Transit NZ plan identifies 50 future IT projects

Transit New Zealand has drawn up its IT strategic plan for the next five years, identifying about 50 IT projects encompassing the implementation of applications, databases and hardware.

Transit New Zealand has drawn up its IT strategic plan for the next five years, identifying about 50 IT projects encompassing the implementation of applications, databases and hardware.

An information retrieval system, the first of a suite of document management projects based on Lotus Notes, will deliver an electronic database of statutes, Resource Management Act commentary, the New Zealand Planning Digest and Transit New Zealand planning submissions and legal opinions before the end of 1996.

A recently released RFI for a property management system is another SISP (strategic information systems plan) project aimed at more effectively managing Transit New Zealand's portfolio of around 2400 properties worth more than $150 million, says IS manager Alma Hong. Responses from 10 companies are being evaluated.

"It will replace chains of spreadsheets and manual updating of information collected from property consultants contracted to Transit New Zealand," says Hong.

Developed between August 1995 and February 1996, the SISP provides a managed approach to IS projects to ensure organisation-wide synergy and integration of systems, says Hong. However, she stresses that the SISP will be flexible and monitored constantly to keep abreast of change in the IT industry and change within Transit New Zealand itself.

Twenty projects have been identified for the upcoming financial year with a budget of more than $2 million.

One possible project--whether to deploy a geographical information system (GIS)--is undecided.

"The implementation of GIS is not a matter of technical constraints but one of balancing costs with benefits," says Hong. "We will investigate the benefits of GIS and the infrastructure to support it during the next two years."

A long-term goal is an Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) which would give road users real-time travel information via roadside message signs and continuous radio broadcasts. ATMS would help drivers choose the best routes, showing where delays are and suggesting alternative roads. An ATMS trial is planned on one of Auckland's motorways within the next two years.

Existing systems such as Road Assessment and Maintenance Management System (RAMMS) will be constantly reviewed under the SISP framework.

RAMMS is critical to Transit's business of managing the state highways. It's also core business for Transfund New Zealand (a new body that from July 1 will manage central government funding for roads and alternatives). RAMMS is available to road controlling authorities at about 66 sites. It is used to record the structure and condition of the road network in order to assess maintenance needs.

Transit New Zealand has 185 staff spread over eight sites linked by a WAN connected with a 48kbit/s leased line. It runs Novell NetWare 4.1 on its eight Lans but will review that against Microsoft Windows NT.

The authority runs an AT&T minicomputer with an Informix database.

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