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Conditions and Performance Report. Appendix D.

Conditions and Performance Report
Appendix D—Asset Management and
Investment Strategies: An Update

Conditions and Performance Chapter Listing

Conditions and Performance Home Page


Current Practice

Assessment of Current Practices

Improving the Process

Strategies for Implementation



Current Practice
(What Do We Have?)


Much of the current paradigm for State-level transportation decision-making was defined by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 which required each State to develop a Statewide plan. Ideally, this plan presents a fiscally realistic vision, covering 20 years or more, of strategies for addressing a State's mobility and economic requirements. It reflects the full range of modal choices, covering for example highways, rail and transit. The plan also covers the management of existing assets to include maintaining, monitoring, and improving transportation system performance. This requirement for a statewide plan was continued under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).

Also required by ISTEA and TEA-21 is a "financially constrained" Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP). This is a list of projects that a State plans to advance over, at minimum the next 3 years. The STIP must indicate the source of funding for included projects, as well as the financial plans for ensuring the continued operation and maintenance of the existing system. It is intended that the short-term capital investment and operational decisions provided in the STIP will be consistent with the policies and objectives delineated in the Statewide plan.

Most State highway agencies currently have some of the more common elements that provide information into the Asset Management process. The two most common are pavement and bridge management systems. These systems are intended to cyclically monitor the condition, measure the real-life performance, predict future trends, and recommend candidate projects and preservation treatments. In addition, many include analytical tools such as deterioration models and optimization algorithms designed to evaluate the impacts and trade-offs of current and future alternative policies, programs, and projects. All of these features are not, however, necessarily used in every State.

In summary, although each State has a unique approach to making transportation investment decisions, three dimensions are common to all highway agencies. First, each State has a long-term, strategic planning element that is intended to provide guiding policies and objectives. Second, each State has a requirement to produce a short-term program of projects intended for funding. And, finally, each State has mechanisms for evaluating and selecting projects for actual implementation. Underlying this general process are data and analyses as well as policy considerations. (See Exhibit D-1.)

Exhibit D-1. Idealized Transportation Investment Decision-Making Process (Federal and State)

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Page last modified on November 7, 2014
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