The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 126 [Completed]

Development of a Risk Register Spreadsheet Tool
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $115,000
Research Agency: Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc.
Principal Investigator: J.P. O’Har, PHD
Effective Date: 4/28/2015
Completion Date: 7/31/2016


Since AASHTO published the AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide: A Focus on Implementation in 2011, AASHTO and FHWA have been funding additional research projects that will add depth the different areas of the guide that need it. The Guide provides important information and guidance on a number of areas – from developing a TAMP to addressing risk to developing a data governance plan.  More tools and resources are needed, however, for to aid DOTs in fully implementing asset management. One of the areas where more tools and guidance are needed is risk.


Risk management is a process for identifying sources of risk, evaluating them, and integrating mitigation actions and strategies into the routine business functions of the agency. Risk is associated with uncertainty. Risk management should be viewed as a core business tool that influences all activity and not as an isolated, add-on process. Integration of risk management into transportation asset management is relatively new, and has focused thus far on bridges and tunnels. However, all types of transportation assets have uncertainty and risk factors associated with them.  An individual agency’s approach to risk management will depend on the agency’s goals and objectives and therefore the risks associated with individual assets should translate immediately into risks for the agency; the consequences and effects of all risk events must therefore be considered at the agency level too.


MAP-21 requires state DOTs to develop risk-based asset management plans.  Developing a risk register spreadsheet tool will help states address risk within their transportation asset management plans.


The results of a 2011 international scan conducted on this topic are summarize in the report, Transportation Risk Management: International Practices for Program Development and Project Delivery; the report is available at:  https://international.fhwa.dot.gov/scan/12030/.


The purpose of this research is to develop a risk register spreadsheet tool that State DOTs can use to assist them in assessing and addressing risk within their transportation asset management plans (TAMP) at the program level.  It should be noted that this information should be developed before any IT solutions can be considered. 

Project Objective(s) 

The objectives of this research were to develop a risk register spreadsheet tool(s) allowing the user to (1) define risk categories, and (2) assess the likelihood and consequence of an event occurring, that is applicable at the enterprise and program level.  The tool enables an agency to identify risk types, assess the consequences and probability of risk, and provide guidance on preparing risk statements.  Different agencies can modify the tool for their particular needs.  The spreadsheet tool(s) allows an agency to generate heat maps showing the results of risk responses on other risks within the same category of risk to support decision making relative to selecting risk responses.  The research results accomplish the following: 

·         Complement the AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide: A Focus on Implementation by producing a more detailed treatment of the topic.

·         Facilitate state DOT compliance with MAP-21 requirements.

·         Complement the work being conducted for NCHRP project 08-93 “Managing Risk Across the Enterprise: A Guidebook for State Departments of Transportation.”

The Final Products include a final report and three spreadsheet components making up the risk register toolkit:

1. Final Report

2. Enterprise Level Example

3. Program Level Example

4. Risk Register Tool Template 

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