New Mexico has brought a number of lessons away from implementing and utilizing HERS-ST.
The first is that successful integration of HERS-ST into the decision-making process requires a HERS-ST "champion" at multiple levels, i.e., planner and division director.
The State learned rather quickly that becoming and staying actively involved in the refinement of the HERS-ST software is vital to having a product that meets the DOT's needs. The best way to do that is to become involved with the developers' group and dedicate a staff person's time to attend the group meetings throughout the year. NMDOT's planning division sees continued involvement in the developers' group as essential to providing a program that meets the States' asset management needs; it allows DOTs to address asset management issues in a non-political forum.
New Mexico has found that analyzing the benefit-cost ratio of a given project utilizing HERS-ST can be a challenge, as the project might not be located where the data has been sampled. When that happens, the DOT must utilize area sample data to draw its conclusions. New Mexico has addressed this concern by developing a 100 percent database (excluding rural minor collectors).
Another factor that New Mexico struggles with is the reliance on national cost default data; spikes and dips in the local market are not reflected in the default data. The Office of Asset Management highly recommends that each user update/modify the cost data to accurately reflect their State/locality, as this is key to attaining more accurate results.
Finally, the DOT discovered the importance of taking advantage of the free HERS-ST workshops and implementation support offered by the FHWA in utilizing HERS-ST effectively. "You have to understand what the output means in order to 'sell' the results to others," Cornelius states.
|Figure 4: The Cloudcroft Tunnel.|