Transportation Asset Management Case Studies
Data Integration: The Virginia Experience
Setting the Stage
What Does VDOT Have?
VDOT's approach to asset management is focused on the maintenance and operations of the existing highway system.
VDOT initiated a comprehensive maintenance and operations business process reengineering (BPR) effort in 1995. At that time, VDOT did not have a complete picture of the State's transportation infrastructure and its condition. Consequently, the agency was unsure that it was making the best possible investments, was unable to evaluate the results of strategies and investments, and was in a weak position to advocate maintenance policies and plans. The initial review in 1995 recommended several improvements:
- Produce a comprehensive inventory
- Strive for the "best" investment strategies
- Manage assets throughout their life cycle rather than by stage
- Optimize investments across all assets
- Move toward a more proactive maintenance approach
- Develop a consistent approach to statewide service delivery
These BPR recommendations reflected asset management principles even before the term was widely adopted by the transportation community. Since 1995, VDOT's approach to asset management has evolved and has been fully institutionalized. Virginia law now defines "asset management" as "a systematic process of operating and maintaining the system of highways by combining engineering practices and analysis with sound business practices and economic theory to achieve cost-effective outcomes." The following figure illustrates the major functions of VDOT's current asset management model in the context of the organizational structure of the original BPR.
In support of recommendations from the BPR, VDOT initiated the development of infrastructure decision-support systems and a large data collection program, referred to as the Inventory and Condition Assessment System (ICAS). The ICAS pilot is the primary mechanism for collecting and assimilating asset data in VDOT. It provides decisionmakers with current and accurate information on the location and condition of all VDOT assets other than pavements and bridges; VDOT uses a pavement management system and a bridge management system to store and manage data on these two assets.
Through the BPR, VDOT envisioned the management of assets through their entire life cycle-condition assessment, planning, alternatives evaluation, project development, and implementation. Decision-support tools would provide resource management capabilities, such as attributing financial, equipment, and human resource investments to specific groups of assets. These systems would also enable VDOT to manage the use of its assets, and provide an integrated approach for managing information such as land use permits, hauling permits, routing traffic flow, capacity, impact, trip, and travel analysis. To expand these requirements across all of the agency's functional areas, VDOT attempted to implement a large, off-the-shelf, enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. However, the cost and time required to fully implement this system exceeded VDOT's expectations, and the ERP project was eventually shelved due to budget constraints.
What Does VDOT Want?
An integrated asset management system will allow VDOT to manage assets throughout their life cycle.
In 2002, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that requires VDOT to incorporate the principles of asset management into its maintenance and operations practices and to submit biennial reports to the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The reports must present (a) performance targets that can be achieved over the next two years based on the anticipated maintenance budget; and (b) the actual condition of VDOT's assets as compared to the expected condition.
To comply with this recent legislation, build on the foundation for improvement established during the initial BPR effort, and address agency priorities established by a new administration, VDOT has modernized its effort to develop an integrated asset management system. This system will provide VDOT with a complete inventory and condition assessment of its high value assets (e.g., pavements, bridges, roadside features) and enable decisionmakers to develop strategic and operational performance targets for each asset type.