Need to keep your community's bridges safe? Stantec is creating an app for that.
July 09, 2018
July 09, 2018
Dr. Reed Ellis and his team are constantly evolving a research-based Bridge Management System that helps transportation agencies inspect and maintain their critical infrastructure
For Darrell Evans, working with Stantec goes beyond keeping bridges in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) safe and secure. Working with Stantec means access to our specialized Bridge Management System (BMS) and research into technologies that puts the island’s infrastructure ahead of the curve.
Why? Because Stantec’s research isn’t just for our people, it’s for our clients and communities.
“The fact that Stantec is willing to invest its own resources to help us achieve our goals is quite remarkable,” Darrell says.
Darrell is the Assistant Director, Capital Projects Division, at the PEI Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy (TIE). Darrell and the department have been working with Stantec’s Reed Ellis, vice president, bridges, for more than 10 years. The PEI TIE department and Stantec work together to monitor and maintain bridges across the island province. Reed, in turn, has been engaged with Stantec’s Greenlight program for the better part of a decade, supporting more than a half-dozen research projects related to our specialized BMS.
So, what’s Greenlight, and what’s BMS? One is a program that invests in our employees’ good ideas; the other is a bridge inspection software system that helps keep our client’s bridges well-monitored and safe. Bringing the two together, says Reed, has been positive for everyone involved.
“It’s a win-win because it not only demonstrates our technical abilities, it shows Stantec is a research-minded organization,” Reed says. “We want to be creative and innovative to drive improvements in our communities, and these Greenlight projects are a good example of that.”
The fact that Stantec is willing to invest its own resources to help us achieve our goals is quite remarkable.
With BMS at the heart of Reed and team’s Greenlight projects, the research group has been focused on studies that help clients with specific problems. In one case, Reed and his Stantec team paired the BMS with our Pavement Management System, helping our clients who use both products visualize bridge and pavement maintenance needs and timing on an integrated geographic information system (GIS) map. In another, the Stantec BMS software team lead by Kang Hong (Waterloo, ON) developed a smartphone version of the BMS to improve inspection efficiency.
Currently, Stantec and the PEI TIE department are working to develop a BMS tablet application (or app) that will allow staff to collect inspection data in the field and synchronize the findings with the BMS from anywhere. The duo says the app will improve the accuracy and efficiency of bridge inspection and management in the province and beyond.
The app project—and Reed’s other Greenlight projects—wouldn’t have been able to get off the ground without the BMS. Reed says this sophisticated software differentiates Stantec from others in the bridge engineering field. With BMS, we’re able to support our clients across the complete spectrum of bridge services.
“We’re advancing our inspection technology tools, including developing the app, to give us an advantage in the inspection field. Because the app links to the BMS, it makes the system more appealing. And because we’re at the forefront of several technologies, we can better serve our clients and their communities,” says Reed.
Darrell agrees with Reed about the value of the BMS. “Stantec’s BMS software has greatly assisted our department with inspection data collection, bridge condition indexing, and risk analysis. We can quickly and effectively target problem areas to monitor and manage asset condition and risks,” he says.
“Overall, it’s been an incredibly valuable tool for managing our highway network and assisting with our capital programming.”
So what’s next for Reed, Greenlight, and the BMS? Likely more client-focused research with partners like Darrell. It’s a prospect Reed looks forward to.
“Research drives progress,” says Reed. “Working together with our clients, we’ll continue to push toward a future state defined by safe, well-managed infrastructure that serves the communities in which we live and work. At Stantec, we are fortunate to have a tremendously talented and experienced group working in the bridge management area.”
Reed Ellis has comprehensive knowledge of bridge engineering, with expertise in the full spectrum of bridge practice—from inspections to design, rehabilitation, and construction management. He’s led the engineering development of bridge management systems and developed and provided training courses for transportation agencies around the world. He has authored over 50 technical publications.
This article is part of an ongoing series focusing on the value Stantec’s Greenlight program brings to clients, communities, and employees. Through Greenlight, Stantec invests in employee ideas that benefit our clients, community, and Company. Greenlight is part of our Creativity & Innovation Program, which celebrates and encourages creativity and innovation at work and in our work. Check back soon for another story in our Greenlight series.