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Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management (2019)

Chapter: Track 4: Organization and Workforce

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Suggested Citation:"Track 4: Organization and Workforce." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25431.
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Suggested Citation:"Track 4: Organization and Workforce." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25431.
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Suggested Citation:"Track 4: Organization and Workforce." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25431.
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Suggested Citation:"Track 4: Organization and Workforce." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25431.
×
Page 44
Page 45
Suggested Citation:"Track 4: Organization and Workforce." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25431.
×
Page 45
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Suggested Citation:"Track 4: Organization and Workforce." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25431.
×
Page 46
Page 47
Suggested Citation:"Track 4: Organization and Workforce." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25431.
×
Page 47
Page 48
Suggested Citation:"Track 4: Organization and Workforce." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25431.
×
Page 48
Page 49
Suggested Citation:"Track 4: Organization and Workforce." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25431.
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Page 49

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41 Track 4: Organization and Workforce Advancing Asset Management Research and Education Using Case Studies This session, moderated by Anita Bush (Nevada DOT), addressed issues related to developing the next generation of asset management professionals. The presentations showcased how educators and practitioners are advancing research and education by using case studies that illustrated the use of research outcomes to better manage diverse assets. The case studies highlighted the importance of communication and the role of applied research in practice. ADVANCING ASSET MANAGEMENT RESEARCH AND EDUCATION USING CASE STUDIES Gerardo Flintsch (Virginia Tech) introduced the Infrastructure Management Research and Education Workshop, which was first held in 2003, and laid out the need to interest more students in infrastructure management. Since the initial meeting, the involved faculty have continued to meet annually at the TRB Annual Meeting, and students have participated in an annual symposium. In 2010, an intense 2-week boot camp was initiated to provide mentoring, opportunities for teamwork, and practical experience to the students. The participating universities continue to provide a framework for infrastructure management education and to share materials to facilitate teaching. ROLE OF CASE STUDIES IN THE CLASSROOM AND ACADEMIC RESEARCH Milos Posavljak (University of Waterloo) discussed the Corporate Operationalization of Asset Management (COAM) processes that have been used by the City of Waterloo. He demonstrated the differences in the types of information that could be presented once the COAM processes had been established. Prior to the process, the graphs were primarily based on current conditions. Even though the agency had lots of data, there was not much use of the data for comparisons. Once the COAM processes were established, the agency was able to expand the number of asset classes covered and could predict conditions into the future; the data were then used to drive performance targets. ADVANCED INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT BOOTCAMP PROJECT EXPERIENCES Sue McNeil (University of Delaware) provided additional insights into the 2-week boot camp introduced by Flintsch. She explained that the students meet for 6 hours a day over the 2-week period and work on a central project each day. There are typically 12 to 16 students per class, with a prerequisite of having a background in asset management. Students come from several universities and establish a peer network that benefits them in the future. The material provides opportunities for students to apply the concepts taught in

42 class by using real or fabricated data and working as a team. The work takes the students outside their comfort zone and stresses the importance of teamwork. Students earn 3 credits for the class. FROM CLASSROOM TO PRACTICES James Bryce (Amec Foster Wheeler) discussed how well academic tools meet the needs of industry. He stated that five consultants who had worked on state DOT TAMPs were boot camp graduates and that boot camp has the potential for being a common language and framework for the process. The boot camp material covers each part of a TAMP, so the students were well prepared to assist their clients once they graduated. In a survey of practitioners that Bryce administered, he found that respondents felt least prepared in the areas of risk analysis, trade-off analysis, forecasting, and modeling. KEY TAKEAWAYS • It is important to teach students that although data are rarely clean or complete, they must still be used to make hard decisions. • Both students and practitioners indicate that building teams and professional networks remain valuable endeavors. • Asset management can be taught in a college setting in a way that allows the classroom knowledge to translate into practical applications. • Pulling students out of their comfort zone is a critical real-world lesson. One Size DOES NOT Fit All This session showcased several approaches to addressing the organizational aspects of implementing a TAM program. The session was well attended and featured a lively discussion about the anticipated talent drain in many transportation agencies and strategies for retention and recruitment. Ehsan Minaie (CDM Smith) moderated the session. ORGANIZATIONAL ASPECTS OF A SUCCESSFUL TAM PROGRAM Larry Redd (Redd Engineering) began his presentation by stating that the TAM maturity model that is commonly used by transportation agencies is missing the organizational piece that drives change. The organizational piece includes the agency culture, leadership, relationships, and key performance indicators. Redd conducted a study that looked at 12 U.S. agencies and several foreign agencies to learn more about what drove them to change and what role organizational attributes and frameworks had in their success. As part of the study, agencies scored themselves on factors related to process and technology capabilities and another set of factors related to organizational factors. Redd analyzed the data from several perspectives and found risk management and the risks

43 associated with the upcoming retirements many agencies are facing in the next few years to be key needs. Other needs that stood out from an organizational perspective were related to TAM training, TAM leadership and vision, and incentives related to the TAM vision. COLORADO DOT’S CHANGE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM Gary Vansuch (Colorado DOT) presented a summary of the program the Colorado DOT has undertaken to facilitate change within the organization. He recommended the book How to Implement Successful Change in Our Personal Lives and Professional Careers, which he offered to provide to participants via e-mail. He stressed that in most organizations, the existing culture is tough to change; success involves engaging agency personnel in efforts to reshape the culture. The Colorado DOT has engaged change agents to encourage a two-way flow of communication. These change agents have been trained, and more than 100 change agents are currently in place. Vansuch discussed five elements for successful change: people have to be aware of the change, they have to have the desire to change, they have to have the knowledge to change, they have to have the ability to change, and they need reinforcement of the change. He then went on to discuss each of these elements in more detail. Questions from the audience prompted a discussion about the talent drain that is anticipated in many agencies. Vansuch suggested putting together an improvement team to address this issue. William Johnson (Colorado DOT) indicated that the DOT is preparing employees through mentoring and training to take on new roles earlier in their career than previously was the case. DEVELOPING ASSET MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONAL CAPABILITY USING A MATURITY APPROACH Richard Edwards (AMCL) provided an international perspective on this issue. He stressed that TAM is a journey and that it is important to put some structure around the journey. He referenced the Institute of Asset Management’s (IAM’s) Maturity Assessment, which includes 39 subject areas that help agencies assess gaps and compare performance with respect to their peers. Edwards illustrated the value of the Maturity Assessment using a network rail case study. The assessment enabled the agency to identify its areas for improvement. As a result, the agency saw improved asset performance with greater reliability and sustainability. The railway is now the safest major railway in Europe and carries more trains than ever before. Edwards also stressed the benefits of benchmarking with others who might be doing well in a particular area to model improvements in performance.

44 KEY TAKEAWAYS • Organizational culture is very important and drives change. • IAM Maturity Assessment and benchmarking activities provide information on what drives organizations to change and what factors lead to success. • Change agents within an organization are important to foster two-way communication and to ensure that changes are sustainable. Transit Executive Communication This session presented pilot materials that the FTA developed to support transit professionals in communicating the value of transit asset management to executives. Mshadoni Smith (FTA) presented a template that TAM professionals can use to report agency-specific information about the benefits of implementing TAM and a vision for a mature TAM program. Following the presentation of the materials, the participants discussed strategies for building executive support for TAM and provided feedback on the presentation materials. Discussion Session: Getting Started Implementing Your Plan to Make Asset Management Work Approximately 26 people representing state DOTs, transit agencies, local agencies, and consultants participated in this session. The moderator, William Johnson (Colorado DOT), asked each of four tables to address three questions that had been developed by the conference organizers and then assigned two additional questions to each table. Responses provided by the participants are provided below. HOW IS YOUR AGENCY ALIGNED TO SUPPORT ASSET MANAGEMENT? All groups answered this question. In general, participants expressed interest in aligning siloed decisions and gathering momentum to become more mature in TAM. Engineering and planning ownership approaches were similar, with the use of committees. However, an ongoing challenge is keeping the asset owners engaged. There were various approaches to organizing a TAM. Some agencies had separate TAM organizational units. Some did not think the TAM was located in the right spot in their organization. Others stated that silos exist in their organization, but communication channels are used to overcome the silos. In some organizations, there was not a strong sense of roles and responsibilities. In some cases, individuals felt they understood their responsibilities, but thought there was less

45 understanding of the responsibilities across groups. The participants felt roles were clear in terms of deliverables (such as the TAMP) but not for the implementation of the TAM program. HAVE YOU MADE CHANGES, OR DO YOU PLAN TO MAKE CHANGES, TO BETTER IMPLEMENT TAM? The group addressing this question indicated that changes would be made but that it remained to be seen what those changes would be. The participants viewed leadership changes as an opportunity to un-silo their organization. HOW WILL YOUR AGENCY WORK TO MAINTAIN SUPPORT FOR TAM ONCE THE TAMPS ARE DONE? One group reported that the work was being done by full-time employees with other responsibilities, so this is an ongoing issue for several agencies. A second group indicated that this needs to be explored further. Participants said that pavement and bridge groups are fairly robust, but operations personnel, as well as other areas and assets (such as overhead sign structures, lights, and ITS), need to be integrated. WILL IT BE AN EXERCISE THAT IS DONE EVERY 4 YEARS, OR HAVE YOU TAKEN STEPS TO MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE AND IMPACTFUL IN YOUR ORGANIZATION? For the most part, participants were not sure how this would be addressed in their agency. One group reported that the status of the TAMP as a public document that is reviewed by many people would have an impact on the frequency with which it is updated. DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE THE SKILLS NEEDED TO MANAGE DATA? ANALYZE AND MANAGE RISKS, INCLUDING FUTURE WEATHER-RELATED RISK? OPTIMIZE INVESTMENTS? IF NOT, WHAT STEPS ARE YOU TAKING TO PREPARE YOUR WORKFORCE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF TAM? All groups answered these questions. The responses varied, but several participants indicated they did not have the skills needed to address all of these areas. They reported feeling comfortable managing home-grown tools but not commercial programs. Several participants indicated that their agencies were bringing in consultants to supplement their agency’s knowledge. Some of the areas in the list presented more challenges than others. For example, extreme weather resilience was thought to be more reactive than a planned activity. Agencies felt comfortable managing bridges and pavements but were less comfortable regarding other asset classes. Most agencies did not have cross-asset allocation tools available. Others indicated that the challenge in engaging external stakeholders made financial planning difficult. The participants generally felt comfortable managing data.

46 A few agencies reported that they have key staff retiring within the next 5 years. Several strategies were identified to minimize the disruption, including the development of technical reference guides and other forms of documented procedures. The group also felt that building communication skills among engineers is critical. WHAT WERE YOUR BIGGEST HURDLES IN MEETING THE FHWA CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS? WHAT PART OF THE FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS WERE CHALLENGING TO MEET AND WHY? The report-out from one group identified general certification challenges, reporting data for nonstate NHS owners, working across pavement and bridge silos, depth required in the risk area, shifting FHWA guidance, and the 10-year forecast. Another group reported that the agency’s lack of understanding of the requirements, the lack of time to devote to TAM, the risk gaps, the variances in planning timeframes, and applying FTA’s buckets to agency assets were hurdles that had to be overcome. DID YOU, OR ARE YOU PLANNING, TO ADD MORE THAN THE REQUIRED ASSET CLASSES TO YOUR PLAN? WHY OR WHY NOT? For transit, some agencies indicated that they were expanding the assets that will be included but that they wanted to make sure they could work with the FTA to make these efforts successful. Most highway agencies that participated in the session did not go beyond pavements and bridges but did expand to the entire state-maintained system. One agency indicated it was adding rockfall predictions. The participating agencies that had expanded their TAMPs to include other assets included signs, signposts, and pavement markings. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM COORDINATING THE TAMP WITH YOUR OTHER PLANNING PRODUCTS? WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY? All groups answered this question. At least one participant indicated that his or her agency would have liked to have better incorporated transit and the highway freight program into its TAMP. Another participant indicated that his or her agency would have made pavement and bridge conditions part of the prioritization model up front. Other agencies wished they had communicated with regional partners [e.g., metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs)] earlier in the process, so that their partners could support state targets. This agency had to do a lot of work at the end because the initial TAMP was internally focused. One agency reported that the 20-year timing of its long-range plan was awkward and that its use of multiple consultants for different tasks was challenging. Another agency reported

47 that since it was focused on the deadline, it did everything in parallel, which was not necessarily the best approach. Still another agency would have liked to have developed a comprehensive communications plan because agency departments were not sure how they are all expected to work together. KEY TAKEAWAYS • Better guidance and coordination of federal rules in related areas are needed to facilitate work with local agencies. • Guidance on how to identify and prioritize other assets would be helpful. Asset Management Within Transit Organizations This session, moderated by David Rose (Gannett Fleming), provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about asset management practices in transportation agencies and the factors that contributed to their success. A panel that included Laura Zale [Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)], Justin Barclay (Maryland Transit Administration), Tina Ignat [Metropolitan Rail Corporation (Metra)], John McCormick [Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART)], and Matthew Wilson (Jacksonville Transportation Authority) discussed the transit requirements and their perspectives on implementation. The panel was asked to address the following discussion topics: • How robust is your agency’s asset management? • Have there been any big revelations or surprises for your organization? What learning tools and resources are your agencies using? • Is your agency supporting the TAMP as part of strategic or business planning? • Beyond the October deadline, what will your next iteration look like? Communicating Asset Management This session, moderated by Rob Zilay (Dye Management Group, Inc.), featured four presentations introducing tools to effectively communicate investment decisions to decision-makers and strategies for facilitating the organizational change that often accompanies a TAM implementation. USING CORPORATE LANGUAGE TO SELL PUBLIC INVESTMENTS Gordon Proctor (Gordon Proctor & Associates) defined communication as sending and receiving messages. He stressed that there is a diverse cross section of people that TAM practitioners need to communicate with and that connecting communication efforts to business concepts may help advance TAM efforts. For instance, he suggested that asset managers are portfolio managers, and the Ohio DOT compares the value of assets to the Ohio pension fund. The use of a transportation sustainability index could be compared with

48 the sustainability of the pension fund to show that the transportation system may actually have a larger value. Proctor also stressed that asset valuation leads agencies to maintain assets so they can be passed on to the next generation in a sustainable condition. He also connected asset value to the book value of a company and suggested that transportation agencies might focus on improving their book value (i.e., owner’s equity) through preservation activities. Proctor further suggested that using analogies to the corporate world could help agencies address any communication gaps they are experiencing. THE KEY TO CONVINCING YOUR STAKEHOLDERS TO INVEST IN ASSET MANAGEMENT Margaret-Avis Akofio-Sowah (WSP USA) emphasized the importance of communicating at the right frequency to be most effective. She suggested that agencies get a good handle on who their stakeholders are and what is most important to them. She introduced a framework that some agencies have used to facilitate the business changes that often accompany asset management. She also suggested appealing to the self-interests of each stakeholder and using that information to identify anyone who might be a roadblock to advancing an agency’s efforts. Once these issues are known, it is important to customize a communication plan for each stakeholder so that practitioners are speaking the right language. KNOWLEDGE AND COMMUNICATION: HOW GOOD TRAINING BUILDS EFFECTIVE TRANSIT ASSET MANAGEMENT Ruth Wallsgrove (AMCL) stressed the importance of training in successfully transitioning a transit agency to implement TAM. She recognized that one of their revelations about TAM is that it is about people and, in many cases, people are given responsibility without fully understanding what TAM is. She suggested a good training program should help an agency apply examples learned from other organizations and indicated that the programs offered by IAM provide a broad view of TAM with different levels of training and certification. Wallsgrove indicated that some agencies are moving toward professional registration (similar to a professional engineering license) in asset management and that the Ministry of Ontario has legislated TAM for all cities and may be mandating registration for practitioners. Other agencies, such as the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) required its employees to participate in IAM training, and the New York MTA is reportedly in the process of training its own staff as in-house trainers. She discussed the many types of training available, including web-based and in-person training, and said she enjoys the lunch-and-learn approach to training. USING ENTERPRISE ASSET MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES TO SHIFT AN ORGANIZATION’S OPERATIONAL FOCUS TO A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC SERVICE MODEL FOR BETTER STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT The final presenter was Mildred Chua (New York MTA Bridges and Tunnels). She began the presentation by introducing her agency and its importance to the region. She showed a video on the agency’s Open Road Tolling program and the organizational changes that were required to strategically align the agency. This program eventually led to a new operational

49 model that uses asset management principles with a primary focus on customer service and safety. This model led the agency to look at risk from a business prospective. The agency also uses a performance management framework to set priorities and measure team performance. Decisions are now on the customer experience, which includes four phases: long before the crossing, soon before the crossing, during the crossing, and after the crossing. Any work on a bridge or tunnel will have an impact on the customer during each of the four phases. These changes have transformed the agency’s culture, taken it back to a basics approach, and driven a holistic approach to evaluating organizational needs. KEY TAKEAWAYS • Transportation agencies are similar to businesses and should consider using business approaches to present information. • Communication needs to take place at different levels. • It is important to identify stakeholders and recognize that all are at different levels of acceptance. • Agencies need to address the organizational change associated with TAM through a formal program or through education and training. • Asset managers will always have to deal with people, so communication and training are keys to dealing with ongoing change and keeping up with the times.

Next: Track 5: TAMPS Setting the Course for Compliance and Beyond »
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TRB’s Conference Proceedings on the Web 25: Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management is a compilation of the presentations and summary of the ensuing discussions at a July 14–15, 2018, meeting held in San Diego, California.

During the meeting, attendees explored the development of integrated investment decisions within an uncertain financial planning environment; and the development and implementation of data systems, best practices in data collection, methods used to estimate the expected return on investment, and strategies for communicating results.

The meeting also addressed best practices and lessons learned from Transit Asset Management (TAM) implementation efforts; offered a forum for the sharing of organizational transformations and key strategies for building an effective TAM workforce; and explored the development and maturation of agency transportation asset management plans (TAMPs).

The structure of the program also ensured that transit and risk and resilience were included in the areas of exploration during the meeting.

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