Transportation Asset Management Case Studies
The Colorado Experience
Setting the Stage
What Did CDOT Have?
Several information systems in CDOT existed in stovepipes with little or no automatic transfer of data between them.
In the late 1990s, with the strong support of executive management and the Transportation Commission, CDOT began to reorganize its business planning process. The department developed an Investment Category Structure, a framework that enabled it and the Commission to relate statewide programs to goals and objectives, monitor progress, and provide accountability through defined performance measures. Five investment categories were defined as strategic focus areas that the department can use to align its strategic plan and resources to better address customer service needs and support its mission:
- Mobility-Programs, services, and projects that provide for the movement of people, goods, and information.
- System Quality-Activities, programs, and projects that maintain the function and aesthetics of the existing transportation infrastructure.
- Safety-Services, programs, and projects that reduce fatalities, injuries, and property damage for transportation system users.
- Strategic Projects-High-priority, statewide projects that are committed for accelerated funding.
- Program Delivery-Support functions that enable the delivery of CDOT's programs and services.
To supplement these investment categories, the Transportation Commission and Executive Management Team developed departmental goals, objectives, and performance measures. The following table lists the investment categories, goals, and performance measures used by CDOT.
Increase travel reliability
|Roadway Congestion Index and newer Travel Rate Index
Number of road closures by closure type
Duration of road closures by closure type
Customer perceptions of travel time variability
|System Quality||Preserve the transportation system
Keep the system available and safe for travel
|Pavement surface condition rating of "fair" or "better"
Bridge sufficiency rating of "fair" or "better"
Bridge needs versus programmed work, by on-system and off-system bridges
Maintenance condition survey (current level of service) for preservation activities
|Safety||Reduce transportation-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities, and the associated loss to society||Reductions in statewide fatal crash rate, statewide injury crash rate, and statewide total crash rate
Customer perceptions of CDOT's safety activities
|Strategic Projects||Accelerate the completion of projects
Increase investment in the program
|Funds budgeted, encumbered, and expended for each project
Estimated completion dates and status of each project
|Program Delivery||Deliver high-quality products and services in a timely fashion
Attract and retain an effective and qualified workforce
Foster an environment that respects workforce diversity
|Performance measures defined at the Program Level|
The Investment Category Structure was unique in the following ways:
- It integrated several elements critical to Asset Management within a coherent, overarching framework.
- It structured investments based on policy objectives and impacts on performance rather than on funding sources.
- It facilitated the analysis of tradeoffs among capital, maintenance, and operations program categories.
The department complemented the Investment Category approach by updating the statewide planning process and the program prioritization process, establishing maintenance program levels of service, instituting the use of customer surveys, and updating relevant information technology (IT) applications. CDOT also began to focus on Asset Management, by forming an Asset Management Task Force in 2001.
As CDOT undertook these policy changes, staff realized that many business processes were not directly supported by advanced IT. For example, several departmental systems, including database systems, existed in "stovepipes" with little or no automatic transfer of data between them. Many of the systems were outdated and existed on mainframe or PC platforms that made integration of major data systems such as bridge and pavement management systems nearly impossible. Each of the systems was generating its own reports for customers, including the Transportation Commission and FHWA. This structure made it difficult to obtain critical information needed for decisionmaking. CDOT then asked the question, "What can IT do to support business better?"
By 2002, the performance measures within the Investment Categories were helping CDOT evaluate the effectiveness of its plans and policies. The goals indicated the department's desired future direction, and Asset Management defined how assets should be treated to meet business objectives. The missing element was integrated data to inform this decision-support system.
What Does CDOT Want?
CDOT would like to be able to analyze the tradeoffs and determine the returns on investment across different funding categories.
CDOT envisions an integrated business process to support decisionmaking and long-range planning. Ultimately, CDOT would like to be able to analyze the tradeoffs and determine the returns on transportation investments across different funding categories. For example, the department would like to be able to inform its Transportation Commission about the benefits to the traveling public of a certain level of expenditure in pavement preservation in comparison to the benefits from bridge improvements. Integrated data to support this balancing process is critical.
IT is a major force behind successful data integration, which in turn is needed to support Asset Management. For CDOT, Asset Management represents a strategic approach to managing transportation infrastructure that will help the department achieve three major goals:
- Cost-effectively build, preserve, operate, and reinvest in its facilities to improve performance.
- Offer its customers the best value for the dollar spent.
- Enhance its credibility and accountability as a steward of transportation assets.
CDOT is moving quickly toward a completely integrated data system, supported by the rapid development of its geographic information system (GIS) services, the implementation of the Strategic IT plan, and the migration of stovepipe/desktop applications to an enterprise environment. The Strategic IT Plan, created in 2001, halted development of all IT systems and consequently attracted the attention of the entire department. The plan required the justification of the business case for all new applications and approval of the Information Technology Management Team (ITMT) to ensure its consistency with the overall strategy. The Strategic Plan's five high-level goals are as follows:
- Treat information as an asset used to make key decisions, and manage it accordingly.
- Ensure that integrated IT planning occurs.
- Ensure a flexible, adaptable IT structure.
- Ensure that IT remains customer-focused.
- Recognize e-government as a vision.
The evolving integrated data system will support resource allocation decisionmaking crucial to the update of CDOT's next 20-year transportation plan.