May 23, 2007
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Research engineers, businesses, information technology professionals and policy makers form New Brunswick have joined forces to improve North America's highways, bridges and waterways.
The University of New Brunswick, in partnership with the Department of Transportation, xwave, ADI, Remsoft, and Martec, is embarking on a global civil infrastructure asset management project called TAMWORTH.
The goal of TAMWORTH is to provide municipal and transportation decision makers with a set of practical tools for prioritizing, planning and tracking construction, maintenance and operation of roads, bridges, buildings, water and waste water systems and for cost-effective maintenance and repair alternatives.
The TAMWORTH project team is building upon an asset management system that was successfully developed and implemented by the Department of Transportation for use in identifying the optimum time and best way to make investments in the province's highway infrastructure.
"In the Charter for Change, we said that we would work with research institutions, universities and business to facilitate the commercialization of New Brunswick ideas," Transportation Minister Denis Landry said. "Our department's decision to provide our asset management system to UNB for further development is a reflection of that commitment. We are pleased to work with the University of New Brunswick and our other partners on a project that will be of benefit to the department, to the university and to our province's economic development."
The Department of Transportation will also provide UNB with access to its staff and serve as a test site for any newly developed features, applications and processes.
"The system used by the Department of Transportation is unique and unlike any other in the world," said Donath Mrawira, a professor in the department of civil engineering at UNB in Fredericton. "We want to build on that technology and develop a leading-edge product that will be of use to the international civil infrastructure industry. Many of North America's infrastructures were built after the Second World War and are in need up upgrades. We definitely see a huge market for TAMWORTH, not only in North America, but internationally."
The project will cost over $4.3 million. The Government of Canada is investing over $2.4 million through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's Atlantic Innovation fund. The remainder will come from private sector partners and through in-kind contributions from the New Brunswick Department of Transportation, UNB, the City of Fredericton, and the Maritime Road Development Corporation.
"The Government of Canada is working to get things done for the people of New Brunswick," Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson said. "Our strategic investment of over $2.4 million in this project will position the province as a leader in infrastructure asset management, and create new commercial opportunities for the Atlantic business partners involved." He spoke on behalf of Foreign Affairs Minister Peter McKay, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
A suite of advanced business processes and software tools, TAMWORTH will have a major impact on the delivery of civil infrastructure in the most efficient way, while balancing societal issues such as the environment and resource usage.
"This solution offers significant potential form both a transportation and broader economic perspective," said Paul Kent, chief operating officer for xwave. "For transportation agencies that traditionally must 'fix the worst, first', it's the only solution capable of modelling all asset types together over their entire life span, factoring in varying decisions around capital investment and maintenance. This in turn represents a tremendous opportunity for New Brunswickers and UNB to export sought-after technology, and establish themselves as leaders in transportation and municipal management."
The TAMWORTH team will study current asset management processes to determine best practices; develop multi-disciplinary solutions to address practical issues related to operating civil infrastructure; and develop a technology product to facilitate long-term planning and operation for different types of civil infrastructure assets.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Background information follows on the project partners. MEDIA CONTACT: Tracey Burkhardt, director of communications, Transportation, 506-453-5634; Natalie Montgomery, University of New Brunswick, 506-451-6842, email@example.com.
About the Partners
UNB, Remsoft and xwave were part of a team of experts that consulted with the Department of Transportation on the development of its asset management business framework. The system was based upon Remsoft's robust software tool already in use by over 200 forest analysts worldwide.
New Brunswick Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation is responsible for the operation and maintenance of 18,000 kilometres of provincial highways and more than 2,800 structures. The department will provide UNB with the software, business processes and engineering science, as well as access to its staff and serve as a test site for any newly developed features, applications and processes.
University of New Brunswick
Dr. Mrawira is an associate professor of civil engineering and the D.C. Campbell Chair in Highway Construction and Pavement Research at UNB Fredericton. He has been teaching engineering, consulting, and conducting advanced research at UNBF in the general area of pavement engineering and transportation asset management since 1998.
Remsoft is an eight-employee, privately-owned specialty planning and management software firm located in Fredericton. Founded in 1992, it specializes in developing, marketing, distributing forestry planning and management software packages to clients around the world. Remsoft will bring to the TAMWORTH project: experience in long-term forest planning and resource optimization tools; existing software licences to be used in the research and development; and their technical participation in the research and development activities.
xwave, a division of Bell Aliant, is one of Canada's largest business-solutions providers, delivering a full range of information technology and business services to clients through systems integration, infrastructure services, and fulfilment. The organization plans, designs, builds and operates complete IT solutions, with 30 years of experience in key sectors such as government, health care, justice and public safety, and defence, security and aerospace.
ADl Limited, a Fredericton-based consulting company, provides services in most disciplines of engineering, design, project management, environmental management, planning and architecture. ADI's role in the project is to provide civil infrastructure expertise to the research and development phase, participate in the project steering committee, and work with the other commercial partners to apply their long-established market experience to the commercialization phase of the project.
Founded in 1973, Martec is a privately-owned engineering firm headquartered in Halifax. It specializes in advanced engineering simulation technology for the design and analysis of complex structures and systems. Martec will provide technical expertise as a subcontractor for asset deterioration modelling, risk and uncertainty issues as they impact long-term planning is asset management.