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Asset Management


FHWA Asset Management Position Paper

White Paper

date April 2004

Table of Contents

1.0 Project Overview


FHWA has been working with AASHTO, TRB and other partners to develop and advance asset management. The concept of asset management that has emerged is very broad and represents a set of business principles for making more effective resource allocation decisions. While much of the early application of asset management principles focused on infrastructure preservation activities, the principles apply equally to all functions and the entire life cycle of decision-making from defining policy objectives to planning, programming, budgeting, program and project development and design, operations, construction, maintenance, and system monitoring. In discussing this view of asset management with a wide variety of individuals across FHWA's program offices, the terms "total performance management" and "total system management" were used to describe the broad concept of asset management that currently exists. Irrespective of the term used to describe the business principles that are at the heart of asset management, it represents a comprehensive approach to managing resources and the transportation system.


The FHWA Office of Asset Management, as part of its mission to promote asset management, sees significant opportunities for partnering and leveraging resources within FHWA. The purpose of this project is to create a coordinated agencywide asset management strategy by:

  • Increasing the understanding of, and support for, asset management throughout FHWA;
  • Identifying the relationship of asset management principles to key program offices;
  • Identifying ways to leverage resources and develop collaborative efforts supporting asset management; and
  • Developing a coordinated action agenda to provide support for implementing asset management with state DOTs and other partners.

To provide a starting point for the development of an agencywide agenda, individual "white papers" were developed for each major program office including Infrastructure, Planning, Operations, Safety, Environment, Right-of-way and Federal Lands. Each white paper describes the principles of asset management, relates these principles to the specific program office's functions, identifies ongoing activities and research that support asset management and suggests some future activities, including coordination with other offices, that might be useful in the future. A brief summary of each white paper is included as an Appendix to this paper.

This position paper provides a synthesis of issues and observations raised in developing the white papers, and sets the stage for a one-day workshop involving FHWA senior managers to discuss the white papers and define an action agenda for coordinated asset management strategies in the future.

Relationship to FHWA Strategic Goals and the "Vital Few"

A stronger and more coordinated focus on asset management will help FHWA realize its goal of improving America's transportation system. Integrating asset management into the agency's ongoing activities will make it a better steward of national highway programs and leader in transportation innovation and public service.

Asset management reflects and supports FHWA's vital few priority areas of Safety, Congestion Mitigation, and Environmental Stewardship and Streamlining. It addresses these areas by identifying capacity expansion or system management alternatives to alleviate congestion and improve mobility, by incorporating the costs of crashes or incidents in evaluating transportation alternatives, and by considering the impacts of projects on the environment.

2.0 Asset Management Principles

Asset management is a set of business principles and best practice methods for improving resource allocation and utilization decisions. It reflects a comprehensive view of system management and performance. The core principles of asset management are:

  • Policy-Driven - Resource allocation decisions are based on a well-defined set of policy goals and objectives. These objectives reflect desired system condition, level of service, and safety provided to customers, and typically are tied to economic, community and environmental goals as well;
  • Performance-Based - Policy objectives are translated into system performance measures that are used for both day-to-day and strategic management;
  • Analysis of Options and Tradeoffs - Decisions on how to allocate funds within and across different types of investments (e.g., preventive maintenance versus rehabilitation, pavements versus bridges; capacity expansion versus operations; different modal mixes, safety, etc.) are based on an analysis of how different allocations will impact achievement of relevant policy objectives. Alternative methods for achieving a desired set of objectives are examined and evaluated.
  • Decisions Based on Quality Information - The merits of different options with respect to an agency's policy goals are evaluated using credible and current data. Where appropriate, decision-support tools are used to provide easy access to needed information, and to assist with performance tracking and predictions.
  • Monitoring to Provide Clear Accountability and Feedback - Performance results are monitored and reported for both impacts and effectiveness. Feed-back on actual performance may influence agency goals and objectives, as well as resource allocation and utilization decisions.

These principles are not unfamiliar, nor are they radical. Most transportation practitioners would agree that investment decisions should be based on weighing costs against likely outcomes, that a variety of options should be considered and evaluated, and that good information is needed for decision-making. Many agencies are now pursuing performance-based approaches to planning and programming, monitoring system performance, and developing more integrated data and analysis tools to evaluate tradeoffs among capital expansion, operations, and preservation activities. Most agencies recognize that application of asset management principles is critical in times of constrained resources, when all investment and budget decisions are subject to increased public scrutiny.

3.0 Asset Management-Related Activities at FHWA

The white papers developed as part of this project document a wide range of asset management-related activities that are taking place in each of FHWA's major program offices. In addition to documenting existing activities, each white paper identifies a number of potential future activities that might be initiated to further promote asset management throughout the agency. A summary of each white paper is included in an Appendix to this position paper and the complete set of white papers will be provided to all participants in the workshop. The purpose of this section is just to illustrate the types of activities within each office related to asset management.

  • Office of Infrastructure supports a broad range of activities that are directly related to asset management, including procedural and technical guidelines and research on design, construction, materials, facility preservation and quality assurance for infrastructure. In addition, the Office promotes asset management directly through its Asset Management unit by providing guidelines and best practice material, supporting training, establishing a website and community of practice, and developing and supporting economic analysis-based decision-support tools.
  • Office of Operations has initiated an asset management program plan that will establish the analytical foundation for the management of operations assets and create linkages with broader transportation asset management activities. The Office has also been involved in a wide variety of efforts to develop decision-support tools that can evaluate system operations strategies and document the benefits of operations investments.
  • Office of Planning assists states and MPOs in following planning regulations and guidelines that reflect all of the principles of asset management. The Office's Capacity Building program focuses on a wide variety of topics relevant to asset management including performance measurement, multi-modal tradeoff analysis, and cost estimation. The Office also supports research and provides guidance on a wide variety of decision-support tools, data integration and management, and data display and communication techniques. In addition, the Office has a number of initiatives aimed at more effectively integrating operations, freight and safety into the system planning process.
  • Office of Safety is applying asset management principles both in directing the resources of the Office itself and in working with states on defining the most cost-effective methods and strategies to improve system safety. It is actively involved in encouraging the development of strategic safety plans at the state level and in providing, in association with a broad range of partners, technical and procedural guidance on a wide array of safety strategies. Research activities include the development of number of decision-support tools for evaluating the safety impacts of both facility design considerations and various safety investment strategies. Other research activities focus on improving the safety performance of highway infrastructure and roadside features.
  • Office of Environment focuses on defining and developing best practice methods for meeting environmental stewardship responsibilities as cost-effectively as possible. Environmental streamlining, support for the use of environmental management systems and the development of best practice maintenance strategies that protect sensitive environmental resources are examples of activities that support asset management. The Office works closely with other offices to integrate environmental considerations into infrastructure design, operations and planning. This facilitates integrated decision-making and the delivery of transportation services that meet environmental goals as well.
  • Office of Real Estate Services primary focus is administering Federal law and regulations related to relocation assistance and real property acquisition. However, given both the cost and potential project schedule impacts of relocation and right-of-way activities, effective administration of this program can have significant impacts on project and program delivery. Moreover, advance acquisition strategies, where permitted, can plan an important role in preserving future transportation options. The Office provides guidance on the effective management of relocation and right-of-way acquisition activities as well as on property management including disposal of excess land. The Office also works with other partners on joint use and shared use issues related to right-of-way which has become an important source of revenue in some states.
  • Office of Federal Lands Highway administers a range of funding programs aimed at planning, developing and preserving transportation facilities and services on Federal lands and Indian Reservations. Working closely with its partners including the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Office provides support and guidance on the development and use of pavement, bridge, safety and congestion management systems. The Office also has provided support for regional and long-range planning and performance-based planning with a number of its partner agencies.

The above summaries provide a brief sampling of the types of activities each office is engaged in that relate to asset management. The amount and range of existing activities that support asset management are impressive and many of these initiatives involve cooperative efforts across offices and with other partner agencies and organizations. By documenting current and potential future activities, the white papers provided a starting point for a more integrated and coordinated asset management strategy/plan for the whole agency. In addition, the full set of white papers is useful in identifying a number of broad issues or themes that can be included in the action plan. These cross cutting issues are discussed in Section 4.0.

4.0 Applying Asset Management Principles to FHWA Program Areas

As summarized in Section 3.0 and the Appendix, each office in FHWA that participated in this effort is already undertaking a broad array of activities that are very consistent and supportive of asset management principles. In order to build on these existing efforts and provide a vision for how the activities of different offices can be mutually reinforcing, the following objectives are proposed that cut across all areas:

  • Support performance-based planning, programming and management processes;
  • Strengthen vertical linkages across the transportation facility life cycle: planning, project development, operations and maintenance;
  • Strengthen horizontal linkages across program areas to improve capabilities to address multiple objectives in an integrated fashion; and
  • Move towards a common and integrated base of information and analysis tools.

Performance-Based Planning, Programming, and Management

Establishing business processes that embody the principles of performance-based planning, programming and management is a prerequisite to effective asset management. FHWA's work with state and local transportation agencies should continue to emphasize the key ingredients of performance management including clearly established policies that can be traced to outcomes, and a culture in which options for improving performance are routinely considered. In addition, a comprehensive and consistent approach to performance measurement should integrate all of the key policy issues of concern. Current efforts to integrate safety, freight and operations into the planning process should continue and be extended to programming and overall system management as well.

Many transportation agencies are recognizing the need to embrace a stronger customer service orientation as their focus shifts from one dominated by construction to encompass a broader management and operations role. Accordingly, transportation system performance from the customer perspective is an increasingly important consideration in transportation decisions. FHWA's research efforts on performance measures across all areas can further strengthen the consideration of user costs and benefits within transportation planning, resource allocation, design, construction, maintenance and operations. Support for multi-jurisdictional approaches is also important in recognition of the fact that travelers perceive performance in terms of their total trip, without regard to facility ownership.

Vertical Linkages Across the Life Cycle

The idea that transportation investments should be viewed from a long-term, life-cycle perspective is a central theme of asset management. Economic analysis methods for analyzing highway projects based on their initial construction costs and the continuing stream of maintenance and operations costs are well established. Infrastructure research at FHWA is developing new pavement and bridge designs and construction methods that increase life and reduce ongoing maintenance costs. Research and tool development on work zones is ongoing to help agencies factor in user costs associated with construction into the life-cycle equation. New life-cycle analysis tools developed by FHWA for pavements and bridges incorporate user cost considerations, and employ risk analysis methods to account for uncertainties. Development of new life-cycle cost analysis methods for the operations assets (including the increasingly costly and sophisticated array of ITS equipment) are part of FHWA's Office of Operations' future work plan.

Strengthening linkages across decisions at different stages of the facility life cycle goes beyond application of life-cycle cost analysis. Working towards stronger connections between planning and programming is a crucial element of performance-based planning. Improving the flow of information and experience from relocation and right-of-way, environmental mitigation, construction, operations and maintenance back into planning and programming allows these up-front decisions to be made based on better information. Processes that foster collaboration and communication among planners, designers, construction managers, and maintenance and operations staff result in better decisions at all stages of the life cycle. FHWA is involved in several efforts to integrate safety, operations, and infrastructure issues throughout the planning process and, again, these efforts should be continued and extended.

Horizontal Linkages Across Program Areas

Integrating decisions across "stovepipe" program areas - such as pavement, bridge, safety, and operations is an important challenge faced by transportation agencies. Asset management principles call for the consideration of tradeoffs across different types of investments based on multiple objectives. There is growing interest in, and use of, corridor approaches to planning and programming transportation improvements which requires an integrated perspective. Similar approaches are required for system planning and system management. The options and tradeoff analyses implied by comprehensive asset management also require a degree of integration across functional specialties including planning, engineering, operations, maintenance and finance.

Research and technical assistance efforts within FHWA's different program areas can recognize the need for methods of comparing different types of investments and also for using an integrated approach to address multiple program area needs. For example, the Safety Office has supported the development of a tool to help agencies decide on safety features to be implemented in conjunction with resurfacing projects.

Incorporating environmental considerations in project development and maintenance is another example of horizontal linkage. FHWA's Office of Environment is working to encourage the use of context-sensitive approaches to design, which allows for flexibility to address multiple concerns within the design process and moves away from a strictly regulatory compliance-based approach.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, achieving many key transportation objectives requires working across agencies in a complex institutional environment. The customer perspective on "the trip" irrespective of facility ownership or operating/maintenance responsibility has already been mentioned. The perspective on total performance and system management embodied in asset management principles will require new working relationships and shared responsibilities. In the case of safety, many of FHWA's current initiatives reflect the fact that both transportation and non-transportation organizations will need to work together to achieve desired results. Similarly, the coordination of system planning and operations strategies with land-use, economic development, and environmental programs also requires broad partnerships to be effective.

Information and Analysis Tools

Data and analytic tools are important building blocks of an asset management approach. There are significant overlaps in data needs, and to some extent, analysis methods and tools across the different FHWA program areas. Multiple offices at FHWA have supported the development of analysis tools for use in planning, evaluation and design - including several tools for life-cycle costing and benefit/cost analysis. There is a need to establish a broader understanding within FHWA of the past, current and planned tool development efforts, and also to work towards a common understanding of where each tool fits within a holistic decision-making framework.

The FHWA's Office of Asset Management has been promoting data integration as a key emphasis area. Data, and the decision-relevant information generated from it, are recognized as a key corporate asset yet many data quality, management, access and cost issues remain as a challenge particularly as performance-based management is implemented more widely. The pending Federal reauthorization legislation may include a variety of new data provisions and requirements in recognition of this issue. FHWA can and should continue to play a strong leadership role in the area of data management. For example, the essential role of geographic information systems (GIS) in data integration is widely recognized within the agency, and many research activities are underway which utilize GIS for data visualization or as the base technology for an analysis tool. FHWA can also play an important role working with its partners to promote data standards and interoperability.

5.0 Recommendations

Many potential future activities that would support asset management have been identified in the seven white papers. The suggested activities have been organized in the areas of policy and regulatory activity, technical assistance and information dissemination, research and technology, and coordination. All of these activities are worthy of consideration and define an ambitious program for each of the respective FHWA offices. There also is value in considering recommendations that cut across issues faced by more than one FHWA office including the cross-cutting themes discussed in Section 4.0. These recommendations are highlighted below.

Research Opportunities

  • Asset management implies a comprehensive and integrated approach to managing the transportation system. There are three key areas where further development of approaches and methods, and dissemination of best practice is important.
    • Planning and programming: The Office of Planning is already working with other offices to define planning approaches that integrate consideration of operations, freight, safety, environmental streamlining and context sensitive solutions into traditional long-range system, corridor and project planning activities. Developing practical approaches for more comprehensive planning is a key requirement for asset management and should continue to receive high priority from the offices involved in the effort.
    • System management: Day-to-day system operations require coordination among a wide range of operations, incident response, safety, maintenance and work zone activities.
    • Multi-agency coordination: Managing the system effectively from the customers' point of view, and effective utilization of available resources, will require a much more extensive set of cooperative working relationships among different agencies and jurisdictions than has traditionally been the case. The recent focus on operations and safety has highlighted this issue but it also relates to physical preservation and maintenance activities as well.

      The ongoing work in FHWA on all of these issues is important but additional models of best practice would be useful.

  • Systems such as HERS, HPMS, and NBIAS have been invaluable in assisting FHWA and the Congress in identifying highway investment needs nation-wide in terms of new construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of pavements and bridges. State DOTs and some MPOs have similar capabilities using pavement and bridge management systems and traditional travel demand models. Corresponding analytic tools in areas such as operations, safety, freight, and environmental mitigation would provide a more complete and balanced picture of investment needs. The Offices of Planning, Operations and Safety are looking at a broad range of analytic tool needs and issues. However, a more comprehensive review of needs and opportunities and a coordinated action plan might be helpful. FHWA should spearhead the development of these new tools in collaboration with state DOTs.
  • Improved planning-level estimates of costs and impacts of highway investment options are also needed at the corridor and project development levels. Assessments of options in terms of performance and cost would benefit from estimating methods that can be applied early in the project development cycle, before key decisions on the nature and scope of projects are solidified. These planning-stage capabilities are needed in several areas, including right-of-way costs, environmental impact mitigation, safety features or improvements, and operations installations.
  • FHWA has strongly supported economic analysis methods and consideration of user costs and benefits in its analytic tools and research programs. It can leverage this experience using results of complementary research programs in asset management now underway through NCHRP. For example, it can provide assistance to state DOTs in conducting analyses of options and tradeoffs by applying the tools now being developed through NCHRP Project 20-57. Similarly, FHWA's interests in performance measures that strengthen the consideration of user costs and benefits can be combined with results of NCHRP Project 20-60 dealing with performance measures useful for asset management.
  • The growing attention to operations and the need for operations-related infrastructure such as ITS systems will introduce a new set of maintenance and rehabilitation requirements to serve these assets. DOTs need to understand how to manage these maintenance and rehabilitation needs. In contrast with more traditional infrastructure (pavements, bridges, roadside appurtenances, drainage facilities, etc.), operations systems entail not only structural needs (posts, masts, signal and sign bridges, etc.), but also system reliability considerations. These require new maintenance planning and scheduling methodologies, including preventive maintenance and scheduled maintenance concepts similar to those used, for example, in tunnel system management and potentially the aircraft industry. Collaboration between the Operations, Infrastructure, and Safety Offices is needed to develop the scope and approach of analytic tools that can be used at a planning stage as well as at a more detailed operational stage.

Partnering Opportunities

  • Identify and coordinate, where appropriate, the various asset management-related activities occurring in the agency;
    • Identify and coordinate, where appropriate, the various asset management-related activities occurring in the agency;
    • Identify gaps in research or technical support activities and develop strategies for filling these needs; and
    • Monitor and update a coordinated asset management action plan.
  • Essentially this task force would follow up and build on the results of the white papers and workshop included as part of this project. FHWA should engage the Division Offices in an agencywide effort to promote asset management by providing additional training opportunities, communicating the asset management-related activities occurring at Headquarters, and identifying the full set of resources and technical support available to state DOTs. The Office of Infrastructure has taken a positive step in this direction by creating an AM Advisory group consisting of a number of Division Administrators and inviting Division staff to attend the NHI course on asset management now being delivered to individual states on request. The appropriate role for Resource Centers also should be considered as part of this effort.
  • FHWA working with AASHTO may want to establish a lead state program focusing on best practice examples. Because the concepts of asset management are very broad, examples of best practice can answer the question "what does good asset management look like?" There may be lead states for various aspects of asset management (e.g., planning, maintenance, program delivery, etc.), as well as examples of more comprehensive approaches.
  • FHWA should continue and reinvigorate its cooperative effort on asset management with AASHTO (working with the newly established Subcommittee on Asset Management), TRB, ITE and others. This effort can coordinate research initiatives and target technical assistance and implementation support where it is most needed.
  • The planned asset management capacity building effort by the Office of Planning (including an upcoming peer exchange) offers an excellent opportunity to draw on the experience and activities going on across program offices.
  • While asset management focuses on more than the condition and preservation of physical assets, FHWA can encourage a consistent approach to managing all physical assets by identifying basic condition data, life-cycle cost parameters, and management systems required for all assets across infrastructure, operations, safety, environment and right-of-way. Best practice examples, status of research and data management and integration strategies could be part of an information clearinghouse.

Appendix A - White Paper Summaries


Goals and Performance Measures
  • Physical condition (e.g., damage, deterioration, and distress)
  • User-oriented performance or serviceability measures (e.g., roughness)
  • Indicators of remaining life or value
  • Life-cycle costs
Options and Tradeoffs
  • Strategic tradeoffs between preservation, operations, and capacity expansion
  • Choices of materials, construction methods, and preservation and maintenance approaches (preventative versus reactive)
  • Choices of different mechanisms for delivery, such as accelerated bridge deployment or accelerated construction programs
  • Infrastructure inventory and condition
  • Infrastructure performance over time as a function of environmental factors, traffic loading, design, construction/materials, and maintenance practices
  • Infrastructure maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction costs
Analysis Methods
  • Life-cycle cost analysis
  • Deterioration modeling
  • Agency and user cost modeling
  • Benefit/cost analysis
  • Prioritization and optimization
  • Investment analysis
Implementation Processes and Practices
  • Infrastructure investment analysis as part of long-range planning and needs studies
  • Transportation program development reflecting infrastructure strategy selection, prioritization methods, and corridor-based approaches
  • Use of life-cycle cost analysis to evaluate alternative designs
  • Adoption of design and construction best practices to reduce life-cycle costs
Current FHWA Activities
  • Leadership within FHWA on asset management practice, through support of the Transportation Asset Management Guide, the companion NHI course on transportation asset management, and the AASHTO Asset Management web site
  • Technical assistance and information dissemination on a broad set of infrastructure management methods, including life-cycle cost analysis, engineering-economic analysis, development and use of infrastructure management systems, design and construction methods, work zone management, and data collection and integration
  • Support for development of infrastructure management systems and analysis tools, including the national and state versions of the Highway Economic Requirements System (HERS), structures management (tunnels, culverts), roadway hardware management, and pavement design
  • Research and technology activities to improve infrastructure performance, reduce maintenance requirements, reduce user costs (including work zones), develop safer construction methods, and promote context-sensitive design practices that incorporate environmental stewardship considerations, and support long-term infrastructure performance monitoring capabilities
Future FHWA Activities
  • Provide technical assistance to help agencies perform tradeoff analysis, address organizational issues, estimate and apply user costs, and provide guidance on methods for developing infrastructure preservation and preventive maintenance strategies
  • Continue research and technology activities focused on improving information for decision-making, training and professional development, technology, and deployment
  • Work with the Office of Operations to develop technical information on operations asset life, recommended techniques and timing of maintenance, and unit costs of system maintenance, repairs, and replacement
  • Work with other FHWA offices (Planning and Environment, Operations, Safety) to support development of new analytic tools for evaluation of options and tradeoffs


Goals and Performance Measures
  • Mobility (throughput, delay), by class of road user
  • Reliability (travel time variability)
  • Safety (crashes, injuries, fatalities)
  • Security
  • Agency-specific output measures are needed to supplement user-oriented outcome measures, since performance in operations-related areas (mobility, travel delay, reliability, safety, etc.) will be affected by many factors outside of the control of an individual transportation agency
Options and Tradeoffs
  • Mix and balance across program areas, including Arterials Management, Freeway Management, Emergency Management, Freight Management, Work Zone Management, Incident Management, and Road Weather Management
  • Selection of specific strategies within each program area (e.g., for freeways: lane management, ramp metering, electronic toll collection, etc.)
  • Mix of physical hardware, systems, and personnel investments
  • Allocation of system capacity across user groups (e.g., transit, high-occupancy vehicles, and general purpose traffic; or between freight and passenger travel)
  • Consideration of operations strategies as an alternative to capacity expansion
  • Inventories of physical and system operations components
  • Real-time traffic operations performance: throughput, delay
  • Customer input
  • Crash records and causal factors
  • Operations equipment failure rates
  • Life-cycle costs of operations assets
  • Personnel requirements of operations programs and strategies
Analysis Methods
  • Operations strategy effectiveness analysis
  • Benefit/cost analysis
  • Life-cycle analysis addressing comparison of strategies with different time horizons
  • Traffic simulation/optimization
Implementation Processes and Practices
  • Coordinated multi-agency operations programs across state and local agencies
  • Consideration of operations strategies in long-range planning
Current FHWA Activities
  • Development of operations asset management framework
  • Pilot investigation of traffic signals asset management subsystem
Future FHWA Activities
  • Continue developing operations asset management framework and tools, including:
    • Operations performance measures
    • Life-cycle costing methodologies and tools for different operations areas
    • Development of an operations need identification and costing tool to estimate national-level operations improvement needs and costs
    • Development of management systems for Traffic Signals, Data and Information, Traffic Management and Control, Freeway Management, and Roadway Management
    • Development of an umbrella Operations Asset Management system with linkages to support broader Transportation Asset Management analysis
    • Outreach activities with AASHTO, TRB, and ITE committees on operations asset management, including presentations and workshops, preparation and distribution of guidance materials, and tool development and training


Goals and Performance Measures
  • Planning goals include preservation, mobility, accessibility, safety, security, congestion relief, economic development, environmental protection, and cost-effectiveness
  • Performance measures include level of service; travel time reliability; condition of physical assets; crash, fatality and injury rates; incident response time; mobile source emissions; wetland acreage; community cohesion; life-cycle costs; and user costs
Options and Tradeoffs
  • Tradeoffs among preservation, operations and capacity expansion expenditures
  • Tradeoffs between passenger and freight mobility
  • Tradeoffs among modal and intermodal options
  • Tradeoffs among different geographic areas or functional systems
  • Balancing safety, mobility, environmental, and equity objectives
  • Socioeconomic data, including growth projections
  • Current traffic volumes and trip patterns
  • Transportation supply characteristics (capacity, speed, type of service, pricing, etc.)
  • Facility inventory, condition and performance
  • Crash data
  • Congestion/travel time
  • Environmental data
  • Vehicle fleet characteristics
Analysis Methods
  • Travel demand modeling and traffic simulation
  • Infrastructure management methods
  • Strategy impact assessment
  • Benefit/cost analysis
  • Air quality modeling
Implementation Processes and Practices
  • Long-range plan development and updates
  • Corridor and regional planning
  • Performance measurement and monitoring
  • Transportation improvement program development
  • Linkages among planning, programming and budgeting
Current FHWA Activities
  • Reviews at the state and metropolitan levels to assess current efforts in following planning guidelines and regulations, and offer suggestions
  • Encouragement and support of the broader use of data, modeling, and analytic tools
  • Research on scenario analysis techniques and visualization tools for planning
  • Best practices and case studies on strengthening performance-based planning practice
  • Work with the Office of Safety on the safety conscious planning initiative, and with the Office of Freight Management and Operations to better integrate freight planning
Future FHWA Activities
  • Work with the Office of Asset Management to develop a more consistent message that performance-based planning is a key building block of good asset management
  • Include a focus on asset management and performance measurement in the Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program
  • Identify data and analysis tool gaps in areas required for more integrated planning (operations, safety, freight) and define research programs to develop these gaps
  • Continue to identify and promote the use of tools such as management systems as part of long-range planning, programming and budgeting efforts
  • Document case studies at the state and MPO levels illustrating best practice with respect to asset management and planning (e.g., use of HERS-ST for planning)


Goals and Performance Measures
  • Reduce fatalities, injuries, and crashes
  • U.S. DOT target: 1.0 fatalities per 100 million VMT by 2008
  • FHWA fatality reduction targets for roadway departure, intersection, and pedestrian crashes
Options and Tradeoffs
  • Balance of investments in engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency response
  • Balance of programs targeted at drivers, vulnerable users, vehicles, and highways
  • Balance of programs targeted at work zones, intersections, vehicle-train crashes, head-on crashes, road departure crashes, and truck crashes
  • Sustained versus spot safety activities
  • Inclusion of safety design features in preservation, operations and capacity projects
  • Crash records and causal factors
  • Highway design characteristics that relate to safety
  • Safety hardware inventory
Analysis Methods
  • Strategy effectiveness analysis to assess the likely reduction in crashes, injuries and fatalities from different strategies
  • Economic benefit/cost analysis
  • Prioritization and optimization analysis to most effectively allocate limited resources to maximize reductions in injuries and fatalities
Implementation Processes and Practices
  • Integration of safety considerations into long-range transportation plans
  • Integration of safety considerations into program development processes within safety programs and across all program categories
  • Development of state-level safety plans with participation from broad set of partners
  • Adoption of design and construction best practices reflecting safety considerations
Current FHWA Activities
  • Safety conscious planning effort to integrate safety considerations throughout transportation planning and programming processes
  • Active participation in AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan development and implementation efforts
  • Technical assistance to states on implementation of safety programs
  • Research and education on safety best practices and effectiveness
  • Support for information system and analysis tool development, including the Interactive Highway Safety Design Module (IHSDM), Roadside Safety Analysis Program (RSAP), Resurfacing Safety Resource Allocation Program (RSRAP), Traffic and Criminal Software package (TrACS), AASHTO Roadway Hardware and Safety Management Systems effort, and AASHTO Transportation Safety Information Management Systems (TSIMS) effort
Future FHWA Activities
  • Continue existing research, technical assistance, and outreach activities to support a performance-based approach to transportation safety
  • Use asset management principles to increase focus and accountability for safety with decision-makers. Relate results to actions using analytic capabilities available today to estimate impacts of safety programs and demonstrate predicted benefits of safety investments


Goals and Performance Measures
  • Goals include environmental protection and stewardship, improved quality of environmental decision-making, and environmental streamlining
  • Performance measures include mobile source emissions, water quality, noise levels, wetlands acreage, ecosystem preservation and enhancement, process efficiencies, and number of States implementing environmental best practices in planning
Options and Tradeoffs
  • Location, design, and environmental mitigation features of transportation projects
  • Integration of environmental best practices into highway rehabilitation projects
  • Tradeoffs between construction and maintenance options (materials and techniques) and environmental impacts
  • Choices among transportation control strategies for air quality improvement
  • Air and water quality data
  • Ecological data, including wetlands, critical habitat areas, habitat connectivity
  • Model projection data of emissions levels, land use, climate variability, etc.
  • Cost data on various environmental mitigation strategies and alternative materials
  • Process data, including time to fulfill regulatory requirements and project delays
Analysis Methods
  • Air quality conformity analysis
  • Benefit/cost analysis
  • Geospatial analysis integrating multiple environmental and infrastructure data
  • Tracking and assessment of environmental performance indicators
Implementation Processes and Practices
  • NEPA process and compliance with state and Federal regulations
  • Development of environmental policies, procedures and commitments with partners
  • Preparation, implementation, and monitoring of environmental mitigation plans
  • Use of environmental management systems to track environmental planning processes, project-level requirements, environmental performance
  • Integration of environmental planning with transportation planning, programming and budgeting
Current FHWA Activities
  • Support for transportation agencies in complying with environmental regulations
  • Technical assistance to transportation agencies for meeting their environmental responsibilities and advancing environmental stewardship, including promotion of integrated planning approaches, research on transportation and climate change, support of environmental management systems, and dissemination of best practices
  • Research to build knowledge and develop models and tools, including ecosystem - and watershed-level management strategies, emissions from mobile sources, maintenance best practices for water quality, and hazardous materials management
Future FHWA Activities
  • Support to transportation agencies in integrating environmental data and performance objectives into existing asset management systems, including the application of geospatial tools
  • Conduct research on costs and performance of environmentally sound technologies and practices for transportation construction, preservation, and maintenance
  • Conduct research to develop, test and disseminate information about management techniques to improve environmental performance, including use of programmatic agreements and advanced mitigation strategies
  • Increase focus on environmental issues of regional or national scale
  • Continue development and promotion of interjurisdictional and collaborative project planning and decision-making, including work to integrate transportation environmental planning with other environmental planning processes
  • Continue work to integrate environmental metrics with other key measures during the NEPA process, including economic, community, mobility, and safety effects


Goals and Performance Measures
  • Timeliness and cost-effectiveness of providing right-of-way for projects
  • Minimizing costs and risks of right-of-way acquisition
  • Compliance with Federal and state law, including full compensation for all property acquired and satisfaction of all relocation assistance requirements
  • Cost-effectiveness of property management while ensuring safety and environmental protection
  • Managing access to highway facilities to maintain mobility and safety
Options and Tradeoffs
  • Transportation alternatives analysis: corridor location and alignments
  • Timing of property acquisition and disposal
  • Incorporation of right-of-way activities within design-build contracts
  • Access management provisions
  • Corridor management preservation techniques
  • Property management options (maintenance responsibilities, joint development, shared-use agreements) and practices (maintenance and upkeep)
  • Complete, accurate, current information on property holdings
  • Real property and relocation costs by category of parcel, project type, and location
  • Time requirements for different project phases by project type and location
  • Environmental characteristics of parcels, and mitigation needed
  • Project experience: success and risk factors actually encountered, and recommendations for addressing similar situations in the future.
Analysis Methods
  • Scheduling
  • Property acquisition cost estimation
  • Revenue estimation
  • Land valuation
  • Geographic Information Systems analysis
Implementation Processes and Practices
  • Analysis of corridor development, preservation options, and joint development opportunities in long-range planning
  • Estimation and updates of right-of-way needs, costs, and mitigation requirements
  • Planning and scheduling of right-of-way acquisition to allow sufficient time for completion before construction
  • Operations and maintenance of the right-of-way
Current FHWA Activities
  • Technical assistance to agencies throughout the entire cycle of project delivery and encouraging the use of property inventory and maintenance systems
  • Sponsorship of research on right-of-way topics, including performance measures, advanced acquisition, corridor preservation, and procedures to support innovative contracting practices and streamlined transportation development
  • Development of technology to support right-of-way management, including web-based statistics and GIS and data management applications for local agencies
Future FHWA Activities
  • Continue to encourage use of comprehensive right-of-way inventory databases
  • Develop tools to assist agencies in determining how much property is needed, how much to dispose, and how far in advance to begin the acquisition process
  • Develop tools to better integrate right-of-way in long-range planning by helping decision-makers to anticipate long-range property needs and evaluate impacts
  • Conduct education activities emphasizing right-of-way asset management options
  • Improve right-of-way cost estimation methods

Federal Lands

Goals and Performance Measures
  • Mission is to improve transportation access to and within Federal and tribal lands, support recreational travel and tourism, protect and enhance natural resources, and support economic development in rural areas
  • Business improvement goals (consistent with FHWA's Vital Few) are:
    • Improve the safety of transportation on Federal and tribal lands;
    • Streamline the environmental process;
    • Work with partners to ensure that transportation planning is an integral part of their planning processes; and
    • Improve the accountability of all parties involved in project management.
  • Specific performance measures include minimizing project delivery costs, maximizing capital improvement with public funds, improving stability of the multi-year program, improving environmental compliance services, and improving infrastructure condition.
Options and Tradeoffs
  • Balancing preservation, operations, and capacity expansion programs
  • Decisions between modal and intermodal options, where appropriate
  • Balancing access and mobility objectives with environmental and cultural protection
  • Condition data for transportation facilities, including pavement, bridge, and transit
  • Inventory data
  • Safety data on crashes, injuries, and fatalities
  • Traffic data
  • Transit system performance
  • Customer satisfaction with respect to access, road and bridge condition, safety, traffic, views, natural resource preservation, directional signs, and transit services
Analysis Methods
  • Infrastructure management methods (life-cycle analysis, deterioration modeling, etc.)
  • Traffic and safety analysis
  • Project prioritization
Implementation Processes and Practices
  • Development of transportation plans defining goals, performance measures and strategies; development of regional plans in coordination with partner agencies
  • Development of transportation improvement programs based on established goals, performance targets and prioritization criteria
  • Development and use of safety, bridge, pavement, and congestion management systems to analyze needs, identify and analyze project candidates, and relate investment levels to performance results
Current FHWA Activities
  • Publication of final rules for the partners (National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs) to develop and implement safety, bridge, pavement, and congestion management systems
  • Work with the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service on nation-wide implementation of regional and systemwide long-term transportation planning; work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a draft 20-year transportation plan; publication of tribal "Transportation Planning Procedures and Guidelines"
  • Collection and management of infrastructure inventory and condition data
  • Maintenance of a safety database and work towards greater consistency of crash data
Future FHWA Activities
  • Assist FLH partners with implementing and using the new management systems; coordinate with the FHWA Office of Asset Management for support
  • Improve data collection and performance monitoring for all transportation facilities covered by the FLHP, particularly for facilities not owned by the Federal government
  • Publicize the successful tri-party partnerships between FLH, the U.S. Forest Service and 41 state DOTs, and extend this concept to improve coordination with all partners
  • Develop a program to strengthen transportation asset management for tribal lands

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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