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The National Academies

NCHRP 08-138 [Pending]

Guide to the Integration of Transportation Systems Management and Operations into Transportation Asset Management

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Contract Time: 28 months
Staff Responsibility: Jennifer L. Weeks

 
BACKGROUND
 
Transportation asset management plans (TAMPs) are important tools for tracking the performance of key assets over time, predicting the life-cycle costs of these assets, and calculating the risks that may be presented when an asset fails to perform as intended. As such, the data within TAMPs are important inputs to federally mandated performance management including calculations of travel time reliability, air quality, and congestion management performance measures. Additionally, TAMPs are integral inputs to capital funding decision-making.
 
Since the early adoption of transportation asset management (TAM) practices and the related performance rulemaking, state departments of transportation (DOTs) have sought to add assets beyond pavements and bridges to their risk-based TAMPs. The rapid evolution of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) has introduced a wide array of technical assets into transportation systems management and operations (TSMO). These assets have become critical components in managing the transportation network including communications and security technology, sensors, cameras, and other ITS technologies. As such, the function and condition of these assets directly impact the performance of other network physical infrastructure assets such as bridges and pavement. Therefore, there is a need to integrate these assets into TAMPs as an important means of managing these systems and ensuring a good state of operation.
 
One of the principle challenges in integrating TSMO into TAM is identifying and quantifying the condition of individual TSMO-related assets and measuring the assets against intended performance outcomes. These assets may include software, computer networks, communications, and hardware such as inductive loops and cameras used for detecting vehicles and travelers and variable message signs (VMS) used to communicate directly with travelers. These assets may fail suddenly or through functional obsolescence rather than by gradual deterioration in their physical condition (as is typical for highways and bridges). Furthermore, while the effective operation of these technical assets as systems directly affects the operational performance of transportation hardscape such highways and bridges, quantifying the physical condition of individual ITS assets is more complex than for bridges and pavement.
 
To better manage, operate, plan, and invest in TSMO-related assets, state DOTs and local agencies need direction on how to effectively integrate these assets into asset management processes and plans.
 
OBJECTIVE
 
The objective of this research is to develop a guide for state DOTs and other agencies on the integration of TSMO assets into TAMP processes and plans. The research should identify the anticipated (measurable) benefits of TSMO and TAM integration and provide practical instruction on the application of proven and emerging methods, policies, and processes for identifying and integrating appropriate TSMO assets into TAM processes.
 
The guide developed shall include appropriate tools, techniques, and applications with clear instructions on how to use them. The guide shall at a minimum provide instructions on how to address the following practical needs:
 
1. Evaluate, document, and communicate the benefits of TSMO integration with TAM;
 
2. Identify specific TSMO assets appropriate for integration into TAM analyses and planning documents;
 
3. Assess the physical condition and functional performance of TSMO system components;
 
4. Measure and consider life cycle costs and conditions of TSMO in TAM processes and products;
 
5. Support investment decisions in TSMO assets; and
 
6. Modify enterprise business processes and identify the resources needed to integrate TSMO assets into TAM practices.
 
Documentation of the research approach and instruction on the application of the proposed products by state DOTs is expected.
 
RESEARCH PLAN
 
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 objectives; (3) be divided logically into two phases encompassing specific detailed tasks for each phase that are necessary to fulfill the research objective, including appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; and (4) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment on, and approve milestone deliverables. The resulting guide should include products providing practical methods, procedures, tools, and/or techniques for agencies to apply in their efforts to integrate TSMO and TAM within their organizations.
 
Research plans should be expressed as specific tasks that may be implemented sequentially or in parallel as determined appropriate by the proposers. Tasks are used for the purposes of organizing the research plan approach to meet the research objective.
 
Phase I – Data Collection and Early Analysis of Lessons Learned
 
Phase I of the research plan is focused on the collection of data and information needed to understand the industry state of practice and knowledge that can be analyzed for its broader relevance and application to the industry. Data collection should at a minimum include a comprehensive literature review addressing the subject of this research, and a review and assessment of industry practice conducted in a manner determined appropriate by the research team. Lessons learned from Phase I should inform the approach taken by the research team to conduct Phase II. 
 
The research approach, data collected, and assessment of that data shall be documented in an interim report and discussed with the project panel. The interim report will also include a detailed Phase II work plan, an outline of the guide document, and a list of additional final products to be developed. Approval of the interim report and Phase II work plan by NCHRP will be required to advance to the next phase of research.
 
Phase II – Development and Validation of Research Products
 
Phase II of the research plan shall consist of clearly defined tasks designed to develop applicable research products. It is expected that research products will be tested for their usefulness in the field by a representative sample of state DOTs prior to finalization to validate their usefulness to supporting state DOT TSMO and TAM integration.   
 
Final deliverables of this research should include the following:

1. A guide providing clear and explicit instructions on how to integrate TSMO assets into TAM planning and documents. This document should include a demonstration of the benefits of integration and the influences of the integration on various agency functions, including planning, capital programming, operations, and maintenance;
 
2. A summary document that uses graphics to the extent feasible to demonstrate the application of the guide, including how to identify and integrate TSMO assets into TAM planning and documentation;
 
3. A Power Point presentation or other method of communicating the benefits and applications of TSMO asset integration with TAM targeting executive leaders;
 
4. An implementation plan for bringing the results of the research to the state DOT community; and
 
5. A conduct of research report that documents the research process, including data collected and analysis undertaken.  
 

STATUS: 
Proposals have been received in response to the RFP. The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.

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