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Transportation Asset Management Case Studies
Economics in Asset Management: The New York Experience

Executive Summary

The Transportation Asset Management Tradeoff Model will help NYSDOT target agency resources more productively among its pavement, bridge, safety, and mobility goal areas.

Several decades ago, New York was among the first States to automate its highway information systems and to apply economic analysis in considering highway investments. Through the 1980s and 1990s, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) endeavored to upgrade and strengthen its analytical abilities. It initiated management reforms that established clear lines of management responsibility, implemented goal-oriented programming, improved its management systems, and integrated the agency's information systems. These efforts created a solid foundation for the implementation of a Transportation Asset Management (TAM) system.

In 1997, NYSDOT created an internal task force to prepare a blueprint for advancing the implementation of TAM. An important finding of the task force was that the ability to conduct economic tradeoff analysis among investment candidates is central to realizing the full potential of TAM.

NYSDOT has since developed a prototype TAM Tradeoff Model that employs economic tradeoff analysis to compare the dollar value of customer benefits to investment costs among competing investment candidates. The model ranks the candidate projects by rate of return on investment. When it is fully operational, the model will assist NYSDOT at the program level in targeting agency resources more productively among its pavement, bridge, safety, and mobility goal areas.

NYSDOT continues to improve the prototype TAM Tradeoff Model as well as the separate management systems that feed data into it. The department is exploring ways to incorporate additional life-cycle cost and benefit data into the model equations and taking steps to ensure that economic comparisons among projects use consistent values for benefit and cost elements. Simultaneously, NYSDOT continues to improve its project-level economic applications.

In May 2003, NYSDOT announced that it would formally implement a TAM program as the department's transportation infrastructure management strategy. Economic, engineering, and mathematical analysis will constitute the core of this program.

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Updated: 11/14/2012