This page features information on workforce issues related to TAM. Whether you want to define roles or create a TAM culture, you can find what you need here.


The compounding effects of COVID-19 and the baby boomer generation leaving the workforce have contributed to the civilian labor force participation rate dropping to below 62.5% (January 2023) — the lowest rate in 45 years — and presenting challenges for DOTs to find workers. Those who remain active in the labor force have higher expectations of their employers in terms of salaries and working conditions, especially flexibility and the ability to work remotely. At the same time, demands on DOTs for personnel trained in asset management have increased, most recently due to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), 2021, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

In the past 20 years, DOTs have moved from predominantly performing work themselves to contracting more work to be performed by consultants, with management systems and indicators to guide the work. This shift requires new skill sets, but also presents new opportunities for innovation.

This topic Deep Dive provides context and resources for aligning workforce and knowledge management programs to agency transportation asset management practices. There is much research and many practice examples for workforce development, but few tie into asset management specifically. Knowledge management could be the key to integrating asset management into workforce development.

Key Concepts:

Skills, knowledge, and abilities needed for a specific task or job.

Methods that organizations use to gather, organize, store, manage, and disseminate information needed for conducting its work.

A system that generates a qualified pool of applicants.

Developing talent to fill key roles to ensure continuity. Includes forecasting skills and knowledge needs.

Practices that help to create, sustain, and retain a pool of workers with the competencies to meet the agency’s needs.

Implementation Considerations:

  1. Identify key processes and establish roles, responsibilities, and competencies. Establish roles and responsibilities for asset management functions — or if already established, review and verify — and then define the key competencies for each.
  2. Resources:

  3. Identify gaps in roles/responsibilities and competencies. Compare existing roles/responsibilities and competencies with those needed to successfully implement asset management and identify gaps.
  4. Make a plan to address gaps. This step might involve organizational realignments, modification of position descriptions, creation of new positions, training, or other activities to align organization and positions for TAM implementation and management. This step should include workforce predictions, such as attrition and retirement and succession planning.
  5. Resources:

  6. Introduce and manage organizational changes. Organizational changes can be difficult for employees, especially when they aren’t provided with information about the whys and hows. This step includes introducing and managing organizational changes to support TAM while minimizing disruptions.
  7. Resources:

  8. Review recruitment and talent development pipeline. Evaluate recruitment practices to align with TAM needs and modify as needed. This could include shifting how and where an organization conducts recruitment. It could also include improvements to the talent development pipeline with activities such as partnering with key universities, community colleges, and other technical and vocational partners to align curriculums with evolving TAM needs or sponsoring fellowships and internships (including field and technical internships). It could further include an assessment of university, community college, and vocational education partners to ensure a diverse talent pool is being developed.
  9. Resources:

  10. Review workforce development/knowledge management activities. Evaluate workforce development activities and offerings and onboarding processes to ensure they align with core competencies needed to implement, maintain, and manage TAM. This step includes knowledge management and developing talent from within the organization to fill key future roles.
  11. Resources:

Related Subsections:

The Guide is an important tool that should be actively used as a reference by the transportation community. The principles and implementation techniques described here are universally applicable to all agencies managing transportation assets. While the target audience is primarily State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), local agencies managing metropolitan, county, or mixed transportation networks will also find it useful and appropriate to their needs.

Who Should Use this Guide?

The Guide is structured so that the reader can use a particular chapter, section, or topic as a source of advice; or use the whole in order to drive a systematic agency-wide implementation of asset management.

For those new to asset management who want to learn more. This Guide is a great starting point for DOT staff new to the field of asset management. Recent college graduates and new DOT employees hired in asset management roles, as well as DOT staff who have transferred to an asset management role from elsewhere in the agency will benefit from the overview of asset management provided in this Guide.

For practitioners. This Guide can help advance asset management practice at an agency. The framework is designed to provide information on all different aspects of asset management, so practitioners can easily access information specific to the challenges they are currently facing. Practitioners can also learn about how peer agencies approach different aspects of asset management through the numerous practice examples throughout the Guide.

For executives. This Guide is intended to raise awareness among senior executives about the wider role TAM plays within the agency and how it can be implemented to improve organizational performance and achieve better outcomes in terms of cost and service to the public. Agency-wide TAM implementation needs to be led by top management using the principles of effective leadership. TAM is an organizational culture and professional discipline that should not be switched on and off with the regular election cycle – it needs continuity and support even as leadership within the organization changes. Implementation needs to transcend administration.

There are numerous opportunities available for practitioners to interact with people from peer agencies. The following committees and groups provide a way for agencies to share ideas, overcome challenges, and advance asset management practice.


AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It represents all transportation modes including: air, highways, public transportation, active transportation, rail, and water. It aims to foster the development, operation, and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system. AASHTO is an international leader in setting technical standards for all phases of highway system development. The website is:

The AASHTO Committee on Performance-Based Management (CPBM) is dedicated to providing State DOTs the expertise and resources to support performance-based management and to create a results-driven environment to maximize the performance of both transportation systems and organizations. The committee is focused on Organizational Management, Systems Performance, and Federal Policy, Regulations and Programs.

The CPBM’s Subcommittee on Asset Management was created to help improve the State-of-the-practice of asset management in State DOTs. The Subcommittee works to help States optimize resources with performance-based goals and measures for operation, preservation, and improvement of their transportation systems.Transportation
Research Board (TRB)

TRB provides innovative, research-based solutions to improve transportation. TRB is a program unit of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, a non-profit organization that provides independent, objective, and interdisciplinary solutions. TRB manages transportation research by producing publications and online resources. It convenes experts that help to develop solutions to problems and issues facing transportation professionals, and provides advice through its policy studies that tackle complex and often controversial issues of national significance. The website is:

TRB Committee on Transportation Asset Management. The Committee seeks to advance the State of the art and State of the practice in asset management. Asset management is a process to strategically manage the transportation system in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Asset management by its nature is a collaborative process, and the Asset Management Committee works with other TRB Committees across all modes, with the AASHTO Asset Management Subcommittee, and other partners.


FHWA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that supports State and local governments in the design, construction, and maintenance of the Nation’s highway system, and various Federal and tribal owned lands. Through financial and technical assistance to State and local governments, the FHWA is responsible for ensuring that America’s roads and highways continue to be among the safest and most technologically sound in the world. The website is:

FHWA TAM Expert Task Group (ETG). TAM ETG was formed as a forum to discuss changes in the way highway agencies are managing assets. The structure and membership of the TAM ETG were intentionally designed to ensure interaction with key AASHTO and TRB committees. Among its objectives, the TAM ETG aims to identify strategies for advancing asset management practice and influencing change within State DOTs and partnering with transportation agencies.


The IAM is the international professional body for asset management professionals. The IAM develops asset management knowledge and best practice, and generates awareness of the benefits of the asset management discipline for the individual, organizations and wider society. Established in 1994, the IAM has over 22,000 members in 158 different countries. The website is:

IAM US Patron Group. The Patrons of the IAM are a special group of Corporate Members who have committed to a high level of activity and engagement with the Institute, and on that basis, have been invited to become a Patron. The Patrons include leading asset managers, who, in exchange for significant support to the Institute, have great influence not only on the development of the IAM itself but also on the development on the discipline.

This section provides information on creating a TAM unit and describes the most common roles needed for a successful TAM program. It also describes TAM related activities within an agency that may require additional coordination. Examples of TAM roles and integrating TAM with other related agency functions are interspersed throughout the section.

Core TAM Roles

Understanding what roles and responsibilities are most important for the TAM program is key to getting an agency ready and aligned to achieve TAM-related goals. It is crucial to fill each TAM-related role with qualified people who possess the right competencies.

Three key roles provide the foundation for implementing TAM in an agency: a TAM champion, a TAM lead, and a lead for each priority asset class.

TAM Champion

Having a TAM program champion leads to greater success in meeting TAM goals and objectives. The TAM champion advocates for TAM advancement and communicates its importance throughout the agency. TAM champions can come from various groups, but they are typically senior managers or executives. The TAM champion should be able to create a vision for how TAM will deliver a stronger agency in the future, communicate how TAM can benefit stakeholders, and gain acceptance from agency staff and stakeholders.

TAM Lead

The TAM lead is the person who is the head of the TAM unit or, if there is no TAM unit, is the lead for coordinating various TAM program activities. People in this role are responsible for making sure agency staff and external partners are working together to advance TAM. The TAM lead should be a person who understands and can manage dependencies across activities and who can develop and maintain good working relationships. The TAM lead should be a constructive problem solver who can monitor the entire program, spot concerns, and listen to and consider alternative points of view when necessary.

An agency’s top management support is an key component of TAM success. One important role of the TAM lead is to keep executive management informed about and engaged in the TAM program. This requires regular and effective communication with executives about plans and achievements. Building executive support for and confidence in TAM activities helps to ensure continued resources and support for TAM activities. When the rest of the agency sees executives supporting the TAM program, they are more likely to assist with TAM needs.

Asset Stewards

Asset stewards (sometimes called “Asset Owners,” “Asset Managers” or simply “Asset Leads”) have lead responsibilities for managing a particular class of asset. This role can be assigned at the agency-wide level as well as at the field office level. An asset steward should be someone who understands the asset well, has the ability to communicate the asset’s needs and the consequences of underinvestment and is able to work with other asset stewards to develop agency-wide investment strategies.

Iowa DOT

When the Iowa DOT TAM program was established, agency leadership prioritized the creation of a world-class asset management program and decided to address TAM implementation as a top-level organizational change initiative. This leadership focus and support allowed Iowa DOT’s TAM team to have authority throughout the agency, address organizational improvement needs, and focus on sustainability by building TAM governance.

TAM-Related Functions: Planning, Programming, and Delivery

TAM is inherently an integrative function, so designation of individuals performing key roles within agency planning, programming and work delivery functions can clarify the key points of responsibility and foster cross-functional coordination.

Project Prioritization

Within each program, key action include:

  • Adopting and modifying policies and guidelines for how and when prioritization is done
  • Developing prioritization methodologies
  • Coordinating the execution of the process
  • Gathering and compiling data
  • Implementing, managing and updating information systems to support the process
  • Performing analysis for individual projects
  • Analyzing, reporting and communicating prioritization results
  • Making final decisions about which projects will be advanced for funding

Maintenance and Operations

When work is being conducted in the field the following are important considerations for TAM program support:

  • Understand TAM goals and objectives and how field actions impact end results.
  • Understand the choices that were made during the programming process on asset treatments.
  • Capture data on work accomplished to keep asset information accurate.
  • Train field staff on the TAM program

Data Collection

Several steps are required to plan and execute data collection efforts – and then to process and store the data that are collected. Some agencies have established roles to provide standardization and coordination across data collection efforts. For each effort, key roles include:

  • Analysis to provide a sound business case for data collection
  • Research to identify the best method and approach to collecting the data
  • Procurement – when contractors are used to collect data
  • Data specification and design – that considers integration with existing agency data
  • Hardware and software specification and acquisition for data storage and processing
  • Guidance and oversight to ensure consistent and valid data
  • Data quality assurance
  • Data loading and validation

Development of a Long Range Plan

The long-range plan sets the framework for impactful asset investment decisions for the rest of the transportation development process. TAM implementation has a greater impact if TAM roles and responsibilities are clear in this step. It is also important to determine who will take the lead for the following:

  • Long range plan policies and priorities related to TAM
  • Consideration of tradeoffs across investment types (all program areas and across asset classes)
  • Consideration of TAM investment distribution within asset classes (rebuild, rehab, preservation)
  • Financial planning (funding outlook across investment types)

Program-Level Budgeting

Allocation of resources across program categories is a critical decision that both enables and constrains what can be accomplished. Where programs are defined based on funding sources or where allocations are based on formulas, there is little or no flexibility. However, where there is flexibility, it is important to establish TAM roles for technical analysis of investment versus performance tradeoffs, as well as for orchestration and facilitation of tradeoff decision making based on the results of this analysis.

Development of the TAMP

TAMP development is a multi-step process that involves agency stakeholders. Clearly articulating process, roles, and lead responsibility for the document yields the best product and makes it easier to implement the TAMP. Table 3.2 illustrates how to provide the link between roles and the key components of a federally-compliant TAMP development process.

A TAMP cannot be developed in a silo; it required input from across the agency. See Chapter 2 for more information on TAMP development.

Table 3.2 illustrates a way to provide the link between some typical TAM roles and the key components of a federally-compliant TAMP development process.

Table 3.2 - Links to the TAMP Development Process

TAMP ComponentExample TAM Roles and Responsibilities
Asset Inventory and ConditionData Collection: State NHS (asset owners); Local NHS (bridges: state bridge unit, pavements: individual local agency data collection units)
Data Management: State DOT planning unit collects all data from the various data collection leads
Reporting and Visualization: TAMP development team
Asset Condition ForecastsState System
Bridges: State bridge management unit runs bridge management system (BMS)
Pavements: State pavement management unit runs pavement management system (PMS)
Other Assets: No management systems exist for the other assets so each asset owner uses ages to forecast asset condition in the future
Non-State NHS
Bridges: State bridge management unit runs bridge management system (BMS) and provides forecasts for the entire NHS
Pavements: State pavement management unit uses the data collected from local agencies runs pavement management system (PMS) and provides forecasts for the entire NHS
Financial PlanningState Funding Forecast: State Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
State Funding Uses: TAM unit works with CFO, programming unit, and asset owners to determine uses
Non-State NHS: TAM unit works with MPOs and local agencies to determine both funding forecasts and uses of funding
Life Cycle Planning and ManagementState Assets: TAM unit takes the lead in developing agency wide asset life cycle management policies. Each asset owner uses the agency wide policies and works with the field units to determine asset specific policies.
Non-State NHS Assets: Local agencies are invited to a workshop to provide input on life cycle planning and management policies impacting their system. This input is used for development of non-state owned NHS policies.
Risk ManagementThe TAM unit organizes a workshop to develop and refine the risk register and to develop risk mitigation actions.
State Assets: Information is used during the programming process to determine funding for risk mitigation actions.
Non-state Assets: For non-state NHS bridge and pavement assets, MPOs and local agencies are invited to the risk workshop to participate in the development of the risk register and mitigation actions. Specific funded initiatives are reported by the MPOs and local agencies to the TAM unit for inclusion in the TAMP.
Investment StrategiesThe TAM unit works with individual asset owners and field units to prioritize investments for TAM improvements, and to meet TAM targets and forecasts.
MPOs work with local agencies to develop investment strategies to advance NHS pavement and bridge performance.
Process ImprovementsThe TAM unit uses a workshop to bring together all stakeholders to develop and prioritize TAM improvement initiatives.

Wyoming DOT

WYDOT is increasing the use of performance-based project selection in order to optimize funding expenditures and meet their performance targets. This process helps guide resource allocation decisions in a constrained funding environment. WYDOT adopted a robust computerized system that moved the agency from project selection predominantly based on emphasizing current condition to project selection based on optimizing future estimated condition. Program managers for each asset type are responsible for maintaining their individual management systems in order to make performance forecasts within their program areas. The TAM lead works with the program managers to get the guidance to the districts. The TAM lead has been working with districts to build confidence in the management system outputs and the decision-process. This improvement has yielded WYDOT’s ability to deliver the targets that they project.

Supporting Roles

The following additional roles are important to support TAM in an agency:

  • Asset Data Stewards: ensure all data related to a specific asset class is accurate and aligned with other pieces of data; this is not the same as asset steward/owner.
  • Asset Management Software System Owners: manage/own specific software systems, bridge/ pavement management system; the owner is the software owner.
  • Asset Management Software System Architects: look at the connectivity of information across systems and across outputs.
  • Analysts (data, economics, financial): take data, then apply statistical, economic or financial analysis to provide guidance using that information.
  • Maintenance and Operations Managers: are out in a district or field office managing the day-to-day asset activities.
  • IT and Data Specialists: usually reside in the Data/IT unit; ensure that overall information and tools support for asset management work.

The following disciplines are key components of a TAM program:

  • Engineers: apply understanding of specific asset types, how the condition and role of assets influence treatment choices, and model how investments influence future performance.
  • Planners: in the planning or other units; consider long-term planning/policy-making for assets as it relates to programming and the connectivity of information throughout the cycle of activities.
  • Economists: look at economic tradeoffs of various scenarios on actions taken for a specific asset.

Table 3.3 - Agency roles list and location

ExecutivePlanningEngineeringMaintenance & Operations
Policy Making
Asset Owner
Asset Data Steward
Asset Software
Asset Engineer
Field Manager

Virginia DOT

The Virginia DOT maintains most of the assets on state roads. For pavements and bridges, there are asset leads at both the central office and in the districts. Asset leads at the central office manage data collection and analysis and provide guidance on the work that is needed. The asset leads in the districts are responsible for implementing the work and recording completed work in the bridge and pavement management systems. The guidance on what work will be done varies by asset class. For overhead sign structures, both the district structure and traffic lead are involved with guidance from the central office traffic engineering division.

Building a Strong TAM Team

Matching TAM Roles to Skills

When TAM is first initiated, roles can be filled with available staff in a manner that takes advantage of available talents and personalities:

  • TAM Lead: people-oriented and enthusiastic; able to manage conflict across business units.
  • Resource Allocation Leads: analytical and proficient with complex software.
  • Data Collection & Management: detail-oriented and accurate.
  • Field Maintenance Management: task-oriented monitors.
  • Prioritization Leads: comfortable with uncertainty (gray areas), and willing to make decisions.

TAM is a team effort requiring involvement from analysts, managers, and to executive leaders.

Agencies have different skill needs and capabilities. Some agencies might possess skills ideal for one part of the TAM program, while it might be necessary to look outside the agency (outsource) for other skills. Outsourcing, addressed later on, can be pursued to address a vacancy for a highly qualified position, or to make up for the lack of a specific skillset in the agency.

Making the Case for TAM Positions

Building a case for TAM positions requires defining how the gaps in staffing will hold the agency back from achieving its objectives. If possible, describe the anticipated return on investment from the added staff. It can also be helpful to evaluate TAM efforts at peer agencies, to find out if they have a TAM unit, how many people are in it, and what roles and responsibilities they have. Find examples of agencies that successfully made the case for new staff positions and borrow from their approach.

A Forward-Looking Approach

Part of building a strong TAM team is seeking skills that will help to advance practices rather than sustain the status-quo. Advancements in technology are changing the way data are collected, processed and analyzed; and how work is planned and carried out. As automation increases, certain routine tasks become obsolete, while it becomes necessary to acquire new skills to take advantage of improvements. For example, with tools that produce more robust analysis, agencies will need less people who crunch the numbers but more people to interpret and communicate the results.

Typically, when an agency starts its TAM journey, data accuracy is an issue. When data is not accurate, people may lack the confidence necessary to use the data for making decisions. As data quality and availability improve, the TAM program develops a need for stronger data analytic skills.

As processes become more complex, new skills are needed to monitor and carry out checks and balances. TAM aims to cut across traditional silos, which gets complicated as more units and stakeholders get involved. Therefore, TAM units benefit from people who are comfortable dealing with complex processes. This is a capability that can be acquired through hiring or training.

Utah DOT

The Utah DOT has a strategic initiative to build a learning organization. A key element of this is a learning portal that includes training components. The training components include role expectations, guidance on how to fulfill key responsibilities of the role, and certification information. They have implemented modules for first time supervisors, transportation technicians, stormwater management and advanced leadership with more being developed monthly.

Competencies are the combination of knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal attributes that enable individuals or groups to successfully perform their roles and responsibilities. Successful asset management requires a mix of technical and non-technical competencies.

Part of building a strong TAM team is seeking skills that will help to advance practices rather than sustain the status-quo. For example, implementing a TAM program relies on data accuracy and strong data analytic skills. Typically, when an agency starts its TAM journey, data accuracy is an issue. When data is not accurate, people may lack the confidence necessary to use the data for making decisions.

Advancements in technology are changing the way data are collected, processed and analyzed, as well as how work is planned and carried out. As automation increases, certain routine tasks become obsolete, while it becomes necessary to acquire new skills to take advantage of improvements. With tools that produce more robust analysis, agencies will need fewer people who crunch the numbers but more people to interpret and communicate the results. As processes become more complex, new skills are needed to monitor and carry out checks and balances. TAM aims to cut across traditional silos, which gets complicated as more units and stakeholders get involved. Therefore, TAM units benefit from people who are comfortable dealing with complex processes.

A key requirement under ISO-55001:2014 Asset management is ensuring the organization has identified competencies and is able to demonstrate their staff meets them.

Key Competencies

Part of building a strong TAM team is seeking skills that will help to advance practices rather than sustain the status-quo. For example, implementing a TAM program relies on data accuracy and strong data analytic skills. Typically, when an agency starts its TAM journey, data accuracy is an issue. When data is not accurate, people may lack the confidence necessary to use the data for making decisions.

Advancements in technology are changing the way data are collected, processed and analyzed, as well as how work is planned and carried out. As automation increases, certain routine tasks become obsolete, while it becomes necessary to acquire new skills to take advantage of improvements. With tools that produce more robust analysis, agencies will need fewer people who crunch the numbers but more people to interpret and communicate the results. As processes become more complex, new skills are needed to monitor and carry out checks and balances. TAM aims to cut across traditional silos, which gets complicated as more units and stakeholders get involved. Therefore, TAM units benefit from people who are comfortable dealing with complex processes.

Successful TAM practice relies on a number of key competencies:

Leadership: ability to establish a vision and motivate others to work towards achieving that vision.
Management: ability to make sure that the multiple activities in a TAM program are planned, coordinated, aligned and tracked.
Engineering: ability to understand the fundamentals of transportation asset and system design, construction, maintenance and operation.
Environmental: ability to analyze/ develop prediction models to measure how environmental changes may impact highway infrastructure
Financial planning: ability to understand financial planning basics and an awareness of funding sources and financial tools
Planning: ability to understand a DOT planning process and the constraints of that process.
Strategic planning: ability to understand strategic planning and how TAM fits into an agency’s business activities.
Problem solving: ability to work through inevitable conflicts and issues that arise in the process of working across agency silos.
Relationship building: ability to get different units in an organization to collaborate.
Analytical capabilities: ability to design and apply appropriate methodologies to gain key insights from available information.
Computer know-how: ability to work with a variety of software and comfortably navigate common operating systems.
Data know-how: ability to understand data structures, assemble and manipulate data in a variety of formats, and assess data quality.
Communications: ability to keep communication in forefront of everything that’s done; always aiming to make others understand what TAM program is trying to do. This is important when convincing individuals of change, or helping stakeholders understand TAMP long-term deliverables.
Positive attitude: in large-scale organizational change, taking a positive attitude is crucial to having people accept the change that will help strengthen the program, and convincing them that the solutions are the right ones.

A job description portal is a part of AASHTO’s Organizational Capabilities Management Portal. This is an excellent tool for sharing TAM job descriptions and competencies information.


FHWA, in partnership with AASHTO, has held an annual TAM peer exchange since 2007. These peer exchanges have been a good forum for state DOT representatives to meet each other and hear practices related to the topic of the peer exchange. Peer exchange not only share key ingredients of successful practice – they also discuss challenges and obstacles. The peer exchanges are documented in published reports that are available to the public. A valuable aspect of the peer exchange are the relationships that are formed so that informal exchanges can occur throughout the year.

Developing Competencies within the Organization

TPM Webinar #14 - More Than Just Asphalt, Concrete, and Steel: Innovations from Our People that are Moving Our Transportation System Forward

Peer-to-Peer Learning

TAM knowledge and skills can be gained through experience and peer to peer (P2P) learning. Peer exchanges sponsored by national organizations such as FHWA, FTA, AASHTO, and TRB can be crucial to cross-fertilizing knowledge and experiences. At these peer exchanges, individuals can meet peers and build relationships they can rely on as issues arise in implementing TAM. There are also TAM-related conferences, such as the regularly-held TRB TAM conference. In addition, asset-specific conferences and TAM workshops are held regularly. Many times these events are by invitation, so agencies should contact AASHTO and FHWA to find out about upcoming events.

Competency Assessment & Training Tools

The Institute of Asset Management (IAM) offers an asset management certificate for those who are beginning in TAM roles. The certificate validates a basic understanding of TAM within seven discipline areas and leads to an IAM diploma.
The National Highway Institute (NHI) offers numerous training courses to help build and develop skills in TAM. Some courses are instructor led, while others are web-based. Courses are available for all levels, from those just starting in TAM to those who want to develop greater expertise to help take their TAM programs to the next level of maturity. In addition, transportation professionals can use many of the courses to obtain Continuing Education Units, Certification Maintenance credits, and Professional Development hours. AASHTO and FHWA are continuously developing new capacity-building resources so stay tuned for new training tools.

Information Sharing

When thinking about which competencies are needed in an agency’s TAM program, it is helpful to look at job descriptions for TAM positions in peer agencies. This includes new job descriptions that are developed for emerging roles, such as data scientists. AASHTO is building this capability to share job descriptions. Go to the AASHTO TAM Portal to access this resource.


When a TAM unit finds it hard to acquire a core TAM competency, it may be necessary to hire a consultant to fill the need. Consultants can be considered when:

  • There is a need to perform a specialized task on a one-time or relatively infrequent basis.
  • The types of competencies required are difficult to obtain in the marketplace (e.g. data science)

It is important for agencies to clearly define what they hope to gain from consultants beyond delivery of a report or system. Consultant engagements can be designed to build in knowledge transfer activities to add needed competencies in the agency.

Changing Job Market

In the current robust economy, new employment opportunities make it difficult for state DOTs to attract and retain talent. Developing your TAM organization model to accommodate shorter tenures, incorporate knowledge management, and be clear about the relationship between roles and their impact is important to continued success of the effort.

Finding Talent

Agencies can consider converting existing staff with a planning, financial, or engineering background. Candidates must be results oriented, able to communicate well, possess good presentation skills and be able to bring diverse people together for common goals.

Existing employees in an agency can be identified to build TAM competency. There are training opportunities in different TAM topics hosted by TAM organizations identified in Chapter 1.

New Mexico DOT

The Capital Program and Investment Director led the NMDOT Asset Management effort and has spent her career in transportation, starting at the FHWA before moving to NMDOT. She has worked in various parts of the NMDOT organization in engineering, administration, and as a district engineer. This variety of experiences gives her the competencies needed to be a successful TAM lead.

Minnesota DOT

The TAM lead at MnDOT came to the role from the maintenance side of the agency. The experience and understanding of maintenance business processes, data needs, and organizational culture help him lead and manage the implementation of TAM processes. Having direct responsibility for budgets and workplans related to maintenance assets, as well as experience in setting statewide performance measures for maintenance services, provided valuable skills and knowledge that now help him to deliver the TAM program at MnDOT.

Connecticut DOT

The CTDOT TAM data lead in the agency started his career in CTDOT’s bridge design unit and moved his interest to the AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) applications area. The competencies he has built in information technology and data combined with his business understanding of transportation assets are important in helping CTDOT’s TAM program roll out tools that support TAM decision-making. The roll out of these tools is in parallel to capital project delivery enhancements that produce continued efficiencies for the entire delivery team.

Different business units in an agency contribute to the TAM process and are crucial to its success. Many TAM activities depend on internal agency coordination, including: drafting TAM policies that impact units throughout the agency; establishing performance targets for asset condition; developing the TAMP; and prioritizing projects and initiatives. The agency’s planning, programming, project development and delivery, maintenance, and other units must coordinate to make TAM work.

TAM-Related Committees

This section touches on the importance of internal coordination committees across the various TAM-related activities. The form of committees is directly related to the agency’s organizational model. These coordination committees are focused on coordination across functions. The coordination committees with important roles in TAM decision-making include:

TAM Steering Committee

This is a senior-level committee made up of top decision-makers. They provide strategic oversight for TAM and facilitate resourcing and organizational support for agreed-upon changes. They also make sure that the politics of any decision are considered. The How-to Guide Establishing a TAM Steering Committee provides steps to set up this function.

Asset Stewards Committee

This is a committee consisting of individuals with accountability for different asset. It provides a forum for getting agreement on standardized approaches, enabling a holistic view of the TAM program, communication about management practices, and discussions about coordinating project development and work planning.

Asset Data Governance Committee

This committee focuses on improving data for TAM. Its activities may include: coordinating asset data collection activities; developing standards to enable integration of data about different assets; monitoring and facilitating adoption of existing standards; establishing data quality management processes; and advancing investments in tools for field data collection, data analysis, reporting and visualization.

TAM Working Group

This group is composed of unit managers across the agency who deal with key aspects of the TAM process – planning, programming, delivery, maintenance, data management, communications, etc.

Coordinating across TAM committees is also an important function. Typically the TAM lead will make sure the activities of various TAM committees are coordinated. In some agencies, the governance across the committees are explicitly stated so that everyone understands who is doing what and how decisions across committees are related.

Forming a new set of committees to provide TAM coordination is not always the best approach. Some agencies can rely on their existing management structures. Others may already have committees set up to facilitate cross-unit communications. Smaller agencies may be able to rely on informal communication. What is most important is that the TAM program gets the results it seeks.

When forming a committee, it is important to limit the overall size of the committee to the smallest group needed to accomplish its objectives. Common practice is to limit committees to no more than 12 members.

New Jersey DOT

The New Jersey DOT TAM Steering Committee is comprised of NJDOT senior leadership. The committee sets policy direction and provides executive oversight for the performance management of the state highway system. The Transportation Asset Management Steering Committee provides general direction to the TAMP effort and assists in communicating the purpose and progress to other stakeholders.

New York State DOT

NYSDOT‘s TAM program is made up of a set of teams that perform TAM-related activities. They use TAM as an all encompassing set of principles that are embedded in activities they perform to make and deliver investments that provide mobility and safety to the traveling public. The TAM program coordinates inside the agency to ensure that TAM is being implemented as efficiently and effectively as possible. The following diagram illustrates the inter-relationships and communication that occurs across functional and geographic teams to make TAM work.

NYSDOT TAM Organization

Source: Adapted from New York State Transportation Asset Management Plan. 2018.

Ohio DOT

The Ohio DOT Asset Management Leadership Team is a cross-disciplined team, with representatives from all major business units, that establishes data governance and data collection standards. A sub-group of the Leadership Team, the TAM Audit Group, is then responsible for overseeing all asset data related requirements, and making sure standards are in place and processes are followed. This group reviews and approves all data collection efforts and ensures that efforts are coordinated across the DOT. Having designated roles and responsibilities in regards to data governance and collection allows the agency to identify all potential customers of the data being collected and ensure that the data is sufficient to meet all relevant asset management needs.

The Ohio DOT deploys a hierarchy for managing TAM data collection.

  • TAM data priority is established by the Governance Board (Assistant Directors)
  • The Asset Management Leadership Team (AMLT), which is a cross-discipline team of representatives from all major business units, develop strategies and collaboration opportunities to achieve Governance Board directives
  • The TAM Audit Group (TAMAG) perform business relationship management by working with data business owners, SMEs, and stakeholders to create enterprise TAM data requirements
  • The Central Office GIS team utilizes the completed TAMAG business requirements to create data collection solutions
  • The District TAM Coordinators provide oversight, support and coordination for data collection solution implementation, operations and performance

In order to deliver transportation products and services to the public, State DOTs must coordinate with other agencies that own and operate transportation facilities. Users don’t distinguish who owns what part of the transportation network, so it is up to the agencies to work together and seamlessly deliver the best results to users.

External Entities

Many entities outside of a state DOT are part of the TAM advancement process. It is important to include external partners in TAM committees. For example, many agencies will have a FHWA member on the steering committee, or a governor’s representative on the strategy committee.

Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs)

MPOs carry out transportation planning processes and represent localities in urbanized areas. MPOs are mandated and funded by the federal government and help ensure that transportation planning in the region reflects the needs of the population. MPOs may be responsible for parts of the State’s NHS. It is a federal requirement to involve MPOs when planning or programming federal aid in metropolitan areas, so it is key to coordinate with these organizations when developing the TAMP.

Local Agencies

Local agencies include city and county agencies. These agencies have a stake in asset management initiatives as they often own various parts of the transportation network and have funding for transportation projects. They are also closely connected to the population in the region and thus have an understanding of the needed asset management-related investments.

Other State Agencies

Various aspects of asset management should include other state agencies. State environmental agencies can provide guidance on air quality and emissions. State information systems agencies can be important for obtaining tools or solutions on a TAM need. Statewide data management initiatives may also require close coordination between the state and the DOT.

Toll Authorities

Toll Authorities operate toll roads across the country to generate revenue for use in maintaining the road. Depending on the relationship between the DOT and the authority, the authorities may own the road, have data and information on the condition of the road, and information on the investment in maintenance over time. It is key to coordinate with the authority to obtain a complete picture of the assets in the state.

Other Modal Agencies

Other Modal Agencies include organizations that operate transportation modes that are not directly operated by the state DOT. These might include public transportation, airports, and marine-related functions. The DOT may have a financial relationship with these agencies for grant-related funding. The DOT will also work with these organizations to deliver the best trip for a traveler.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an informal agreement on coordination between agencies or other organization. They are effective in clarifying roles and responsibilities between the two agencies and determining how decisions will impact business in the future. For example, informal data agreements often specify who is collecting what, how data is being provided, and what geographic network is included.

Legislative and Oversight Bodies

The governor, transportation commission, and state legislative bodies help determine the funding allocations for each state. It is good practice to coordinate with these entities to ensure they understand the importance of asset management and the need for continued DOT funding.
USDOT and its modal agencies such as FHWA, FTA, and FAA also play a role. The FHWA has state division offices that are the conduit through which states receive federal funding.

Cross-Agency Committees/Councils

Most states have a complex network of agencies that own pieces of the road network in the state. Having a committee or council focused on coordinating TAM policies, pooling resources for tools and methods, and sharing lessons learned can increase the efficient delivery of transportation to customers. This approach can work for geographic regions that cross state boundaries.

General Public

DOTs work with the general public during the planning, programming, and project delivery process. The general public represents the customer that the DOT is ultimately serving with its transportation products and services.

Michigan DOT

One way to coordinate and collaborate across external agencies is to establish a statewide council. Michigan’s Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) coordinates TAM at the statewide level. It consists of 10 voting members appointed by the state transportation commission. The transportation asset management council shall include two members from the County Road Association of Michigan, two members from the Michigan Municipal League, two members from the state planning and development regions, one member from the Michigan Townships Association, one member from the Michigan Association of Counties, and two members from the Michigan Department of Transportation. (

In addition, Michigan formed the Michigan Infrastructure Council to: coordinate work beyond transportation assets such as water and communication assets; develop the statewide asset management database, and facilitate the data collection strategy for assets (

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement is another mechanism for coordination. External stakeholders can be partners the agency works with to deliver TAM benefits, and they can also be customers who use the transportation system. Keeping stakeholders informed and engaging them to understand TAM can lead to their support for funding initiatives and their understanding of tough decisions where services may be cut.

Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice (COP) can be used to coordinate with external stakeholders and partners. For example, these communities could be organized across the various asset owners within a region or state to achieve a comprehensive view of TAM. This is a good way to meet MAP-21 requirements and communicate a view of the NHS.

Public-Private Partnership (P3) Concessionaires are entities that are much more common in international settings. They are not used extensively in the US. When they are involved, it’s important that the performance measures that are being applied to them match the TAM policies and procedures.

New Zealand Transport Agency

Many non-United States organizations have integrated asset management not only within internal organization processes, but also in frameworks that integrate external expertise to assist in infrastructure management. The New Zealand Transport Agency clearly establishes the roles and responsibilities of agency stakeholders and documents the annual transportation planning processes and management practices it employs. This helps the agency manage and deliver the road network, add transparency, and allow resources (other levels of government, consultants, contractors, and other stakeholders including the public) to participate in the process. In this way, it integrates internal and external coordination between stakeholders in the asset management process.

Colorado DOT

The CDOT TAM and Performance Management unit works very closely with the Colorado Transportation Commission, which represents all of the geographic regions in Colorado. Each member of the commission is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. The commission meetings are open to the public so that all customers of the state’s transportation system are welcome to attend. This promotes participation and transparency between the DOT and its customers. The meeting agenda and materials are available on a website that CDOT manages ( In the past, the Commission had a designated TAM subcommittee, but due to the priority of TAM, it is now an integral part of the full Commission’s regular business and no longer a subcommittee.

Working toward widespread acceptance of TAM processes is a culture shift worth pursuing. DOTs are typically known for a “can do” attitude, and that can be powerful in creating the energy needed to make strategic change. An important aspect of culture change is to create open minds that are receptive to TAM advancement initiatives, so the whole agency can embrace them and lead them.

Changing an agency’s culture can have wide¬spread benefits to TAM programs. A culture that fully embraces TAM can make the best use of TAM tools and techniques to further advancement and progress toward maturity. When TAM culture is present and working well, the agency is able to achieve optimal results by working through conflicting perspectives on the key elements of the process.

TAM Change Agents

Making changes is inherent to TAM success. TAM teams need people who will guide and lead the change process. It is important to note that the person making decisions about what changes are needed is not necessarily the one who will carry out the changes. This requires a change agent with the ability to help people understand and adapt to new ways of doing things.

Implementing TAM or improving TAM business processes involves changing the way the agency conducts business. It involves people, processes, and/or technology. TAM improvement is a change process so it should involve change management techniques.

Minnesota DOT

MnDOT has had a culture of innovation for a long time, and its TAM culture in particular has been advancing. The innovative nature of MnDOT has helped with TAM implementation, but the organization has struggled to fully embrace all of the elements of TAM. The need to institutionalize risk management is an important aspect of MnDOT’s TAM program and progress is being made incrementally. TAM leadership understands that change takes time and they are making progress using a continuous improvement approach.

Colorado DOT

Colorado DOT’s (CDOT) change management program seeks to “help all members of Team CDOT be successful with each and every change which impacts them.” CDOT’s people-centric approach to change management highlights the two-way flow of the information system. Information can flow from project leads, to change agents, to supervisors, and finally to employees. However, information and ideas can also originate with the employees and flow back to the project leads. This encourages engagement from frontline workers. CDOT has identified the following contributors to success in change management:

  • Active and visible sponsorship
  • Frequent and open communication about the change
  • Structured change management approach
  • Dedicated change management resources and funding
  • Employee engagement and participation
  • Engagement with and support from middle management

Transportation agencies must implement changes when adopting new asset management practices at the strategic, tactical and operational levels. TAM programs commonly focus on the changes required and less on how to successfully implement the change. Understanding the potential challenges and learning how to use the agency’s support mechanisms are essential to advancing TAM improvements within the agency.

Building a TAM Organization

Agency leadership and TAM program man¬agement have extra roles to play as communicators, advocates, mentors and change agents. They may require extra tools to help them fulfill their roles, and even to cope with the TAM initiated changes.

People tend to have similar reactions to any change that will challenge the status quo. Those in favor of the TAM program changes, or those more adaptable to change, may more quickly move through the process of transitioning to new and improved ways of doing things. Figure 3.2, An individual’s response when presented with change, illustrates the range of receptivity to change and how to understand it so that it can be planned for.

Implementing TAM or improving TAM business processes involves changing the way the agency conducts business. It involves people, processes, and/or technology. TAM improvement is a change process so it should involve change management techniques.

Managers need to be equipped to advance more quickly so they can fulfill their support role successfully, even while they themselves are experiencing the effects of the changes the asset management program is implementing.

Figure 3.2 An individual’s response when presented with change

Managers need to be equipped to advance more quickly so they can fulfill their support role successfully, even while they themselves are experiencing the effects of the changes the asset management program is implementing.

Asset Management Early Adopters

These are members of the organization who are already prepared to adopt asset management best practices, have been advocating for it in the past and are ready to see the change happen.

What They Need

  • Communication channels that are targeted to manage expectations and minimize frustration
  • Pilot projects that have good asset data, and can better model and inform tactical and strategic decision-making
  • Opportunities to showcase early wins in the TAM transition

Asset Management Progressives

Asset management progressives are predis¬posed to see TAM as a change for the better. They see asset management as a good idea, are willing participants in the change, but need to understand the objectives and what the future will look like.

What They Need

  • Communication channels that report on progress and highlight expected future improvements
  • Training and reinforcement that emphasizes how they can help implement the change and how their own role may change

Asset Management Skeptics

Skeptics are predisposed to see TAM as a change for the worse. They are wary of proposed changes, and feel existing processes are effective and do not need to be “fixed.” Messaging targeted to (or delivered by) Progressives will alienate this group and increase resistance.

What They Need

  • Much more detail on how the TAM Program will be implemented and why the change is necessary
  • Process mapping and other group activities that highlight where problems exist
  • Once they are convinced that change is required, they will benefit from training

Asset Management Blockers

TAM Blockers are strongly attached to existing processes and will resist change. These individuals will take the longest amount of time to adjust. Some may never be able to make the change, and may choose to leave the agency if the change is implemented.

What They Need

  • Understanding of the root cause of their resistance, which may be related to a loss of control, status within the agency, or loyalty to past managers or staff
  • Communication targeted to help them realize that TAM Program improvements within the agency are necessary.
  • Activities or celebrations that recognize and acknowledge the foundational aspects of past good work over the agency’s history

New Brunswick DTI

Despite a long history and legacy of existing practices and a strong internal institutional resistance to change, New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (NB DTI) implemented Lean Six Sigma to better document existing practices and identify where improvements could be implemented for savings or service improvement. This helped advance and effect change. Over time, the program included increased efficiency, cost savings, refined procurement methods, and application of asset management decision-making to pavements, bridges, culverts, facilities and other transportation infrastructure. The use of methodologies like Lean Six Sigma can aid agencies with a focus on change management.

Michigan DOT

When introducing a Maintenance Rating System, Michigan DOT (MDOT) started the change management process early in the project. Agency leadership was consistent and passionate throughout the project. The process was developed with involvement from individuals within each Region, including people in leadership as well as those on maintenance delivery teams. These discussions identified opportunities for consistency and enabled development of a system that represented actual performance and decision making.

The Maintenance Rating System was piloted within one Region that was most proactively seeking the information that the system provided. This enabled any kinks to be ironed out in the system and also developed individuals within MDOT who could train their peers in the system, results, analysis and opportunities for decision making. It also provided data that enabled the Regions to learn from the results, make a change in investment and improve the maintenance level of service delivered. The rating system was named the “Michigan Maintenance Rating System (MiMRS).”

During implementation MDOT identified a specific roles for coordinating and driving the system, and identified individuals within each Region that had shown interest in the system and competency in analytical assessment to be part of a user group to share knowledge and disseminate information. MDOT also shared the results and news stories internally to enable peer comparison and drive consistency. Leadership identified specific funding for projects developed based on the maintenance rating system results.

This process change was part of a broader MDOT approach to Performance Based Maintenance that included implementing a new inventory and maintenance management system. Performance Based Maintenance will enable MDOT to better understand their assets, the cost of maintenance and the cost to make improvements to asset functionality. The goal of Performance Based Maintenance at MDOT is to achieve a needs-based budgeting approach to non-winter maintenance and enable better decision by supervisors and management.

The TAM Program change management process should begin with an assessment of the agency’s readiness for TAM. Thinking about how the agency has responded to change in the past, the general awareness of TAM across the agency and many other factors can help inform the process of preparing for and implementing change at the agency.

Change Readiness

Managers may need assistance to help them identify the cultural make-up of their groups, ways to help each individual advance with the asset management program, and tools to help reinforce successes as implementation progresses.

Difference approaches will be needed for different staff, and should be targeted to the right group. Assessing a target group’s needs is important to ensure the right methods are employed. No one approach will be sufficient to overcome resistance with all groups.

Efforts that focus on knowledge, skills and abilities are required for all staff, but will initially be most effective with staff who are open to the change. Approaches that address wariness and resistance are also important to all groups, but may require greater effort for some. Others may also require training to understand why the change is needed.

The Assessing an Organization’s Change Readiness Checklist provide a way to gauge your agency’s situation in order to prepare for change.

System/Technology Change

System/technology changes can have a major impact on TAM operations and process¬es. Proactive management of these changes as they occur can go a long way toward yielding the positive benefits of system and technology changes.

Many state DOTs are currently embarking on total asset management systems. Introducing a major new system provides a good opportunity to undertake a comprehensive change management effort that addresses not only the required shifts in work processes and skills, but also the cultural changes that will ensure that the agency takes full advantage of the new technology to advance its practices. There is more information about the types of system and technology changes in Chapter 7.

The How-to Manage Change and Prepare for a System Replacement provides step-by-step guidance on being ready for a major TAM system replacement.

Change Management Models such as Prosci’s ADKAR® (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) can provide a framework that helps managers understand what tactics they need to employ for a given individual or group.

Ohio DOT

In fiscal year 2016, ODOT began phasing in new requirements for the development of District Work Plans that combined Capital and Maintenance projects. At that time, Districts’ Work Plans were required to match 25 percent of the lower cost treatments (such as chip seals and micro-surfacing) recommended by the pavement management system. For FY2017 and beyond, District Work Plans are required to match 75 percent of these PMS recommendations.

This change was met with concern by some district staff in regards to data quality in the PMS, and lack of familiarity with the new process. To address staff concerns, the Asset Management Leadership Team conducted workshops, bringing in staff involved in pavement programming from across the state. The workshop focused on actions that Ohio DOT could take to improve the PMS and its programming processes.

This page emphasizes the importance of workforce planning and development in Transportation Asset Management (TAM). It suggests conducting skill assessments and gap analyses to address evolving needs, implementing effective recruitment and retention strategies, and leveraging technology through digital competency and data-driven decision-making. Additionally, it recommends resources such as the AASHTO TAM Portal and NCHRP reports for further guidance on skill development, recruitment, and technology adoption in the TAM field.

Workforce Planning and Development

It is important to conduct a periodic skill assessment and gap analysis of the TAM workforce. This will involve defining skills and capabilities needed by the type and function of your TAM program. A starting point for defining skill is to look at section 3.1.3 Competencies of this guide. The competencies list can be used to build a list of skills for your agency. Skills needed change over time but one important need in the TAM workforce is a diversity of skills. The assessment and gap analysis of the current workforce against the evolving needs of TAM is an important step in having a robust TAM workforce to support an agency’s program. This step will identify skill gaps and develop strategies to address them through recruitment, training, or restructuring.

Once the skill gaps are known, the next step will be to have effective training and professional development programs to address gaps and ensure staff are up-to-date with the latest TAM methodologies, technologies, and regulations. Participation in professional development opportunities such as conferences, workshops, webinars, and certifications is important for building skills and capabilities. The TAM community has a rich set of resources for this type of engagement. The AASHTO TAM Portal ( event page provides a list of these types of opportunities.

Recruitment and Retention Strategies

Attracting good talent involves developing competitive recruitment strategies that emphasize the importance and impact of TAM roles. This should involve highlighting career progression opportunities and the benefits of contributing to public service and infrastructure development and management.

Effective retention practices involve fostering a positive work environment that values employee contributions. Although options may be limited, it is important to implement recognition programs, competitive compensation packages, and develop or showcase opportunities for career advancement to reduce turnover rates.

The NCHRP Research Report 1008: Attracting, Retaining, and Developing the 2030 Transportation Workforce: Design, Construction, and Maintenance that was published in 2023 is a good resource for recruitment and retention strategies (

TAM Guide Book Club #6: Increasing Your Workforce Capacity

New Employee Training

Leveraging Technology and Tools

Digital competency is a critical skill in the current TAM organization. Ensuring the workforce is proficient in using TAM-related software and tools enables greater effectiveness and efficiency. Regular training on digital tools and data management systems is essential.

A key element of TAM programs is data-driven decision-making. It is important to train staff in data analytics and the use of data-driven approaches for asset management decision-making, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness.

NCHRP Report 1075 Becoming a Tech-Savvy DOT of Tomorrow – A Playbook for State DOTs, published in 2023 is an excellent resource for more information:

This subsection underscores the significance of collaboration, communication, and performance management in Transportation Asset Management (TAM) workforce success. It advocates for fostering a collaborative culture, establishing effective internal communication channels, and implementing performance management practices aligned with TAM goals to ensure a competent and motivated workforce for the sustainable implementation of TAM programs.

Collaboration and Communication

Interdepartmental collaboration is a key ingredient of TAM success. A good approach to TAM workforce management is to promote a collaborative culture by facilitating interaction and knowledge-sharing between different departments and teams involved in TAM. Section 3.2.1 Internal Coordination of this guide is a good resource for increasing collaboration.

Developing strong internal communication channels to ensure that all team members are informed and engaged with the organization's goals and strategies builds a stronger workforce. TAM Guide Section 3.2.3 Communications is a good resource for TAM communication.

Performance Management and Evaluation

A key element of TAM is performance management. Applying this to workforce management is important to having happy human resources. Setting clear, measurable objectives for workforce performance aligned with your agency’s TAM goals will yield better results.

It is important to have regular evaluations of your staff’s performance to provide feedback, identify areas for improvement, and recognize achievements.


Managing the TAM workforce effectively is vital for the successful implementation and sustainability of transportation asset management programs. By focusing on skills development, recruitment, retention, and leveraging technology, TAM organizations can ensure they have a competent and motivated workforce capable of meeting current and future challenges.

This page emphasizes the importance of establishing a Knowledge Management Framework for Transportation Asset Management (TAM) programs. It outlines key steps, including developing a knowledge management strategy, creating a centralized digital repository, implementing standardized procedures for data collection, promoting information sharing, leveraging technology systems, and providing regular training programs for staff to maximize the value of knowledge management in TAM.

Establishing a Knowledge Management Framework

A good first step is to develop a knowledge management strategy for your TAM program. It involves defining clear objectives and goals for knowledge management aligned with the broader TAM objectives. It also involves identifying key knowledge areas essential for decision-making in asset management.

After a knowledge strategy has been developed, next create a knowledge repository. Doing so establishes a centralized digital repository to store and organize all TAM-related data, documents, best practices, and historical information.

Data Collection and Information Sharing

A key element of successfully gaining value from knowledge management is data collection and information sharing. Implementing standardized procedures for collecting, updating, and validating data related to transportation assets helps ensure the use and quality of data agency-wide.

An agency can enhance information-sharing by promoting a culture of open communication across departments, using intranet platforms, newsletters, and regular meetings to disseminate knowledge.

Integrating Technology in Knowledge Management

Utilizing IT systems effectively will yield greater value for the agency and the public. IT systems like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Asset Management Systems can streamline data storage and retrieval for both internal and external use. Encouraging the use of advanced analytics and business intelligence tools for data interpretation can help inform decision-making to maximize benefits and performance.

Training and Development for Knowledge Utilization

Regular training programs can help ensure staff are competent in using knowledge management systems and understanding the data analytics. Staff need regular guidance on how best to use knowledge management tools and apply them for greater results. Workshops and seminars that focus on sharing experiences, insights, and best practices in TAM can further improve staff understanding of the importance of knowledge management in TAM.

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)

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.


Organizational Models

  • There is an increasing awareness of asset management among staff in some key departments within the organization and they are piloting or demonstrating though leading practice. There is an understanding that service delivery and decision-making should follow a systematic approach.
  • There is an organizational structure that supports implementing and sustaining asset management practices consistently in each department of the organization.
Read More in Chapter 3
  • There is a culture of asset management and an awareness among most staff that relationships exist between service delivery, infrastructure decision-making, and clear improvement actions to enhance the asset management system further.
  • There is an organizational structure that supports the continuous improvement of asset management practices consistently across the organization.
Read More in Chapter 3
  • The is a culture of asset management and an awareness among all staff within the organization that touches all aspects of service delivery and infrastructure decision-making at the strategic tactical and operational levels.
  • There is an organizational structure that supports implementing and sustaining asset management practices consistently across the organization. Embedded in the process are steps to continuously improve the organizational model and business processes.
Read More in Chapter 3


  • Roles and responsibilities associated with the Asset Management Framework and have been defined, and the organization has begun the transition to the planned management system approach.
  • Senior leadership and some key staff involved in implementing asset management in the agency understand their role, and are accountable for ensuring asset management is embedded fully within the organization over time.
Read More in Chapter 3
  • Roles and responsibilities associated with the Asset Management Framework and its processes are defined in most departments.
  • Key personnel in the organization including top management and other staff understand their role, and are accountable for ensuring asset management continuously improving across the organization.
Read More in Chapter 3
  • Roles and responsibilities associated with the asset management framework and its processes are clearly defined and are functioning effectively.
  • Everyone in the organization, from top management, to field staff, understand their role, and who is accountable for ensuring asset management is embedded fully within the organization.
Read More in Chapter 3


  • There is sporadic communication within the organization and externally to relevant stakeholders to help build support for the asset management framework and management systems.
  • Staff have growing awareness, knowledge, and capabilities to perform their role in alignment to the asset management system.
  • Attempts are made to implement change management strategies to improve and strengthen the asset management program.
Read More in Chapter 3
  • There is regular communication within the organization and externally by the agency that helps build support for the asset management framework and management systems.
  • Key staff have an appropriate level of awareness, knowledge and capabilities to perform their role in implementing and improving the asset management system.
  • Change management tactics are developed in response to resistance to implementing actions that strengthen the asset management program.
Read More in Chapter 3
  • There is consistent, aligned and supportive communication within the organization and externally to relevant stakeholders that helps build support for the asset management framework and management systems
  • Staff have an appropriate level of awareness, knowledge and capabilities to perform their role in alignment to the asset management system.
  • A well crafted change management strategy helps implement improvement actions that strengthen the asset management program.
Read More in Chapter 3

How To Guides:

Develop an Asset Management Policy
Adapting the Organizational Structure to Support TAM
Building a Stronger TAM Organization
How to Better Communicate TAM Throughout the Organization
Onboarding New TAM Staff
Recruit Individuals for Asset Management Roles
Establish a TAM Steering Committee
Manage Change and Prepare for a System Replacement
Establish Customer-Based Service Level Targets
Use RACI To Create a Responsibility Assignment


TAM Roles
Assessing an Organization's Change Readiness
Asset Data Collection Readiness Checklist
Preparing Data for Sharing, Reporting and Visualization
Building A Winning Culture In Government: A Blueprint for Delivering Success in the Public Sector
April 15, 2018 | Mango Publishing

This book provides a step-by-step approach to transforming governmental organizations and provides valuable insights into change management, strategic planning, and thriving workplace cultures.

External Link:

How To Process Map: a Step by Step Guide
May 11, 2022 | Pipefy, Isabelle Salemme

Guide to process management. Describes best practices such as the Lean Six Sigma model, and explains how to create process maps (workflow diagrams).

External Link:

Attracting, Retaining, and Developing the 2030 Transportation Workforce: Design, Construction, and Maintenance
January 1, 2022 | Transportation Research Board

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Research Report 1008: Attracting, Retaining, and Developing the 2030 Transportation Workforce: Design, Construction, and Maintenance provides a guide with specific strategies and action plans to help agencies identify and address workforce needs through 2030 and beyond.

External Link:

Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies
March 12, 2021 | Transportation Research Board

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Synthesis 543: Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies is a synthesis of the current state of practice associated with the implementation of transportation workforce planning and development strategies at state departments of transportation (DOTs) and associated local and tribal technical assistance programs (LTAPs/TTAPs).

External Link:

Attracting, Retaining, and Developing the Transportation Workforce: Transportation Planners
December 6, 2021 | Transportation Research Board

This report presents an assessment of current and emerging forces that are shaping transportation planning practice and the transportation planning workforce. The objectives of this research were to identify talent profiles for state, regional, and local transportation planners that are aligned with existing and emerging agency needs and provide guidance on how agencies can attract, develop, manage, and retain planning talent.

External Link:

Defining the TSMO Workforce Pipeline
November 14, 2021 | FHWA

This report highlights the need for diversifying the workforce pipeline sources that the TSMO Industry continues to rely on. Best practices for developing the TSMO workforce pipeline include innovative partnerships, expanding depth and breadth of current development activities, and targeting a variety of diverse communities.

External Link:

Attracting, Retaining, and Developing the Transportation Workforce: Design, Construction, and Maintenance
April 4, 2022 | Transportation Research Board

NCHRP Research Report 1008 provides a guide to facilitate the development and maintenance of a high quality workforce in transportation design, construction, and maintenance. The guide provides a roadmap and decision tree to help agencies analyze their unique agency workforce needs and navigate through the practical strategies within the guide.

External Link:

Assessing and Measuring the Business Value of Knowledge Management
June 13, 2023 | Transportation Research Board

Considering 40% of the workforce in most DOTs will be eligible for retirement within a few years, this report highlights how transportation agencies can benefit from knowledge management (KM) techniques and practices to help identify, capture, and transfer institutional knowledge and support continuous learning.

External Link:

Lessons Learned from State DOTs on Innovation and Knowledge Management Programs
March 1, 2021 | U.S. DOT Volpe Center

This report summarizes the findings of interviews with state DOTs and provides a broad overview of the various state departments of transportation (DOTs) approaches to managing innovation, methods for collecting and disseminating knowledge, and common themes and challenges among the various DOTs.

External Link:

Developing a School to Workforce Pipeline in North Carolina
July 15, 2022 | U.S. DOT Volpe Center

This report contains several actions for NCDOT to consider taking while catalyzing a minority student focused school-to-career pipeline program.

External Link:

Workforce Management in Transportation
October 5, 2021 | Transportation Research Board

This presentation gives a strategic overview on how to develop or refine an agency workforce plan.

External Link:

Strategic Workforce Development Toolkit
October 16, 2023 | FHWA

The Strategic Workforce Development (SWD) Toolkit provides resources and innovative strategies to Engage organizations that are looking to identify, train, and place individuals in the workforce to fill construction jobs that support development of the Nation's highway system.

External Link:

Advancing Workforce Development: Leading a Performance-Based Culture
July 1, 2020 | FHWA

Introduces the National Highway Institute's Maintenance Leadership Academy (MLA), a workforce development program that combines technical and leadership training to prepare new managers and supervisors in transportation maintenance. The MLA emphasizes a performance-based maintenance culture, covering topics such as leadership skills, pavement and bridge preservation, environmental protection, and more. The flexible course structure includes self-paced online study and instructor-led classroom training to efficiently equip participants with the necessary skills for effective maintenance practices.

External Link:

Fact Sheet: Technical Assistance and Workforce Development
December 6, 2021 | FHWA

This resource provides a fact sheet on the funding allocation for Technical Assistance and Workforce Development under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (IIJA) for fiscal years 2022 to 2026. The program aims to support effective transportation service delivery, compliance with federal laws, and workforce development through various activities, including technical assistance, standards development, and human resource programs. Eligible recipients include government entities and organizations with demonstrated capacity in public transportation.

External Link:

Primary/Secondary/Post Secondary and Professional Development
January 1, 2018 | FHWA

The Center for Transportation Workforce Development (CTWD) supports efforts to build awareness and interest in future careers in transportation among K-12 students. Programs and products help provide the skills necessary to succeed as members of tomorrow's transportation workforce. The CTWD also manages activities that integrate transportation into college and university programs striving to increase the number of post-secondary students interested in pursuing transportation-related careers. The Center provides management, leadership, and coordination for student transportation education programs to support the development of highly skilled individuals for the transportation workforce.

External Link:

A Guide to Agency-Wide Knowledge Management for State Departments of Transportation
January 1, 2015 | Transportation Research Board

A Guide to Agency-Wide Knowledge Management for State Departments of Transportation presents guidance for state transportation agencies on adopting an explicit knowledge management (KM) strategy and the ways that organizations have implemented such strategies. KM is an umbrella term for a variety of techniques for preserving and enhancing the knowledge of an organization’s employees and effectively employing that knowledge as a productive asset.

External Link:

Lessons Learned from State DOTs on Innovation and Knowledge Management Programs
March 1, 2023 | U.S. DOT Volpe Center

The document provides insights into innovation and knowledge management initiatives in state Departments of Transportation (DOTs). It outlines program structures, challenges, successes, and future plans, emphasizing the importance of communication, empathy, and staff recognition for program success, and highlights strategies such as establishing innovation centers, updating submission structures, and enhancing organizational involvement for future development. The document features lessons learned from various state DOTs, including California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Utah, and Wisconsin.

External Link:

Michigan Boosts Local Construction Workforce Through Innovative Training Strategy
January 1, 2022 | FHWA

This case study provides an overview of implementation, benefits, challenges, and strategies of the Michigan Department of Transportation On-the-Job Training Voluntary Incentive Program.

External Link:

Washington Workforce Development Toolkit - Talent Development
January 1, 2024 | Washington State DOT

This resource emphasizes talent development and continuous learning opportunities for the employees of the Washington State DOT. It covers various aspects, including leadership development, mandatory training, continuous improvement through lean practices, tuition reimbursement, and a comprehensive performance management program, aiming to enhance employee skills, engagement, and overall organizational effectiveness.

External Link: