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3 SECTION 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES Analysis tools that help agencies to understand the impli- cations of different investment options are a cornerstone of The objective of the NCHRP Project 20-57 was "to develop effective asset management practice. These tools can con- a set of user-friendly analytical tools for adaptation and use tribute to strengthened business processes in several areas: by state DOTs and other transportation agencies that will integration of information on transportation modes or pro- improve their ability to identify, evaluate, and recommend grams; analyses of economic and other impacts of invest- investment decisions for managing the agency's assets. The ment decisions; investigation of optimal strategies in areas tools should incorporate analyses of the tradeoffs associated such as preventive maintenance; and assessment of invest- with (1) different approaches to sustaining an asset through ment tradeoffs across programs, modes, or investment options. its service life, such as capital improvements versus pre- Most state DOTs have management systems in place that pro- ventative maintenance treatments; and (2) competing policy vide useful capabilities for assessing needs and recommend- objectives such as preservation, mobility, access, safety, and ing work for specific asset types (e.g., pavements, bridges, economic development. The primary emphasis should be on and public transit or aviation facilities) and specific functions the analysis of tradeoff decisions within the highway mode, (e.g., highway, airfield, or rail maintenance). In addition, spe- but also should include limited development of tools for cialized tools for benefit/cost analysis, life-cycle cost analy- making multimodal investment tradeoff decisions. The tools sis, and investment performance analysis for selected types should be compatible, to the greatest extent possible, with the of strategies are in use. existing range of legacy systems (pavement, bridge, and other As a rule however, existing tools are not well suited to asset management systems) currently used by state DOTs, helping with decisions that cross the boundaries of asset type and be easily used by practitioners with varying levels of (e.g., pavement versus bridge), mode (e.g., highway versus technical capability." transit), work class (e.g., maintenance, operations, or con- The research objective recognizes the wide range of goals and activities necessary for successful asset management. It struction), or objective (e.g., safety, preservation, or mobil- also recognizes the existence of numerous useful legacy sys- ity). Such cross-boundary decisions include tems and procedures and the need for a project such as this Preservation versus mobility. How to make explicit that can very opportunistically select and accomplish the most important and cost-effective improvements to overall tradeoffs across programs that may have very different asset management. objectives and performance measures (i.e., the "apples NCHRP Project 20-24(11), completed November 2002, versus oranges" problem). established a comprehensive framework for transportation Maintenance versus capital. How to determine the asset management. This framework defines asset manage- best mix of routine maintenance and capital investments ment as a strategic approach to managing transportation infra- in infrastructure for least life-cycle costs and how to structure and identifies the essential elements of good asset assess the cost-efficiency of different preventive versus management practice, including deferred maintenance policies. Cost-effective solutions. How to determine the most Consideration of a wide range of options for addressing cost-effective solution to a problem, without being con- transportation needs and problems; strained to a particular class of solutions (e.g., opera- Analysis of investment options based on established tional, maintenance, or capital). performance objectives; Best combinations of projects. How to identify pack- Explicit consideration of investment tradeoffs across ages of projects that can result in the highest long-term programs, modes, and strategies; and benefits and cost savings (e.g., by coordinated schedul- Use of economic and engineering criteria to evalu- ing of work for a particular location) and how to iden- ate investment options from a long-term, life-cycle tify groupings of projects of different types that have perspective. synergistic effects.