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The National Academies

NCHRP 23-08 [Pending]

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

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Contract Time: 18 Months
Staff Responsibility: Lawrence D. Goldstein

­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.

Note: The cost of teleconferences, in-person meeting venue, and NCHRP panel member travel will be paid by NCHRP.

SPECIAL NOTES

A. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the brochure, "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals"  (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/crp/docs/ProposalPrep.pdf). Proposals also should include a breakdown of all costs (e.g., wages, indirect costs, travel, materials, and total) for each task using Figures 5 and 6 in the brochure. Please note that TRB Cooperative Research Program subawards (selected proposers are considered subawards to the National Academy of Sciences, the parent organization of TRB) must comply with 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These requirements include a provision that proposers without a "federally" Negotiated Indirect Costs Rate Agreement (NICRA) shall be subject to a maximum allowable indirect rate of 10% of Modified Total Direct Costs. Modified Total Direct Costs include all salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract. Modified Total Direct Costs exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000.

B. The NCHRP is a practical, applied research program that produces implementable products addressing problems faced by transportation practitioners and managers. The benefits of NCHRP research are realized only when the results are implemented in state DOTs and other agencies. Implementation of the research product must be considered throughout the process, from problem statement development to research contract and beyond completion of the research. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," must include the following: (a) the "product" expected from the research, (b) the audience or "market" for this product, (c) a realistic assessment of impediments to successful implementation, and (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in deploying the research product. The project panel will develop and maintain an implementation plan throughout the life of the project. The research team will be expected to provide input to an implementation team consisting of panel members, AASHTO committee members, the NCHRP Implementation Coordinator, and others in order to meet the goals of NCHRP Active Implementation: Moving Research into Practice, available at

http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_ActiveImplementation.pdf

C. Item 5 in the proposal, "Qualifications of the Research Team," must include a section labeled "Disclosure." Information relevant to the NCHRP's need to ensure objectivity and to be aware of possible sources of significant financial or organizational conflict of interest in conducting the research must be presented in this section of the proposal. For example, under certain conditions, ownership of the proposing agency, other organizational relationships, or proprietary rights and interests could be perceived as jeopardizing an objective approach to the research effort, and proposers are asked to disclose any such circumstances and to explain how they will be accounted for in this study. If there are no issues related to objectivity, this should be stated.

D. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively very knowledgeable in the problem area. Selection of an agency is made by the project panel considering the following factors: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of results; (5) how the proposer approaches inclusion and diversity in the composition of their team and research approach, including participation by certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises; and, if relevant, (6) the adequacy of the facilities.

Note: The proposer's approach to inclusion and diversity as well as participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 12 of the proposal.

E. Copyrights - All data, written materials, computer software, graphic and photographic images, and other information prepared under the contract and the copyrights therein shall be owned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The contractor and subcontractors will be able to publish this material for non-commercial purposes, for internal use, or to further academic research or studies with permission from TRB Cooperative Research Programs. The contractor and subcontractors will not be allowed to sell the project material without prior approval by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. By signing a contract with the National Academy of Sciences, contractors accept legal responsibility for any copyright infringement that may exist in work done for TRB. Contractors are therefore responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions for use of copyrighted material in TRB's Cooperative Research Programs publications. For guidance on TRB's policies on using copyrighted material, please consult Section 5.4, "Use of Copyrighted Material," in the Procedural Manual for Contractors.

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