some of whom are not computer-savvy—and avoid any disruption in services for citizens and visitors.

In the end, Main Roads WA deployed a system that has improved efficiency in key areas of the organisation by approximately 1.5%. While this seems modest, the increase in efficiency means that significant additional maintenance activities can be completed within existing budgets—and with a substantial return on investment.

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Mark Smith
National Practice Lead Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Birchman (an SMS Management & Technology Company)