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63 AASHTO, Meeting the Needs of America's Bridges sonable to assume that future trends in bridge management (2007a) and its bridge information website at http:// will be influenced by evolving concepts and techniques of www.dot.state.ia.us /subcommittee /default.aspx asset management, as well as other initiatives. Following are (AASHTO 2007b) recent developments in these areas that relate to the scope of U.S.DOT and FHWA, I-35 Bridge Collapse, this synthesis. Minneapolis, Minnesota at http://www.dot.gov/affairs/ factsheet080207.htm Peer Exchange: Asset Management in Planning ASCE, 35-W Bridge Collapse at http://content.asce. and Operations org/35BridgeCollapse_MainPage.html ENR (Engineering News-Record ), Bridge Collapse Introduction Update Center at http://enr.construction.com/news/ special/bridges/default.asp The desire for strengthened asset management capabilities in bridge management as described in the first section of this The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastruc- chapter was echoed in a peer exchange that looked at DOT ture has compiled all of the testimony during its hearings on planning and operations more broadly (Hendren 2005). structurally deficient bridges plus data on the distribution of Many of the themes, noteworthy accomplishments, and cur- SD bridges nationwide on its website at http://transportation. rent and future challenges that were identified in this peer house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=285 and exchange both reinforce the comments by agency respon- http://transportation.house.gov/us%20bridgemap.shtml. dents to the synthesis survey and indicate that a broader agency effort to improve management capability is possible, State DOTs also engage in public communication and including bridge management as well as other key functions. performance accountability, as described in chapter three The peer exchange participants included representatives of and in an article focusing on bridge condition and safety fol- agencies with varying size, jurisdiction, and experience with lowing the I-35W failure (Stidger 2007). asset management. The resulting themes, accomplishments, and challenges reflect the collective insights of multiple par- ticipants, suggesting a degree of consensus on basic themes Asset Management And Bridge Preservation and challenges, the value of lessons provided by agencies Initiatives that have had success stories with asset management, and the likely applicability of these findings to bridge management Asset management was formally launched in the United across a wide spectrum of DOTs. States early in this decade with the publication of guidelines by the FHWA (1999) and AASHTO (Cambridge Systemat- Peer Exchange Findings: Key Themes ics, Inc. et al. 2002). These early references describe asset and Accomplishments management as a strategic approach to managing trans- portation infrastructure that aims to get the best results or The key themes crystallized by peer exchange participants performance in the preservation, improvement, and opera- included the following partial list (Hendren 2005): tion of infrastructure systems given the resources available. Good asset management practice is policy driven and perfor- Asset management encourages a performance-based mance based, considers alternatives or options in developing management approach, management accountability, solutions to transportation problems, evaluates competing and fact-based decision making. It has moved rapidly projects and services based on cost-effectiveness and the from its conceptual beginnings to practical implemen- anticipated impact on system performance, considers trade- tation in agencies at different levels of government. offs among programs, employs systematic and internally Asset management is best implemented incrementally, consistent business processes and decision criteria, and beginning with one asset or function and gradually makes good use of quality information and analytic proce- expanding to a broader set of agency operations. As dures (Cambridge Systematics, Inc. et al. 2002). Because of one peer exchange participant noted, "[Asset man- this initial work, asset management has been studied and agement] implementation began small and grew from implemented at the national, state, and local levels. Interna- budget development, through resource allocation, tional scans have broadened U.S. understanding of relevant to project scope, and finally performance measures" methods and management system capabilities. (Hendren 2005, p. 39). Performance measurement is central to asset manage- Bridge management is a prime candidate for application ment. However, data [to support performance measure of asset management principles. Bridge assets are important, development and comparison with targets] are expen- highly visible, and costly. Moreover, today's BMSs are rela- sive to obtain, and need to be selected carefully. tively sophisticated and are able to fulfill most of the analytic Asset management has already enjoyed successes in expectations of state-of-the-art asset management. It is rea- agencies' abilities to improve their system condition,

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64 to justify funding increases, and to sharpen their man- are forced by different modal and funding programs; agement tools (e.g., applying historical trend data to the difficulty of maintaining a sustained, consistent, extract useful new deterioration models that provided and strategic asset management direction in a shift- new insights into the surprisingly high rate of pave- ing political environment; and how to continue to ment deterioration early in life). Success stories need advance agency accountability for transportation sys- to be shared more widely. tem performance. Agencies with more sophisticated asset management systems that enable what-if and trade-off analyses Peer Exchange Findings: Next Steps obtain significant benefits from these capabilities. For example, one agency displays both economic and non- The peer exchange participants identified several economic decision criteria in its trade-off analyses. next steps to advance broader implementation of asset These analyses can be conducted for a variety of assets management: (e.g., bridges, pavements, intelligent transportation sys- tems, and ferries), program objectives (e.g., improve- Research. The challenges described earlier should be ment in physical condition, safety, or operations), and addressed through additional research to provide ana- levels of analysis (e.g., network, region, corridor, and lytic tools with more sophisticated capabilities, address project). the issues in maintaining and integrating databases, enable more effective communication among organi- Peer Exchange Findings: Asset Management Challenges zations involved in managing assets, and overcome jurisdictional and institutional impediments to better Although asset management has progressed rapidly in the asset management. past several years, the peer exchange participants identified Education and training. Existing programs of educa- several challenges that need to be addressed to promote suc- tion and training in asset management should be contin- cessful implementation in a wider group of agencies (Hen- ued or expanded, including continuing peer exchanges, dren 2005). coordination with local governments through the Local Technical Assistance Program, expansion of the Systems and data challenges. Several issues regard- existing National Highway Institute training courses ing management systems and data reinforce the to include regional and local asset management con- responses to the synthesis survey described earlier. tent, additional training within agencies (e.g., for new These include the lack of advanced capabilities such employees and for upper management), and migration as scenario testing and trade-off analyses in legacy of asset management to graduate school curricula. systems; the expense of collecting, processing, and Communication. Communication mechanisms and maintaining quality data; and the need to integrate resources can spread the word and help agencies iden- data across agency functions or disciplines, as through tify how the potential benefits of asset management can a geographic information system. be realized in their own organizations. These objec- Jurisdictional challenges. Bridges within a state are tives can be met in several ways; for example, through owned by state DOTs, local governments, the federal documented case studies, adoption of more standard- government, and other parties, including the private ized nomenclature, examples of successful communi- sector. State DOT involvement in bridge management cation tools and methods, compilation of an accurate (including inspection and data collection) is generally directory of asset management contacts, and additional limited to the state-owned and local bridges. Although resources for local governments and MPOs. states differ in their specific arrangements with local governments, typically the state DOT will have some Peer Exchange: Information Assets to Support involvement in inspection, reporting of NBI data to the Transportation Decision Making FHWA, and possibly assistance in bridge management and project funding. Exactly how these local bridge Decision Making responsibilities are allocated between state and local governments will influence the type of improvements An earlier peer exchange focused on data and information as in management practice and decision making within assets and their roles in agency decision making. The scope each state. From the perspective of customers, bridge of the discussion was broad, encompassing the full range of serviceability and safety, not bridge ownership, are the transportation assets and DOT functions. The perspectives key concerns. of participants were primarily in areas of planning, policy, Institutional challenges. The institutional environ- and IT, although agency executives and engineering and sta- ment of state transportation programs presents many tistical professionals also participated. Although program challenges to better management and resource alloca- management and resource allocation for bridges per se were tion. Among these are the "silos" into which agencies not a focus of this exchange, its findings and recommenda-

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65 tions nonetheless reinforced and gave broader context to the U.S. Domestic Scan: Best Practices in Asset Management survey comments of DOT managers and engineers discussed at the beginning of this chapter. In particular, participating Site visits were conducted in 2006 among U.S. transportation DOTs provided examples of a number of relevant data appli- agencies at different levels of government to identify best cations (Schofer 2007): practices in applying asset management principles and meth- ods. The scan team visited state DOTs in Florida, Michigan, Use asset condition data across multiple jurisdictions Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah, as well as three city to develop deterioration models. and county transportation departments, two MPOs, a toll- Use an integrated state condition-performance data- way authority (Florida's Turnpike Enterprise), and two state- base to support investment programming and STIP wide asset management councils or user groups. Although development. the scope of the study related to transportation assets and Use data on system condition and unit replacement management practices broadly, several findings echoed the costs for needs-based budgeting decisions. positions of experts quoted earlier in attempting to advance Use performance measures and targets to identify bridge management practice. Scan findings included the fol- needs and priorities. lowing, among other observations (Cambridge Systematics, Use an asset management database with statutory Inc. and Meyer 2007): performance measures to guide resource allocation and provide decision support for the agency and the The most successful asset management processes had legislature. enabled the agency to transition from a worst-first Apply an integrated project management database approach to one based on long-term cost-effectiveness, to display multiple dashboard views of project status employing LCC principles. and progress, providing accountability for agency The existence and demonstrated application of an asset responsibilities. management process could bolster an agency's cred- ibility when seeking additional funding from the legis- The peer exchange report provided an interesting obser- lature. The information gathered in a well-functioning vation on these and the other example data applications: asset management approach signaled good stewardship of public assets and a willingness to assume account- Each [data application] illustrates the use of objective measures of transportation system status to support ability, as well as serving to inform legislators and resource allocation, management decisions, customer stakeholders of investment needs and the consequences decisions, and accountability. Together they emphasize of different budget scenarios. the high value of objective local condition and status Performance measures and targets were part of the measures for management. normal business process at many of the agencies vis- In contrast, no examples of forecasting were presented. ited, and also tended to characterize successful asset During the peer exchange, although the usefulness of management implementations. Agencies that had suit- forecasts became clear, the reluctance of decision makers able management systems could answer with some to rely on models was a contradictory theme, motivated by concerns about model complexity and obscurity and precision how a change in investment would affect the risk of forecasting errors. performance--that is, the basis of scenario analyses with respect to budget levels. ... Together the data application patterns in this small sample underscore the key decision value of timely data Extending the point described earlier, agencies reported describing current system conditions and performance scenario analyses showing the consequences of differ- (Schofer 2007, pp. 89). ent budget levels on performance to be one of the most effective ways of communicating the importance and These points call to mind the apparent contradictions the outcomes of needed infrastructure investments. in managers' perceptions of BMS features they would find Scenario analyses were an effective way to translate desirable--particularly in "predictive" capabilities of sce- engineering and cost information into a basis for politi- nario testing and trade-off analyses, as noted at the begin- cal discussion of transportation funding. ning of this chapter--versus the set of available capabilities There was no single successful organizational model they actually use (refer to the survey responses in chapter for good asset management. Rather, agencies with three). The report summarizes key implications of these effective asset management track records exhibited examples of successful data application: greater efficiency a number of organizational approaches to how and through multiple uses of data, the advantage of data integra- by whom asset management could be successfully tion and sharing within and among agencies in more consis- institutionalized. A cross-disciplinary team effort in tent and useful analyses, and the significant value added by implementing their process, the skill of one or more spatial referencing and display of data (Schofer 2007, p. 9). champions in embedding asset management within standard operating procedures, and the backing of

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66 agency leadership were the most critical organizational Peer Exchange: Applications of Asset Management in success factors. Programming and Budgeting There was little evidence of risk assessment (also referred to as risk analysis or risk management) among A peer exchange on Applications of Asset Management in the agencies contacted. Risk assessment refers to a Programming and Budgeting was held in 2007 under the determination of the economic costs of infrastructure sponsorship of the FHWA and AASHTO. Sessions addressed failure and the inclusion of these costs in analyses of several topics relevant to the scope of this synthesis (Guerre infrastructure condition and investment needs. The et al. 2007): scan team noted that other countries already apply for- mal procedures of risk assessment, and U.S. agencies Experiences of several state DOTs, a turnpike author- may adopt these management techniques in the future. ity, and a regional planning authority in planning, pro- High-quality data and cost-effective methods of data gramming, and budgeting collection, processing, and use are other hallmarks Use of asset management systems to support planning of good asset management practice. In the best-case and programming examples, "agencies become better consumers of data Incorporating performance measures and targets in once they understand their asset management pro- programming and budgeting cess" (Cambridge Systematics, Inc. and Meyer 2007, Incorporating risk analysis techniques in program- p. ES-4). Effective communication further serves to ming and budgeting leverage the value of the data collected. Moreover, Cross-asset analysis and programming new technology has the potential to render data col- Barriers to success and ways to overcome them lection for infrastructure management more effective Potential research topics, education opportunities, and and efficient. follow-up activities. FHWA Systemwide Bridge Preservation Initiative The common themes identified by peer exchange partici- pants included the following: Although states such as Pennsylvania and Florida have prac- ticed systemwide bridge preservation for several years, this Several agencies have implemented management sys- approach recently has been elevated to a national initiative tems that can predict infrastructure performance, and by the FHWA. This program is motivated by the need to they use this information to inform budget decisions. sustain the bridge inventory, cost-effectively given the com- However, final budget decisions consider other, quali- bined pressures of increasing traffic demands, continuing tative factors as well. bridge aging and deterioration, and financial constraints on Most technical analysis, budgeting, and programming transportation infrastructure programs. The addition of pre- are done within organizational silos that are identi- ventive maintenance as an eligible activity for federal bridge fied with specific assets. Cross-asset analyses are done funds in January 2002 provides an additional financial implicitly rather than explicitly. Although some agen- incentive to consider a preservation approach (FHWA 2002, cies identified technical impediments to these analyses, 2007a). FHWA has proposed a roadmap of actions to assist the main barriers are organizational and institutional. agencies in understanding and applying bridge preservation All of the participating agencies described asset man- strategies. These actions include establishment of a website agement efforts that included data collection, perfor- dedicated to supporting agency efforts and addressing ques- mance measurement and tracking, and application of tions regarding bridge preservation and maintenance; iden- analytic methods and procedures. However, a direct tification and formation of a community of practice on this link between these capabilities and final programming subject; identification of best practices and needs for fur- decisions is less common. ther research and development; promotion of more effective In all participating agencies, programming decisions use of maintenance and BMSs to encourage moving from a regarding asset preservation are made separately from worst-first to a more systematic, proactive strategy of preven- those for system capacity expansion. Although these tive maintenance and preservation; establishment of regional agencies could describe asset management principles bridge working groups and a series of periodic workshops; and techniques applied to preservation, few could do so and other organizational and institutional actions (FHWA for capacity expansion. The reason cited most often was 2007e). The first National Bridge Preservation Workshop the importance of political considerations in the pri- was held in April 2007, focusing on roundtable discussions oritization of capacity expansion projects. Participants of current bridge preservation strategies reported by state believed that improved understanding of the impacts DOTs across the country, coverage of specific technical and of capacity-project decisions on system performance financial topics, and question-and-answer sessions (FHWA could help promote a more asset-management-oriented 2007a, c). approach.