The National Academies

NCHRP 14-15 [Completed]

Developing a National Database System for Maintenance Actions on Highway Bridges

  Project Data
Funds: $427,633
Research Agency: University of Colorado at Boulder
Principal Investigator: George Hearn
Effective Date: 8/26/2005
Completion Date: 3/31/2010

Background: A variety of maintenance actions are performed by highway agencies to preserve highway bridges. Although similar maintenance actions are applied, applications methods, rates, bases of measurement, costs, performance, and other related factors differ among these agencies. There is no widely accepted system for uniformly recording data pertaining to maintenance actions. Research is needed to review relevant information; recommend uniform definitions of the data associated with maintenance actions, and develop a database system for collection, storage, and retrieval of related data. These definitions and the database system will ensure proper interpretation of the data, facilitate their use by highway agencies in evaluating cost and performance of alternative maintenance applications, and provide a basis for cost-benefit analysis and evaluation of cost and deterioration models. These products will provide for maximum sharing and use of bridge-maintenance data and will help highway agencies make appropriate adjustments to improve performance or reduce cost of maintenance actions, thereby effectively managing bridge-maintenance resources and achieving the best possible value for the public dollar.

Objective: The objective of this research was to develop a national database system of bridge-maintenance actions, materials, and methods, and their effectiveness to provide a means for establishing a record of actions that includes uniform descriptions of maintenance activities, bases of measurement, costs, impacts, performance, and other relevant data for use in cost-benefit analysis, selection of maintenance actions, or other related decisions. It was envisioned that the database system will be made adaptable for web-based application in a future project.

Status: The project is complete. The research developed a framework for a database system that promotes uniform recording and reporting of bridge maintenance actions and related costs and outcomes.  The database system, called the National Bridge Maintenance Database (NBMD), allows DOTs to evaluate costs and performance of maintenance actions, execute cost-benefit analysis, and better manage bridge maintenance resources. The final report has been published as NCHRP Report 668 and distributed to Program sponsors (state departments of Transportation).  The report is available at https://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_668.pdf and the appendices are available at https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/164203.aspx

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