The National Academies

NCHRP 24-46 [Active]

Development of an Implementation Manual for Geotechnical Asset Management for Transportation Agencies

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Staff Responsibility: Camille Crichton-Sumners
Research Agency: Shannon & Wilson, Inc
Principal Investigator: Mark Vessely, VP
Effective Date: 7/27/2016
Completion Date: 7/27/2018
Comments: Research in progress

In the past decade, considerable advancement has been made in Transportation Asset Management (TAM) to allow agencies to focus strategically on the long-term management of government-owned assets. In the past few years, the application of asset management principles to geotechnical assets has followed the general TAM development pattern and has been tried by a few state departments of transportation and other agencies. However the results to date are mixed, with considerable differences in approaches and results. Early efforts have often focused on inventory and condition surveys, without continuing along the full TAM spectrum. As a result, the benefits of asset management have not been fully realized for geotechnical assets. The federal surface transportation bills, i.e., Moving Ahead with Progress for the 21st Century (MAP-21), and Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, specify risk- and performance-based asset management for bridges and pavements and encourage state transportation agencies to develop and implement transportation asset management strategies for all assets within the right-of-way. To move beyond the initial steps of Geotechnical Asset Management (GAM) and focus on incorporation of geotechnical assets into transportation asset management, there is an urgent need for the following:
A. Guidelines for managing geotechnical assets consistent with and to supplement the AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide – A Focus on Implementation (2011). The contents would describe procedures, forms, and electronic data collection and management tools for inventory and condition assessment of assets and elements at all plan levels to provide agencies with a baseline risk-based asset management approach, considering MAP-21, FAST Act, and AASHTO-supported performance measures.
B. Examples of successful and unsuccessful GAM strategies for incorporating GAM into TAM, performance management, or risk management programs; concepts for the measurement and tracking of economic, safety, mobility, and condition consequences from geotechnical asset performance; and life-cycle analysis tools.
C. Definition and taxonomy of geotechnical assets to support communication and comparability among state DOTs.
D. Performance-based goals, targets, and means of measurement for geotechnical assets. Measurements can be technical (such as specified movement) or they can be non-technical, for example a user perspective or a maintenance cost.
E. Ways to incorporate risk analysis principles and processes into asset management for geotechnical assets. Define risk and identify risk elements related to specific geotechnical assets. These should include typically understood consequences such as personal injury or loss of life and property damage, but also including such elements as economic consequences and impacts to environment, mobility and performance, and maintenance costs.
The objective of this research is to produce a manual for developing and implementing a geotechnical asset management program. The manual will provide plans and tools for a consistent management program that is flexible enough to allow varying adaptations by different agencies as they integrate the geotechnical assets into their overall asset management program.
The manual may address, but not be limited to the following:
  •   Definitions
  •   First steps
  •  DOT organization
  •  Maturity of TAM program
  •  Urgency of GAM
  •  Flexibility/adaptability
  •  Benefits
  •  Asset Management Best practices
  •  Barriers to implementation 
  •  Inventory/condition
  •  Performance measures
  •  Performance targets
  •  Service life
  •  Risk evaluation
Risk-Based Management
  •  Life-cycle cost
  •  Investment strategy
  •  Interaction with other assets
Sample Practices
  •  GAM successful practices
  •  GAM unsuccessful practices

The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail. The tasks must be divided into two phases. Phase I will consist of information gathering and planning tasks, culminating in the submittal of an interim report. The interim report will describe the work completed in the Phase I tasks, include an annotated outline of the final manual document, and provide an updated work plan for the Phase II tasks. The updated Phase II work plan should address the manner in which the proposer intends to use the information obtained in Phase I to satisfy the project objective. A face-to-face interim meeting with NCHRP will be scheduled to discuss the interim report. Work on Phase II tasks shall not begin until the updated work plan is approved by NCHRP. The project schedule should include 2 months for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report.
The research plan shall include, but not be limited to: 
  •  A kick-off teleconference between the research team and NCHRP to be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution to discuss the amplified work plan
  •  A literature review to include domestic and international best practices
The final deliverables shall include:
  •   A standalone manual
  •   A final report documenting the conduct of the research
  •   A technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note C)
  •  A PowerPoint presentation and training materials suitable for an NHI course or a webinar
STATUS: Research in Progress

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