Transportation Asset Management Case Studies
The Arizona Experience
Setting the Stage
What Does ADOT Have?
ADOT has made significant information technology (IT) investments in data, systems, and related infrastructure. It has eight key types of IT systems:
- Highway performance monitoring system
- Pavement management system
- Bridge inventory and bridge management systems
- Suite of maintenance management tools
- Suite of safety management systems
- Construction management system
- Project and resource management systems
- Financial management systems
These systems have been developed largely independently of one another, using a variety of software platforms and in the absence of agency-wide standards. ADOT staff have augmented this suite of IT tools with several personal files, such as databases and spreadsheets.
ADOT's systems and databases are populated with a wide range of data collected through its day-to-day operations. Recent studies have found that additional data items are not required. Rather, ADOT's greatest needs are to fix existing data, bring them together, and better disseminate integrated information. For example, data residing in personal files are often not readily available to other staff. Also, combining data from incompatible systems often requires significant data manipulation. Therefore, locating, requesting, formatting, and assembling data from different systems can take days, weeks, or even months. Even after all of these efforts, data inaccuracies diminish confidence in the results.
What Does ADOT Want?
ADOT has recently undertaken several initiatives to improve its business practices. The objectives of these efforts include showing accountability for the stewardship of public funds, basing more decisions on performance, and improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and alignment of all DOT operations.
- Long-range planning process. ADOT is updating its long-range planning process, making it performance-based to address issues across modes. This effort will produce an updated, multimodal transportation plan; several items that support other resource allocation processes, such as performance measures and targets; and documented linkages with ADOT's capital programming process.
- Improved capital programming process. Although identified as a priority, comprehensive improvements to ADOT's capital programming process are unlikely in the near future. However, to stay current with its improved long-range planning process, the department has developed an interim process for selecting projects and building capital programs.
- Transportation Asset Management. ADOT has developed an implementation plan for a Transportation Infrastructure Asset Management System. The plan provides recommendations for improving current business practices through the application of Asset Management principles (e.g., policy-driven, performance-based, long-term view, tradeoff analyses, availability of quality data). Together with ongoing planning and programming initiatives, this plan provides a unique opportunity for ADOT to refocus its entire resource allocation process on a consistent, integrated performance basis.
- Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement 34 (GASB 34). ADOT has successfully undertaken the modified approach to GASB 34 reporting. The modified approach requires agencies to define performance measures and tie performance expectations to anticipated funding levels. The department's work in this area provides a model for developing policy objectives and performance targets through its broader Asset Management initiatives.
- Program delivery. ADOT is evaluating its project budgeting, accounting, and program delivery processes. This evaluation complements ADOT's resource allocation initiatives by focusing on improvements to the transparency of program commitments and expenditures, financial accountability, and the availability of financial information.
ADOT's greatest data needs are to fix existing data, bring them together, and better disseminate integrated information.
ADOT has long realized that an integrated information system is critical for full implementation of the improved business practices. Such a system would become a one-stop shop for providing accurate information to all internal and external decisionmakers. The system would enable staff to assemble and analyze data from multiple sources quickly.