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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Use of Transportation Asset Management Principles in State Highway Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22650.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Use of Transportation Asset Management Principles in State Highway Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22650.
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Use of Transportation Asset Management Principles in State Highway Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22650.
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Use of Transportation Asset Management Principles in State Highway Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22650.

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SUMMARY USE OF TRANSPORTATION ASSET MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES IN STATE HIGHWAY AGENCIES Roadway infrastructure within the United States includes features such as roads, bridges, signs, pavement markings, traffic signals, support commerce and mobility, and is, in essence, a shared financial public resource worthy of being managed at the highest level of efficiency. State departments of transportation (DOTs), local transportation authorities, and fed- eral agencies responsible for the fiscal management of the transportation system have shown a growing interest in advancing the state of practice in managing these critical assets. In addition, the recent congressional passage of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21 Act) has established an outcome-driven, performance-tracking approach that will hold states and metropolitan planning organizations accountable for improving the conditions and performance of their transportation assets. It will therefore increase agency attentiveness to these vital issues. Transportation Asset Management (AM) is a strategic and systematic process of oper- ating, maintaining, upgrading, and expanding physical assets effectively throughout their life cycle. It focuses on business and engineering practices for resource allocation and utilization, with the objective of better decision making based on quality information and well-defined objectives. Advancing AM capabilities and integrating these capabilities across an organization’s business units requires self-assessment, alignment, goal setting, and support. This synthe- sis of transportation asset management practice among state highway agencies will be a timely resource for agencies to identify their current state of practice and determine where they will direct their AM efforts. This synthesis is based on two separate surveys, with additional input from practitio- ners. The initial survey requested that participants conduct a self-assessment to character- ize their agency’s AM practices. The survey utilized the self-assessment exercise from Section 3.2 of the 2002 Transportation Asset Management Guide [NCHRP 20-24(11)], which was designed to probe basic functions and capabilities that contribute to good AM regardless of an agency’s particular characteristics and situation. The self-assessment results reflect current and future (5-year) business practices and the agencies’ institutional, organizational, financial, and IT environments. This survey yielded 18 DOT participant responses (see Appendix D). Based on the results of the initial survey, and input from the Topic Panel, a second survey was designed to capture the state of practice and forward looking expectations (for the next 3 to 5 years) among state DOTs. Forty-three agencies participated in this second survey.

2 An in-depth analysis of the survey responses regarding AM implementation processes and practices was conducted to investigate the following: • The impact (importance) of having a mandate (internal or external) on implementing AM practices (13 had a mandate versus 30 without a mandate) • The importance of having an AM group (26 had a group versus 17 that did not) • Analysis of transportation asset management plan (TAMP) examples provided by agencies (five agencies provided a copy of their TAMP) • Assessment of training and outreach activities on advancing AM practice. A DOT summary of practice was developed and categorized according to the basic com- ponents of an AM system, which include the following: Organization—Sixty percent of the agencies have an AM group. Even though major asset managers dominate the composition of these groups, top executives are represented in more than 30% of them. Fifteen percent of the responding agencies have created separate divisions within their organization to support AM activities. Having an AM group, executive involvement, and an AM structure within the organization is critical to support AM activity development, implementation, and practice. Data—AM inventories have expanded beyond the traditional pavement and bridge assets (over 70% of the agencies report collecting signs, guardrail, culverts, and lighting information). In addition, over 50% of the agencies are conducting condition assessments, which lead to supporting investment analysis for project selection and resource allocation recommendations. Decision making—Over 70% of the responding agencies noted that using AM principles has made their decisions more data driven, defensible, and performance-based. Sixty percent of the agencies are balancing AM preservation and capital improvements, which is a critical component for developing a sustainable infrastructure. Fifty percent of the agencies have developed a process to share AM information with elected and appointed officials, which is helpful for communicating investment needs and adding transparency to the decision- making process and trade-offs. Even though agencies are collecting data beyond pavements and bridges, they still need to expand the use of this information in the decision-making process. For example, more than 90% of the agencies use AM information to select bridge and pavement projects; however, for other asset decisions (e.g., maintenance, operations, and safety) this number drops below 40%. Performance measures and risk—The primary performance measures that drive agency decision making include either physical condition (98%) or safety (90%). However, more than half of agencies reported both operations and capacity as decision-making driv- ers, 57% and 50% respectively. Only 27% of the respondents incorporate risk into their short-term decision making, which is normally associated with cost and schedules. Only 19% of agencies consider long-term risk in their decision making, which includes design, sustainability, and climate change. TAMP—Of the five agencies that provided what they termed their Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP) documents, only two agencies (New Jersey and Georgia) provided TAMPs that show a good example of a TAMP, according to the 2002 AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide. The remaining three agencies provided more of an implementation plan or a strategic plan to initiate the practice of AM at a comprehensive level. Regardless, the content of these plans is encouraging; they focus on more than just pavement and bridges, and consider integration, communication, and effective decision making.

3 Other findings from the synthesis include the following: AM Mandate—Only 30% of the agencies (13 of 43) reported having some sort of mandate to implement AM. The mandate helped the agencies develop an organization structure to support AM (70% of mandate agencies had an AM group versus 56% for no- mandate agencies). Even though the agencies’ inventory practices were not much different in comparison, the agencies with an AM mandate conducted more condition assessment and checked the quality of the collected data more than the no-mandate agencies [85% con- ducted quality control/quality assurance (QC/QA) versus 69% for the no-mandate group]. This synthesis identified the following future research needs to support AM: • Develop a common language for AM functions, practices, and processes. The results from the AM state-of-the-practice survey highlighted a few areas where there is no common understanding of the terminology. One good example is the TAMP. Out of the five TAMPS received through the synthesis, only two included all the required parts. • Self-assessment tool. The 2002 AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide introduced the self-assessment so that agencies can plan their next moves in imple- menting AM. The self-assessment tool needs to be modified to reflect changes resulting from new research since 2002, the new AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide: A Focus on Implementation (2011), and current state DOT prac- tices. The new self-assessment tool could be in electronic format, preferably web- based, to not only allow the agency to gather input from its staff but also provide analysis capabilities as part of the presentation of the results. • Risk assessment. As highlighted in the AM state-of-the-practice survey, risk is an activ- ity that needs more short- and long-term focus. A synthesis of risk assessment practices in an AM perspective would identify current activities and future research needs. • A synthesis on the use of performance measures in AM. With the MAP-21 Act and the FHWA’s recent creation of the Office of Transportation Performance Management, it is critical to start investigating this topic by developing case studies on how some agencies are utilizing this concept. • Develop case studies on best practices addressing different categories of the maturity scale presented in this synthesis (i.e., organization structure, data, decision making, performance measures, risk). • Develop an objective, comprehensive, and data-driven maturity scale to allow the agencies to assess their level of AM implementation and practices. • Conduct a domestic scan of the agencies that scored high on the different maturity categories.

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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 439: Use of Transportation Asset Management Principles in State Highway Agencies explores the state of practice for transportation asset management among state departments of transportation.

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