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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27291.
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Page 1
Page 2
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27291.
×
Page 2
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27291.
×
Page 3
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27291.
×
Page 4
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27291.
×
Page 5
Page 6
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27291.
×
Page 6

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1   Introduction Background The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) defines transportation asset management (TAM) as a “strategic and systematic process of operating, 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 upon quality information and well-defined objectives” (AASHTO 2019). With the passage of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) established a similar definition for asset management as “a strategic and systematic process of operating, maintaining, and improving physical assets, with a focus on both engineering and economic analysis based upon quality information to identify a structured sequence of maintenance, preservation, repair, reha- bilitation, and replacement actions that will achieve and sustain a desired state of good repair over the life cycle of the assets at minimum practicable cost” (23 CFR 515.5). Under current legislation, state DOTs must develop a risk-based Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP) for pavements and bridges located on the National Highway System (NHS) that, at a minimum, includes the following: • A summary listing of the pavement and bridge assets on the NHS, including a description of asset conditions. • Asset management objectives and performance measures. • Identification of any performance gaps. • A life-cycle cost and risk management analysis. • A 10-year financial plan and corresponding investment strategies (23 CFR 515.9). Federal regulations further stipulate that state TAMPs must include a financial plan that includes “the estimated cost of expected future work to implement investment strategies con- tained in the [TAMP], by state fiscal year and work type” (23 CFR 515.7(d)(1)). The regulation goes on to define work types as “initial construction, maintenance, preservation, rehabilita- tion, and reconstruction” (23 CFR 515.5). These definitions and requirements emphasize the importance of incorporating maintenance costs into TAM processes and TAMPs. However, due to typical highway agency organizational approaches, practices, and information technology architectures, there are multiple barriers C H A P T E R 1 Since 2018, State departments of transportation (DOTs) have been required to develop risk-based transportation asset management plans (TAMPs) and to update processes for developing these plans every 4 years. To date, several DOTs have described challenges in showing clear connections between maintenance investments and asset condition. Many have also had difficulty reporting planned maintenance expenditures by the system, asset type, and year. This Guide has been developed to support state DOTs and other transportation agencies in their efforts to better incorporate maintenance costs into their risk-based TAMPs.

2 A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan to incorporating maintenance costs in risk-based TAMPs. A review of the 52 state TAMPs (includes Puerto Rico and Washington, DC) submitted to FHWA in 2019 indicated only 11 included forecasts of maintenance costs for both pavements and bridges. A review of the 2018 and 2019 TAMPs revealed different levels of asset management maturity among the agencies. Several DOTs had challenges showing clear connections between mainte- nance investments and asset condition, and many also had difficulty reporting planned main- tenance expenditures by system, asset type, and year. In response, the NCHRP Project 23-08, “A Guide for Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan” was initiated to develop guidelines that state DOTs and other transportation agencies can use to better incorporate maintenance costs into their risk-based TAMPs. The primary deliverable is NCHRP Research Report 1076: A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan, which has been developed to build on previous research and support existing guidance. Relationship to Existing Guidance This Guide has been developed to integrate with several recent AASHTO, TRB, and FHWA publications. Numerous publications and guides have been developed on highway mainte- nance and asset management. This Guide is not intended to replace or supersede any of those resources. In fact, this Guide incorporates the philosophies and approaches found in several key sources, including: • Guide for Transportation Asset Management: A Focus on Implementation (TAM Guide) (AASHTO 2020). • AASHTO Maintenance Manual for Roadways and Bridges (AASHTO 2007). • NCHRP Research Report 898: A Guide to Developing Financial Plans and Performance Measures for Transportation Asset Management (Spy Pond Partners et al. 2019). • This Guide intends to offer users an opportunity to understand how their maintenance practices, measures, accomplishments, and costs relate to and impact asset management and their TAMP. Challenges to Incorporating Maintenance into TAMP Processes Four peer exchange sessions were conducted in 2020 to obtain more information about the challenges agencies face when trying to incorporate maintenance costs in their TAMPs. The sessions were attended by representatives from 23 different state DOTs, two transportation authorities, and one county DOT. The first session reviewed different approaches for collecting and managing the necessary data related to asset inventory, condition, and maintenance costs. The discussion surrounded the topics of collecting inventory and condition data, collecting cost data using the agency’s workforce, and collecting cost data using contractors. The second session explored major challenges to obtaining and managing maintenance cost data. This session covered maintenance contract costs and the integration of existing processes and systems. The third session explored incorporating maintenance data in life-cycle planning, investment/ financial planning, and investment strategy development. The final session included discus- sions on the topics of risk and resiliency, financial planning, investment strategies, and life-cycle planning. From the peer exchanges, challenges were identified and are listed in the remainder of this section. The Guide focuses on specific strategies for addressing these barriers.

Introduction 3   Lack of Common Definitions for Maintenance Each agency defines maintenance in a way that best suits its needs. As a result, there is a lack of commonality among agencies. Since maintenance can be performed at all stages of an asset’s life cycle, it is not a simple task to come to a definition that can serve the purposes of all agencies. Further complicating the definition of maintenance is that maintenance expectations and activities can vary for different facilities. For example, agencies may have different maintenance policies for Interstate highways than they do for rural roads. The lack of a common definition for maintenance and the variety of activities that may be considered to be maintenance by any given agency, make it difficult for agencies to exchange practices. This also presents a challenge for oversight agencies or industry associations to develop clear, concise guidance. Even so, the peer exchange participants were not interested in developing one standard maintenance definition across all states. A Lack of Quality Data on Maintenance Costs and Accomplishments Incorporating maintenance costs into a TAMP requires cost data that can be related to performance. Performance may be defined in different terms, including asset condition impacts, system efficiency, or risk. The following are the major challenges peer exchange agencies reported in obtaining maintenance cost data: • Integrating data from a variety of field collection tools and processes into common data sets. • Integrating and aligning data from various management and accounting systems to support TAM analyses. • Capturing maintenance costs from different budgets or programs. • Capturing costs for assets that are managed differently (e.g., pavements, guardrails, and signs). Limited Understanding or Modeling of How Maintenance Impacts the Asset Life Cycle Maintenance covers a broad array of work types, some of which impact an asset’s life cycle (e.g., pavement crack sealing or bridge joint repairs) and some that do not (e.g., pothole patch- ing or mowing). Maintenance activities that do not impact the asset’s service life are generally intended to keep the asset functioning, minimizing risk to the highway users. For agencies to incorporate maintenance activities in asset condition modeling, they must understand the relationship between activity delivery and future asset performance. Several agencies participat- ing in the peer exchanges noted a lack of historical data for modeling activities that impact the asset life cycle and a lack of understanding regarding how to handle activities that do not. Immature Maintenance Considerations in Risk Mitigation Maintenance strategies should dovetail with TAM strategies, not only because it is good practice, but also because it can help manage risk. For example, if the TAM investment strategies lead to a high percentage of assets in good condition, then maintenance needs will be mostly preventive. However, if TAM analyses anticipate a growing number of poor assets, then main- tenance will be needed to keep those assets safe and operational. This means agencies need to be able to identify what resources are available to deliver the needed maintenance service level and which delivery option provides the best value. This helps manage the risk of assets in good condition dropping to fair too soon and the risk of assets in poor condition becoming unsafe or unserviceable.

4 A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan TAM addresses the strategic aspects of how assets are maintained and how resource con- straints, risks, and needs will be addressed. Maintenance addresses the day-to-day risks that impact the operational (or tactical) aspects of maintaining the system. An important part of maintenance planning is to address unexpected events that occur and the associated costs. Questions about resilience were raised in multiple peer exchange sessions. The cost of work in response to natural disasters can be significant, which could result in significant redirection of funds from original budgets. These types of activities impact planned TAM investments and require close coordination with maintenance personnel. Differences in Planned and Actual Maintenance and Capital Expenditures During the peer exchanges, several agencies described challenges related to collecting cost information from different data sets. It is common for DOTs to organize their cost data based on the program through which the work is delivered. As a result, maintenance costs and con- struction costs are commonly stored in different data sets with different means of associating costs with actions and accomplishments. Since maintenance is commonly delivered by both internal staff and through contracts, agencies are challenged to accurately track costs and accomplish- ments in a consistent manner. Some agencies overcome this by defining maintenance only as work delivered by their field staff. In this approach, costs for an activity such as crack seal may be divided between two work types, e.g., maintenance (if delivered by field staff) and preservation (if delivered by contract). For agencies to fully integrate maintenance costs into a TAMP, there needs to be a common way to identify cost by activity, regardless of delivery mechanism or fund source. Different Planning Periods for Maintenance and Asset Management Traditionally, maintenance planning is performed in the short term, whereas TAMPs present a long-term plan. Several agencies in the peer exchange described maintenance budgeting pro- cesses that were annual or biannual. Incorporating maintenance in asset management plans involves taking a long-term view of maintenance work planning, but few agencies had developed any means of forecasting maintenance funding needs for more than 2 years. This creates a disconnect between the planning horizon for maintenance budgets and the required 10-year TAMP investment strategies (23 CFR 515.7 (d)). Overcoming the Challenges Every agency participating in the peer exchange described significant challenges that kept them from incorporating maintenance into their TAMP to the degree desired. This Guide has been developed to help agencies identify and develop strategies for overcoming the spe- cific barriers that prevent them from quantifying and incorporating maintenance costs into their TAMPs. The Guide also serves as a resource for developing processes and tools to integrate maintenance costs into each of the primary TAMP components. Recognizing the continual-improvement component of asset management, the framework presented in this Guide includes a step for agencies to assess their current ability to deliver needed maintenance actions and incorporate those costs into a TAMP. Once the maintenance actions are defined, the Guide provides specific direction for incorporating the related costs into each TAMP component based on the

Introduction 5   maintenance impact on the asset life cycle. As a result, this Guide addresses the full spectrum of activities that might be considered maintenance by highway agencies. Using this framework, agencies can choose to apply the guidelines to any activities they choose to define as maintenance. Guide Organization Addressing common challenges is key to successfully integrating maintenance costs into a TAMP. This Guide uses the following framework to enable agencies to implement the suggested approaches to asset management and TAMP development. The Framework Figure 1-1 presents the framework for integrating maintenance costs into a TAMP. The framework includes six activities. It also includes activities associated with implementing, monitoring, and improving over time. This framework provides the basis for the Guide’s orga- nization as reflected in the chapter summaries that follow. The summaries serve to both explain the framework and describe the Guide’s content. How to Use This Guide This Guide is designed to be part of the AASHTO TAM framework and augment the AASHTO’s TAM Guide (AASHTO 2020). For this purpose, the Guide is designed to present a series of steps that agencies can follow to better integrate maintenance processes and costs into asset management planning and TAMP development. Chapter 1 introduces the Guide. Chapters 2 through 7 correspond to an implementation step in the framework illustrated in Figure 1-1. Chapter 2 supports the first activity in the frame- work: define maintenance activities. A key concept presented in this chapter is that maintenance activities best relate to asset management planning based on how each activity impacts the asset life cycle or mitigates risk. This chapter introduces five categories of maintenance activities and Figure 1-1. Framework for incorporating maintenance into a TAMP. LCP 5 life-cycle planning.

6 A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan provides a means for agencies to define which category best fits each activity. These categories form the basis for the guidelines presented in the following chapters. Chapter 3 addresses the data needs represented in the second circle by providing an overview of the data needs for incorporating maintenance costs into a TAMP. This includes data collec- tion, management, and security. Chapters 4 through 7 provide specific guidelines on integrating each type of maintenance activity into asset management planning, as represented by the remaining four circles in the framework. Given the breadth of maintenance actions, each chapter presents specific steps or areas of focus that are needed for effective integration. Chapter 4 addresses strategies for incorporating maintenance costs into life-cycle planning. Chapter 5 presents strategies for incorporating asset maintenance costs into risk management analysis. Chapter 6 addresses incorporating maintenance costs into financial plans and Chapter 7 offers approaches for incorporating maintenance costs into investment strategies. Chapter 8 provides an approach that can be used to support the ongoing implementation of desired policy, practice, or technology changes through a continual-improvement approach. This chapter represents the final activity in the framework. As agencies implement improvements to their maintenance management and TAMP development practices, they will develop further insights into asset performance, needs, risks, and delivery options that should lead to continual improvement. The process presented in Chapter 8 leverages the annual maintenance manage- ment planning cycle to support continual improvement of maintenance and asset management practices. Chapter 8 also provides an approach for assessing an agency’s ability to deliver the needed or desired maintenance actions using either in-house or contract personnel. This assessment allows the agency to better understand the costs and what is needed to deliver each action. For instance, the assessment enables an agency to determine whether an activity cost is limited to its conduct or whether other types of costs are included (e.g., training or equipment rental).

Next: Chapter 2 - Defining and Categorizing Maintenance Activities »
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Since 2018, State departments of transportation (DOTs) have been required to develop risk-based transportation asset management plans (TAMPs) and to update processes for developing these plans every four years. To date, several DOTs have described challenges in showing clear connections between maintenance investments and asset condition.

NCHRP Research Report 1076: A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan, from TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program, leads practitioners through a six-part framework designed to tackle the biggest challenges agencies face in projecting future maintenance costs in TAMP activities. Supplemental to the report is a pocket guide.

Supplemental to the report are NCHRP Web-Only Document 372: Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan, an Executive Summary, an Implementation Memorandum, an Overview Presentation, and a Publication Announcement.

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