WHY DO WE NEED COORDINATION OF AUTOMATION SYSTEMS?

ON THE BASIS OF TWO EXAMPLES FROM HIGHWAY PRACTICE IT IS ARGUED THAT COORDINATION OF DATA AND INFORMATION IS SOMETIMES USELESS AND WASTEFUL. FROM THIS ARGUMENT THREE "LESSONS" AND THREE PRINCIPLES ARE DERIVED. THE LATTER ARE: (1) THE DESIGN AND SUBSEQUENT REVIEW OF ANY SYSTEM OR COMBINATION OF SYSTEMS SHOULD BEGIN WITH DEFINED DECISION INPUT NEEDED TO ACHIEVE BASIC OBJECTIVES; (2) THERE SHOULD BE CONTINUAL MANAGEMENT REVIEW AND OCCASIONAL IN-DEPTH STUDY OF ALL SYSTEMS TO SEE HOW THEIR OUTPUT RELATES TO THE PROVISION OF NEEDED DECISION INPUT; AND (3) EFFICIENCY AND COST-EFFECTIVENESS IN PROVIDING NEEDED DECISION INPUT SHOULD BE THE SOLE CRITERION OF WHETHER, AND HOW MUCH, SYSTEMS SHOULD BE COORDINATED. COORDINATION OF AUTOMATION SYSTEMS SHOULD BE A FUNCTION OF THE INPUT REQUIRED FOR DECISIONS RATHER THAN OF COMPUTER PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY OR TENUOUS RELATIONSHIPS AMONG DATA ELEMENTS. IT IS FALLACIOUS TO ASSUME THAT BECAUSE PLANNING, LOCATION, CONSTRUCTION, AND MAINTENANCE ARE PARTS OF A CONTINUOUS PROCESS THEY SHARE PROCEDURES OR INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS. THIS IS A MAJOR DEFICIENCY OF THE TOTAL INTEGRATED ENGINEERING SYSTEM (TIES). MANY ANALYTIC FUNCTIONS SHOULD NOT BE AUTOMATED AT ALL BECAUSE OF INFREQUENCY, INSTABILITY, OR UNCERTAINTY OF APPLICATION TO DECISION-MAKING. IT IS NECESSARY TO DISTINGUISH TWO BASICALLY DIFFERENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS THAT HAVE DIFFERENT AUTOMATION REQUIREMENTS. THE FIRST IS THE PRECONSTRUCTION PROJECT PRODUCTION LINE; THE SECOND, THE MANAGEMENT SUPPORT SYSTEM (PLANNING, BUDGETING, SCHEDULING, FINANCE, ETC.). THESE TWO SYSTEMS SHOULD NOT BE COORDINATED, AND IT IS QUESTIONABLE WHETHER PROGRAMMING, SCHEDULING, AND CONTROL SHOULD BE COORDINATED WITH BUDGETING AND PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT. MOST MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS ARE SELF- CONTAINED, BUT THERE APPEARS TO BE SCOPE FOR LIMITED COORDINATION WITH PLANNING, PRODUCTION, AND BUDGETING. IN GENERAL, HARDWARE CAPABILITIES HAVE TENDED TO BLIND MANAGERS TO THEIR OWN REAL INFORMATION NEEDS. THEY HAVE ALSO ALLOWED BASIC DECISIONS ABOUT COMPUTER INSTALLATION AND SYSTEM DESIGN TO DEVOLVE UPON LOWER-LEVEL PERSONNEL. THREE FIGURES ARE APPENDED THAT DISPLAY RECOMMENDED FLOW FOR A PLANNING SYSTEM, A MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, AND AN ACCIDENT DATA SYSTEM.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: p. 9-17
  • Monograph Title: AUTOMATION SYSTEMS FOR HIGHWAY ORGANIZATIONS
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00243123
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309019974
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Oct 9 1972 12:00AM