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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Embedded Computer Year 2000 Compliance Survey
Project Researcher: Brian Hines, SDDOT
Project Manager: Jon Becker
Research Period: 12/1/1998 - 11/30/1999
Cost: $8,500.00

Problem Statement: The Year 2000, or "Y2K" problem affects electronic equipment containing computers that record the year using only the last two digits (e.g., "97" rather than "1997"). This problem can affect elevator controls, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, traffic signals, surveying equipment, test equipment, control systems, etc. Some of this equipment may continue to function after January 1st, 2000, some may behave erratically, and some may fail completely. The full effect of the problem may not be known until 2000.

The Bureau of Information and Telecommunications has been addressing Y2K problems in telephone systems, personal computers and related equipment. However, the Department owns many pieces of equipment, such as laboratory and surveying equipment and traffic signals, that have not yet been addressed. The equipment that is susceptible to this problem must be identified and repaired or replaced throughout the Department's central offices, Region and Area offices, and 75 maintenance shops.

Findings: 508 items were inventoried. 62 items were found to be not Y2K compliant. Many of these items will still functionally operate even though they are not technically Y2K compliant. The cost of the equipment upgrades/replacement was $25,418. Although there may be some unexpected problems, SDDOT is ready for the year 2000. The recommendation is that SDDOT be prepared as though there will be a major blizzard on December 31, 1999 that will last for a week. SDDOT will need to be prepared for this blizzard with the expectation that they will not be able to get any outside assistance (i.e. not being able to get fuel delivered for the duration of the blizzard).

Research Objectives:
1  To identify and characterize embedded computer equipment within the Department affected by the Y2K problem.
2  To recommend corrective actions for bringing equipment owned by the Department into Y2K compliance, performing repairs when practical.

Research Tasks:
1  Perform a literature search regarding Y2K.
2  Meet with the technical panel to review the project scope and work plan.
3  Identify and list all non-PC based equipment using embedded chips within the Department.
4  Evaluate and categorize the list by importance. Eliminate from the list all equipment that has little importance or that has already been addressed.
5  Meet with the panel to review the list.
6  Determine Y2K compliance for each piece of equipment.
7  Recommend corrective actions, giving costs when possible.
8  Work with each affected office to take corrective action to bring equipment into compliance when a simple software or hardware upgrade is necessary, testing critical components.
9  Meet with the panel to discuss progress and the extent of equipment repairs or replacement.
10  Prepare a final report including methodology, findings, conclusions and recommendations.
11  Make an executive presentation to the Research Review Board.

Documents Available:

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