The MDSHA is also adopting enhanced Asset Management approaches and tools. The agency has developed a Statewide business plan that includes a number of goals and measurable objectives that support the agency vision, mission, and efforts. However, many of the agency's decisions are still made within individual silos, called program funds, which deal with individual asset types (e.g., pavements, bridges, storm water management facilities, etc.). At present, MDSHA does not evaluate tradeoffs among different types of assets in terms of these decisions being data driven or based upon quantifiable outcomes.
The level to which the agency has assessed the information needed to support the identified business processes varies by fund (asset type). The Asset Management steering committee has prioritized the funds and identified six that are currently being analyzed in detail. The inventory and condition data needed for these funds are currently under review. The discussion for this investigation will focus on two of these funds: pavements and storm water management facilities.
The agency spends approximately $1 billion per year in the capital program (including major capital improvements and preservation). The system preservation component accounts for approximately 40 percent ($400 million) of these funds. In addition, the agency spends approximately $200 million per year in its maintenance program, excluding winter maintenance activities.
Overview of the Pavement Management System
The MDSHA started to develop and implement an optimization-based approach for pavement management in 1997. This model follows a two-step process:
Table 9 summarizes the main decisionmaking levels identified from the materials provided by MDSHA.
|Strategic Level||Decisions regarding key program performance objectives, including percentage of roads with an acceptable ride quality, percentage of Maryland's National Highway System mileage with acceptable ride quality, and average service life of State Highway Administration pavements.|
|Program Level||Development of strategies for investment that meet a deined objective such as maximizing condition or minimizing costs. The strategy provides direction in how to invest in the pavement network.|
|Project-Selection Level||Selection of individual roadway projects by district to match up against the strategy.|
|Project-Design Level||Detailed project-level design subject to the treatment level and project costs deined in the previous level.|
Maryland's pavement preservation program is developed annually based on the budget allocation established in Maryland's 6-year transportation program. The pavement management system has been used to coordinate MDSHA's pavement management practices among districts and to develop several performance-based pavement preservation plans. The core processes of this program are: performance monitoring, model development, network optimization, project selection, funding approval, pavement design, and construction and maintenance.
All pavement management planning and pavement design efforts are conducted centrally within the pavement division of the Office of Materials and Technology with funding and project selection approved through the Office of the Chief Engineer. The seven engineering districts recommend projects to be considered in the annual system preservation program and manage the construction and maintenance operations within the district.
Core Asset Management Business Processes
The following core processes have been identified in the pavement management process:
Figure 11. Screen capture of the project selection tool developed by MDSHA.
In the project selection process, the treatments applied to any of the pavement groups are categorized into seven groups on the basis of their life expectancy. The treatment groups are 15, 12, 8, 5, +4, and +2 years, as well as "do nothing." The first four treatment groups (5-15 years) are considered major rehabilitation alternatives that effectively reset the pavement to an original condition. The treatment groups of +4 and +2 years are considered maintenance treatments and are intended to reflect corrective or preventive maintenance strategies that maintain existing conditions or correct only a portion of the pavement and do not reset the pavement to an original condition. The treatment level group was created to reflect differences in performance and cost of rehabilitation improvements and to allow setting constraints that would force a minimum or maximum level of funding in each treatment level group.
The MDSHA collects both network- and project-level pavement condition data. The type and amount of data collected are selected on the basis of the requirements of the business plan, engineering judgment, and safety consideration.
The MDSHA annual network-level data collection includes ride quality, rutting, and friction for all directional miles under the responsibility of MDSHA (100 percent coverage). These data are collected using automatic data collection equipment: an automated roadway analyzer (ARAN) vehicle from Roadware, and a locked-wheel skid tester. The ARAN vehicle collects ride quality, rutting, right-of-way digital video, and downward digital video for automated cracking identification. The network-level distresses are summarized in pavement condition indexes (e.g., smoothness, rutting, and cracking) that are normalized to a scale of 0-100. Each roadway section is classified into condition states (A, B, C, D, or E) based on these indexes. The cost of collecting these data is approximately $40 per mile.
The project-level data collection includes pavement material structure and thickness determination, nondestructive deflection testing, and ride-quality testing. These data are collected using a high-speed profiler, a falling weight deflectometer (FWD), ground-penetrating radar (GPR), drilling/coring rigs, and manual visual surveys (using the PAVER pavement condition index [PCI]).
The data contained in the PST program are integrated with the MDSHA pavement management database. Three sources of data are merged to create the PST roadway section data:
To create the roadway section data for the project selection program, the data from these three sources are merged and aggregated to provide summary information at the intervals defined in the construction history database.
Overview of the Drainage and Storm Water Facility Management System
The MDSHA uses a national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) to manage drainage and storm water facilities within its jurisdiction. The initial motivation of the NPDES program was to assist in addressing drainage complaints from communities and to meet NPDES regulatory requirements. The highway hydraulics division began managing storm water facilities in 1982. Before the inventory process started, complaints were received by SHA through phone messages, emails, and meetings and were addressed with quick site designs and fixes. The new system allows MDSHA to collect data and manage the facilities more efficiently.
The NPDES is a large program involved in everything from the development of the database to the design of the drainage facilities. MDSHA's NPDES program was conceived as a two-phase Statewide program to address the MDSHA need for managing drainage structures and storm water facilities. The agency must identify, inspect, and maintain the hydraulic access facilities not managed by other divisions to ensure performance and public safety. Other divisions manage larger hydraulics facilities such as bridges. The focus is on storm water management facilities; however, culverts and other drainage features are being added in updates to the drainage inventory and condition assessment.
Core Asset Management Business Processes
Although the division has not formally identified separate business processes, the following processes are key for supporting decisionmaking:
The highway hydraulics division expends approximately $13.5 million each year managing hydraulic facilities. It uses open-ended contracts to maintain the facilities, which includes the actual design of the proposed solution. The open-ended contracts were found to be the cheapest and fastest approach to address needs. Routine performance and response inspections are performed every 3 years. If the ratings of the initial inspections suggest that more than maintenance is needed, then a second inspection is performed to confirm such decisions. Project selection decisions are made by the Central Office based on most-dangerous conditions and highest priority. If the need for remediation or retrofit is confirmed by the second inspection, a more formal evaluation is conducted on the basis of expert opinion.
The MDSHA's NPDES started a pilot to inventory hydraulic facilities in 1999. As part of the inventory process, the agency hired contractors to reference each individual node using GPS. These inspectors conduct the initial inspection of the facility. A second inspection is triggered if the performance-based rating is a 4 or 5.
Originally, MDSHA developed the inventory using available plans; however, the process has evolved, and the data are currently verified in the field. Inspectors take the plans to the field, locate the facilities again, and reference their location using GPS. The agency has prepared a detailed inspection manual for engineers to use when they assess these facilities.
The condition of the storm water management facilities is evaluated periodically by using two rating systems:
Small drainage structures are added when possible. While inspectors collect GPS data (inventory) on the facility they can easily take a picture and provide a brief rating. Given the number of these facilities (hundreds of thousands), the agency cannot afford to inspect these smaller drainage systems on a regular basis. Most of the storm drainage networks are under the roadways and require video inspections because it is hard to get people into some of these facilities.
For example, in Baltimore County, MDSHA inspected 2,500 out of 4,000 structures and rated them by using a scale from 1 (best) to 5 (worst). Less than 10 percent of them were rated as a 4 or 5. The condition data are linked with NPDES data and the overall GIS inventory.
Decisions regarding what data to collect are based on an inspection manual that the MDSHA developed in 1999 to inspect storm water management facilities. No revisions to the manual have been made since its first release. This manual lists 45 items to be inspected for both project selection and project design. The agency also has a design manual that has been updated twice: once in 1980 and again in 2000.
Although there are no precise records about the cost of the various activities, MDSHA was able to provide some estimates. The storm water management division spends approximately $1 million on data collection (inventory and inspection) per year. The data collection cost was approximately $500,000 for the collection of the initial inventory data for one county; however, updating the information the second time was cheaper by approximately half of the initial cost. The most cost effective data collection procedure uses handheld PDAs and GPSs.