Revolutionizing Infrastructure Efficiency in Japan: The ROADIC System and SiteMap® Integration

Revolutionizing Infrastructure Efficiency in Japan: The ROADIC System and SiteMap® Integration

Japan is recognized worldwide as a leader in pioneering technologies and creative methods for enhancing urban areas.

The Japanese government invests more than $2.3 billion annually into universities and scientific research, solidifying its reputation as an innovative powerhouse. A prime example of this innovation is the ROADIC System (Road Information Management System), an elaborate platform devised by Japanese authorities to improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of the nation's transportation infrastructure. Although ROADIC is well-established in Japan, it remains relatively unknown globally due to its ever-evolving technologies, which mirror the dynamic nature of Japan itself.

SiteMap® (patent pending), powered by GPRS, serves as a top-tier infrastructure mapping solution, operating in a manner akin to the ROADIC System but tailored for private sector use. Both technologies signify a significant advancement in infrastructure management, utilizing cutting-edge 3D mapping and underground facility management to achieve unparalleled levels of efficiency, effectiveness, and reductions in rework throughout the global infrastructure network.

Japanese roads at night.
Japan is recognized worldwide as a leader in pioneering technologies and creative methods for enhancing urban areas.

The ROADIC System: Redefining Infrastructure Management in Japan

The ROADIC System serves as a comprehensive platform for managing Japan's extensive network of roads, bridges, tunnels, and underground utilities. Developed by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), the system provides centralized access to a wealth of infrastructure data, including road conditions, maintenance schedules, traffic flow, and underground utilities. By consolidating disparate datasets into a unified platform, the ROADIC System empowers government agencies, infrastructure operators, and urban planners with actionable insights and analytics to optimize infrastructure planning, maintenance, and development initiatives.

The History of ROADIC

The Road Administration Information Center (ROADIC) was created in 1986 as a result of several large-scale gas explosions that killed and injured hundreds of Japanese people, while causing tremendous damage. The gas line explosions and the need to coordinate road construction, coupled with available funding at the ministry level, lent significant impetus to the formation of ROADIC. The Japanese national government saw the need to develop an approach to preserve public safety and to improve response to accidents involving this significantly expanding public energy source. It took the lead to organize ROADIC through its Ministry of Construction, Bureau of Roads, which proactively enabled the foundation of the program in 1986.

As a collection of public and private members, ROADIC was set up as a national project in order to manage and protect the public utilities within the right-of-way. Following a successful initial implementation in metropolitan Tokyo in the mid-1980s, additional branches have been integrated within 12 major urban centers throughout Japan. Some of these cities include: Tokyo (23 separate Wards), Sapporo, Chiba, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka. These 12 branches coordinate with local government agencies and public utility companies including electric, gas, water, sewer, trains, subways and communications.

The original cost of establishing the ROADIC program was in the range of ¥ 9.5 billion, or $8.7 million U.S. 60% of this cost was funded by the national government. The remainder was contributed by interested local governments and utility companies. In 2003, the annual operating budget was ¥ 3.4 billion, or approximately $3.1 million U.S. The Japanese national government provides 50% of the annual operating funds. Both taxpayers and ratepayers are supporting ROADIC operations.

ROADIC Study Missions

In the early 1990s, the Geospatial Information & Technology Association, previously known as AM/FM International, established its Japanese branch. This initiation sparked ROADIC's interest in the newly formed affiliate’s activities. Many of ROADIC's founding members played a crucial role in setting up and expanding GITA-Japan. Additionally, a broad spectrum of geospatial professionals from Japanese utilities, government bodies, and private companies started participating in GITA's annual conferences held in the United States.

Over time, ROADIC leveraged these conferences, using the technical educational programs as platforms to pinpoint particular applications of geospatial technology that were relevant to their current interests. This involvement evolved into organizing “study missions” to North American and European utilities, cities, government agencies, and private companies, establishing a routine of alternating visits between the two continents every other year. These exchanges allowed host countries and Japanese professionals to freely share and enhance geospatial infrastructure management solutions, fostering ongoing global enhancements.

These missions typically take place in October and have been annual events since 1990, except for a hiatus in 2001 due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The ROADIC delegation usually comprises 12-18 representatives from Japanese utilities, government agencies, and private sector firms. They prepare a comprehensive list of questions for each site visit. On-site, a Japanese translator ensures all critical details about each project or implementation are clearly understood, facilitating the group. Individual perspectives and observations are gathered, and a comprehensive report of each visit is compiled. Upon returning to Japan, the insights are further analyzed and integrated into the ROADIC system, incorporating any particularly valuable ideas from the visits.

This distinctive approach to on-site learning has led to continual improvements within the system. Such initiatives have established the ROADIC system as a premier example of multi-organizational collaboration and knowledge exchange on a global scale.

Screenshot of SiteMap® data.
SiteMap® creates an accurate single source of truth for your entire team.

SiteMap®: Unlocking the Power of 3D Infrastructure Mapping and Underground Facility Management

At the heart of the ROADIC System's capabilities lies technology that is also used by GPRS, and therefore, SiteMap®, a state-of-the-art infrastructure mapping solution renowned for its advanced 3D mapping and underground facility management functionalities. Similarly, should they wish to, by incorporating SiteMap® into the ROADIC System, Japanese authorities could gain access to a suite of powerful tools and features that may enhance the system's effectiveness and efficiency:

Comprehensive Infrastructure Mapping

SiteMap® enables the creation and delivery of detailed existing conditions and 3D maps of an infrastructure network, providing stakeholders with a comprehensive view of roadways, bridges, tunnels, and underground utilities. This detailed mapping data serves as a foundation for informed decision-making, allowing authorities to identify potential bottlenecks, optimize traffic flow, and prioritize infrastructure investments.

Advanced Visualization Capabilities

SiteMap®'s advanced visualization capabilities empower users to interactively explore and analyze infrastructure data in a virtual environment. By visualizing complex infrastructure networks in 3D, stakeholders can gain insights into spatial relationships, identify potential conflicts, and assess the impact of proposed projects on existing infrastructure assets.

Efficient Underground Facility Management

Managing underground utilities is a critical aspect of infrastructure maintenance and development, particularly in densely populated urban areas. SiteMap®'s underground facility management capabilities enable municipal managers and authorities to accurately map, monitor, and maintain underground utilities, minimizing the risk of damage during construction activities and improving overall infrastructure resilience.

Data Integration and Collaboration

SiteMap®’s data portability allows it to work well with existing infrastructure methods and systems, enabling interoperability and data sharing across different government agencies and stakeholders. This supportive approach streamlines workflows, enhances collaboration, and fosters data-driven decision-making, leading to more efficient and effective infrastructure management practices. While SiteMap® offers its own GIS platform, it's easy to utilize with other platforms as well.

SiteMap® allows customers to visualize their underground infrastructure in much the same way as Japan’s data system, with accurate as-built data.

When you hire GPRS, your subsurface utilities are located, mapped, and layered in our interactive geospatial platform that allows you to deconstruct your utility map, as well. And because it’s cloud-based, SiteMap® is secure, accessible 24/7, and shareable with those you designate for as long as they need the information.

Extra Savings

Because GPRS services support SUE QL-B, you could achieve significant savings by greatly reducing potholing, utility strikes, and the cost overruns usually associated with construction, expansion, or infrastructure installation by having 24/7 access to GPRS 99.8%+ accurate subsurface information via SiteMap®.

The continued cost savings of digitizing and aggregating your underground utility maps has not been studied in significant numbers, but a recent case study cited in the Common Ground Alliance’s 2022 DIRT Report showed that the city of Chicago reduced its underground utility strikes by 50% over a five-year period by creating accessible aggregated utility maps in a GIS platform.

So, by utilizing SUE Standard A or B to locate and accurately map subsurface utility and infrastructure data, general contractors, facility managers, stakeholders, and municipalities could slash project costs by 9% - 40%.

Similar Cases

SiteMap® creates an accurate single source of truth for your entire team. Backed by the amazing 99.8% accurate data provided by GPRS, SiteMap® functions as a one stop shop for everything subsurface. Much like ROADIC, SiteMap® utilizes the finest technology to accurately and simply map the world below your feet. Other nation’s have accomplished similar efforts:

Sarajevo, Bosnia

Over 40 years ago, Sarajevo mandated the recording of the location of all utility and telecommunications infrastructure data in the city. This was originally done manually on paper maps, much like in other countries. However, several years ago Sarajevo began converting these maps to digital format which run on Oracle Spatial.

Calgary, Alberta

Many years ago the city passed a by-law which mandated that all utilities and telecoms working within city limits must provide data showing the geolocation of their infrastructure. This data would have to be reported to the city's Joint Utility Mapping Project (JUMP). JUMP provides a single-source database which shows the geolocation of all underground utilities.

São Paulo, Brazil

The City of Sao Paulo's GeoCONVIAS project integrates data from 20 to 30 utilities which operate in the city of Sao Paulo.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The City of Rio de Janeiro has a similar project GeoVias funded by the government of the City of Rio de Janeiro and four utilities, as well as a project to monitor offshore seismic activity.

The ROADIC System marks a significant milestone in Japan's continuous drive to improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of its infrastructure network.

Despite the adoption of 811 services in the USA, SiteMap® emerges as a frontrunner in subsurface mapping, paralleling the ROADIC System. Utilizing sophisticated 3D mapping and underground facility management technologies, the ROADIC System provides authorities with groundbreaking insights and analytics that enhance infrastructure planning, upkeep, and expansion efforts. Similarly, SiteMap® employs the same pioneering methods and technologies that have made ROADIC a celebrated model, revolutionizing how we understand and manage subsurface environments, one city at a time.

GPRS SiteMap® team members are currently scheduling live, personal SiteMap® demos so you can see how this infrastructure mapping software solution can help you plan, design, manage, dig, and build better.

Click below to sign up for your demo today!