Evaluating the effectiveness of the rehabilitation and maintenance planning system (ramps) for district roads in Uganda
Segujja, Nakate Lillian
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Maintenance management systems (MMS) in state highway agencies are undergoing significant evolutions. While many agencies are using MMS that were initially implemented more than 10 years ago, a significant number of agencies have updated their system capabilities or have plans in place to replace their older systems. Most organizations today with computerized maintenance support systems may have failed to reap their full benefits due to a number of varying reasons such as; the system not meeting the maintenance requirements, maintenance planners and engineers not being well trained in using Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) and CMMS reports not used for maintenance improvements, among others. Rehabilitation and Maintenance Planning System (RAMPS) was developed by the MoWT to facilitate the management of district roads in Uganda. RAMPS facilitated the identification of the core network for prioritization of interventions in the district roads network. At the Ministry level, RAMPS eventually facilitated the identification of the combined districts core priority networks forming a basis for selection of those roads to be upgraded to national standards. With the limited maintenance resources, the general condition of the district roads in Uganda has continued to deteriorate for the past years posing a question on the procedures of maintenance options prioritization. This study was therefore undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of RAMPS, a planning tool to aid decision making so that rehabilitation and maintenance priorities are based on cost effectiveness ranking of the roads in the network. The methods used included; undertaking a thorough evaluation of RAMPS using data for Luwero district road network (357.16km), seeking opinions of district engineers on the usability and functionality of this software and conducting interviews with some DUCAR staff in the MoWT. From the analysis of how RAMPS operates, it was found out that prioritization of maintenance options is based on a systematic procedure. The findings further revealed that the overall ratings for effectiveness and adequacy of RAMPS in the areas of Planning, Programming, Implementation and Monitoring & Reporting were at 78%, 75%, 75.4%, and 68.6%, respectively. It appears that RAMPS is an effective and adequate MIS for district roads in Uganda today. It is of paramount importance to note that this study also provided feedback on the usability and functionality of the software. This study recommended updating of RAMPS by the MoWT and training of district staff for effective use of RAMPS as the major issues regarding the prioritization of rehabilitation and maintenance needs. These and others if adopted and addressed by the top decision and policy makers in the districts and MoWT, will enhance the performance of the districts roads network in Uganda today.