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54 CHAPTER 7 Conclusions The basic premise behind the Interstate Asset Management and comprehensive performance measures for inclusion in an Framework is that the IHS represents the most critical set of Interstate Asset Management Plan, and Chapter 4 describes highway assets in the United States, and that asset management data and tools for supporting plan development. promises an approach to help IHS owners keep the system in An area of particular importance in managing IHS assets operation in the most efficient manner. The IHS is a lifeline for is in managing risk. Chapter 3 describes a scenario-based the U.S. economy, providing mobility for highway passengers approach IHS owners can implement to better manage risks of and freight traveling within and across the country, as well as system failure, in addition to other approaches for managing to Canada and Mexico. Since the IHS was conceived, other programmatic risks (e.g., risks of cost overruns). countries have emulated the U.S. example, helping develop There are numerous benefits as well as clear challenges their economies through similar, national networks of high- involved in the implementation of asset management principles standard highways. Keeping this national system in operation in general, and in applying them to the IHS in particular. Chap- is a prerequisite for keeping the U.S. economy competitive ters 4 and 5 discuss the gaps in available systems, approaches internationally. And achieving this objective without unduly and measures for IHS asset management, and Chapter 6 dis- straining scarce resources for transportation will help further cusses implementation challenges. strengthen the U.S. economy. An overriding challenge in managing the IHS is the tension Though there is national consensus on the importance of between national consistency and local prerogatives. The IHS preserving the IHS, past approaches to managing transporta- was built with a national set of standards and serves vital, tion assets are unlikely to be effective for meeting this goal. As national interests. As the emphasis in managing the system the system ages, there will continue to be increased needs for has shifted from design and construction to operations, it is investing in asset preservation, and increased risks from any now clear that there would be significant benefit for enhanc- failure to preserve IHS assets in a state of good repair. IHS own- ing IHS asset management to having national standards ers need to adopt flexible, performance-based approaches that reporting of conditions and performance of IHS assets. How- target investments where they are most needed rather than ever, the state DOTs, toll authorities, and other agencies that where historic precedent or institutional arrangements dictate. operate and manage the system need to have flexibility in how Also, they need good data on their IHS assets, supplementing they manage the IHS on a day-to-day basis. The IHS is of the data already available on roads and bridges with additional national importance, but management of the system must be data on other structures, safety features, facilities, and risks to based on consideration of challenges at the state, corridor, the system. and local level. Transportation asset management offers a set of tools and Each and every agency and entity responsible for the high- approaches for better managing transportation infrastructure. est order highway network, including key NHS routes, must This report summarizes asset management concepts, develops reach its own conclusions for its own reasons on whether and an approach for applying these concepts to IHS assets, and how to undertake all or parts of the Interstate Asset Manage- recommends that IHS owners develop an Interstate Asset ment Framework. Motivating factors will vary, as will areas of Management plan embodying the framework. The plan should emphasis, specific approaches, sources of leadership and orga- detail the state of an agency's IHS assets, present a set of perfor- nizational characteristics. What does not vary is the simple fact mance targets for those assets, and spell out what will be needed that the potential consequences of deterioration or disruption to meet those targets. Chapter 5 describes recommended core to the nation's most important arteries will be severe in terms

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55 of impacts upon the economic well-being and quality of lives best practices in asset management and risk management, of our citizens. Coupled with the high expectations and low system owners and operators can most effectively combat the tolerance of failure to perform that confronts every trans- effects of deteriorating infrastructure, minimize costly system portation agency, the rationale for implementing a risk-based disruptions, and ensure that the national highway system asset management framework for the Interstate Highway Sys- continues to serve as an engine for helping drive our economy tem becomes increasingly apparent. By taking advantage of forward.