3.5.2 Building on Knowledge


Building on Knowledge

This subsection underscores the importance of capturing tacit knowledge in Transportation Asset Management (TAM) by regularly documenting insights and experiences of seasoned professionals. It advocates for mentorship programs to transfer critical tacit knowledge to new staff, emphasizes periodic knowledge reviews, addresses challenges in knowledge management, and concludes by highlighting the pivotal role of effective knowledge management in enhancing decision-making and optimizing transportation assets within TAM organizations.

Capturing Tacit Knowledge

There are a few ways that agencies can ensure the capture of tacit knowledge. For example, an agency can find ways to regularly document insights and experiences of seasoned professionals and experts in the field of TAM, including through expert interviews and more structured documentation. Mentorship programs are another-way to transfer knowledge from those with expertise to new staff who are learning, by encouraging experienced staff to share critical tacit knowledge to newer employees.

Knowledge Review and Update

Agencies can conduct periodic audits of their knowledge repository to ensure accuracy, relevance, and completeness of information. It is important to update information to stay relevant and add tools as they become available and establish mechanisms for continuous feedback and improvement of the knowledge management processes.

Capturing Lessons Learned

Building an effective TAM program is a process of continuous improvement. The practices will improve as your TAM program matures. It will also improve as new methods and tools become available. It's important to capture what has been learned as you conduct a TAM function (i.e., building a TAMP, developing a resilience improvement plan, target setting, investment planning, etc.). Taking the step of looking back at what you have learned and documenting what worked and what did not work will help you the next time you do the activity. Consider as a part of this step what you would change the next time you do the activity to do it better.

After Action Reviews (AAR) are a formal mechanism for capturing lessons learned. They are designed to identify and document what went well, what could have been improved, and how to fix things to be sure that they don’t go wrong again. You can use Before- and During-Action Reviews to document lessons learned as they go and make corrective actions as needed. The following is a sample AAR template from NCHRP Report 813 A Guide to Agency-Wide Knowledge Management for State Departments of Transportation.

Resource 3-1. Sample After-Action Review Template


Date of Review:

Recorded By:

What went right?

What went wrong?

How do we fix things to be sure that they don’t go wrong again?

Another resource that provides guidance on AARs is from the USAID:
USAID After-Action Review Guide (Introduction/Technical Guide) https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/pnadf360.pdf

Challenges and Solutions in Knowledge Management

There are challenges to successful knowledge management. They include addressing knowledge silos and managing knowledge overload. Agencies that identify and address barriers to information sharing within the organization can promote a more integrated approach to knowledge management. Mechanisms to filter and prioritize relevant and high-quality information for decision-makers are also needed to ensure the efficient use of data in the decision-making process.


Effective knowledge management is a cornerstone of successful Transportation Asset Management. By systematically collecting, storing, sharing, and utilizing knowledge, TAM organizations can significantly enhance their decision-making processes, ensuring the efficient management and optimization of transportation assets.