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Asset Management


Asset Management Overview

Terms and Acronyms

AASHTO-American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

Allocate-(as in "allocate resources")-To define a distribution of available resources among programs, geographic districts, or other uses of these resources

Alternatives-available choices or courses of action that can be considered at each stage of resource allocation or utilization: e.g., modal or investment choices to advance policy goals as considered in long-range planning; methods or work zone strategies to complete projects as considered in project development and construction design; potential allocations of funds among programs considered during program tradeoff analyses; methods to deliver construction or maintenance services as considered in program delivery; data collection procedures and data processing methods available to conduct system monitoring

Asset-the physical transportation infrastructure (e.g., travel way, structures, other features and appurtenances, operations systems, and major elements thereof); more generally, can include the full range of resources capable of producing value-added for an agency: e.g., human resources, financial capacity, real estate, corporate information, equipment and materials, etc.

Asset management-a strategic approach to managing transportation infrastructure. It focuses on business processes for resource allocation and utilization with the objective of better decisionmaking based upon quality information and well-defined objectives.

Benefit-cost-a comparison of the economic benefit of an investment to its cost. The computation should account for costs and benefits to both the agency and the transportation users through an appropriate life cycle. In asset management, benefit-cost can be applied to prioritization of projects; sums of benefits and costs for all projects in a program can be used in program tradeoffs.

Capital-type of investment that generally involves construction or major repair; includes the construction of new assets, reconstruction or replacement of existing assets, structural and functional improvements to existing assets, and rehabilitation of existing assets

Condition-measure of an asset's physical state as affected by deterioration and past maintenance and repair; can be expressed in terms of damage present (e.g., amount or percentage of cracking), an agency-defined or standard scale (e.g., condition states 1 through 5; or good, fair, poor); often used in conjunction with "performance" when described in the context of performance-based processes

Data-raw or partially processed observations, measurements, facts, figures, statistics, records, etc. collected by an agency Data integration-process of sharing data from one source among multiple applications, or of merging data from multiple sources for use by a single application

Decision-determination of a course of action or selection of an option from available choices

Decision support-the use of information (e.g., from management systems, other analytic tools, or estimates and studies by staff) to help understand the consequences of decisions Deficiency-gap between an asset's current condition/ performance and a defined target or threshold value; implies need for work

Deficiency-gap between an asset's current condition/performance and a defined target or threshold value; implies need for work

Enterprise architecture-the practice of applying a comprehensive and rigorous method for describing a current and/or future structure and behavior for an organization's processes, information systems, personnel, and organizational subunits so that they align with the organization's core goals and strategic direction. Although the term is often associated strictly with information technology, it relates more broadly to the practice of business optimization in that it addresses business architecture, performance management, organizational structure, and process architecture as well.

GASB-Governmental Accounting Standards Board-professional, nongovernmental organization that sets standards for financial statements for State and local governments

GASB Statement 34-a compilation of standards for financial reporting by State and local governments; notable for new requirement to report financial status of transportation infrastructure assets

GIS-geographic information system-a tool to organize geographically based data, create maps, and perform spatial analyses

Goals-desired outcomes, broadly defined, as expressed in policy

GPS-global positioning system

Impact-effect or result, as of a project, program, policy, level of investment, or budget

Improvement-a project or investment that enhances transportation system functionality; may include capacity additions or operations enhancements to existing facilities, or construction of new facilities

Information-processed or refined data in a form that communicates meaningful indications of current status or calculations and predictions useful for decision support

Integration-combining of data or results from multiple systems

Inventory (as in asset inventory)-a compilation of the infrastructure assets of an agency, and their relevant characteristics: e.g., count or quantity, location, size, functional classification, traffic usage, district responsibility, etc.; may include condition or performance data, depending on agency practice

Life cycle-a length of time that spans the stages of asset construction, operation, maintenance, rehabilitation, and reconstruction or disposal/abandonment; when associated with analyses, refers to a length of time sufficient to span these several stages and to capture the costs, benefits, and long-term performance impacts of different investment options

Levels of service (LOS)-measures related to the public's perception of asset condition or of agency services; used to express current and target values for maintenance and operations activities.

Maintenance-program of activities to enable a transportation system to continue to perform at its intended level; comprises a range of services in preservation, cleaning, replacing worn or failed components, periodic or unscheduled repairs and upkeep, motorist services (incident response, hazardous materials response), snow and ice control, and servicing of traffic devices and aids; does not add to structural or operational capacity of an existing facility

Management system-software application that supports a particular set of an agency's business processes, whether in managing assets or resources (e.g., pavements, bridges, human resources, equipment fleets, materials stockpiles, lands and buildings), performing prescribed functions (e.g., planning, project development, construction management, maintenance management), recording and managing transactions (e.g., financial management and accounting, payroll), or processing and communicating information (e.g., executive information, customer comments and complaints)

Monitoring-collecting and processing condition and performance data and related data (e.g., traffic usage) to understand the current status of the transportation system, identify problem areas, gauge improvements resulting from investments, and track progress toward performance targets; provides a feedback mechanism for resource allocation and utilization decisions Need-work required to help attain a policy objective or performance target, or to address a problem or deficiency

Need-work required to help attain a policy objective or performance target, or to address a problem or deficiency

Network-system of assets to provide transportation services to customers

Objective-translation of a policy goal into a more specific measure of attainment: e.g., a policy goal of improved pavement performance might be expressed through an objective of improved serviceability or ride quality, or reduced roughness; a policy goal of improved mobility might be expressed through an objective of reduced travel time or total trip time, percentage increase in user benefits, or improvement in congestion measures or indexes

Operations, operational improvements-investments and activities to improve the efficiency and safety of traffic movement on the existing transportation system (e.g., through improved signal timing, installation of variable message signs and other ITS devices, improved traffic monitoring and reporting of problem locations, traffic metering)

Optimal-the preferred or best option based on some criterion

Options-see alternatives

Outcome-result or consequence (especially in terms of performance), as of an investment decision, a particular allocation of resources, completion of a project, conduct of maintenance at a particular level of service, or selection of a particular alternative

Performance-characteristic of an asset that reflects its functionality or its serviceability as perceived by transportation users; often related to condition

Performance measure-an indicator, preferably quantitative, of service provided by the transportation system to users; the service may be gauged in several ways (e.g., quality of ride, efficiency and safety of traffic movements, services at rest areas, quality of system condition, etc.)

Performance target-threshold value of a performance measure that an agency will strive to achieve to satisfy a policy objective

Preservation-actions to deter or correct deterioration of an asset to extend its useful life; does not entail structural or operational improvement of an existing asset beyond its originally designed strength or capacity

Preventive maintenance-proactive maintenance approach that is applied while the asset is still in good condition; extends asset life by preventing the onset or growth (propagation) of distress

Program-A set of projects of similar type of work (e.g., pavement rehabilitation) or serving a similar objective (e.g., to improve mobility or safety)

Project-construction work to address a need or deficiency in system preservation, improvement, or operations

Project prioritization-process of comparing costs, benefits, and other performance impacts among peer projects to rank them by merit

Rehabilitation-project to perform comprehensive structural repair or capacity, operations, or safety improvements to an existing asset

Resource-an input to the construction, operation, maintenance, repair, renewal, or disposal of transportation infrastructure assets; adds value to these processes; may include labor knowledge and skills, financial capacity, real estate, corporate information, equipment and materials

Strategic-a view of assets that is policy-based, performance-driven, long-term, and comprehensive

Tradeoffs-comparisons between alternative solutions, particularly involving consequences of reallocating funds between programs

User benefits-economic gains to transportation users resulting from a project or investment strategy; may include monetary value of travel time savings, accident reductions, reduced costs of vehicle operation, and savings or advantages gained from more reliable transportation services (e.g., regarding transportation of goods)

Utilization-as in resource utilization: process of applying labor, funds, information, and other resources to implement projects and services for the transportation system

"What if" analysis-Also referred to as scenario analysis. Analytic study of the consequences of different actions or assumptions; in asset management, often refers to predictions of asset condition and performance for different budget or revenue assumptions, levels of investment, or sets of policies (the "scenarios"); a capability of modern pavement management, bridge management, and maintenance management systems

Updated: 06/27/2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000