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39 APPENDIX B Survey Analysis As part of NCHRP Project 20-5, Topic 32-06, Public Bene- fits of Highway System Maintenance and Operations, a formal survey was undertaken to assess the current atti- tudes and practices of state departments of transportation. The survey (see Appendix A) was distributed by e-mail to transportation agencies in each of the 50 states and the Dis- trict of Columbia. Responses were received by e-mail and post. Summary statistics were prepared by TRB staff as re- quested by the consultant, and further analysis was under- taken by the consultant. SURVEY RESPONSE SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS A total of 19 agencies responded to the survey, 37% of all agencies contacted (Table B1). This response level repre- sents a relatively low rate compared with responses to other surveys conducted for the synthesis program. In addition, some respondents did not reply to all questions. A representative for one agency that did not complete the survey commented in an e-mail communication that re- sponsibilities for maintenance and maintenance-related communications with the public are distributed too widely within his organization for a coherent response to be pre- pared. That opinion, if representative of conditions in other agencies, could help explain the low overall rate of re- sponse. Responses were received from all regions of the coun- try. Table B1 summarizes the distribution of responses among states grouped into regions frequently used for fed- eral government social and economic statistics. No re- sponses were received from the East North Central states, whereas New England and Mountain states are somewhat disproportionately represented in the response sample. Ta- ble B2 and Figure B1 summarize the distribution of re- sponses among states grouped into regions by typical an- nual minimum temperature. As shown, a relatively high proportion of Southern states are represented in the re- sponse sample. Because of the limited response and poten- tial geographic bias in the response sample, no analysis was made of regional differences among survey responses. TABLE B2 GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF SURVEY RESPONSES, BY LIMATIC REGIONS C Climatic Regions Total No. of States Responses Response Rate (%) Northern 12 4 33 Middle 22 8 36 Southern 17 7 41 Total 51 19 37 Notes: See Figure B1. One agency was represented by two responses, com- pleted by two different individuals. A close comparison of the two responses provided some insight into the degree to which an individualâs perspective might influence re- sponses on those questions soliciting opinions (e.g., Ques- tion 20, regarding the publicâs views on the agencyâs main- tenance activities). Several questions involving seemingly factual information (e.g., âDoes your agency make an offi- cial estimate of highway system maintenance backlog?â) elicited substantially different answers from the two re- spondents. These responses were discarded in the summary analysis. The following sections correspond to the principal sec- tions of the survey form. Each section presents analyses of TABLE B1 GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF SURVEY RESPONSES, BY CENSUS REGIONS Census Regions New England Mid- Atlantic East North Central West North Central South Atlantic East South Central West South Central Mountain Pacific Total All States 6 3 5 7 9 4 4 8 5 51 12% 6% 10% 14% 18% 8% 8% 16% 10% 100% Responses 3 CT, ME, NH 1 NY 0 2 KS, MN 4 DC, GA, MD, WV 1 MS 1 AR 4 AZ, NV, UT, WY 3 CA, HI, OR 19 17% 6% 0% 11% 22% 6% 6% 22% 11% 100% Responses as percentage of all states 37%
40 FIGURE B1 Climatic zones, based on range of annual minimum temperature. the responses to questions in that section and issues related to the validity and interpretation of those responses. AGENCY BACKGROUND Section A of the survey was designed to determine the ex- tent to which agencies have implemented management tools and policies incorporating such principles as benefit maximization, cost minimization, and the theoretical trade- off between investment and maintenance costs. Questions 1â4âAll but one of the reporting agencies use some type of computer-based pavement and bridge management tools. As summarized in Table B3, the pave- ment management systems in use are largely custom applications written for the agency or adapted by consultants to meet the agencyâs particular requirements. Custom applications are less frequently used for bridge management; the Pontis program is prevalent. One might infer that the agencies that use such programs are not only aware of the theoretical trade-offs that life-cycle cost analysis entails, but they are prepared (at least in principle) to make management decisions aimed at reducing total ife-cycle costs. l Questions 5â12âAs summarized in Table B4, more than 80% of the responding agencies reported having con- tinuing activities or tools to inform the public about agency activities, other than those required for environmental re- views of projects and preparation of regional transportation plans. Such public information activities include news re- leases, open houses, presentations to civic groups, and Internet websites; slightly more than 25% of those report- ing specific techniques mentioned press releases only. Rather than using such agency-to-public communication mechanisms, approximately two-thirds of the responding agencies reported that they have undertaken customer sat- isfaction surveys or other activities to identify public inter- ests and preferences. Of those respondents that did report activities intended to learn about public preferences, ap- proximately 60% included maintenance explicitly. Some agencies have adopted construction bidding and award practices that take account of road-user costs that may be avoided through more rapid project completion; for example, âlane rentalâ and âA+Bâ bidding. Adoption of such practices may imply that these agencies are particu- larly sensitive to the broader range of public benefits of various maintenance practices, which may warrant making higher financial expenditures. Three-quarters of survey re- spondents that had used such methods also conduct activi- ties to identify public interests. A majority of these respon- dents include maintenance concerns in their public relations activities. Although two-thirds of respondents reported conducting surveys or other activities to identify public interests and preferences, fewer than half reported efforts to actively so-
41 TABLE B3 AGENCIES' USE OF PAVEMENT AND BRIDGE MANAGEMENT PACKAGES Management Activity Cited Prog am or Consultant r Percentage (fraction) of Respondents Pavement Custom application WiseCrax (Roadware)+Deighton Cambridge Systematics HPMA/Stantec Texas Research Development Foundation None 41 (7/17) 29 (5/17) 12 (2/17) 6 (1/17) 6 (1/17) 6 (1/17) â Bridge Pontis Custom application Bridgit + custom application None 72 (13/18) 17 (3/18) 6 (1/18) 6 (1/18) Maintenance Custom application None Hansen MAXIMO (MRO Software) 50 (9/18) 33 (6/18) 11 (2/18) 6 (1/18) Vehicle Fleet Fleet Anywhere (Peregrine) Fleetfocus M4 (Maximus) None Custom application MAXIMO (MRO Software) MESIS (IBM Canada) Synergen 25 (4/16) 19 (3/16) 19 (3/16) 19 (3/16) 6 (1/16) 6 (1/16) TABLE B4 A GENCIES' APPROACHES TO PUBLIC INFORMATION AND OPINION REGARDING MAINTENANCE Activity or Tool Used (survey question) Percent (fraction) of Respondents Conditions or Qualifications (survey question) Percentage (fraction) of Respondents Continuing efforts to inform the public regarding agency activities (8) No efforts reported 84 (16/19) 16 (3/19) Maintenance regularly included (9) Maintenance not regularly included (9) 75 (12/16) 25 (4/16) Surveys or other activities to identify public interests and preferences (5) No activities reported 68 (13/19) 32 (6/19) Maintenance included (6) Maintenance not included (6) 62 (8/13) 38 (5/13) Have used contracting methods that include road-user costs in bidding, award (7) Have not used contracting methods including road-user costs in bidding, award 63 (12/19) 37 (7/19) Agencies that have conducted activities to identify public interests, maintenance ex- plicitly included (5 and 6) Agencies that have conducted activities to identify public interests, maintenance not included (5 and 6) Agencies that have not conducted activities to identify public interests 58 (7/12) 17 (2/12) 25 (3/12) Staff member(s) assigned to communicate with elected officials and the public regarding maintenance (10) No staff member assigned 37 (7/19) 67 (12/19) Continuing efforts to solicit public opinion regarding agency activities (11) No efforts reported 50 (9/18) 50 (9/18)
42 licit public opinion on agency activities. One-third of re- spondents have staff assigned to deal with maintenance is- sues in communicating with elected officials and the pub- lic. MAINTENANCE PROGRAM STATUS Section B of the survey solicited agency staff opinions on how agenciesâ maintenance programs are viewed by others, as well as factors that might influence how the programs are viewed. Questions 13â17âAll respondents claimed that top- level agency management holds positive views of the agen- ciesâ maintenance program (see Table B5). However, only about half of the respondents felt that elected officials and the general public held such definitely positive views. Highway user surveys were most frequently mentioned (7 of 18 responses) as evidence of positive public views. Lack of complaints and favorable legislative reports or resolu- tions were each cited by several respondents. However, all respondents reported that their agencies have dedicated or earmarked funds for maintenance. Questions 18â19âOne-third of respondents (7 of 19) reported that some maintenance activities are delegated to other agencies. For just over half of those agencies that delegate (4)âthat is, one-fifth of all agenciesâthis dele- gation extends beyond the secondary system of highways (see Table B6). Questions 20â23âMore than half of respondents re- ported that their agencies make an official estimate of maintenance backlog; more than half of those making such estimates update them at least annually. About half of those making estimates reported making them public. However, legislative briefings are the primary mechanism for doing so, which may or may not inform the general public. MAINTENANCE OUTREACH AND MARKET RESEARCH Section C was designed to learn about agenciesâ specific efforts to inform and learn from their customers. Questions 24â26âFewer than half of respondents re- ported that their agencies have briefed legislative bodies or local officials on maintenance-related matters within the past 5 years (see Table B7). However, more than half of those agencies that do provide such briefings do so at least annually. Only 1 of 11 respondents whose agencies have provided such briefings believed that neither briefings nor surveys had in any way influenced the maintenance pro- gram. Questions 27â28âThe majority of respondentsâ agen- cies regularly use information provided by road users as a basis for issuing work orders, and all agencies do so at least occasionally. However, between one-quarter and one- third of respondents reported that their agencies make no particular response to the provider of the information. Questions 29â33âSlightly more than half of respon- dents reported that their agencies have used customer satis- faction surveys or other techniques within the past 5 years to assess public perceptions regarding highway mainte- nance and system performance (see Table B8). Several re- TABLE B5 VIEWS OF AGENCY MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS Percentage (fraction) of Respondents Agenciesâ Highway System Maintenance Activities Are Viewed Favorably by . . . (question) Definitely Somewhat No Can't Say Top-level agency management (13) Elected officials (14) Public at large (15) 100 (19/19) 47 (9/19) 37 (7/19) 53 (10/19) 42 (8/19) 5 (1/19) TABLE B6 MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS CHARACTERISTICS Survey Question Percentage (fraction) of Respondents Conditions or Qualification (survey question) Percentage (fraction) of Respondents 18. Delegates maintenance on federal-aid highways 37 (7/19) Secondary system only (19) Secondary and other 43 (3/7) 57 (4/7) 20. Makes official estimate of maintenance backlog 58 (7/12) Update annually (21) Update less than annually 57 (4/7) 43 (3/7) Makes estimate public (22) Does not make public 57 (4/7) 43 (3/7)
43 TABLE B7 MAINTENANCE OUTREACH TO GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS Survey Question Percentage (fraction) of Respondents Conditions or Qualifications (survey question) Percentage (fraction) of Respondents 24. Maintenance- targeted legislative briefings within last five years Yesâ42 (8/19) Noâ47 (9/19) Don't knowâ11 (2/19) Annually or more frequently (24) Less frequently 63 (5/8) 37 (3/8) 25. Maintenance-targeted briefings for local officials within last five years Yesâ32 (6/19) Noâ63 (12/19) Don't knowâ5 (1/19) Annually or more frequently (25) Less frequently 60 (3/5) 40 (2/5) 24 & 25. Legislative and local officials briefings within last five years Bothâ35 (6/17) Neitherâ53 (9/17) Annually or more frequently (24, 25) Less frequently 67 (4/6) 33 (2/6) 26. Surveys or briefings have influenced maintenance program Not at allâ9(1/11) Results discussed by managersâ45 (5/11) Influenced program budgetsâ55 (6/11) Influenced work schedulesâ45 (5/11) 27. Use road-user notifications or complaints to issue work orders Regularlyâ68 (13/19) Occasionallyâ32 (6/19) Responds to individual (28) No specific response Responds to individual (28) No specific response 77 (10/13) 23 (3/13) 67 (4/6) 33 (2/6) TABLE B8 MAINTENANCE OUTREACH AND MARKET RESEARCH FOR THE PUBLIC Survey Question Percentage (fraction) of Respondents Conditions or Qualifications (survey question) Percentage (fraction) of Respondents 29. Surveys or other methods to assess public perception regarding maintenance and performance within last five years Yesâ58 (11/19) Noâ42 (8/19) Annually or more frequently (32) Less frequently 45 (5/11) 55 (6/11) 31. Methods used Focus groups Telephone survey Mail-back or email survey Telephone and mail-back survey Other (website, state fair) 36 (4/11) 64 (7/11) 45 (5/11) 27 (3/11) 27 (3/11) 33. Information used in agency management Definitely Somewhat No 36 (4/11) 55 (6/11) 9 (1/11) spondents noted that their efforts had been aimed at special groups (e.g., road-user or travel and tourism organizations), but the general public was typically the only target. How- ever, only 45% of the agencies reporting such opinion re- search activities conduct them at least annually. Four of the 11 respondents reported that the information gathered had a definite influence on its use in agency management. Questions 34â36âMore than three-quarters of respon- dents reported that their agencies prepare an annual report on maintenance program accomplishments, either exclu- sively or as a part of the agencyâs annual report (see Table B9). However, only one-third of these reports include some estimate of benefits derived from the maintenance pro- gram. Although the number of agencies preparing reports matches the number that brief elected officials, two agen- cies prepare reports but do not brief officials, and two do brief officials but do not prepare a public report. ASSESSING NET BENEFITS OF HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE Section D of the survey was intended to discover the extent of numerical measurement and benchmarking activities in agenciesâ maintenance management. Questions 37â40âMost respondents noted that their agencies report both output and outcome-oriented meas- ures of maintenance program accomplishment, although approximately one-fifth to one-quarter reported neither (see Table B10). One-half of the agencies that do report output measures do so at least quarterly, whereas outcome
44 TABLE B9 MAINTENANCE REPORTING TO THE PUBLIC Survey Question Percentage (fraction) of Respondents Conditions or Qualifications (survey question) Percentage (fraction) of Respondents 34. Annual maintenance program report to public Yes, exclusively maintenanceâ16 (3/19) Yes, part of agency-wide reportâ63 (12/19) Noâ22 (4/19) If âyes,â includes some benefit measure (35) 33 (5/15) 36. At least annual legislative briefing on maintenance program accomplishments Yes, exclusively maintenance 16 (3/19) Yes, part of agency-wide report 63 (12/19) Noâ21 (4/19) (Note: Two agencies prepare annual report but do not brief; two brief but do not prepare annual report) TABLE B10 MAINTENANCE REPORTING TO THE PUBLIC Survey Question Percentage (fraction) of Respondents Conditions or Qualifications (survey question) Percentage (fraction) of Respondents 37. Regularly report maintenance output or productivity measures Yesâ79 (15/19) In operations managementâ80 (12/15) In agency-level managementâ47 (7/15) In reporting to publicâ27 (4/15) Not at allâ21 (4/19) In operations management only In operations and agency-level 64 (7/11) 36 (4/11) At least quarterly (38) Annually 50 (7/14) 50 (7/14) 39. Regularly report maintenance outcome or performance measures Yesâ74 (14/19) In operations managementâ71 (10/14) In agency-level managementâ64 (9/14) In reporting to publicâ14 (2/14) Not at allâ26 (5/19) In operations management only In operations and agency-level 50 (5/10) 50 (5/10) At least quarterly (40) Annually 14 (2/14) 86 (12/14) TABLE B11 MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT METHODS Survey Question Percentage (fraction) of Respondents Conditions or Qualifications (survey question) Percentage (fraction) of Respondents 41. Use benchmarking Yesâ53 (10/19) Period-to-period comparisonâ100 (10/10) Inter-agency-comparisonâ20 (2/10) Reported to public (42) 40 (4/10) 43. Life-cycle costing or other benefitâcost method for maintenance planning Yesâ37 (7/19) Noâ53 (10/19) Don't knowâ11 (2/19) For all maintenance (43) For major projects only No response 29 (2/7) 57 (4/7) 14 (1/7) 44. Maintenance analyses are compared with new construction in agency-wide programming and budgeting Yesâ37 (7/19) Noâ53 (10/19) Don't knowâ11 (2/19) For all maintenance (43) For major projects only 57 (4/7) 43 (3/7) measures are presented primarily on an annual basis. The agencies reporting such measures use them within the agency but for the most part do not present them to the general public. Questions 41â42âApproximately half of responding agencies use benchmarking to monitor maintenance pro- gram activities (see Table B11). A small fraction of those using benchmarking compare themselves with other agen- cies, whereas all respondents make internal period-to- period comparisons. Question 43âApproximately one-third of respondents reported that life-cycle costing or other benefitâcost meth- ods are used in maintenance program planning, for the most part only in assessing major projects.
45 Question 44âApproximately one-third of respondents re- ported that maintenance analyses are compared with new con- struction in agency programming and budgeting. Of these, half (i.e., 16% of all respondents) make such comparisons for major projects only. Those that do make such comparisons for all maintenance do employ life-cycle costing as the basis.