The National Academies

NCHRP 14-20 [Completed]

Consequences of Delayed Maintenance - Phase I

  Project Data
Funds: 249,915
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Joseph A. Guerre
Effective Date: 6/7/2010
Completion Date: 12/10/2012

BACKGROUND: Various maintenance treatments are employed by highway agencies to slow deterioration and restore condition of highway pavements, bridges, and other physical assets. However, budget constraints and other factors have often led to delaying or eliminating the application of these treatments. Such actions are expected to adversely influence the condition and performance and lead to a reduced level of service, to early deterioration, and eventually to the need for costly rehabilitation or replacement. Analytical tools are currently available to quantify the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments for highway pavements, bridges, and other assets. However, processes for using these tools to demonstrate the potential savings and performance enhancement resulting from applying maintenance treatments at the right time are not readily available. Research is needed to develop such processes. This information will help highway agencies better assess the economic benefits of maintenance actions and their role in enhancing the level of service of the highway system. In addition, incorporating these processes in asset management systems would provide a means for optimizing the allocation of resources.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research is to develop a process for quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments. The process shall be applicable to highway pavements, bridges, and other physical assets. Consequences shall be expressed in terms of performance indicators (e.g., distress and level of service), costs to owners and road users, and other relevant factors. Delayed maintenance applications may be defined by (1) the inability to meet the agency-defined application schedule or (2) the available budget relative to an unconstrained budget (i.e., availability of the funds required to perform all needed maintenance). 

Six tasks were completed: (1)  Collect and review information relevant to the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments on pavements, bridges, and other physical highway assets (e.g., performance/condition and cost). This information may be obtained from published and unpublished reports, contacts with public and private sector agencies, industry organizations, and other domestic and foreign sources. Based on this review, identify analytical tools (e.g., pavement management and bridge management systems) for quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments on pavements or bridges.  (2) Using the identified tools, conduct analyses of different scenarios to estimate the consequences of delayed maintenance of pavements and bridges in terms of performance trends and cost to the agency and to road users. These scenarios should encompass different pavement and bridge networks and delayed maintenance situations, including the case of no treatment application.  (3) Using the results of Task 2, relate performance trends to maintenance level of service, and establish the relationship between maintenance expenditures and level of service for pavements and bridges. Also, identify a method for quantifying the costs associated with achieving an improved level of service. (4) Develop a process for quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments for pavements and bridges recognizing the relationships between performance (or level of service) and cost.  (5) Prepare an updated, detailed work plan for Phase II. (6) Prepare an interim report that documents the research performed in Tasks 1 through 5. Following review of the interim report by the NCHRP, the research team will be required to make a presentation to the project panel. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until the interim report is approved and the Phase II work plan is authorized by the NCHRP.
STATUS: After reviewing the findings of Phase I, the panel expressed concerns about many aspects of the proposed work, including the level of specific detail of the proposed work, delineation of the data needed to support the proposed research and their availability, and the likelihood of success in achieving the project objectives; a decision was made to discontinue work on the project.  Related work will be conducted under a new project (14-20A). The project interim report and other technical information are linked here as pdf documents:

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