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Project Dates
03/01/2012 - 12/31/2013
Principal Investigators
Project Status

Major State Departments of Transportation such as the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) operate and maintain networks of thousands of miles of conduits, many carrying fiber optic cables that are vital to State communication systems. These conduits are located alongside highways and frequently must be located and marked to avoid damage from digging or boring resulting from construction. These conduits are part of a complex maze of facilities which include junction boxes where fiber optic cables get re-routed from one conduit segment to another.

The New Jersey inventory system included sections of conduits with varying lengths sometimes changing materials and unknown intermediate numbers, types, and locations of segments and junction boxes. In a previous study (January 1, 2010 to February 28, 2011) sponsored by UTRC and undertaken by the PI in collaboration with other Principal investigators from NJIT and TCNJ, an evaluation and comparison of various methods for locating fiber optic conduits was undertaken, leading to a method for identifying preferred location techniques under various soils and surface cover conditions. As a result of this study, recommendations were made to further the goal of inventory accuracy. One of the recommendations was to start the development of a computerized inventory system for fiber optic conduits, in order to enable the definition of relationships between segments and junction boxes within the network. A project was thus undertaken during the summer of 2011, leading to a prototype inventory system that enables the conversion of the section-level conduit inventory data in the existing system to a more accurate system including segments and junction boxes, and defined a more accurate representation of cross-referenced conduit segments and junction boxes. This first prototype enabled the transition of the conduit section records to a more network-based model of segments and junction boxes. However, in order to develop a true network model which includes cables flows and routing through conduits, it is necessary to expand the data model to include cables and their markings within each segment and other nodes such as junction boxes, along with their routing from one segment to another.

The key thrust of the proposed work is therefore to expand the previous data model to enable the coverage of all inventory data, including all pipe segments and junction boxes through the development of a detailed dynamically updated inventory of all Segment- Level conduits (Junction Box to Junction Box) and the Junction Boxes, and interior cable elements with a focus on comprehensive network connectivity. This expanded database is a high priority pre-requisite for the implementation of a rational fiber optic (and other) cable location program, and as a core inventory system for all construction and asset management activities in the network.