Equipment failures often require state transportation agency fleet managers to consider whether the equipment should be repaired or replaced. (For purposes of this request, the term “repair” encompasses such actions as major overhaul or refurbishment that can add to the anticipated equipment service life; “replace” includes sale or other disposition of the failed equipment; and “equipment” includes the broad range of items typically operated by or for a state transportation agency, including sedans, light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles, and off-road equipment.) The replace or repair decision typically depends on a variety of considerations such as availability of other equipment, seasonal conditions and maintenance workloads, various budget restrictions and current agency policies, as well as the anticipated time requirements and costs of replacement or repair and future equipment reliability.
Fleet managers need consistent and defensible methodology and computational tools to assist them to identify viable repair and replacement options, evaluate the merits of these options, assess the impact of budget limitations or other constraints that may preclude otherwise viable options, and generally provide sound and easily understood bases for decision-making. Research products from NCHRP and others offer guidance for calculating ownership and operating costs of agency vehicles and equipment and for determining optimal equipment replacement cycles. Further research is need to extend such guidance to address explicitly the repair vs. replacement options when highway maintenance equipment fails.
The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook for state transportation agency fleet managers and others, presenting a readily usable methodology, supportive computational tools, and examples of effective practices for (a) describing and evaluating repair and replacement options when a particular piece of highway maintenance equipment fails and (b) judging which options represent the best value for the fleet and agency. The methodology and tools should facilitate consideration of the range of factors that may be critical to decision-making, such as downtime; budget limitations; seasonality; equipment compatibility; the equipment’s age, anticipate service life, and future reliability; current shop capability, warrantees, future liabilities, and availability of rental equipment; cost-recovery period and return on investment; and aspects other than monetary costs that may influence best value. The guidebook shall be presented in a format suitable for adoption by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Agencies (AASHTO).
The target audience for this research will be state transportation agency fleet managers and maintenance engineers who are responsible for ensuring availability of equipment to carry out day-to-day highway maintenance operations and may be called on to inform senior agency decision makers and other internal and external stakeholders such as budget-agency and elected officials, road users, and the general public.