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A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan (2023)

Chapter: Chapter 8 - Implementation and Continual Improvement

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Implementation and Continual Improvement." 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 65
Page 66
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Implementation and Continual Improvement." 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 66
Page 67
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Implementation and Continual Improvement." 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 67
Page 68
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Implementation and Continual Improvement." 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 68
Page 69
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Implementation and Continual Improvement." 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 69
Page 70
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Implementation and Continual Improvement." 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 70
Page 71
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Implementation and Continual Improvement." 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 71
Page 72
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Implementation and Continual Improvement." 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 72
Page 73
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Implementation and Continual Improvement." 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 73

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65   Implementation and Continual Improvement Coordinating Maintenance with the Capital Program Coordination between pavement, bridge, and maintenance management practices is key for successful implementation of a TAMP. This coordination helps to ensure the following: • Planned maintenance expenditures will deliver the types of maintenance assumed in pavement and bridge life-cycle plans and investment strategies. • Trade-off analysis includes the costs of all work types and assets included in the TAMP. • Future funding is properly allocated or programmed for maintenance projects. • Maintenance work is delivered by the most cost-effective means. • Delivery of maintenance work is timed appropriately with other work at a given location. • Planned costs match actual expenditures. Maintenance work is commonly delivered through both contracts and field crews. Contracts may be funded and managed through a capital con- struction program or from a separate maintenance and operations budget. In many cases, all three of these delivery mechanisms are used. To be effec- tive, these different delivery mechanisms need to be coordinated so the work is being delivered through the most efficient means. Additionally, coordination of maintenance expenditures and activities across each delivery process will help ensure routine pavement maintenance projects are not completed shortly before a major rehabilitation project. Programming Capital Funds for Maintenance Projects Many transportation agencies deliver maintenance by contracts funded through programs that also support capital improvements. This introduces a challenge because the project develop- ment process for maintenance is very different from capital projects such as initial construction or reconstruction of pavements and bridges. Capital projects often require 5 years or more to advance from initial project scoping to construction. In contrast, the locations of maintenance projects are often not known more than a year in advance. Agencies wanting to ensure adequate funding is dedicated to delivering maintenance by contract need a means of dedicating or programming funds to maintenance work before spe- cific project information—such as location(s) or specific quantities—is known. The process of C H A P T E R 8 By incorporating maintenance costs into a TAMP, agencies establish a coordinated strategy for achieving asset management goals and managing risks using comprehensive investment strategies. Successful implementation of those strategies involves putting the plan into practice while responding to changes or unexpected events. This requires coordination between the capital and maintenance programs, along with establishment of a continual improvement process to keep both maintenance management and asset manage- ment up to date.

66 A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan programming involves identifying, prioritizing, and selecting projects to receive specific amounts of funding from specific sources. The results of programming are lists of projects indicating the locations, the expected scope and timing of projects, and the details of the funding to be used on each. One example of a program is the STIP, which each state DOT is required to develop to facilitate the use of federal highway funds. Many agencies have similar programming require- ments, such as the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Six-Year Plan. To facilitate the programming of funds before having project-specific data, DOTs often use placeholder or block project listings in their programs. A maintenance placeholder project indicates funding is set aside for a specific purpose, with location and other project-level information to be identified later. For example, an agency could set aside funding for contracts to replace and update guardrails 4 years in the future. At a later date, when sufficient details are known in order to begin developing the contract documents, the agency can replace the placeholder project with one or more specific projects that fulfill the intended purpose of the placeholder. There may be some limitations to the use of placeholder projects, particularly for fund sources that require specific locations to be identified. Maintenance managers seeking to implement the use of placeholder projects should work closely with their agency’s planning, programming, and financial offices to ensure all requirements for the appropriate use of funds are met. Maintenance Contract Delivery Techniques While agencies may use capital fund sources to deliver maintenance by contract, there are differences between maintenance work and other work types that can make standard contract- ing mechanisms inefficient. • Operations and routine maintenance is a broad category of maintenance activities. In some cases, these activities can be planned, such as mowing or litter control. In other cases, routine maintenance is delivered in response to an unplanned event such as potholes or a snowstorm. • Preventive maintenance typically requires little engineering and few specifications. This work is generally delivered in contracts that deliver a single type of treatment to assets over a wide area. This includes pavement or bridge crack sealing or pavement maintenance overlays. • Repair work may or may not require engineering, but it generally cannot be planned far in advance. On the contrary, repairs often require a rapid response, particularly for bridges and ancillary structures. • Unit or major component replacement may be delivered in response to a failed condition state or as part of a routine program. Depending on the specific situation, different contracting mechanisms may be more efficient. • Organizational strengthening activities are not generally delivered using construction con- tracts. However, contracts may be used to procure technology components, support training, or other services. DOTs have developed several types of contracts that can deliver needed maintenance work for lower overall costs or in a timelier fashion than traditional design-bid-build construction contracts. DOTs such as ALDOT and NYSDOT use several different types of contracts to deliver mainte- nance. Some of these contracts are funded with capital revenue sources, while others are funded through the maintenance and operations budget.

Implementation and Continual Improvement 67   Coordinating the Timing of Maintenance Delivery Maintenance work is often delivered in contracts that deliver the same type of work at multiple locations. When this approach is used, there is a need to coordinate the timing of different activi- ties to avoid conflict. In some cases, one type of work may damage work done under another contract, such as replacing a culvert after the pavement over the culvert was resurfaced. In other cases, one type of maintenance may prompt the need for another, such as maintenance paving prompting the need for shoulder maintenance. Tennessee DOT provides an example of coordi- nation between different maintenance programs to minimize conflicts and optimize the service life of maintenance treatments. Example: NYSDOT’s Innovative Maintenance Contracting As NYSDOT bridges age, the need for maintenance repairs can come up quickly, making it difficult to fit repairs into a typical project development schedule. Contracting for repair work on multiple bridges with short notice can lead to considerable mobilization costs. Repair work is also inherently difficult to estimate since the full extent of the repair needed often cannot be assessed until the repair effort has begun. This estimation risk can also drive up contracting costs. Conversely, state force maintenance crews do not have mobilization costs because they are already stationed across the state. State crews also charge the same hourly personnel and equipment rates regardless of the type of work they are performing. As a result, for NYSDOT the cost of emergency repairs by contract is approximately 14 to 16 times more expensive than performing the same work by state forces. To address growing bridge needs in light of this exponential difference in cost, NYSDOT has upgraded its bridge program to include more and better in-house training toward the goal of enabling the in-house delivery of as much bridge maintenance work as possible. So far, most bridge maintenance accomplished by state forces has been light work performed on top of the bridge (e.g., welding or concrete work), with NYSDOT still contracting out most superstructure and substructure repairs. Therefore, NYSDOT also revised the bridge contracting mechanism from the traditional capital project mechanism, which resulted in unnecessary overhead costs and required a significant amount of time to develop and design. To improve the bridge contracting mechanism, NYSDOT developed three alternative types of standby bridge contracts: Where and When, Emergency Response, and Job-Order Contracting. The Where and When and Emergency Response contracts are based on a typical indefinite deliverable, indefinite quantity model. In both contracts, NYSDOT provides a list of pay items for contractors to bid unit prices. No locations are identified at the time of bidding. The difference between the contracts is the expectation of work. With Where and When contracts, there is an expectation of a minimum and maximum contract value. There is also an expectation that work will be requested regularly throughout the contract period. Emergency contracts have no promise of quantity or timing. They are in place through direct contract forces in the case of an emergency event such as major flooding or a bridge failure (e.g., near collapse). Example: ALDOT’s Maintenance Contracting ALDOT uses on-call maintenance contracts to quickly mobilize additional resources when needed. ALDOT developed these contracts in response to a hiring freeze for maintenance workers. In a previous budget cycle, ALDOT’s Maintenance Bureau received a budget increase for routine maintenance to improve asset LOS. However, ALDOT was also in the middle of a hiring freeze for new employees. As such, ALDOT, using the results of their MQA process, was able to identify the types of work to be performed and developed maintenance contracts for those services. This process was enabled due to the ability to evaluate current asset conditions and leverage agency performance targets.

68 A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan Defining Required Competencies Assigning personnel is a key component to work planning to ensure that crews have the skills required to perform their duties. Agencies rely on human resource specialists to define the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required for each personnel classification. These specialists use a variety of resources to determine the required competencies for everyone to successfully perform assigned responsibilities. This area is especially important for maintenance planning since training and skill development are such important parts of a maintenance career. Agencies compare applicants’ skills to the required KSAs during the hiring process. In today’s environment, many agencies face significant challenges in recruiting and retaining a workforce that has the skills needed; and this is especially true in DOT maintenance divisions. NCHRP Project 02-25, “Workforce 2030—Attracting, Retaining, and Developing the Transportation Workforce: Design, Construction, and Maintenance” developed a roadmap of proven strategies for attracting, retaining, and developing an adequate workforce that includes qualified main- tenance workers (Cronin et al. 2022). Private contractors face similar challenges in finding a skilled and qualified workforce, so recent efforts in both private and governmental agencies have focused on skill development. Maintenance Competencies A maintenance work program uses the competencies defined for each activity to determine whether adequate staff are available to conduct the planned activities. Competencies may not be easy to define. For instance, ditch maintenance requires workers who can operate several different pieces of equipment including a motor grader, truck excavator, loader, and hauling equipment. Each of these pieces of equipment requires different capabilities. Additional com- petencies to complete the work include supervision, compliance with environmental standards, material disposal, erosion control, permit application, and reseeding. Depending on the labor pool, some skills and abilities may be required of entry-level employees, while other skills and abilities may be acquired through formal or on-the-job training delivered throughout the Example: TDOT’s Coordination Between Maintenance, Safety, and Operations Staff TDOT developed a strategic approach that integrates maintenance and safety needs with preservation and rehabilitation. This integrated strategic approach coordinates activities between different programs and delivery mechanisms to avoid timing conflicts between different projects at the same location. Specifically, TDOT established a process to coordinate maintenance paving with culvert replacements to avoid cuts in recently resurfaced pavements to replace culverts. This coordination is important as culvert work introduces additional pavement joints that can allow water intrusion and accelerate pavement deterioration. The coordination efforts also help ensure that culvert maintenance work is not performed shortly before a reconstruction project, as a reconstruction project would likely result in culvert replacement or realignment due to changes in the roadway alignment. The integrated strategic approach hinges on improved communications between maintenance, safety, and operations staff to better coordinate asset treatment and safety activities. To enhance communications, TDOT formed a Pavement Management Section at the central office and established a pavement manager in each region to oversee coordination at the district level. One of the project managers’ key responsibilities is to inform district safety managers about pavement work activity so that the safety work can be planned with pavement work in mind. TDOT wants to standardize this approach statewide in an equitable and manageable fashion. Therefore, the current process uses common tools like GIS and Excel spreadsheets that are easy for people to digest and use to communicate work activities. To support the regions, TDOT provides data to aid in the project prioritization process while giving the regions the responsibility to assign maintenance priorities. The integrated strategic approach will make more effective use of TDOT's resources and further improve the approach's effectiveness. TDOT is currently migrating data into a shared GIS platform (GeoPortal) to support the approach.

Implementation and Continual Improvement 69   employee’s tenure. Higher-level skills may be required for candidates qualified to take the next position classification. Quantifying Required Competencies After the competencies are identified, they must be quantified to determine the impact on the maintenance program and to allow consideration of how best to complete the activities. As previously described, the quantity of work is based on the planned LOS for each family of assets. Using the ditch maintenance example, a 5-year maintenance schedule means that 1⁄5 of the ditches are treated each year. Using the daily production rate of an average-size crew and the identified competencies, agencies can estimate the labor, equipment, and material resources needed to implement the plan. Building Maintenance Crew Capabilities Most transportation agencies employ in-house maintenance staff to complete at least a portion of the maintenance work plan. Understanding the skill sets required for maintenance employees is paramount to determining how the work plan can be carried out and planning workforce strategies. Basic Skills Maintenance workers need a variety of skills depending on their job. Some jobs need a more refined skill set or knowledge than others. For example, the operator of specialized equipment needs different skills than a generalist. Basic maintenance skills demand that staff can drive heavy equipment; maintain a Commercial Driver’s License; operate a variety of loaders, excavators, and plows; use a variety of hand tools; and be capable of lifting heavy objects. Knowing available workforce skills is critical to work planning. Equipment Capabilities In addition to its staff, maintenance organizations must have adequate equipment to com- plete the activities. Scheduling equipment can be complicated since some equipment may be distributed to each maintenance shop, and others, like specialized equipment, may be centrally located. Agency equipment is often budgeted and purchased as a line item in an agency budget, owned by the agency in a central unit, and then rented by the maintenance organization as a way of allocating costs against the maintenance budget. It is important that the equipment provided be of sufficient capacity and availability so the maintenance crews can complete the work. The equipment must also be suited for the work planned, i.e., size and quantity. The agency has options since some maintenance activities are conducted at such a low frequency that the expense of owning and operating certain equipment is not a worthwhile expenditure. Agencies may elect to rent that equipment from a third-party vendor or hire the activity to be completed through another type of contract. Capacity The capacity of a crew to complete activities is also considered during maintenance work planning. Maintenance activities vary in terms of the number of employees necessary to com- plete the activities safely and efficiently. The recommended crew sizes are typically defined in an agency’s activity standards. Accurately capturing the level of effort, cost, and accomplish- ment provides the basis for determining maintenance activity costs needed for work.

70 A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan Budget Agencies allocate budgets in different ways, with some assigning budgets for each crew within the organization; other agencies budget according to the number of assets in the inventory. Assessing how best to allocate a budget is an important aspect of accounting for the cost and including it in asset management planning. The scheme must be customized based on the agency’s accounting standards and the assets being maintained and managed. Example: NYSDOT Investing in Organizational Development The growth in bridge needs, coupled with the exponentially higher costs of delivering maintenance work via contracts as opposed to being accomplished by state forces, led NYSDOT to decide to enhance the bridge maintenance program to deliver as much work as possible in-house. The enhanced NYSDOT bridge program maximizes state-force-led maintenance activities by providing better and more frequent in-house training opportunities. Most of the maintenance work that is led by state forces is on top of the bridge and primarily light work, such as welding or concrete work. The initial focus of bridge maintenance on pavement management activities led to investments in training and equipment focused on delivering work that is performed from the bridge deck. Since adopting the service-life-extension approach, however, NYSDOT has also retrained and equipped its staff to perform repairs under the deck to superstructure and substructure elements. This includes training in construction skills for heavy work activities like forming and pouring, welding, lead paint abatement, and metal preparation. NYSDOT is also investing in equipment to provide access under the bridge deck, such as lifts and UBIU. Balancing Priorities Another characteristic that must be considered in developing the work program is under- standing maintenance priorities. Activities may be a high priority to an agency if they have an immediate ramification on operations or the traveling public if the activity is not performed. Priorities may also be established to fully utilize in-house maintenance personnel or where contracting is too expensive or unavailable. The work program may also consider which activities are incentivized by the agency or are seasonally explicit in when they should be performed. For instance, snow and ice control activities only occur during winter weather. Months in which winter weather occurs are differ- ent for each agency; however, the work must be done when seasonally appropriate. Agencies may also prioritize performance goals like mobility and target work activities that produce lower travel time for commuters at the cost of activities, such as preventive maintenance that may disrupt traffic. Building Maintenance Contract Capacity Many agencies use contracts to supplement their maintenance work plan. These efforts are necessary when the LOS required exceeds the capabilities of the in-house maintenance staff. Strategic approaches should be used to identify the best activities for contracting, the necessary engineering requirements to accept the work, and the agency’s ability to assemble the contract documents. Annually, TDOT compares the economic value of conducting a random activity by contract versus in-house staff. MMS cost data is important in this process so that accurate cost comparisons can be made between contracted items and the labor, equipment, and materials required for in-house maintenance staff to conduct the work.

Implementation and Continual Improvement 71   Funding and Eligibility In determining which activities are best suited for contracted services, it is important to recog- nize that agencies have different contract funding and regulatory components. For instance, in Colorado, if an activity exceeds a certain value threshold, the activity must be completed by a contractor. Alternatively, in Washington State, regulations require that activities historically completed by in-house maintenance personnel do not transition to contract delivery. In other states, contract maintenance is conducted using a budget separate from the in-house routine maintenance budget. From an asset management standpoint, these costs, accomplishments, and work locations must be captured within the specific agency accounting system. Accurate cost accounting and performance prediction is an essential part of predicting life-cycle costs. In certain circumstances, federal funding may be used for reflective maintenance and emergency relief-type projects. Maintenance managers should understand what requirements to apply to use federal funding in either circumstance. Contracting Mechanisms Multiple contract maintenance mechanisms exist across the country, and many new methods are being implemented by agencies. Some agencies develop site-specific contract documents to complete a work activity, like a bridge repair project on a single bridge. Alternatively, several projects may be bundled together to be economically expedient. Additionally, larger projects can be priced more competitively by achieving an economy of scale. Some agencies use area-wide contracts for specific activities such as guardrail repair. On-call contracts also provide a means for agencies to get work activities completed. These contracts often have expedited performance periods after a callout is provided to the contractor. These contracts may be advertised as a suite of bid items that provide for multiple common maintenance repairs, or an agency may use a job-order contract where a complete catalog of items and prices is bid with a single-price multiplier for low-bid determination. Some agencies, such as FDOT, have conducted large-scale maintenance contracts that covered the full right of way and a significant portion of the regional roadway network. Other contracted work may be bid simply within a state procurement office and be used to supplement in-house maintenance work. With these contracts, agencies may augment the workforce by providing a specialty service by contract while an in-house crew provides traffic control to complete the work activity. A good example of this type of contracting is vegetation removal, in which an operator and specialized piece of equipment are provided by the contractor. Each of these contract types requires slightly different contract documents. Additional training may be required for those developing the contract documents and for the staff responsible for inspecting and accepting the work. Some agencies have found that it is beneficial to have a maintenance person serve as an inspector because they understand the work; however, that person would need specialized training in construction administration. Industry Capacity Another question that agencies must answer in determining how best to deliver their main- tenance work program is determining whether a commercially available component exists to provide that work activity. NCHRP Project 20-68A (11-01), “Leading Practices in Large-Scale Outsourcing and in Privatization of Maintenance Functions,” determined that commercially viable activities are more likely to be contracted by agencies. These may include sign repair

72 A Guide to Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan and installation, guardrail repair and installation, and attenuator repair and installation, because those activities are necessary and typically contracted as part of an agency’s capital improvement projects (Capers 2014). Organizational Strengthening: Building Maintenance Capacity Because the maintenance workforce is critical to delivering timely, high-quality maintenance work, it is important to support organizational strengthening proactively. It is also impor- tant to capture these costs to show their impact on employee development, retention, and skill development. These activities may include routine administrative functions, training to develop additional skills within the workforce, and those activities that build resilience within the workforce. Training Training and employee development are anecdotally reported as valuable in producing maintenance managers and in reducing risk; however, not much documentation exists to tie efforts and funds spent on training to strategic management goals or metrics being achieved. Several agencies have acknowledged that using the National Highway Institute Maintenance Leadership Academy to prepare their maintenance superintendents has paid large dividends in building a performance-based maintenance culture. The Texas DOT, Colorado DOT, and Washington State DOT have pledged to continue to use such training activities to further develop such a culture. Additionally, TDOT has implemented emergency planning and operations into a training component by staging an emergency drill with a full-scale task force exercise each year. TDOT recognized that responding to a critical emergency within the state was imperative, and significant resources should be devoted to planning for such a response. This exercise activity has demonstrated benefits as the agency has responded to wildfires and tornadic activity within the state in recent years. Budget and Work Plan Development Some agencies use organizational strengthening concepts when developing their maintenance budgets. The Washington State DOT has developed a training series for their new employee orientation, journeyperson training, and supervisory training. This training activity is included as a line item in the maintenance budget to specifically call stakeholders’ attention to its importance in building organizational capacity and resilience. Besides including strengthening activities in the budget where stakeholders can see them, agencies can consider growing a stronger main- tenance organization by adapting to changing conditions through training. Maintenance work planning provides the foundation that allows agencies to determine the best method of delivering maintenance activities to achieve the desired LOS. Continual Improvement Continual improvement is a critical aspect of performance-based management practices. Incorporating maintenance costs into a TAMP is not an effort with a clear endpoint. Rather it is the establishment of ongoing practices that support annual and multiyear planning and programming efforts. Following the maintenance management life cycle, shown in Figure 8-1, provides an agency with opportunities to implement, monitor, and continually improve its maintenance program

Implementation and Continual Improvement 73   and support TAMP implementation. Each time an agency performs one of these steps, there is an opportunity to improve its practices, make better decisions, and make better use of available resources. Maintenance management typically involves annual evaluation, planning, and budgeting, followed by continual performance and reporting. The reporting and evaluating phases are feedback into the work planning and budgeting phases. This enables performance targets to be set over a multiyear time frame. By assessing planned versus actual accomplishment, managers can track progress toward goals and review and revise, as necessary. The annual maintenance management cycle provides a natural integration with the annual TAMP consistency review required for state DOTs under 23 CFR 515.13. As the maintenance managers assess their investments and accomplishments from the previous year, the results can be passed on to asset managers for inclusion in annual reporting to FHWA. This information can then be used to identify opportunities to refine TAMP investment strategies to better reflect maintenance costs. Figure 8-1. Maintenance management life cycle.

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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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