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FHWA Home / Policy & Governmental Affairs / 2002 Conditions and Performance

Conditions and Performance

Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report

Executive Summary

Ch 17: Asset Management

A new initiative in the transportation community, Transportation Asset Management (TAM), provides a framework for the optimal allocation of resources by transportation agencies. TAM is a strategic approach to managing and investing in transportation infrastructure. When implemented, it will dramatically change the fundamentals of investment decisions.

The breakthrough of TAM arises from the fact that the expenditure of funds will (1) be based on trade-off analysis where alternatives are considered across functions, asset classes, and even modes; (2) be driven by customer requirements as reflected in performance goals; (3) include economic as well as engineering considerations; (4) incorporate an extended time horizon; and (5) be systematic and fact-based.

At its core, TAM will lead to the highest possible total return on investment, eventually reducing the gap between what the Nation needs to spend on its transportation assets and what it actually spends. When fully implemented, TAM has the potential to reduce the total life cycle costs of providing transportation services, and to improve safety, system reliability, pavement smoothness, and financial performance.

FHWA has identified four overarching themes: (1) ensuring the availability of necessary data and information; (2) developing innovative analytical tools and techniques, business processes and practices; (3) teaching, training, and bringing awareness to the people that will influence final investment decisions, and (4) providing assistance in deploying the tools, techniques, and processes.

Ch 18: Travel Model Improvement Program

Among the most important inputs used by State and local governments in transportation planning are forecasts of future travel demand. To assist transportation planners with this important function, the Department of Transportation-in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency-has established the Travel Model Improvement Program (TMIP).

The TMIP consists of four primary components:

Outreach. This includes training, direct technical assistance, and building a community of practice among modelers to facilitate mutual support in the modeling process.

Near Term Improvements. This program aims to improve the capabilities of existing forecasting procedures, including models of trip generation and trip distribution, mode choice, and assignment procedures.

Long Term Improvements. The TMIP looks to redesign the travel forecasting process through development and deployment of the Transportation Analysis and Simulation System (TRANSIMS). This model uses state-of-the-art microsimulation technology to simulate both the movements of individuals and vehicles and the activities of households.

Freight Forecasting, Data Collection, and Land Use Modeling. The TMIP has special efforts devoted to improving the understanding of freight movement and freight forecasting procedures, the quality of travel data collection, and the impacts of transportation improvements on regional land use patterns.

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