These agencies are using asset management as the framework by which to respond to growing demands on the highway system, an aging infrastructure, an uncertain fiscal environment, and greater public expectations for improved transparency and accountability in agency decisions. Asset management improves agency effectiveness by using performance data to ensure that investment decisions are aligned with the agency’s strategic objectives.
APTech specializes in helping State agencies in particular respond to the requirements under the 2012 federal law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). MAP-21 established investment strategies and performance targets for a subset of the state highway system. APTech assists these agencies in the development of TAMPs, which include summarizing asset performance, evaluating whole life costs, setting performance targets, and preparing long-term financial plans. APTech has developed TAMPs for state highway agencies (SHAs) that have allowed for more objective and transparent investment decisions using available performance data; created tools and templates that can be used by the agency to be more self-sufficient with future updates to its TAMP; and in one case served as a pilot program for other SHAs.
Whether an agency is local, state, provincial, or national, it is constantly challenged to improve services with limited funding, regardless if it is required to respond to MAP-21 or not. APTech uses the most reliable methods for collecting and analyzing data to:
Managing transportation assets improves decision making capabilities and controls agency costs, allowing the most effective use of time and money. APTech can help establish programs that use software tools to evaluate investment options and to support the best use of available resources.
In 2012, Federal highway legislation commonly known as MAP-21, was enacted to provide funding for transportation programs and establish a performance-based Federal highway program. The legislation included a requirement for States to develop “a risk-based asset management plan for the National Highway System to improve or preserve the condition of the assets and the performance of the system.” The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has been very active in asset management nationally and in applying asset management concepts to its decision processes. Due to their past success with transportation asset management (TAM), MnDOT desired to develop a transportation asset management plan (TAMP) that exceeds the expectations outlined in MAP-21. APTech was selected to assist the Department with the development of their first TAMP.
APTech is conducting plan scoping, coordinating work groups, conducting a technical analysis, and setting performance targets in order to develop a TAMP that formalizes and documents the following key information:
The use of asset management principles in SHAs has become increasingly important as those agencies respond to increasing demands on the highway system and demands for improved transparency and accountability in agency decisions. Asset management provides a framework for using performance data to make sound investment decisions that are aligned with the agency’s strategic objectives. To help identify and prioritize changes that are needed to support asset management in a transportation agency, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) published the Transportation Asset Management Guide - A Focus on Implementation. The Guide describes the use of a gap analysis as an objective and structured process for evaluating current and desired asset management practices and to identify priorities for actions that are needed to achieve agency goals. When the Guide was developed, a prototype of a tool was developed to support the use of a gap analysis by SHAs. However, the original tool was developed based on experience in New Zealand rather than the U.S. and was not easily modifiable. To remedy these difficulties, the National Cooperative Research Program (NCHRP) selected APTech to develop a new gap analysis tool that is more intuitive, well described, user-friendly, and applicable for transportation practitioners and decision-makers in the United States.
To determine the capabilities needed in the improved tool, APTech is conducting a literature and process review. The data from these activities enables APTech to develop helpful guidelines for conducting a gap analysis and an intuitive and user-friendly gap analysis spreadsheet tool that is relevant to transportation asset management in the United States. The gap analysis spreadsheet tool will be made available to SHAs through AASHTO and outreach activities such as webinars and workshops. National Highway Institute (NHI) courses will be used to promote the tool’s use as well.
Since the formation of the Office of Asset Management in 1999 by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), interest and enthusiasm in transportation asset management has been growing. To further develop the area of asset management, the FHWA established an Asset Management Expert Task Group (ETG). APTech was selected to work with the FHWA, through a contract with SAIC, to establish the ETG and facilitate the ETG meetings and web conferences. APTech has also been responsible for preparing several articles on asset management for FHWA's publication FOCUS.
One of the main goals of the ETG is to establish an Asset Management Strategic Implementation Plan that recognizes some of the technical, organizational, and institutional issues that impact the use of asset management principles. The Plan identifies gaps between desired and actual practice and develops goals and strategies for addressing the gaps and advancing the state-of-the-practice.
APTech is also spearheading the outreach activities sponsored by the ETG, which includes the development and delivery of outreach activities involving a variety of delivery methods. For example, APTech is conducting a series of Asset Management Book Club webinars addressing each of the chapters in the AASHTO Guide. In addition, the project team is developing a “Quick Guide” as a supplement to the AASHTO Guide. APTech is also developing a PowerPoint presentation and video targeted at Chief Executive Officers and Chief Financial Officers, as well as a 1-day workshop on financial sustainability.
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