Welcome to the AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide. Whether you are new to asset management, a seasoned practitioner, or an executive, this Guide will help to further your understanding of asset management techniques and advance asset management practices at your agency.

image of a highway bridge and vehicles

What is Transportation Asset Management?

As defined by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), transportation asset management (or TAM) is a “strategic and systematic process of operating, maintaining, upgrading, and expanding physical assets effectively throughout their life cycle. It focuses on business and engineering practices for resource allocation and utilization, with the objective of better decision making based upon quality information and well defined objectives.”

Some of the benefits of TAM include:

Improved asset condition, performance, resilience, and longevity. Asset management involves maintaining the asset condition over the asset’s life time. Improved condition results in improved performance and ultimately extends the life of an asset compared to the alternative of continually deferring maintenance.
Improved accountability. When asset management practices are embedded in an agency, staff are held accountable within the agency and to customers and stakeholders to follow TAM practices and consistently maintain the assets in a state of good repair. Preparing an asset management plan also ensures accountability by providing reliable information about the condition of assets.
Increased efficiency and effectiveness. When assets are managed following an agreed upon management strategy, efficiency and effectiveness are improved. Regular maintenance can be planned and scheduled, reducing disruption to service as little as possible.
More benefit for each dollar invested. Transportation assets cost money to build, maintain, operate, and use. By stressing the importance of life cycle planning and costs, and placing agreed levels of service at the core of the asset management process, TAM helps to ensure that the benefits delivered by the network are maximized, while the costs of providing, maintaining, and using it are minimized.
Reduced risk exposure. When assets are maintained and managed consistently and resilience is improved, the agency reduces the exposure to risk.
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Improved coordination and communication. Asset management helps potential silos within an agency by improving resource allocation and improving coordination between staff on asset management related projects and maintenance.

TAM is a way of conducting a transportation agency’s business to deliver more value in its activities so that the transportation system performs best with the available resources. Most agencies have elements of TAM principles in their existing practice. This guide can help with formalizing TAM practice, identifying areas for improvement, and understanding how to improve.

The AASHTO TAM Guide is organized around the TAM Guide Framework. The framework is tailored for use by U.S. transportation agencies and incorporates critical areas deemed important to the daily application and advancement of TAM practice. The framework groups the components of asset management into six basic areas. Two of these areas detail factors that enable an improved asset management approach, and the remaining four areas address the processes entailed in asset management. Click on the image below to read the relevant section of the Guide.

AASHTO TAM Guide Framework

What’s in the Guide?

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the organization and features of the Guide and identifies some of the basic elements of TAM.

This chapter discusses considerations in linking asset management to agency goals and objectives, and defining performance measures and targets for tracking progress.

This chapter covers the organizational and people elements that support the asset management process.

This chapter discusses developing life cycle plans that define how best to design, construct, operate, maintain and dispose of assets - and then executing those plans on a day-to-day basis.

This chapter details the process of making capital and maintenance investment decisions that provide the best long term performance given available resources, considering trade-offs and competing needs between different assets and investment objectives.

This chapter addresses topics including tracking asset health, responding to unplanned events, and managing risks to the asset inventory.

This chapter addresses collecting needed asset data, and implementing management systems to support data collection and decision-making.

The guide also collects practice examples, checklists, and how-to guides to help contextualize and facilitate TAM improvements.

The core elements illustrated in the TAM Guide Framework are further detailed in corresponding chapters of the Guide. A basic feature of TAM is that it is interdisciplinary, and thus overlaps with a number of other areas, including but not limited to maintenance, project selection and budgeting, performance management, information technology, and risk. To the extent that other resources are available for addressing certain aspects of TAM, the text notes these overlaps and recommends other relevant resources.

Who is the Guide For?

The guide has features designed to support practitioners who are…

to TAM

The guide features information curated specifically for those new to TAM – whether new to a transportation agency, recently transferred to the asset management division, or students beginning research in TAM.

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Asset management practitioners may be interested in learning more about a specific TAM topic. For example, a practitioner might be interested resource allocation as their agency begins to discuss different ways to allocate funding among assets.

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An asset management practitioner may also be interested in strengthening a specific aspect of their TAM program. For example, a practitioner may want to strengthen their agency’s data governance and management practices related to TAM.

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from Peers

An asset management practitioner or an executive may be interested in learning about best practices or understanding how different states implemented new processes.

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