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The National Academies

NCHRP 23-08 [Active]

A Guide for Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Staff Responsibility: Lawrence D. Goldstein
Research Agency: Applied Pavement Technology, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Brad Allen
Effective Date: 9/22/2020
Completion Date: 2/19/2022

­BACKGROUND

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) established a performance-based Federal-Aid Highway Program that includes a requirement for state departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and other transportation planning agencies to develop and regularly update a risk-based Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP).  The TAMP is designed to identify investment and management strategies to improve or preserve asset conditions as well as the performance of the National Highway System (NHS).  Although only pavements and bridges on the NHS are required to be included in the TAMP, states are encouraged to include additional assets.  At a minimum, the TAMP should include the following: 

  • A summary of NHS pavement and bridge assets, including a description of conditions;
  • Asset management objectives and performance measures;
  • Identification of any performance gaps;
  • A life-cycle cost and risk management analysis; and
  • A 10-year financial plan and corresponding investment strategies.

While most states are able to capture past and planned expenditures on capital projects, states are finding it challenging to incorporate maintenance costs into their TAMP.  

The absence of maintenance cost data in a TAMP must be addressed to capture the full amount of investments being made by states in the transportation system.  This issue is especially important as state transportation agencies increase their attention to system preservation, placing greater emphasis on preventive maintenance. 

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this research is to develop a guide for state DOTs and other transportation agencies on incorporating maintenance costs in a risk-based TAMP, including but not limited to the following: 

1.    A detailed presentation of procedures for identifying, collecting, and managing required data;

2.    Using life-cycle planning tools and techniques to demonstrate financial requirements and cost-effectiveness of maintenance activities and preservation programs and the potential change in costs and liabilities associated with deferring these actions;

3.    Formulating strategies that identify how to invest available funds over the next 10 years (as required by the TAMP) using life-cycle and benefit-cost analyses (and other applicable tools and techniques) to measure tradeoffs between capital and maintenance activities in alternative investment scenarios; and

4.    Designing components of a financial plan showing anticipated revenues and planned investments in capital and maintenance costs for the next 10 years.  

RESEARCH PLAN

Proposers are asked to present a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objective.  Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time, including an indication of how proposed research will make use of and build on current requirements and practices.  Proposals must demonstrate in sufficient detail an understanding of the issues and a sound approach to meeting the research objective.   

The research plan should (1) include a kick-off web conference to review the amplified work plan with the NCHRP project panel, convened within 1 month of the contract’s execution; (2) address how the proposer intends to satisfy the project objective; (3) be divided logically into (at least) two phases encompassing specific detailed tasks for each phase that are necessary to fulfill the research objectives, including appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; and (4) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment on, and approve milestone deliverables. It should also include a review of other related studies in general and NCHRP research studies in particular.

 In response to the objective, the research plan should

·        Identify and review previous and ongoing NCHRP studies and other research indicative of the state-of-the-art with respect to defining, calculating, and incorporating maintenance costs in asset management plans;

·        Review a diverse sample of existing TAMPs and summarize the extent to which maintenance costs are incorporated into the life cycle-cost analysis, risk and uncertainty analysis, and benefit-cost, financial planning and investment strategies; and identify key gaps in how maintenance costs are considered in a TAMP;

·        Determine adequacy of available maintenance cost data to support the needs in each TAMP content area and identify what information is needed as a function of asset categories; and

·        Develop guidelines to better account for past and planned maintenance costs as states develop their TAMP;  

o   Consider agencies at various levels of maturity in terms of their maintenance management practices in the guidelines and address special requirements necessary to incorporate assets in addition to pavements and bridges in the TAMP; and

o   Consider how to address the impact on future maintenance cost increases from assets brought to the transportation system as a function of new capital improvements.

Phase I

At a minimum, work in Phase I will include the following steps:

1.    Review of existing experience and conditions affecting inclusion of maintenance costs in TAMP;

2.    Identify the types of assets that will be considered in the analysis in addition to pavement and bridges;

3.    With assistance from the NCHRP panel, identify potential DOTs and other transportation agencies as subjects of a set of case studies for developing procedures for, and benefits from, the inclusion of maintenance costs in the TAMP;

4.    Carry out the case studies and gather information from selected agencies to identify and evaluate data requirements, availability, opportunities, and constraints; and

5.    Create a preliminary framework for the guide to be refined in Phase II, for incorporating maintenance costs in TAMPs, comprising a basic structure identifying tools, techniques, and procedures. 

The work accomplished in Phase I will be documented in an interim report that describes the preliminary steps necessary to analyze and understand the process and requirements for incorporating maintenance costs in TAMPs. The NCHRP project panel will meet with the research team at the end of Phase I to review the interim report. NCHRP approval of the interim report is required before proceeding with Phase II. 

Phase II

Building on the framework presented in Phase I and input from the NCHRP panel following the interim review, the research team will follow up with the agencies that previously participated in the case studies to refine and expand that preliminary framework, creating a guide for state DOTs and other transportation agencies on how to develop the resources and procedures for incorporating maintenance costs in TAMPs.  At a minimum, this guide will include the following:

1.    Procedures for identifying, collecting, and managing required data;

2.    How to use life-cycle planning tools and techniques to demonstrate financial requirements and cost-effectiveness of maintenance activities and preservation programs and the potential change in costs and liabilities associated with deferring these actions;

3.    Strategies that identify how to invest available funds over the next 10 years (as required by the TAMP) using life-cycle and benefit-cost analyses (and other applicable tools and techniques) to measure tradeoffs between capital and maintenance activities in alternative investment scenarios; and

4.    Components of a financial plan showing anticipated revenues and planned investments in capital and maintenance costs for the next 10 years.  

Final deliverables of Phase II will include at a minimum:

·         A detailed guide for state DOTs and other transportation agencies on requirements for incorporating maintenance costs in TAMPs, defining critical steps necessary to acquire resources and necessary data, and to implement new procedures;

·         A contractor’s final report that documents the entire research effort.  This report should also include recommendations for additional validation in diverse settings, research on applicable procedures, data collection, analytical methods, and tools;

·         A stand-alone executive summary that outlines the findings and recommendations;

·         Communication material aimed at state DOTs and other transportation agencies that explains the benefits of using the guide and the potential return on investment in expanding the TAMP to include maintenance costs; and

·         A stand-alone technical memorandum entitled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (See Special Note B).

The research plan should build in appropriate checkpoints with the NCHRP project panel including, at a minimum, (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the contract’s execution date; (2) the face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting to be held at the end of Phase I; and (3) at least two additional web-enabled teleconferences tied to NCHRP review and approval of any other interim deliverables as deemed appropriate.

Status:  Research is now underway

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