Project Description

Creating a single source of truth for subway inspection data.

The New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) relies on several agencies to undertake inspection of its transportation systems, including the MTA Subway system. Engineering firm Fay, Spofford, and Thorndike, Inc. (FST), is the lead Program Manager overseeing the inspections, a process that involves coordinating the activities of several inspection firms and gathering the information collected for reporting to the MTAïs NYC Transit Capital Programs group. They are also required to assemble the data collected, calculate subcomponent, component, and station ratings, and generate formal station reports. With data coming from multiple sources and in a variety of formats, this was a challenging and inefficient process.

FST engaged Microdesk to develop a web application and supporting database that would enable all inspection firms to record their inspection data in a single, secure location. Microdesk’s solution involved first developing a data model to reflect the business rules of the inspection rating calculations. With this data model in place and centralized, the report generation process could then be automated.

A web application using the data model was then created to provide each firm access to record their inspection activity. To maintain security, the application requires a user login and restricts view and access to only those subway stations assigned to them. An intuitive administrative module provides a simple interface for managing account settings.

The application guides users through a series of forms to inventory and document inspection data. Because the system is linked to the data model, all inspection data and station ratings are input into the system using a standardized approach and complex reports which contain station summary data, detail component sections and inspection photos can then be generated automatically. Now what was previously a manual process of assembling, calculating and reporting is completely automated. As an added benefit, NYC Transit Capital Programs staff can also leverage the data collected to perform other analysis, such as system improvement reviews.