The National Academies

NCHRP 23-38 [Pending]

Incorporating Risk Management into Roadway Infrastructure Maintenance Practices

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Contract Time: 30 months
Staff Responsibility: Dr. Zuxuan Deng


To fulfill the requirements of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), state departments of transportation (DOTs) started to establish enterprise risk management (ERM) programs and develop risk-based asset management plans. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Directive 5520 encourages state DOTs to develop risk-based, cost-effective strategies to minimize the impacts of climate change. Environmental stressors, such as changes in the frequency and magnitude of extreme events, are changing the lifecycle of transportation assets, e.g., reducing service life, shortening replacement cycles, and increasing maintenance costs. Federal mandates and policies also require state DOTs to inventory their assets and establish a program to maintain these roadway components (including pavements, drainage structures, and bridges) at minimum performance levels. 

Many state DOTs struggle to consistently meet these requirements, which exposes them to additional risks. Maintenance personnel offer valuable insight on the processes associated with achieving performance goals, but they require instructions on how to incorporate risk models into inspection, maintenance, and repair and replacement cycles so that scheduled and routine maintenance continue to mitigate the risk from asset deterioration. 

Research is needed to help agencies better assess and manage risks, including the impact of climate change, in roadway infrastructure maintenance practices. 


The objective of this research is to develop a guide and a prototype tool to help state DOTs assess and manage risks, including the impact of climate change, in roadway infrastructure maintenance practices.

Accomplishment of the project objective will require completion of the following tasks, at a minimum.


PHASE I: Planning

Task 1. Review, document, and synthesize existing studies on methods and tools used for risk assessment and management in roadway infrastructure maintenance practices, including aspects of climate change. 

Task 2. Conduct a state DOT survey to determine the state of the practice for the methods and tools used for risk assessment and management and how they are integrated into asset management and maintenance practices (at enterprise level, program level, and project level). The survey questions and list of potential respondents need to be reviewed and approved by the NCHRP. 

Task 3. Conduct in-depth interviews with selected state DOTs to determine the methods for quantifying risks caused by climate change and extreme weather events and to identify the impact of climate change on maintenance/preservation actions, associated risk mitigation requirements, and effectiveness and cost of the actions. Interview questions and candidate state DOTs need to be reviewed and approved by the NCHRP. 

Task 4. Analyze and synthesize the results of the survey and interview conducted in Tasks 2 and 3. Identify the knowledge/data gaps between acceptable national practices and state DOT maintenance practices related to the research objective. 

Task 5.  Prepare a draft annotated outline for the guide. The annotated outline will serve as the basis for developing the guide in Phase II. The annotated outline is intended to provide the foundation, context, and framework for the guide and include key technical topics and associated issues, major concepts, current trends, current practices, examples highlighting lessons learned, and checklists of issues to consider. 

Task 6. Propose basic requirements and functionalities of the prototype tool (no web-based tools requiring maintenance will be allowed). Identify at least two volunteer states to conduct pilot projects to test the developed guide and prototype tool in Phase II. 

Task 7. Prepare an interim report documenting the results of Tasks 1 through 6 and provide an updated work plan for the remainder of the research. The updated work plan must describe the method and rationale for the work proposed for Phase II to achieve the objective of the project. 

PHASE II: Execution

Task 8. Develop a mock-up of the prototype tool. This prototype tool is intended to help practitioners develop their local practices and policies based on the framework suggested in the annotated outline. The prototype tool must be able to perform trade-off analyses for optimizing resources and prioritizing work to manage risks involved in infrastructure maintenance practices. The mock-up prototype tool needs to be reviewed and approved by the NCHRP. 

Task 9. Execute the work plan in the approved interim report in Task 7. The draft guide and prototype tool need to be reviewed and accepted by the NCHRP. 

Task 10. Work with the volunteer states to conduct pilot projects to test the developed guide and prototype tool. Feedback from the pilot states will be discussed and addressed to finalize the deliverables. 

PHASE III: Final Deliverables

Task 11. Update the draft guide, prototype tool, and user manual based on comments from the NCHRP project panel. 

Task 12. The contractor shall present the guide and the prototype tool to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Subcommittee on Asset Management, the AASHTO Committee on Maintenance, and the AASHTO Committee on Performance-Based Management at their annual or monthly meetings (virtually) and gather feedback for consideration when finalizing the deliverables.

Task 13. Develop final deliverables, which at a minimum will include (1) a final research report documenting the entire research effort and findings; (2) the final guide; (3) the prototype tool and user manual, with example applications; (4) outreach materials to support practitioners’ understanding and use of the research findings; (5) prioritized recommendations for future research; (6) a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the research findings; and (7) a technical memorandum on implementation. 

STATUS: The project panel has identified a prefered contractor to perform the work. Neogotiation is undergoing. 


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