The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 118 [Final]

Performance Measures for State Infrastructure Preservation
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $75,000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics
Principal Investigator: Samuel Van Hecke
Effective Date: 10/24/2013
Completion Date: 7/29/2013

The final report Performance Measures for Infrastructure Preservation is available HERE.

Research Objective
The objective of this research is to produce a limited set of performance measures and analysis tools that states, local governments, and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), can use to better understand and communicate the costs and benefits of pavement and bridge infrastructure preservation activities which restore facility condition and extend the service life. The measures and tools should reflect the impacts of preservation investments on lifecycle costs, and impacts on system users.   The set of measures should be designed to inform agency decisionmaking as well as to educate the public on the impact of preservation investments.
There are numerous efforts underway to measure the condition and performance of the transportation system. Research is also ongoing to develop performance based planning and programming processes. Historically, most measures of infrastructure health have focused on the condition of pavement and bridges, and measuring end conditions such as the percentage of structurally deficient bridges and percentage of smooth pavement.
As states more fully implement dynamic asset management systems that measure a broad set of infrastructure health indices, they are able to improve the cost effectiveness of their of their investments—and to more specifically target investments to meet desired preservation goals. Preservation activities are intended to maximize the life of an asset and minimize the lifecycle cost to maintain the asset by preventing deterioration of the asset to a state where replacement or extensive rehabilitation of core structural elements is required. Ideally, preservation activities should be performed as close as practical to the end of the “window of opportunity” and before more costly work becomes necessary.
Current infrastructure performance measures are largely focused on measuring infrastructure end conditions, and not on measuring the specific benefits from implementing a preservation investment strategy. Devoting additional resources to system preservation, however, means that less funding is available in the short term for more costly replacement or reconstruction projects. With increasing funding constraints at all levels of government, transportation asset owners would benefit from a set of performance measures that can clearly relate the life cycle costs of preservation investments to the benefits derived from these investments.

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