Asset management is a strategic approach to allocating resources - dollars, people, and data - for the preservation, operation, and management of the Nation's transportation infrastructure. Through the use of management systems, engineering and economic analysis, and other tools, transportation agencies can more comprehensively view the big picture before making decisions as to how specific resources should be deployed. By strategically allocating resources, agencies can maximize the return on their investment, improve system performance, and increase customer satisfaction.
With asset management techniques and strategies becoming more visible and accepted nationwide, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) continues its strong commitment to providing the training, tools, and deployment assistance needed to build on the progress made and continue advancing implementation efforts. The substantial progress to date means that every day, agencies are realizing improvements in safety, operations, system reliability, system condition, and financial performance.
Over the past 2 years, more than half of the States have realized the benefits of accelerated highway construction by participating in the Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer (ACTT) program. At 2-day ACTT workshops, participants identify innovative approaches to reducing time, costs, and congestion for a planned highway project while improving safety, quality, and roadway performance. Most ACTT workshops have resulted in a reduction of planned construction time by 30 percent or more, with millions of dollars and years of delays shaved off of highway projects.
To help all of our State and local partners realize the benefits of asset management, we offer training and workshop opportunities that range from courses introducing asset management to sessions highlighting specific asset management tools. A 1-day course available from FHWA's National Highway Institute (NHI), Transportation Asset Management, covers the principles, techniques, steps to implement, and benefits of asset management. Maintaining and preserving the Nation's $1.75 trillion investment in existing highway infrastructure assets is the focus, meanwhile, of a series of four NHI courses on pavement preservation. When using asset management techniques to identify and evaluate resource allocation options, preservation is one of the most important considerations. Following a preventive maintenance strategy rather than waiting for roads to deteriorate before fixing them can extend the useful life of a pavement at a lower life-cycle cost than that of conventional pavement rehabilitation or reconstruction.
Training opportunities also include FHWA workshops on the Highway Economics Requirements System-State Version (HERS-ST) software program, life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA), and a new Web-Based Benefit/Cost Analysis Tool. The HERS-ST workshop provides a hands-on demonstration of the software, which is an asset management tool that can be used to analyze highway needs for programming and planning purposes. In the LCCA workshop, participants are introduced to LCCA concepts and the software program RealCost. The Web-Based Benefit/Cost Analysis Tool workshop introduces FHWA's tool, BCA.net, for the application of benefit/ cost analysis to a variety of roadway and intersection projects. These workshops are offered at no cost.
The Office of Asset Management also has case studies available that highlight highway agencies that are leading the way in implementing asset management programs. Economics in Asset Management details the experiences of Hillsborough County, Florida, in implementing a comprehensive asset management program for its roadway and stormwater infrastructure. The new approach includes all of the forecasting elements necessary to do multiyear budgeting of maintenance, operations, and capital replacement of assets as needed. Bridge Management, meanwhile, highlights how California, Florida, and South Dakota are using the Pontis bridge management system to more efficiently manage and maintain their bridges and achieve their agencies' performance goals. Case studies on Data Integration have been completed for the States of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, and Virginia. These case studies and others can be accessed at the Web site listed in the "More Information" box on this page.
FHWA will continue to develop new tools, technologies, and deployment strategies. As many State and local agencies are now active in implementing asset management in their day-to-day activities, FHWA will be promoting the further development of management systems and tools, analysis methods, and research topics including economic evaluation and trade off methodologies. It is important to consider strategies that emphasize communication and the sharing of information with policy and technical decisionmakers, as well as elected officials, on the benefits of applying asset management principles and techniques from the planning and initial goal setting process through the operations, preservation, and maintenance stages.
While the tools of asset management include data, software, and other state-of-the-art technologies, our ultimate focus is the driving public that we serve. Whether enhancing pavement or bridge management systems to better analyze and use the data that we have or using accelerated construction techniques to complete needed highway projects faster and with less inconvenience to motorists, asset management is about using our resources more effectively to improve the driving experience and quality of life for our customers and our communities today and in the future.