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CHAPTER1. INTRODUCTION Background Quality in highway maintenance has been Me subject of study and discourse for several years. It may best be described as Me planned and systematic actions needed to provide adequate confidence that highway facilities meet specified requirements. Such requirements are usually defined by the highway agency, but are intended to reflect the needs and expectations of Me user. First largely considered in Me 1960s as part of Me maintenance management system (MMS) concept, We issue of quality in highway maintenance has since remained an active topic due mainly to increased work Toads, greater maintenance demands, limited maintenance funds, and public perceptions of maintenance depa~-~' tents. The need for better quality maintenance has risen significantly within the last few years in recognition of Me change in focus from infrastructure design and construction to maintenance and rehabilitation. Despite Me persistent concern for quality in maintenance, Mere has been, and continues to be, a general reluctance toward adopting or improving quality assurance (QA) programs. In 1987, more than 20 years after the first highway MMS's were implemented, 10 States still had no formal MMS. Moreover, several of Me States Cat did have a MMS In place did not make use of performance and quality standards, both Important aspects of maintenance management systems (Miser, 1989~. Over the last several years, Me work of a few proactive highway agencies (most notably, Florida, Maryland, and Pennsylvania) and various researchers has shed considerable light on Me maintenance quality concept. One major focus of Me maintenance quality effort has been on quality indicators, which serve to confirm that a given task is done according to agency standards. In most agencies, field supervisors are primarily responsible for assessing the quality of the end products. Other agencies have formed centralized evaluation teams to establish better objectivity and to reduce variability between districts. Missing to some extent, however, is the user's perception of quality in the final product. Another major focus has been on clearly defining the QA process as it relates to maintenance. Much of this work is derived from the application of QA programs in over areas, such as highway and bridge construction. Toward this end, Me basic requirements of a maintenance QA program have been reported to consist of Me following (Miller, 1989~: Systematic maintenance management procedures (MMS). Definition of desired results (quality standards). Procedures required to accomplish defined work (performance standards). 1

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A quality control (QC) procedure. Availability of adequate resources. Currently, only a few highway agencies have properly addressed some of these requirements. Full consideration of ah five requirements is Me next logical and desirable step. Description of the Problem Why have QA procedures generally failed to take hold in maintenance? Several reasons have been espoused by researchers and by Dose In maintenance, why Me following generally being cited as Me primary reasons: Substantial up-front costs associated win implementation. Many agencies fee! Hey cannot afford Me associated time and costs, as the costs will cut into existing maintenance levels of service or funds appropriated to over areas. Unfortunately, Me anticipated long-term benefits of Be OA Program are not always considered. Lack of clearly documented benefits and simple, reliable procedures for delernun~ng benefits. Adm~rustrators have generally not been shown or convinced of the positive benefits Bat can result from quality programs. Moreover, given Be uniqueness of each agency's maintenance program, Be _ . ~ quality programs of agencies Bat have reported significant benefits may not be deemed adaptable to an agency considering a quality program. Lack of any organized constituency for maintenance (Miller, 1989). Although highway users are somewhat skeptical of maintenance agencies. they do not v ~ comprehend the relative importance ot maintenance. As such, there is no great public demand for unproved maintenance and maintenance management. Fear and suspicion of Be unknowns by bow maintenance managers and workers. Individuals In the maintenance organization can be quickly turned off by the prospect of a new system. They often perceive a significant change in the way they have routinely done Heir work; change often requires training in new areas and may be mentally uncomfortable or time-consum~ng. They also may perceive the new system to be just another short-lived idea, a fad that will not last. Lack of a supple, objective procedure for evaluating quality. Many of He current evaluation procedures are at least partially biased and do not consider the end result of He work. Evaluators are often either carefully selected maintenance officials or field supervisors, both of whom carry some inherent bias and, thus, do not fully reflect He user's perception. Also, although a certain 2

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work activity may be inspected and accepted as meeting some level of quality, the long-term performance of that activity frequently goes unevaluated (e.g., a 5- year crack sealant supposedly properly installed might fail in 2 years). Clearly, there are a number of major obstacles that stand in the way of true quality initiatives in highway maintenance. To advance the concept of quality management in highway maintenance organizations, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NC~P) has sponsored this research project, Me objectives of which are discussed below. Project Objectives and Scope NCEIRP Project 1~12 was Rotated win He following objectives: To develop a prototype QA program for He maintenance of highway facilities at He project, actively, and network levels. To investigate a process for tracking He relationship between maintenance quality ratings and He long-term performance of highway facilities, such as pavements, bridges, and safety devices. To Prepare an unolementation manual Hat quality-interested maintenance -- r--r~ r agencies can use In developing, implementing, and operating He prototype QA program formulated under this project. Work Approach To achieve the project objectives, a comprehensive literature review on the subject of quality maintenance and management was conducted. This effort was followed with surveys of State and local highway agencies to obtain information on current maintenance, maintenance management) and quality management programs and practices. Office visits were then made with mid- and upper-level managers of selected highway maintenance agencies whose survey responses were most evidential of successful or promising quality maintenance programs. These visits enabled detailed evaluations to be made of He cost, scope, nature, and effectiveness of He selected agencies' QA programs. With this background information, two concurrent work efforts were begun. First, an operational framework (i.e., a series of program components) for a continuous quality improvement loop-one conducive to He typical maintenance cycle and compatible with various agency management structures, philosophies, and styles was established, in conjunction win formulation of He methodologies for each component. This development work was performed in consideration of the following key items: 3

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Types of data to be collected in the prototype QA program. Availability of data from sources outside of maintenance (e.g., pavement, bridge, and safety management systems [PMS's, BMS's, and SMS's]) to simplify or minimize data collection. Statistical applications adaptable for use In maintenance standards and procedures. Methods for incorporating input from Me traveling public. Flexibility to incorporate and adjust to unprovements In the state of the art. Ways to avoid bias in data collection and analysis. Methods to ensure quantifiable and replic able results that Include historical trends. Pros and cons of implementing Me prototype program. The second course of work focused on Investigating a process for tracking Me relationship between MA program outputs (i.e., maintenance quality ratings) and the long-term performance of Me highway features evaluated as part of the QA program. This evaluation began with Me identification of several possible analytical approaches to Me problem. Thorough examination of each approach resulted In a narrowing of Me field to two practical methodologies, each of which was tested using actual maintenance QA and long-term performance data obtained from two SHAs. Preparation of a QA program implementation manual was begun after much of the prototype program development work and tracking process Investigative work was completed. The Implementation Manual was designed to be used by various twos of J 1 highway maintenance agencies, from small local government agencies to large State . . . . ~. O _ O . agencies, and was written to be easily understandable by maintenance practitioners. This document exists as a stand-alone instructional guide. Overview of Report This report describes Me findings and results obtained in this project. It contains SIX chapters (in addition to this one) Mat summarize various aspects of Me work. Chapter 2 of this report describes Me literature search and review effort and briefly discusses some of the highlights. Chapter 3 summarizes the results of He questionnaire surveys of the various highway agencies on maintenance management practices and QA programs. It also includes a summary of He detailed reviews conducted at seven selected highway agencies. Chapter 4 reports on how He prototype QA program was developed and how He program is comprised. Chapter 5 discusses He work undertaken In the investigation of a process for tracking He relationship between maintenance QA ratings and the long-term performance of highway features. Chapter 6 describes He work performed in He development of the QA program Implementation Manual. Finally, chapter 7 provides some concluding remarks about the entire work effort and gives suggestions for future research on He subject of quality In maintenance. 4

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Two appendixes are provided in support of this report. Appendix A contains an annotated bibliography of pertinent literature identified in the literature search. Appendix B provides suIrunaries of the agency responses to the two questionnaire surveys conducted In this study. 5

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