Chapter 4 Executive Summary

Chapter 4 Summary

Maximizing Asset Performance

This chapter introduces the concept of the asset life cycle, describes approaches to developing long-term management strategies, and provides guidance on how to execute these strategies on a day-to-day basis.

What’s Important

Life cycle management is a framework for identifying the appropriate treatments throughout an asset’s service life to maximize performance. All transportation infrastructure assets have a life cycle, which includes several stages from initial construction to removal or replacement. Maximizing transportation asset performance involves setting asset service and performance levels, and then identifying treatments to meet those levels over the full life-cycle of an asset at the least cost.

How the Guide Can Help

This chapter of the guide details a collaborative process for establishing a desired level of performance that considers:

  • Current conditions and performance trends
  • Available funding
  • Expected demands on the system
  • Policy goals and guidance
  • Stakeholder priorities

Balancing the right treatment, at the right time, can greatly reduce the overall investment needed for infrastructure to reliably provide service. The guide describes the selection of a life cycle management approach that considers asset deterioration, performance, and risk over time.

For asset management goals to be met, tight coordination is needed between asset management and project development practices. The guide presents strategies for actively engaging maintenance management staff in the process of identifying preferred life cycle management approaches.

Spotlight on
TAM Plans and Policies

Asset condition is the most common performance criterion used by U.S. transportation agencies, particularly for pavements and bridges. The condition of an asset is measured and used to forecast and identify the onset of failure considering factors such as traffic demand, environmental and climatic conditions, and new technologies. Maintenance and preservation options are identified to address the failure mechanism and restore or extend service life. Options are compared over the long term to identify the set of treatments that will provide the best practical performance at lowest practical life-cycle costs. The condition-based management approach can be applied to simple and complex assets, groups of single assets or a whole network.

Some assets do not lend themselves to management using a traditional condition-based management approach for several reasons including a non-typical life-cycle (e.g. rock slopes), condition assessments are not feasible (e.g. buried utility assets), or end-of-life is driven by factors other than condition (e.g. technological obsolescence). These types of assets can often be managed using interval-based or reactive maintenance approaches.