III. PROVIDE TAM TRAINING
VI. PREPARE REPORT.
It is a formal process that provides a customized evaluation of a Transportation Agency’s Asset Management implementation progress that helps to formulate an improvement plan. It develops a benchmark of the implementation stage and corporate position or maturity level and identifies opportunities, resources and priorities for improvement.
Past Assessments have shown that a Transportation Agency may benefit from a TAM Assessment in the following ways:
Additional benefits of having FHWA conduct the TAM Assessment on behalf of the Transportation Agency include:
Typically the following program areas are included in the TAM Assessment evaluation process:
Additionally, at the request of the Transportation Agency, the following areas can be included:
These program areas will determine the make–up of the TAM Assessment Team both from the FHWA and Transportation Agency’s perspective.
The knowledge and insight gained through background research will provide critical information to target the TAM Assessment and conducting the interviews.
The following is the type of information to seek:
Many DOTs, that pursue TAM, would benefit from having their staff participate in TAM Training prior to their participation in the TAM Assessment. The FHWA offers TAM Training through the National Highway Institute in two courses:
Transportation Asset Management: COURSE NUMBER: FHWA–NHI–131106
Transportation Asset Management with Workshop: COURSE NUMBER: FHWA–NHI–131106A
The training will:
The descriptions for the courses follow:
Asset management principles are becoming increasingly important to help agencies manage their assets as they face fewer available resources, higher expectations for customer service, and increased demand for more transparency in the decision process. In an asset management environment, investment decisions are linked to targeted performance levels that have been established based on current and expected asset conditions. Trade–offs between investments in different types of assets and different investment priorities can be assessed because of the availability of reliable data and a clear set of performance metrics that the agency hopes to achieve. As a result, agencies are better able to use their funding effectively and to defend their need for additional resources.
The Transportation Asset Management course introduces a strategic approach to managing physical transportation infrastructure. This course covers the principles of asset management and introduces the five core questions every agency should be able to answer about its assets. The course also illustrates available tools to support the use of asset management in transportation agencies and provides guidelines for the implementation of these principles.
To further support the implementation of asset management principles, this 1.5–day version of the course includes a ½–day workshop that will be conducted immediately before or after the presentation of the course materials. During the workshop the instructors will facilitate activities that include one of the following:
Work sessions to help develop portions of an asset management plan. To schedule TAM Training, click here: National Highway Institute.
An Example of TAM Assessment
The TAM Assessment Plan provides a logical framework for the Transportation Agency as well as the TAM Assessment Team to conduct the Assessment. The framework incorporates the stakeholder’s perspective on key focus areas, identifies Team members and assigns roles and responsibilities, establishes the flow of the Assessment activities, and provides logistical and essential coordination details. See figure 2 for reference.
The first section of the plan includes the focus areas that the TAM Assessment will focus. The focus areas are specifically tied to the goals and objectives identified during previous activities such as a review of the TAM Self Assessment results. The TAM goals and objectives align with the agency’s mission and strategic goals. These are derived from agency guidance documents such as a business plan or long range plan. The TAM Assessment’s primary objectives include determining the agency’s current maturity level relative to a long–term vision of asset management; identifying achievable near–term objectives for an improved process; identifying opportunities for making the organization ready for improvement; documenting the current and steps for improved processes and their expected results; and ultimately promoting the adoption of practical skills and tools that are required. It is highly logical for the development of focus areas to be derived from the TAM "Self Assessment".
Once the Focus areas are identified, a TAM Assessment agenda can be developed. This agenda identifies the specific Offices within the agency that should participate in the Assessment. It provides the opportunity to coordinate the schedules of stakeholders in each department, as identified in the next step, into appropriate time frames and provides time specific listings of activities to be conducted during the Assessment. The agenda developed in this step provides an outline of the Assessment to be conducted and refined by stakeholders identified in the next step. It includes time allocations for pre–, kick–off, and close–out meetings with various stakeholders. The development of the agenda can be a time consuming process as key stakeholders of the various focus areas are identified and their schedules are coordinated.
Figure 4 – TAM Team
After the draft agenda is completed in the previous phase, this section identifies Team members. There are two levels of participants in the TAM Assessment, those extracting information, The Review Team, and those providing information, Interviewees. A TAM Assessment Coordinator should be identified early in the selection of Team members. It is quite possible that a TAM Assessment Team member might play both roles in some cases by reviewing other offices or division and providing details for their own. Skills and backgrounds of persons selected to participate on the Assessment team should directly correlate to the objectives identified by the agency as well as the TAM Assessment Focus Areas. It is logical that TAM Assessments coordinated by the FHWA would include participants on the Assessment Team from The office of Asset Management, Resource Center, Division Office, Transportation Agency, various Program Offices, Turner Fairbank Highway Research Facility, and Federal Lands. A list of participants including office and cell phone contact information should be assembled during this step.
|Time||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5|
|8am–9am||Travel||S.E. & S.W. Management District Interview Sessions||Data & Information Technology and Maintenance||Travel|
|10am–11am||Planning & Programming and Construction Review Sessions||NW & NE Management District Sessions|
|11am–noon||Review Team Coordination Meting||Pavement Design and Finance Review Sessions|
|1pm–2pm||TAM Assessment Kick–off Meeting||Research and Bridge Design||Review Team Findings Coordination and Prep Meeting|
|2pm–3pm||General Policies & Procedures and Right of Way|
Once the Assessment Team members are identified, each team member should be assigned to a focus area. A team member might be assigned to multiple focus areas depending on their expertise. Care should be taken to assure that the agenda allocates time appropriately for members responsible for multiple focus areas. This should include travel time if necessary. Once focus area teams are identified, a focus area team structure should be assigned. Each focus area should have designated at a minimum a team leader, note taker, summary writer, and close–out meeting presenter. These roles and assignments should be coordinated with the overall TAM Assessment Coordinator.
Once participants have been identified and assigned to their individual focus areas, the Assessment Team should coordinate the development and/or revise the existing core review questions to meet the objectives of the TAM Assessment. The existing core questions should be reviewed for each focus area and tailored to the agency’s TAM Assessment objectives. A review of the existing core questions may identify additional questions to meet the needs of the agency. The questions should be added to the subject review and may be incorporated into the core questions for future Assessments. The selected questions should be coordinated with the Transportation agency prior to the commencement of the actual Assessment.
A critical part of the Assessment process is the collection and reporting of information in a consistent manner. To achieve this outcome, Assessment template should be used. Various templates have been developed and should be reviewed for appropriateness. New templates should be developed and used by all team members as needed.
It is useful for Assessment team members to coordinate their travel arrangements to provide opportunities of optimizing time and resources. Travel plans to meet the agenda requirements should be provided to the Team Assessment Coordinator. Travel plans should include lodging, flight schedules, transportation to and from the airport as well as between meeting locations during the Assessment. Details could also include outing details for activities such as breakfast, dinner, and lunch arrangements.
Logistical information relating to the addresses of the review activities, room numbers, parking, and access restrictions should also be developed and included in the TAM Assessment Plan.
The TAM Assessment plan should include details about the flow of the Pre–Assessment and Close–out meeting.
The Pre–Assessment Meeting should include Team Members. This meeting should review the objectives of the Assessment, specify ground rules, and review the agenda. Participants should discuss any concerns or submit any questions.
The Kick–Off Meeting should include key stakeholders as well as operational representatives of the agency participating in the Assessment as well as the FHWA team members. This meeting should identify the objectives of the Assessment, specify ground rules, and review the agenda. Participants should discuss any concerns or submit any questions.
The Close out Meeting should include key stakeholders as well as operational representatives that participated in the Assessment as well as the FHWA Team members. This meeting should include presentations by Team members from each of the focus areas on their Findings and Recommendations. The reports should be formatted according to templates. The participating agency should be provided with summary sheets of the findings and allowed time to discuss any topic of particular concern. Key discussions during this first presentation of finding should include the delineation of desired courses of actions. Near term and long term objectives should be discussed.
This section describes how the process is normally conducted prior to the onsite interviews and the initial steps taken to implement the onsite TAM Assessment.
A template should be developed (if not already available) and used as a master or pattern for interviewers while conducting the TAM Assessment process and drafting presentation materials. Utilizing templates fosters consistency, flow of TAM Assessment and sequential steps taken as TAM Assessment is conducted.
Detail room assignments and locations shall be determined and scheduled prior to the TAM Assessment. It is important for Focus Area Leaders and TAM participants to have a clear understanding of all breakout session locations, meeting rooms, conference rooms, restrooms and cafeteria locations prior to the TAM Assessment. This reduces confusion of who will attend and participate during specific breakout sessions and where each breakout session is located.
The DOT identifies which specific programs will be the focus areas of the TAM Assessment. This discussion takes place with the Transportation Agency TAM Coordinator, FHWA TAM Coordinator and local FHWA Division Office leadership.
A pre–Assessment meeting should be scheduled with FHWA local Division Office staff prior to the initial kickoff meeting with the Transportation Agency. This meeting is designed to brief the FHWA Division Office on the TAM Assessment meeting agenda, the focus of the TAM Assessment, who participants are, introduce the TAM Assessment Team and discuss Division Office role as participants during the Assessment. FHWA Division staff are assigned as the local TAM Assessment liaison and fully expected to take a lead role in conducting the Assessment.
The kickoff meeting is held at the Transportation Agency, including leadership, staff employees, FHWA Assessment Team and local FHWA Division Office participants. During this meeting, introductions are given by each participant explaining their roles, responsibilities, and expectations for participating in the TAM Assessment and individual outcomes hoped to gain at the conclusion of the TAM Assessment.
Prior to breakout session, writers from the TAM Assessment Team should be assigned for each identified focus area. The writer is responsible for recording notes, taking comments, assembling notes from flip charts and working with Focus Area Leader to organize notes to be included in the draft presentation document.
Each interview session is led by Focus Area Leaders. Prior to the interview sessions, each Focus Area Leader will utilize TAM Assessment core questions designed to focus on the identified Transportation Agency program areas. Once developed, all core questions should be submitted to the TAM Assessment Coordinator for consolidation then submitted to Transportation Agency leadership for further comment and recommendation. Once approved, core questions are utilized during the interview session to further capture the Transportation Agency needs, concerns, progression and areas for suggested improvements.
After the TAM Assessment is conducted, each Focus Area Leader assembles all findings and recommendations. The Focus Area Leader will ensure all documentation, recommendations, findings; issues and concerns are accurate and recorded to be included in the draft presentation document for final assembling. In addition, each Focus Area Leader is responsible for keeping track of all Transportation Agency responses and collecting original images from Transportation Agency which will be recorded and included as part of the draft presentation.
A draft Presentation document is assembled after each Focus Area Leader consolidates all findings and recommendations from each breakout session. This document is assembled by the TAM Assessment Team, then shared and discussed with Transportation Agency leadership prior to finalizing document for Transportation Agency staff review.
A closeout meeting is held to recap the focus and accomplishments of the TAM Assessment. During the closeout meeting "Observations & Recommendations"will be the focus of discussion. In addition, future steps taken by the TAM Assessment Team and Transportation Agency leadership should be discussed. As part of the closeout meeting, final tasks and functions are assigned to various TAM Assessment Team members and Transportation Agency leadership and staff. Then a follow up meeting is scheduled by the TAM Coordinator and Transportation Agency TAM Coordinator to discuss future steps.
This section describes the process of documenting observations from the conducted onsite interviews along with recommendations and publishing the documentation as part of the TAM Assessment.
Upon completion of the TAM Assessment, each Focus Area Leader is responsible for summarizing all pertinent information from the conducted interviews for the respective focus area(s). The contents of this document is based on the interviewed questions and discussed issues, and a draft interview summary typically includes (1) observations made by the TAM Assessment Team members for the focus areas, (2) recommendations addressing the observed issues, and (3) discussion to support the developed recommendations and its reasons, intended benefits and/or risks. The draft interview summaries are due to the Team leader no later than 2 weeks after the completion of the TAM Assessment. Upon receipt of all draft interview summaries from individual Focus Area Leader in each focus area, the TAM Assessment Coordinator synthesizes the draft interview summaries, verifies the contents for consistency, accuracy and completeness, and improves the flow of the consolidated document.
Upon completion of consolidation of draft interview summaries, an executive summary for the report is drafted. This executive summary is a synopsis of a concisely description of the findings of the TAM Assessment and identified key issues in advancing TAM at the Transportation Agency. Thus, a draft report includes an executive summary and the consolidated draft interview summaries described in previous section.
The draft report is then distributed to the TAM Assessment Team members for comments. The comments are reconciled and incorporated into the draft report. The revised draft report is then sent to the hosting Transportation Agency for review the draft report, and the agency provides comments to the TAM Assessment Coordinator. The comments are reconciled and incorporated in the revised draft report. Once the Transportation Agency’s comments are addressed in the report, the revised report is considered as the final report. During this time, the Transportation Agency supplies the original files of digital photos and images of relevance to the TAM Assessment Coordinator as part of the report preparation.
The TAM Assessment Coordinator will meet with FHWA Publications to provide instructions and to review the format of the report publishing. The final report is sent to the FHWA Publications along with collected digital photos and images for publishing. The final report can include the TAM Implementation Plan, TAM Support Plan, and/or TAM Follow–up Plan.
The published report (hard and/or digital copies) then will be distributed to the following recipients:
This section describes the process for providing continuous support to the Transportation Agency in better implementation of TAM after the Assessment.
The TAM Assessment Team will meet to identify potential areas of support from the final TAM Assessment report. The extraction of support areas are based on the priority, the Transportation Agency identified from the TAM Assessment and available resources and expertise within the FHWA and/or peer agencies.
Upon the identification of support areas, the TAM Assessment Team will formulate strategies to provide necessary support to the Transportation Agency. The support could be in many different forms, but some example support methods are listed below.
Upon completion of TAM Assessment, the Team members will follow up with the participated transportation for progress of TAM improvement activities. The follow–up will be typically done at 6 months, 12 months and 24 months after completion of the TAM Assessment. The follow–up progress information will be shared among the TAM Assessment Team members.
Upon completion of developing post–Assessment support plan (described above), the TAM Assessment Team members will meet to discuss lessons learned and what worked well during the TAM Assessment. This is part of continuous improvement of the TAM Assessment process, and the TAM Assessment process will be revisited for identifying areas of improvement and sustaining the areas of achieved success. During this meeting, other pertinent information (e.g. new legislative policies, new technologies, trends in overall TAM implementation, etc.) will be exchanged in improving the TAM Assessment process. This document will be updated as a result of these meetings.