Few agencies are adequately funded for the maintenance activities needed to keep the asset at lowest life cycle cost, particularly for ancillary assets. In addition to bridges and pavements, other assets need maintenance and preservation funding, but the needs of ancillary assets have not been investigated as thoroughly as bridges and pavements needs. Deferring appropriate preventative maintenance activities not only shortens the useful life of the asset and increases the life cycle cost, but also could lead to premature failure and potential safety and liability concerns.
While many cost estimation tools exist, entities still struggle to (1) keep pace with the existing demands placed on maintenance activities, (2) illustrate the relationship of maintenance activities and extending the service life of specific assets, (3) understand and determine the cost of maintenance and preservation for additions to the transportation system, and (4) communicate in a succinct manner the additional funding needed to maintain various assets of the transportation systems to budget decision-makers.
Establishing industry-wide tools will more comprehensively convey the benefits of investing in maintenance and preservation to budget decision-makers, including elected officials and senior management in agencies. These tools will not only enhance maintenance and preservation programs but also contribute to the prolonged service life of various asset classes. Research is needed to quantify and document additional funding requirements and provide information to effectively communicate these needs to decision-makers. The findings can inform the Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP) and other state highway improvement plans, covering operation improvement, safety, freight, and more.
The objective of this research is to develop a practical tool to accurately estimate and justify funding requirements for asset maintenance and preservation. The tool is expected to be utilized and adapted by transportation agencies to incorporate existing and future asset classes and to facilitate communication of maintenance and preservation needs to technical and nontechnical audiences.
At a minimum the research shall:
1. Document current state of practice;
2. Define the relationship between maintenance activities and the impact of delayed maintenance; and
3. Develop a tool (e.g., a spreadsheet tool) to quantify the cost of annual maintenance per asset class to help agencies demonstrate the resources needed to maintain the transportation system in state of good repair and at its optimal life cycle cost. The tool shall arrive at the optimal life cycle cost by comparing different maintenance strategies and scenarios.
Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.
Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.
Task 1. Conduct a comprehensive literature review on transportation asset management planning with emphasis on the funding needs estimation process and the cost of delayed/deferred maintenance for the existing and future asset classes. The review shall include published and unpublished documentation and research conducted through the NCHRP (see Special Note M); the Federal Highway Administration; and other national, state, and local agencies.
Task 2. Scan the current state of practice to identify policies, resources, and strategies used for asset management for maintenance activities throughout the lifecycle as well as within different asset classes. This task includes identification of best practices nationwide that involves existing asset classes and additions to the transportation system.
Task 3. Synthesize the results of the literature review and the current practice scan to identify knowledge gaps related to the research objective. The gaps should be addressed in the final product or the recommended future research.
Task 4. Propose a research plan, to be executed in Phase II, to achieve the research objective. At a minimum, the research plan shall include:
1. Identifying pertinent assets and relevant data;
2. Defining the methodology that leads to the estimation tool;
3. Developing the prototype of the tool that will include:
Variability and scalability to meet agencies needs and inform data driven decision-making;
A balanced resource allocation for various asset classes based on financial constraints and system-level risks;
Scenario planning to evaluate and compare various maintenance strategies; and
A visualized summary/report.
4. Developing the user guide for the tool;
5. Developing a pilot test to be conducted by selected state departments of transportation;
6. Revising/updating the tool based on the results of the pilot testing; and
7. Preparing the preliminary outline of the final report.
Task 5. Prepare Interim Report No. 1 that documents Tasks 1 through 4 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research no later than 6 months after the contract award. The updated plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phases II and III.
Note: Following a 1-month review of Interim Report No. 1 by the NCHRP, the research team will meet in-person with the project panel to discuss the interim report. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until authorized by the NCHRP.
Task 6. Execute the research plan according to the approved Interim Report No 1.
Task 7. Prepare Interim Report No. 2 that documents Task 6 and provides an updated work plan for the remainder of the research. The updated work plan must describe the process and rationale for the work proposed for Phase III.
Note: Following a 1-month review of Interim Report No. 2 by the NCHRP, the research team will meet with the project panel to discuss the interim report. Work on Phase III of the project will not begin until authorized by the NCHRP.
PHASE III—Final Products
Task 8. Revise the tool and its user guide after consideration of the panel’s review comments.
Task 9. Conduct a virtual workshop/webinar to present the findings of the project to state and/or other jurisdictional practitioners, which could include asset management, maintenance, and planning staff.
Task 10. Submit the draft final deliverables including (1) a final report that documents the entire research effort, (2) the tool, (3) the user guide, (4) a PowerPoint presentation of the research findings, and (5) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note J for additional information).
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables.
A. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs were revised in May 2023. Please take note of the new and revised text which is highlighted in yellow.
B. Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF file with a maximum file size of 10 MB. The PDF must be formatted for standard 8 ½” X 11” paper, and the entire proposal must not exceed 60 pages (according to the page count displayed in the PDF). Proposals that do not meet these requirements will be rejected. For other requirements, refer to chapter V of the instructions.
C. The Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs have been modified to include a revised policy and instructions for disclosing Investigator Conflict of Interest. For more information, refer to chapter IV of the instructions. A detailed definition and examples can be found in the CRP Conflict of Interest Policy for Contractors. The proposer recommended by the project panel will be required to submit an Investigator Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Form as a prerequisite for contract negotiations.
D. Proposals will be rejected if any of the proposed research team members work for organizations represented on the project panel. The panel roster for this project can be found at https://www.mytrb.org/OnlineDirectory/Committee/Details/6940. Proposers may not contact panel members directly; this roster is provided solely for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts of interest.
E. Proprietary Products - If any proprietary products are to be used or tested in the project, please refer to Item 6 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals.
F. Proposals are evaluated by the NCHRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively knowledgeable in the problem area. The project panel will recommend their first choice proposal 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. A recommendation by the project panel is not a guarantee of a contract. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS - the contracting authority for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) will conduct an internal due diligence review and risk assessment of the panel’s recommended proposal before contract negotiations continue.
Note: The proposer's approach to inclusion and diversity as well as participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 11 of the proposal.
G. 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 Academy of Sciences. 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 Academy of Sciences. 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.
H. The text of the final deliverable is expected to be publication ready when it is submitted. It is strongly recommended that the research team include the expertise of a technical editor as early in the project timeline as possible. See Appendix F of the Procedural Manual for Contractors Conducting Research in the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Program for technical editing standards expected in final deliverables.
I. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals. 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.
J. The required technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should (a) provide recommendations on how to best put the research findings/products into practice; (b) identify possible institutions that might take leadership in applying the research findings/products; (c) identify issues affecting potential implementation of the findings/products and recommend possible actions to address these issues; and (d) recommend methods of identifying and measuring the impacts associated with implementation of the findings/products. Implementation of these recommendations is not part of the research project and, if warranted, details of these actions will be developed and implemented in future efforts.
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
K. If the team proposes a Principal Investigator who is not an employee of the Prime Contractor, or if the Prime Contractor is proposed to conduct less than 50% of the total effort (by time or budget), then section five of the proposal should include: (1) a justification of why this approach is appropriate, and (2) a description of how the Prime Contractor will ensure adequate communication and coordination with their Subcontractors throughout the project.
L. All budget information should be suitable for printing on 8½″ x 11″ paper. If a budget page cannot fit on a single 8½″ x 11″ page, it should be split over multiple pages. Proposers must use the Excel templates provided in the Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals for the Transportation Research Board’s Cooperative Research Programs.
M. The literature review shall include NCHRP Research Report 859: Consequences of Delayed Maintenance of Highway Assets; NCHRP Report 545: Analytical Tools for Asset Management; and NCHRP Research Report 953: Improving Mid-Term, Intermediate, and Long-Range Cost Forecasting: Guidebook for State Transportation Agencies.