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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > December 2003 > Your Guide to Transportation Asset Management
December 2003Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-021

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Your Guide to Transportation Asset Management

Strategic management of physical assets, resources, and information is the key to getting the best return on every dollar spent to build and maintain transportation infrastructure. Making these management approaches smarter is the theme that runs throughout the new Transportation Asset Management Guide now available from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The Guide was developed under National Cooperative Highway Research Program Project 20-24(11).

The Guide looks at how Transportation Asset Management can be applied to an array of highway agency activities and decisions, including program development for capital projects, system preservation, operations, multimodal transportation planning, and real-time and periodic system monitoring. The publication is designed for use by all levels of State and local transportation agencies.

Guidebook users will find the framework and principles of Asset Management, as well as information on how to develop a strategy for implementing Asset Management. The publication organizes the principles and best practices of Asset Management into four key areas: policy goals and objectives, planning and programming, program delivery, and information and analysis. An objectives matrix looks at the relationship between Asset Management and policy: How do Asset Management principles allow policy goals to be formulated more intelligently, and how in turn do established policy objectives affect Asset Management choices? Under the planning area, the Guide looks at how to make the best decisions about resource allocation and infrastructure investments. For example, the Colorado Department of Transportation has defined Program Investment Categories, including safety, mobility, and system quality, that relate directly to transportation policy goals and performance measures. The program delivery section of the Guide, meanwhile, considers various options for best utilizing resources and tailoring management methods. For example, the use of design-build contracting can streamline project planning and save agencies time and money. Finally, the information and analysis section examines the use of information technology to help collect, interpret, and report the data needed to improve the transportation decision-making process. The Virginia Department of Transportation, for example, has developed a comprehensive Inventory and Condition Assessment System to facilitate the management of its highway and road networks. The system uses state-of-the-art automated data collection and global positioning technologies to provide an accurate inventory of transportation system assets and to determine and record their condition.

To help agencies implement Asset Management guidelines in ways that will work best for their circumstances, the Guide also includes a detailed self-assessment tool. The self-assessment enables an agency to answer such questions as:

  • How can your agency improve asset performance?
  • Are current or planned agency initiatives in infrastructure management sufficient, or do they require modification, addition, or redirection?
  • What infrastructure management approaches and techniques have worked well for other agencies?

The Guide has been adopted by the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) National Highway Institute as the textbook for a 1-day course aimed at senior- and mid-level executives from transportation agencies (see sidebar). Participants will come away with an understanding of the basics of Asset Management and how they relate to the real-world scenarios that agencies encounter.

You can find the Guide online at downloads.transportation.org/amguide.pdf. For more information, contact David Clawson, Program Director for Policy and Planning at AASHTO, 202-624-5807 (email: davidc@aashto.org), or David Geiger, Director of the Office of Asset Management at FHWA, 202-366-0392 (email: david.r.geiger@fhwa.dot.gov).

How can transportation agencies manage and preserve the life of their infrastructure and deliver the highest return for the taxpayers’ dollars? A new 1-day course available from FHWA’s National Highway Institute (NHI), Transportation Asset Management (Course No. 131106), addresses these questions and more as it introduces the principles, techniques, and benefits of Asset Management. The course material is based on the Transportation Asset Management Guide now available from AASHTO.

The course presents best practices in the areas of policy development, planning and programming, program delivery, operations, and use of information and analytic tools. It is designed for mid- and senior-level managers from State departments of transportation and other transportation agencies. The course fee is $200 per participant, with a maximum class size of 40.

For information on scheduling the course, contact Danielle Mathis-Lee at NHI, 703-235-0528 (email: danielle.mathis-lee@fhwa.dot.gov). To learn more, visit www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/training/course_detail.aspx?num=FHWA-NHI-131106&cat=&key=&num=131106&loc=&sta=%25&tit=&typ=&lev=&ava=&str=&end=&drl=.

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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