The National Academies

NCHRP 08-136 [Active]

Guidebook on Using Performance-Based Management Approaches for Maintenance

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Staff Responsibility: Christopher T. McKenney
Research Agency: Applied Pavement Technology, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Brad Allen
Effective Date: 11/17/2022
Completion Date: 11/16/2024
Comments: Research in progress.



Ongoing investments in maintenance are key to preserving the highway system and keeping the traveling public moving in a safe and reliable manner. However, it has been difficult for state departments of transportation (DOTs) to obtain adequate and consistent levels of funding to support maintenance needs. In 2014, NCHRP Domestic Scan Report 14-01: Leading Management Practices in Determining Funding Levels for Maintenance and Preservation, investigated funding allocation practices within transportation agencies that have successfully ensured reliably adequate funding to support delivery of efficient and effective maintenance programs. The scan identified three state DOTs using maintenance performance data to support the statewide allocation of funding for maintenance activities. Several additional state DOTs use maintenance performance data to allocate the funds provided for maintenance, but the degree to which performance data are used varies considerably.


NCHRP Domestic Scan Report 14-01 is available by clicking here (3.6 Mb PDF file).  A peer exchange subsequently was held to encourage dissemination and application of the scan team’s findings. A summary of survey data shared during the peer exchange is available for download by clicking here (300 Kb PDF file); the full report of the peer exchange is available by clicking here (1 Mb PDF file).


Although many maintenance practitioners collect maintenance performance data as part of a maintenance quality assurance (MQA) program, the results are largely underutilized because agencies had little confidence in the data, an inadequate amount of data is being collected to make meaningful decisions, and/or early champions in an MQA program have retired and new employees do not understand its purpose. 


Because of the importance of life cycle planning for maintenance, and with planned investment strategies included in a DOT transportation asset management plan (TAMP) that specify planned expenditures in maintenance and preservation activities, guidance on how performance management approaches can be best applied to maintenance activities is needed. Research is needed to advance the use of performance-based decisions, as promoted by the AASHTO Performance Management Committee, and to advance the objectives of the AASHTO Maintenance Committee.




The objective of this research is to develop a user-friendly guidebook for maintenance practitioners on the use of performance-based management (PBM) strategies in maintenance. The guidebook will include tools to help agencies address issues that hinder their use of MQA programs, implementation and how successful adopters overcame those issues, and training materials suitable for online delivery.


The guidebook should address:

  • Strategies for estimating and optimizing the benefits of PBM for maintenance and asset management, and building buy-in among practitioners;
  • Data management and approaches;
  • Business processes and procedures that support PBM; and
  • Organizational structures and practices that support successful performance-based programs.

Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.






Task 1. Conduct a literature review of relevant research and current state-of-practice related to PBM as applied to or is relevant for state DOT maintenance activities. The review shall include published and unpublished research conducted through the NCHRP; FHWA; and other national, international, state, and pooled-fund sponsored research.


Task 2. Conduct a survey of DOTs to identify current state-of-practice in PBM as applied to or is relevant for state DOT maintenance activities. Collect data needed to achieve the research objective with consideration of the development of the PBM process and the decision-making and planning approaches that drive the PBM process. 


Note: The survey requires NCHRP approval before distribution.


Task 3. Synthesize the results from Tasks 1 and 2 to identify the knowledge gaps for the implementation of PBM approaches for maintenance activities. These gaps should be addressed in the final product or the recommended future research as budget permits.


Task 4. Propose a methodology for readiness assessment of PBM practices for asset management and maintenance activities to be fully developed in Phase II.

At a minimum, the methodology shall address the following:  


  • Identify public and private entities with well-developed state-of-practice in PBM;
  • Evaluate potential applications of PBM approaches for maintenance activities (e.g., maintenance quality assurance, performance-based budgeting, organizational performance measures, and customer satisfaction surveys aligning with an agency's strategy or maintenance activities);
  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of PBM approaches for each maintenance activity;
  • Evaluate the readiness of the identified PBM processes to be implemented by DOTs; and
  • Identify the requirements for implementing the PBM processes including organization structure, workflow, and training.

Task 5. Propose a preliminary outline for the guidebook based on the proposed methodology.


Task 6. Prepare Interim Report No. 1 that documents Tasks 1 through 5 and provides an updated and refine work plan for the remainder of the research no later than 4 months after contract award. The updated plan must describe the work proposed for Phases II through IV.




Task 7.  Develop the methodology according to the approved Interim Report No.1.


Task 8. Develop examples to demonstrate the developed methodology. The selection of the examples should include at a minimum the identified PBM approaches for maintenance activities in Phase I.

Task 9. Provide a detailed description of every chapter and section of the proposed guidebook and complete a sample chapter of the proposed guidebook selected by NCHRP. This chapter should be publication-ready.

Task 10. Prepare Interim Report No. 2 that documents the results of Tasks 7 through 9 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the project. This report is due no later than 8 months after approval of Phase I. The updated plan must describe the work proposed for Phases III and IV.



Task 11. Develop the guidebook according to the approved Interim Report No. 2.

Task 12. After NCHRP approval of the draft guidebook, plan and conduct a workshop with 20 representatives of DOTs and other stakeholders to review the draft guidebook and implementation plan. Revise the draft guidebook according to the outcomes of the workshop. The invited representatives shall be approved by NCHRP.

Task 13. Prepare Interim Report No. 3 that documents the results of Tasks 11 and 12 no later than 9 months after approval of Phase II. The updated work plan must describe the work proposed for Phase IV.



Task 14. Revise the draft guidebook considering the NCHRP’s review comments.


Task 15. Prepare a final deliverable that documents the entire research effort. Final deliverables should include, at a minimum (1) a research report documenting the work performed and used to develop the guidebook, (2) the guidebook as a stand-alone document, (3) presentation material, and (4) technical memorandum on implementation.


STATUS: Research in progress.

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