The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 54-22 [Active (Synthesis)]

Practices for Capturing and Integrating Cost Data in Maintenance Systems
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 4/29/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Jo Allen Gause
Research Agency: Mott MacDonald
Principal Investigator: Charles Pilson
Effective Date: 10/18/2022
Fiscal Year: 2023

Final Scope

Implementing, enhancing, or replacing existing maintenance management systems (MMS) by State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), is costly, time consuming, and involves considerable risk because these systems are typically in place for many years. One of the fundamental objectives of an MMS is to capture maintenance costs at an appropriate level of detail for analysis. The expenditures against these budgets have been captured in maintenance management systems for many years, but the level of detail, quality, accuracy, and timeliness of this cost capture varies considerably due to the many different approaches being used. The use of this cost information varies but ideally includes analysis and reporting of costs down to a reasonable level of detail, including such categories as organizational unit, geographical jurisdiction area, road functional class, maintenance activity, asset and/or location, and cost type, such as labor cost, equipment costs, materials costs, and other costs.

Apart from general organizational visibility into where costs are being incurred, another major use of cost information is to process claims for reimbursement of costs. Reimbursement cost accounting may range from FEMA or emergency relief funds, to claiming reimbursement from an insurance company for a guardrail, sign, or bridge hit.  Cost information is also an important input for other business decisions and planning efforts.

The ability to capture maintenance costs down to the desired level of detail has evolved over the last couple of decades to include varying levels of integration of cost data from an MMS with other agency systems. Factors such as where labor, equipment, and materials usage costs are captured (e.g., in the field on a mobile device, copied from paper forms in the office into the MMS, or captured directly into the financial system) can make a big difference in the level of detail, accuracy, and timeliness of the cost information collected.

The objective of this synthesis is to document state departments of transportation (DOTs) practices for capturing maintenance costs in their MMS.  The synthesis will include the level of detail captured, the quality of the data, the level of integration with other agency systems, and the operational and business value of the data.  

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):

  • Type of MMS used to track and manage costs (e.g., spreadsheet, in-house developed system, commercial/enterprise system);
  • Categories of costs tracked (e.g., direct/indirect labor costs, equipment, materials, internal and externally contracted maintenance costs);
  • How and where the different types of cost are captured (e.g., in the field on a mobile device, copied from paper forms, captured directly into the MMS);
  • Level of detail of maintenance costs captured (e.g., units of accomplishment such as hourly versus lump sum, lane mile versus acreage, pipes versus square footage, performance measures for maintenance activities); 
  • Data quality practices (e.g., assuring accuracy, consistency, completeness); and 
  • Level of integration with other agency systems (e.g., financial, asset management, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and equipment management systems)

Information will be collected through a literature review, a survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

Information Sources (Partial):
●  NCHRP 08-115 Guidebook for Data and Information Systems for Transportation Asset Management (approaching completion) https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=4362

●  NCHRP 08-136 Guidance on Using Performance-Based Management Approaches for Maintenance (in-progress) https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?PrjectID=4947

●  NCHRP 23-08 A Guide for Incorporating Maintenance Costs into a Transportation Asset Management Plan (in progress) https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=4789

●  Synthesis     470     Maintenance     Quality     Assurance     Field     Inspection Practices http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/172148.aspx

●  Synthesis 548: Development and Use of As-Built Plans by State Departments of Transportation http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/180618.aspx

●  NCHRP 20-101 Guidelines to Incorporate the Costs and Benefits of Adaptation Measures in Preparation for Extreme Weather Events and Climate Change https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=3881

●  NCHRP Report 688 Determining Highway Maintenance Costs (2011) http://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/165504.aspx

●  NCHRP Report 944 Guide to Calculating Ownership and Operating Costs of Department of Transportation Vehicles and Equipment: An Accounting Perspective http://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/180225.aspx

TRB Staff
Jo Allen Gause
Phone: 202-334-3826
Email: jagause@nas.edu
Meeting Dates
First Panel: October 18, 2022, Virtual
Teleconference with Consultant: November 10, 2022, Eastern
Second Panel: July 20, 2023, Washington, DC

Topic Panel
Lyndi Blackburn, Alabama Department of Transportation
Caleb Dobbins, New Hampshire Department of Transportation
Phillip Montoya, New Mexico Department of Transportation
Nathan Morian, Nevada Department of Transportation
Prashant V. Ram, Applied Pavement Technology, Inc.
Trisha Stefanski, Minnesota Department of Transportation
James Bryant, Transportation Research Board
Antonio Nieves-Torres, Federal Highway Administration

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=5305