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.
It is important to establish key terms that are used throughout the Guide. While many of these terms have multiple or nuanced definitions, the definitions listed here are the assumed meanings used in the context of this Guide. Each chapter also lists important terms that expand on this list.
Transportation asset management (TAM) is defined by AASHTO as a strategic and systematic process of operating, maintaining, upgrading, and expanding physical assets effectively throughout their life cycle. It focuses on business and engineering practices for resource allocation and utilization, with the objective of better decision making based upon quality information and well defined objectives.
FHWA defines TAM similarly, stating, “Asset management is a strategic and systematic process of operating, maintaining, and improving physical assets, with a focus on engineering and economic analysis based upon quality information, to identify a structured sequence of maintenance, preservation, repair, rehabilitation, and replacement actions that will achieve and sustain a desired state of good repair (SOGR) over the lifecycle of the assets at minimum practicable cost.”
In the International Standards Organization (ISO) Standard 55000, asset management is defined as the “coordinated activity of an organization to realize value from assets. Realization of value involves the balancing of costs, risks, opportunities and performance benefits.” In addition, the ISO standard states that, “Asset management enables an organization to examine the need for, and performance of, assets and asset systems at different levels. Additionally, it enables the application of analytical approaches towards managing an asset over the different stages of its life cycle (which can start with the conception of the need for the asset, through to its disposal, and includes the managing of any potential post disposal liabilities).”
Performance measures are quantifiable metrics that are used to track progress toward goals, objectives, and established performance targets.
A performance target is a level of performance desired to be achieved within a specific time frame.
State of good repair (SGR) refers to a condition in which existing physical assets, both individually and as a system, are functioning as designed within their useful service life and are kept functional through regular maintenance and replacement programs.
Levels of service are an agency’s stated commitment to deliver asset service at a specified level of quality and reliability. Service levels can be asset performance-related or customer/regulatory-related (complaints, meeting regulatory requirements). These levels of service can include, but are not limited to, the historic “level of service” used to grade traffic congestion.
Asset condition refers to an asset’s current state, as specifically defined by its appearance, perceived level of service, and observed physical state, whether or not it impacts its performance.
Risk is the positive or negative effect of uncertainty or variability upon agency objectives. [23 USC 515.6]
Life cycle planning and management is a process to estimate the cost of managing an asset class, or asset sub-group over its whole life with consideration for minimizing cost while preserving or improving asset condition. [23 CFR 515.5]
Whole-life costing is the systematic consideration of all relevant costs and revenues associated with the development, operations, and maintenance of the asset.
Reliability-centered maintenance is a structured, risk-based approach for determining the maintenance requirement for any physical asset, based on its operating context within the agency.
Resource allocation is the process of assigning scarce resources to investments in transportation assets. The assigned resources can be money, staff time, contractor capacity, equipment, or other organizational requirements for assets. The investments can be capital projects, maintenance efforts, or other projects and activities that require the use of an organization’s resources through various delivery methods.
The foundation of a good TAM program is a set of principles that establishes the values of the agency and the standards by which the TAM program will be carried out. TAM principles are the underpinnings of all of the activities that will be taken in an agency’s TAM program and connect to its desired end results.
Policy-Driven. TAM should capture and respond to policy objectives, and provide meaningful information about how changes in the transportation system support these objectives. A TAM policy can set boundaries, clarify intent, and communicate the scope of a TAM program including types of assets that will be managed and what work activities to emphasize.. [NCHRP 551]
Performance-Based. TAM should have concrete objectives that are translated into system performance measures used for both day-to-day operation and longer-term strategic management. The use of performance data to support the management of assets enables agencies to select and deliver projects that achieve its objectives. Transparent processes allow for accountability to both internal and external stakeholders.
Risk-Based. Risk management plays a role in resource allocation, project selection, long-term planning and other essential parts of the TAM process. As such, an organization’s approach to risk management and the outcomes resulting from a risk assessment have important implications for TAM. An agency must establish a risk management approach and integrate risk management in TAM planning and decision making.
Strategically Aligned with Agency Priorities. TAM measures should be aligned with agency priorities and goals to ensure that investments made to extend asset service life provide the maximum impact to achieve long-term goals. Connecting performance measures to higher level strategic goals also supports an agency’s ability to communicate to customers and stakeholders how technical measures relate to system performance.
Transparent. TAM planning and results should be monitored and reported for both impact and effectiveness. Feedback on actual performance should influence agency goals and objectives, as well as future resource allocation and project decisions. Transparency and agency accountability are key in ensuring the long-term support of project partners, customers and stakeholders.
Information-Driven/Evidence-Based. Strategic decisions with respect to agency goals and TAM objectives should be evaluated using credible and current data. Decision support tools such as management systems should be applied to help in accessing, analyzing and tracking data, and must be an integral part of business and decision processes. Data requirements for performance measures should be realistic and feasible. [NCHRP 551]
Option Oriented. By taking a structured and repeatable approach to TAM decision-making, an organization improves its own resilience and ensures that it will continue to succeed even as new challenges arise and personnel changes over time.
Continuously Improved. TAM processes should provide managers with sufficient information to understand problems and suggest solutions. The agency should be committed to regular, ongoing processes of monitoring and reporting results in order to identify and implement improvements to system performance or further the effectiveness of TAM. [NCHRP 551]
Asset management encompasses the full set of business processes related to the management of physical assets. There are several key TAM elements listed below that offer the greatest opportunity to improve an agency's asset management efforts.
TAM Elements Overview
Monitoring the state of the assets and developing desired and expected Levels of Service (LoS). Performance measures are used to align agency investment decisions with organizational objectives, such as asset condition or system reliability, and to monitor progress towards achieving agency goals. In TAM, asset performance is most commonly defined in terms of asset condition or maintenance LoS. LoS provides the link between agency goals and the investments and interventions that should take priority when managing assets.
Maximizing use of available revenues. Agencies are faced with the problem of determining how to divide scarce resources between different asset types, in order to accomplish a variety of different objectives. TAM planning offers processes to help make these resource allocation decisions, such as Multi-Objective Decision Analysis (MODA) ), long term financial planning, and Life-Cycle Planning.
Monitoring and managing risk. In TAM, uncertainty complicates efforts to make decisions about the future and forces agencies to be nimble so as to effectively respond to unpredictable events and evolving conditions. An organization’s approach to risk management and the outcomes resulting from a risk assessment have implications for TAM. It is important to establish processes to track changes in risks over time and monitor actions taken to manage risks, through tools such as a risk register and/or a risk mitigation plan.
Investing in asset maintenance. State DOTs can specify their desired SGR, consistent with their TAM objectives, for the 10-year analysis period of their TAMP. This strategic long-term maintenance strategy helps agencies minimize the life cycle costs of preserving assets, while also managing asset performance to a defined target to the extent practicable with available resources.
Understanding the potential for asset failure and developing intervention strategies. Being aware of the potential for asset failure and making strategic investment decisions can help agencies prevent failures, reduce costs, and maintain a desired level of service. Over an asset lifecycle, a range of interventions are possible, from reactive, routine and preventative maintenance, to large investment associated with renewal, replacement and disposal.
Allocating resources and prioritizing work based on both short and long-term performance. The resource allocation process should support achieving short- and long-term goals. An agency must establish what scarce resources must be allocated, and what the constraints on these resources are. A key part of the process is to translate goals and objectives into performance measures so the agency can set target values for key measures and/or establish a target level of service.
Continuous improvement based on feedback. An agency should have regular, ongoing processes of monitoring and reporting results in order to identify and implement improvements to system performance or further the effectiveness of the performance management process. Ongoing monitoring, improvement and/or problem identification should be incorporated into the planning process to help adjust and determine future targets and processes.
Aligning the organization. Successful TAM depends on the alignment of a diverse set of internal business units and external partners and stakeholders. Strategic coordination and communication can bring these people and groups together to achieve TAM goals. In addition, the choice of a TAM organization model is important, and should align with and support agency policies and priorities.
Scope and Organization
This Guide is organized around the TAM Guide Framework. This framework is tailored for use by U.S. transportation agencies and incorporates critical areas deemed important to the daily application and advancement of TAM practice.
TAM Guide Scope
The AASHTO TAM Guide Framework groups the components of asset management into six basic areas. The four central areas in the figure capture the business processes involved in asset management.
TAM Strategy & Planning
An organization manages its assets not as an end in and of itself, but to achieve broader goals. These goals might include improving mobility, enabling economic growth, and reducing costs to travelers and the environment. It is important to place TAM in the context of an agency’s broader goals and objectives, establish the scope of an agency’s TAM effort, and determine how TAM integrates with the other activities performed by the agency. A Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP) helps establish this context, and preparing such a document is consistent with best practices in TAM. Additionally, U.S. State transportation departments and transit agencies are now required to develop TAMPs to comply with Federal requirements.
This encompasses the set of processes involved in determining how to manage an asset over its entire life, from construction or acquisition to maintenance and finally asset replacement or disposal. It addresses how to measure the level of service an asset is achieving and targets to achieve, how to best maintain an asset, and how to model the condition and performance of an asset in the future.
Managing assets requires determining how to best deploy a set of fi nite resources, including staff time, equipment, and budgets for operating and capital expenses. This area includes the processes involved in making resource allocation decisions, both for a given asset class, and across multiple asset classes considering a range of different objectives and constraints. Also, it addresses the development of financial plans summarizing expected sources and uses of asset management funds. TAM financial planning takes a long-term view of resource allocation to support the delivery of strategies that address asset needs at all stages of their service lives.
Monitoring and Adjustment
Ideally an organization’s approach to TAM and TAM-related decisions should be dynamic, with adjustments made in response to available data on asset conditions. This area includes processes related to measuring and monitoring asset performance, assessing risk, and making adjustments to investment decisions and business process to respond to changing conditions.
The remaining two areas detail factors that enable an improved asset management approach. The two enablers of an improved asset management approach are:
Information & Systems
TAM is very data intensive. It is important to have systems for tracking an organization’s inventory of assets and collecting needed data on asset conditions. Also, systems are often needed to connect to related data, including financial data and records of maintenance work. However, collecting asset data and implementing asset management systems can be costly and time consuming. It is important to develop an approach to information management that carefully considers what data are needed to support the organization’s goals, and how best to collect needed data.
Organization & People
All infrastructure-intensive organizations practice asset management in some manner. However, implementing a robust asset management approach incorporating best industry practices and a philosophy of continuous improvement requires having a robust organization and people with the correct mix of skills. Creating such an organization requires defining roles and responsibilities for TAM within an organization. Also, it is important to evaluate needed staff skills and to implement training programs to help existing staff improve their skillsets. Another important organizational factor is developing an approach for managing change within the organization to support a culture of continuous improvement.
The remainder of this guide further details the areas illustrated in the figure, with emphasis on those areas that are specific to TAM.
A basic feature of TAM is that it is interdisciplinary, and thus overlaps with a number of other areas, including but not limited to maintenance, project selection and budgeting, performance management, information technology, and risk. To the extent that other resources are available for addressing certain aspects of TAM, the text notes these overlaps and recommends other relevant resources.
The core elements illustrated in the TAM Guide Framework are further detailed in corresponding chapters of the Guide:
Chapter 1. TAM Basics discusses basic information of importance to any reader who is new to the concepts of transportation asset management.
Chapter 2. TAM Strategy & Planning discusses considerations in linking asset management to agency goals and objectives, and defining performance measures and targets for tracking progress.
Chapter 3. Asset Performance discusses developing life cycle plans that define how best to design, construct, operate, maintain and dispose of assets - and then executing those plans on a day-to-day basis.
Chapter 4. Resource Allocation details the process of making capital and maintenance investment decisions that provide the best long term performance given available resources, considering trade-offs and competing needs between different assets and investment objectives.
Chapter 5. Monitoring & Adjustment addresses topics including tracking asset health, responding to unplanned events, and managing risks to the asset inventory.
Chapter 6. Information & Systems addresses collecting needed asset data, and implementing management systems to support data collection and decision-making.
Chapter 7. Organization & People describes how to build an organizational structure that supports asset management, and develop processes for change management and training to build an awareness of asset management throughout the organization.
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.
Ways to Use this Guide
The Guide provides an overview of TAM topics and also includes practice examples, how-to guides, checklists, and references.
Basic Overview of TAM
A general overview of TAM is provided in Section 1.1. This is a great place for people who are new to asset management to learn the basic fundamentals and benefits of TAM before getting into the details in the remaining chapters.
Each chapter of Guide provides topical guidance for the practitioners looking to advance a particular aspect of TAM within their agency. While there are certainly cross-cutting topics in TAM that are mentioned in more than one chapter, each chapter is meant to be a stand-alone topic that a practitioner will find useful without having to read the entire Guide.
How-To Guides and Checklists
Each chapter of the Guide features How-To Guides and Checklists. How-to Guides provide step-by-step guidance on achieving a specific aspect of TAM. Checklists address items that should be place to advance TAM practice in a specific way within an agency.
Each chapter concludes with a summary of the typical level of practice of a generic Department of Transportation for three levels of maturity: emerging, strengthening, and advanced. The maturity examples are meant to provide some context for the concepts discussed within the chapter, and the degree to which an agency adopts them in how they conduct service delivery.
Emerging. The agency is beginning to improve their asset management practices and is emerging to a new way of conducting service delivery. The agency has initiated early steps to advance practices and has a plan for future improvements.
Strengthening. The agency has established many aspects of a functioning asset management system, achieved several important improvements in how it embeds asset management leading practice into the agency, and continues to strengthen its practices to achieve future goals.
Advanced. The agency is a role model among its peer agencies and has fully implemented asset management practices across the organization. TAM has become how the agency does business, with a commitment to continuous improvement over time. The agency is advanced relative to most of its peers.
Where applicable, helpful tips are included in each chapter. These short and practical items help reinforce the concepts discussed in the chapter. They can also indicate key points to remember when applying the guidance
At the end of each individual section of the Guide references are provided for more details on specific topics. Practitioners who want to learn more are encouraged to access these references and take advantage of the various resources that are currently available.
Frameworks and Guidance
There are numerous existing frameworks, models, and guidance documents related to asset management. This Guide is intended to build upon these existing resources and provide updated information where necessary.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
ISO has published a set of standards on asset management. Standard 55000 provides an overview of asset management and asset management systems (i.e. management systems for the management of assets). It also provides the context for ISO 55001 and ISO 55002. International cooperation in the preparation of these standards has identified common practices that can be applied to the broadest range of assets, in the broadest range of organizations, across the broadest range of cultures. The adoption of this International Standard enables an organization to achieve its objectives through the effective and efficient management of its assets. The application of an asset management system provides assurance that those objectives can be achieved consistently and sustainably over time.
Additional standards related to asset management include ISO 55010 which covers guidance on alignment of asset management, finance and accounting; and ISO 55011 which covers guidance on the development of government asset management policy. For more information, the standard is available to purchase: https://www.iso.org/standard/55088.html
Figure 1.3 Relationship between key elements of an asset management program
The gray box designates the boundary of the asset management system
Source: Adapted from ISO 55000. 2016
Publicly Available Standard (PAS) 55
Prior to the development of ISO 55000, the Publicly Available Standard (PAS) 55 was released by the British Standards Institute. This standard contains terms and definitions; information on asset management policy, strategy, and objectives; discussion on implementing asset management plans; as well as performance assessment and improvement information. The standard is available to purchase: https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:55000:ed-1:v2:en.
Figure 1.4 Planning and Implementation Elements of an Asset Management System
Source: Adapted from PAS 55
Institute of Asset Management (IAM)
The IAM publication, Asset Management – An Anatomy (2015), provides a basic overview of asset management and its benefits. It also provides a discussion of six asset management subject areas: Strategy and Planning, Asset Management Decision-Making, Life Cycle Delivery, Asset Information, Organization and People, and Risk and Review. These subject areas are reflected in the framework shown in Figure 1.5.
IAM also has information on developing and maintaining a Strategic Asset Management Plan (SAMP). All of their resources can be found on their website: https://theiam.org/.
Institute of Public Work Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)
IPWEA has produced the International Infrastructure Management Manual (IIMM). This guide provides checklists, process, guidance, and case studies on asset management practice from agencies globally. The manual contains guidance for all infrastructure types and is suitable for agencies of all levels of maturity. The manual is written to align with ISO 55000 with a focus on how to implement asset management concepts.
The IIMM must be purchased from the IPWEA online bookshop which can be accessed here: http://www.nams.org.nz/pages/273/international-infrastructure-management-manual-2011-edition.htm.
UK Road Liaison Group
The UK Road Liaison Group developed the publication titled Well-Managed Highway Infrastructure: A Code of Practice. This code is designed to support and promote the adoption of an integrated asset management approach to highway infrastructure based on the establishment of levels of service through risk based assessment. The code is broken into four sections: Overarching Principles, Highways, Structures, and Lighting. The Code also summarizes 36 recommendations put forward to the Department for Transport to enhance asset management across UK highway networks.
A PDF of this document is available online: http://www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org/en/utilities/document-summary.cfm?docid=4F93BA10-D3B0-4222-827A8C48401B26AC.
Assessment Tools and Maturity Models
Assessing asset management maturity helps establish goals and encourages improvement. This section provides information on existing assessment tools and maturity models agencies can use as resources.
TAM Gap Analysis Tool
This Excel-based gap analysis tool was developed under National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 08-90 and builds on the gap analysis tool introduced in the AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide – A Focus on Implementation. The tool helps agencies identify and prioritize needed enhancements to their asset management programs. The tool is available on the AASHTO TAM Portal: https://www.tam-portal.com/resource/aashto-transportation-asset-management-gap-analysis-tool-users-guide/.
IAM Maturity Scale and Guidance
The IAM Maturity Scale and Guidance document provides a generic maturity scale for agencies looking to assess their current asset management practice and determine ways to grow and mature. This guidance is available for purchase here: https://theiam.org/knowledge/Knowledge-Base/asset-management-maturity-scale-and-guidance/.
Data Gap Assessment Tool
To assess data and information maturity, agencies can use NCHRP Report 814, Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide. This report provides steps to prepare for the assessment, conduct the assessment, and improve and monitor the agency’s data and information maturity over time. The assessment approach presented is flexible and scalable to many different agency needs. The Guide helps agencies determine if they have the right data, if their data is good enough, if they are getting full value from their data, and what they need to do to improve.
TPM Assessment Tool
The self-assessment available on the Transportation Performance Management (TPM) Toolbox (https://www.tpmtools.org) is available to agencies looking to assess their level of performance management maturity. Three different assessment options are available: a quick, 2-minute assessment, a standard assessment, and an assessment by component of the TPM framework presented in the TPM Guidebook.
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: https://www.transportation.org.
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: http://www.trb.org/Main/Home.aspx.
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: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov.
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: https://theiam.org.
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 of the discipline.
Integrating TAM Within Agency Strategic Plans and Policies
Integrating TAM within existing strategic documents is key to ensuring TAM is established and sustained.
TAM is not a stand-alone practice that is only applicable to select areas of a DOT. Ideally, TAM principles and practices should be integrated within an agency's vision, mission and strategy documents (see Figure 2.1). TAM promotes accountability, preservation, data-driven decision-making and the optimization of resources; all of these are broader strategic goals often outlined in plans and policies other than a TAMP. Aligning TAM with the agency’s strategic documents helps ensure an agency's vision is all encompassing and cohesive.
These documents include:
- Agency-wide strategic plan and/or business plan (including long-range plans)
- Agency-wide financial plan
- State long-range plan
- Other performance plans (safety, mobility, freight, etc.)
In addition, some agencies may choose to adopt a TAM policy with principles that the agency will follow. A TAM policy can be used to communicate the purpose of TAM and build understanding and support for TAM within the agency. It can also help to sustain a TAM approach through leadership changes. See the next section for further information on creating a TAM policy.
MDOT’s strategic plan has seven strategic areas of focus. A key focus area is System Focus, which aims to provide cost-effective, integrated and sustainable transportation solutions. The first strategy under this focus is to “apply asset management principles to prioritize and implement the most cost-effective transportation investment strategies.” This connection between MDOT’s strategic plan and their TAM program communicates the importance of asset management in how the agency conducts business. It gives TAM a seat at the agency-wide strategic plan monitoring sessions and allows for the resources needed to carry out TAM activities.
Source: Michigan DOT. 2017. MDOT Strategic Plan. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_2017_StrategicPlan_553573_7.pdf
Creating a TAM Policy
A TAM policy describes the adoption of asset management principles for managing infrastructure. It defines the intent of the TAM program and can include how TAM will be carried out in the agency. Leadership direction on the policy helps achieve buy-in throughout the agency, making it easier to ensure it connects to and aligns with other strategic documents.
A TAM policy can be the first place an agency communicates the strategy of their TAM program. It can be thought of as a contract between the agency and its customers, partners and stakeholders that defines how TAM fits within the agency's decision making process.
Some elements of a TAM Policy can be included within a TAMP (TAM Objectives, Scope of TAM, connection of TAM to other planning initiatives, and TAM roles). However, a separate TAM Policy may provide those responsible for TAM within an organization the ability to challenge existing processes and approaches. A concise TAM Policy defines the principles that guide the decisions made during TAMP development and implementation.
A TAM Policy can outline the types of assets considered for management and identify where in the cycle of DOT work activities to emphasize asset management practices. It can also establish the high-priority initiatives on which the agency will focus their efforts. A TAM policy starts to set boundaries and clarify the intent of asset management.
A TAM policy may include:
- Definitions of services provided to customers and distinctions between service levels
- Approaches for managing assets from a whole life perspective
- Decision-making standards, based on the triple bottom line (economic, environmental, and social)
- Consideration of risk
- Approach for making transparent, data- driven decisions
For further details on developing a TAM Policy, see the how-to guide in this chapter.
The Oklahoma DOT identified the following TAM objectives to help guide their asset management program:
- Maintain (improve) the condition of the state’s bridges and roadways
- Reduce risk associated with asset performance
- Make better data driven decisions about assets
- Reduce costs and improve efficiency, including effectively delivering projects that support asset management
- Increase internal and external communications and transparency
- Improve customer service
- Improve safety on the state’s transportation system
- Enhance mobility of people and goods
TAM Goals, Objectives, Strategies
TAM goals and objectives support and communicate the policy and align with the broader agency vision, mission, goals and strategies. Goals and objectives may cover transportation system performance and desired outcomes, as well as agency decision-making approaches and practices. Some agencies have goals and objectives, while some have only goals and others have only objectives. Regardless of the terminology that is used, it is important that agencies set a vision and establish a direction to move towards. The Oklahoma DOT practice example highlights their TAM objectives.
Agencies should include a clear statement of TAM principles – either within the agency’s strategic documents or as a stand-alone policy. They should also seek opportunities to strengthen the integration of TAM within the agency’s strategic planning efforts.
Ingredients for Success in Creating a TAM Policy
The following are some of the key ingredients that make a TAM policy successful.
Leadership support and direction in the effort to create a TAM policy is important. Effective leadership ensures and maintains a connection across the various types of goals. A typical transportation agency has a lot of moving parts and multiple, sometimes conflicting, priorities. The nature of TAM and its success in meeting TAM goals involves actions that cut across individual business units. Leadership is a critical ingredient in creating positive change and maintaining processes across business units. See section 3.1 for more information on leadership.
Internal and External Stakeholder Engagement and Support
Involving groups and people who want a voice in the TAM program’s success, whether external partners or stakeholders or internal business units, is important for creating policies that will have a positive impact and are sustainable. See section 3.2 for more on stakeholder engagement.
There may be multiple ways to accomplish policy objectives, so the policy should be simple and flexible rather than complex and rigid.
Link to Performance Management
Performance management is an underlying component of good asset management. Policies should consider the ability to define performance measures, collect data and measure performance. They should also consider the cycle of setting objectives, monitoring performance and making adjustments. See section 2.2 for more on TAM performance and monitoring.
Amtrak’s Engineering Asset Management policy identifies guiding principles that the agency intends to use in managing the infrastructure it owns and maintains. Specifically, the policy focuses on developing asset management capability and implementing the TAMP. The policy begins with a purpose statement that defines asset management, and then lays out seven principles (or standards) to guide asset management practice. The principles highlight ownership, transparency, risk management, life cycle costs and information systems standards for Amtrak’s asset management practice. In addition, the policy also identifies responsibilities and leadership commitment, calling out specific positions in the agency and their role in delivering the asset management plan. The policy is included as a section in their asset management plan and is signed by the President and CEO, EVP Chief Operating Officer, and VP Chief Engineer.
FHWA Principles of Asset Management
FHWA has defined a number of basic principles for asset management as listed below. All of these ideas work together to help an agency make decisions to better address their infrastructure needs. Asset management should be:
Policy driven. Decisions reflect policy goals and objectives that define desired system condition and service levels.
Performance based. Performance information is used to establish target levels, to allocate funding, and to monitor progress.
Risk based. Risk management is used to identify, analyze, evaluate and address the risks to assets and system performance.
Option oriented. Comprehensive choices and trade-offs are examined at each level of decision making.
Data driven. Management systems and tools that utilize quality data are used to support decisions.
Transparent. There are clear criteria for making decisions.
Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and the demands on the transportation system have grown dramatically. Meanwhile, the system is aging. Seattle DOT (SDOT) needed to find a way to balance infrastructure expansion, preservation, and maintenance by aligning its Asset Management practices with its service delivery strategies. All of this had to occur within the limits of available resources and ensure that SDOT strategically managed the transportation system for years to come. SDOT’s Asset Management initiative provides a long-term vision of how SDOT intends to accomplish its mission. In 2007, the SDOT began implementation of Asset Management, a strategic and systematic process that guides decisions about construction, maintenance, and operation of SDOT infrastructure. The SDOT identified and adopted the following three key principles of asset management principles:
- Build, preserve, and operate transportation infrastructure services more cost effectively with improved asset performance;
- Deliver to customers the best value for public tax dollars spent; and
- Enhance the credibility and accountability of SDOT to the Mayor and City Council
These principles were intended to identify the outcome of a fully implemented asset management program at SDOT. They are supported by a longer list of asset management principles (https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/about-sdot/asset-management) and an Asset management Policy that identify the areas of focus. The Policy highlights the steps SDOT intends to take recognizing that achieving the key principles is a long-term effort achieved through continuous improvement.
In 2015, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) updated Policy Directive 14 (PD 14.0) “Policy Guiding Statewide Plan Development” to reinforce the importance of TAM in the transportation budget allocation process. It includes the following objectives:
- Infrastructure Condition – Preserve the transportation infrastructure condition to ensure safety and mobility at a least life cycle cost
- Maintenance – Annually maintain CDOT’s roadways and facilities to minimize the need for replacement and rehabilitation
Embedded in this policy are target-setting requirements that the Transportation Commission requested. A performance tracking mechanism is tied to this policy directive. This performance management focus is reinforced annually in a PD14 workshop hosted by the Transportation Commission where the most recent performance results are presented.
Source: Colorado DOT Scorecard, 2017.
ISO 55000 adopts the concept of an Asset Management System, as the figure at right illustrates, which typically consists of several components:
- An organizational strategic plan that set the overall context
- An asset management policy establishes the principles on which the agency makes decisions associated with the management of and investment in infrastructure. It seeks to link the organizational goals and objectives to the principles for management of the infrastructure portfolio.
- The Asset Management Strategy, (sometimes termed the Strategic Asset Management Plan or SAMP) establishes how the agency overall will implement asset management and implement the AM Policy. It articulates a framework of how management processes will function in managing infrastructure and delivering services, as well as how the agency will continuously improve their asset management practices over time.
- Asset management plans developed for individual asset classes (pavements, bridges, ancillary assets) are focused on their individual portfolios. However, they align with the overall agency strategy and are customized to the level of management required.
- Operational plans and work programs guide routine activities and have a line of sight to overall agency goals in this structure.
Within the ISO structure, the TAM framework includes these components but each component may vary in scope. For example, the SAMP may require all asset classes to forecast demand, establish service levels and have performance indicators, but compliant sub-asset management plans may have different levels of complexity. A bridge asset management plan may be more robust than one for network culverts. The agency can select the scope and structure appropriate for each aspect within the portfolio.
Asset Management System Components
Source: IPWEA. 2015. International Infrastructure Management Manual (IIMM). https://www.ipwea.org/publications/ipweabookshop/iimm
Planning and Programming
Linking and aligning asset management with planning and programming activities helps strengthen an agency's delivery of projects. Planning and programming processes set strategic direction and resource allocation practices; TAM helps set priorities and encourages data-driven, performance-based decision-making.
Planning is the process of setting strategic direction through goals and objectives, then performing analysis to identify trends, strategies, and long-term investment priorities. Planning answers the questions of where to go and how to get there. Programming involves allocating resources in order to determine a program of projects the agency will pursue. Planning and programming are central to the work of any transportation agency. Integrating TAM into the planning and programming process will only strengthen and sustain the practices involved in both areas.
Developing the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) are two planning activities where the integration of TAM is especially relevant.
TAM principles, data and tools can help shape the LRTP and STIP by:
- Linking agency resource allocation to policy objectives.
- Defining the performance targets to be achieved.
- Identifying strategic investment choices and evaluating and analyzing tradeoffs among them at the appropriate stages.
- Providing the information and analyses to facilitate the appropriate resource allocation decisions that follow good TAM practice.
Integrating TAM approaches with planning and programming goes beyond informing and shaping the activities. Communication and coordination between activities and the people involved in them is important as well. Both planning and TAM require an understanding of the life cycle of an asset. This requires coordination with operations teams to communicate how decisions impact the expected useful life of the asset. Operations teams also need to be aware of the asset management planning horizon, performance measures and targets. These teams need to ensure the capital plan has been accounted for in the maintenance and operational plans. In addition, since planning is a network-level endeavor, teams managing each of the different asset types need to communicate with one another and coordinate with planning.
The following are some key questions to ask when considering the integration of TAM with planning and programming.
- Is the cost of maintenance and operations taken into account in the decision-making process to select capital projects?
- Are there mechanisms to directly evaluate tradeoffs between capital investment and operations and maintenance implications within the planning process?
- Are the needs and implications associated with connected and autonomous vehicles considered in the asset management plan?
- Are future risks such as climate change fully integrated into the capital planning process (rehabilitations, renewal, service level upgrades, etc.)? Is scenario planning used to assess the risk effects of system wide external changes?
The FHWA Asset Management Financial Report Series, Report 4 Integrating Financial Plans into the Planning, Programming, and Budgeting Processes describes the importance of integrating planning, programming, and budgeting with asset management.
The relative timeframes of various planning and programming activities is shown in figure 2.2.
Figure 2.2 The Relative Timeframes Between Plans
Long-range plans, asset management plans, TIPs, and state budgets should be aligned.
Source: FHWA, 2017. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/asset/plans/financial/hif16001.pdf
When developing their 2018 TAMP MDT aligned their pavement performance targets and goals to those within their planning document TranPlan 21 (now TranPlanMT). TranPlanMT defines MDT's policy direction for operating, preserving, and improving Montana’s transportation system over a 20-year period. It serves as the guiding document for MDT decisions, especially those related to investing Montana’s limited transportation funds. This type of alignment can help illustrate a link from policy objectives to investment strategies and resource allocation.
The Basic TAMP
A TAMP describes an agency’s goals and objectives for maintaining its assets over time. It describes an agency’s most critical assets, and their current condition. It also describes the agency’s strategy for preserving its assets, predict future conditions given the agency’s planned investments, formulate and deliver an investment plan, and discuss how the agency manages risks to its assets.
This section discusses the requirements for a TAMP that is consistent with TAM leading practice. A TAMP includes:
- TAM Policies, Goals and Objectives
- Asset Inventory and Condition
- Life Cycle Planning Approach
- Predicted Asset Conditions
- Investment Plan
- Risk Management
Note there are additional specific requirements for a TAMP that is prepared to comply with Federal requirements. State DOTs are required to prepare a TAMP with a 10-year horizon that includes, at a minimum, NHS pavements and bridges. Transit agencies that receive Federal funds are required to prepare a TAMP with a four-year horizon that includes their revenue vehicles, facilities, infrastructure, and equipment (including service vehicles). FHWA provides a checklist of elements of TAMPs compliant with Federal requirements: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/asset/guidance/certification.pdf. A similar FTA document is available at: https://www.transit.dot.gov/sites/fta.dot.gov/files/docs/regulations-and-guidance/asset-management/55371/compliancechecklistfy2018_0.pdf.
TAM Policies, Goals and Objectives
A TAMP summarizes an agency’s policies, goals, and objectives and describes how its approach to TAM helps support these. For instance, the document might discuss how maintaining assets in good repair supports the organization's broader goals for strengthening mobility and supporting economic development. It may also describe how the organization defines the desired state of repair of its assets, or criteria for evaluating whether or not an asset is in good repair. A clear linkage between TAM objectives and the achievement of wider agency goals should be directly illustrated within the TAMP.
Asset Inventory and Condition
In preparing the TAMP, the agency must decide which asset classes to include in the document, and the level of detail in which the assets are described. For a highway plan, critical assets include pavements and bridges. A TAMP that is prepared to comply with Federal requirements must include these assets on the National Highway System at a minimum. Other assets addressed in a highway TAMP may include, but are not limited to: drainage assets such as culverts; traffic and safety assets such as signs, signals, and lighting; maintenance facilities; and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) devices. For a transit plan, critical assets include revenue vehicles, facilities, infrastructure (for agencies that operate fixed guideway) and additional equipment, such as service vehicles.
A TAMP should provide a listing, typically in summary form, of the assets the agency has identified for inclusion. For each asset class the document should describe the physical extent of the asset, and current asset conditions. Chapter 3 of this document describes approaches for measuring asset condition and performance. Note that FHWA and FTA have developed specific requirements for reporting asset conditions for highway and transit assets, respectively. However, agencies are not limited to these measures, and may include multiple measures of condition in their TAMP to help provide a complete description of asset conditions.
Often it is helpful to place the data on an agency’s asset portfolio's current condition into some context. For instance, the TAMP may include photographs of representative asset condition to help illustrate what is meant by a given value for a performance measure. Also, a TAMP may include historic data on asset conditions to help illustrate condition trends.
Life Cycle Planning Approach
A critical component of a TAMP is a discussion of how an agency maintains its assets over their life cycle. Ideally the agency’s approach to life cycle planning should help maintain assets at a target level of service over their life cycle in the most efficient manner possible, while supporting agency goals and objectives. This section of the TAMP should describe the treatments the agency typically performs on its assets, and detail the analytical approaches it uses to assess investment needs, prioritize work, and predict future asset conditions. If the agency has implemented specific management systems for one or more of its asset classes, such as pavement, bridge or enterprise asset management systems, this section should describe those systems and how they are used to support decision making. Chapter 4 of this document provides further detail on life cycle planning.
Predicted Asset Condition
This section of the TAMP should describe how an agency’s assets are predicted to perform in the future. The horizon of the predictions should be commensurate with the horizon in the investment plan described in the next section. Typically the planning horizon is at least four years, but may be up to 20 years.
This sections should show what conditions are predicted given expected funding, as well as any gaps between predicted performance and the agency’s goals for its assets. This section may include results for multiple funding scenarios, particularly if there is uncertainty concerning future funding, or if including results for multiple scenarios helps document the process used to prioritize funding. For instance, the document might show predicted asset conditions over time given the current funding level, predicted future funding, and scenarios with more or less funding than the predicted level.
The TAMP should detail planned investments given expected funding. Depending upon the agency size and assets included in the plan, the document might include specific investments the agency plans to make or projected funding levels by asset class and type of work. This section may provide additional details on sources of funding, and the agency’s specific strategy for investing in its assets considering available resources.
Managing transportation assets also entails managing risk. Considering risk is important in developing a TAMP, for the simple reason that there are various risks that, if they occur, may impact an agency’s ability to follow its TAMP. For instance, the occurrence of a natural hazard may require an agency to spend significant resources in response, to address or mitigate damage. Employing risk management strengthens asset management programs by explicitly recognizing that any objective faces uncertainty, and identifying strategies to reduce that uncertainty and its effects. This section of the TAMP should describe the agency’s approach to risk management. It should identify major TAM-related risks and describe the agency’s approach to addressing these.
To ensure alignment with the requirements of MAP-21, Colorado DOT developed a requirements checklist that provides a quick reference/summary of the legislation requirements. The checklist is based on FHWA guidance (Transportation Asset Management Plan Annual Consistency Determination Final Guidance) that was issued in February, 2018. Its content was provided to help DOTs ensure their TAMPs are compliant and consistent with statute and regulatory requirements.
Source: FHWA. Transportation Asset Management Plan Annual Consistency Determination Final Guidance. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/asset/guidance/consistency.pdf
Beyond the Basic TAMP
This section contains suggestions for developing a TAMP that goes beyond the basic elements of a TAMP described in the previous section. An agency can expand the scope of the TAMP to include additional asset types and systems. An agency may further tailor their TAMP to address specific needs.
A highway agency focused on complying with Federal requirements will typically focus on including its NHS pavements and bridges in its TAMP. While these assets make up the greatest portion of a typical state highway agency, an agency may wish to include additional assets in its TAMP. Also, the agency may wish to extend the network scope of the TAMP. In updating a TAMP with NHS pavement and bridges, an agency may include other assets, such as drainage assets, traffic and safety features, or the agency may wish to include all of the assets it owns.
For transit TAMPs, the initial focus is on revenue vehicles, facilities and infrastructure, as these are the assets that require the greatest investment. An agency may wish to expand its TAMP to include additional assets that are important to the systems, albeit less costly, such as bus shelters and signage.
TAM Implementation Plan
As described in Section 2.3, it is often helpful to prepare an implementation plan describing a set of planned business process improvements that an agency intends to undertake to strengthen its approach to TAM. There are many examples of TAMPs that focus specifically on an agency’s TAM approach and how it plans to improve its approach. Ideally a TAMP should both describe an agency’s assets and planned investments, and detail how it intends to improve its TAM approach. Where an agency has developed both a TAMP and TAM implementation plan, the implementation plan can be incorporated as a section of the TAMP.
TAM-Related Business Processes
An agency may wish to include a discussion of one or more of the business processes related to TAM in its TAMP. Alternatively, there may be other agency documents that provide more detail on these issues that can be referenced in the TAMP. These areas include:
- Performance Targets. As described in Chapter 5, setting performance targets can help guide the resource allocation process. However, agencies often have broader efforts to establish and track performance beyond the scope of TAM.
- Financial Planning. While developing a TAM investment plan is central to developing a TAMP, often the revenue forecast used to support developing the investment plan is developed separately and used for other purposes beyond the scope of TAM. It may be valuable to document the agency’s approach to forecasting future revenues for TAM and other applications. Chapter 5 describes provides additional detail on this topic.
- Work Planning and Delivery. As described in Chapters 4 and 5, work delivery approaches can impact how assets are maintained over their life cycle, and how resource allocation decisions are made. Some agencies have adopted formalized approaches for evaluating and selecting different work delivery approaches.
- Data Management. Chapter 7 discusses the importance of implementing an approach to data management and governance. Some TAMPs include additional information on this topic given its relationship to TAM.
AASHTO TAMP Builder
The AASHTO TAMP Builder website (available at https://www.tamptemplate.org/) hosts annotated plan outlines to assist agencies in preparing TAMPs. The site also provides resources to customize an outline in order to meet agency-specific objectives and requirements. The website integrates a database of TAMPs, dating from 2005, that support the functionality of the outlines created using the site.
TAM organizational models help determine where to locate key TAM roles, the relationship between TAM and agency priorities, and how TAM is implemented throughout the agency. There is no one right way to locate and organize asset management within an agency. TAM is cross-cutting by nature and requires coordinated actions across planning, programming, scoping, design, construction, maintenance and operations functions.
Identifying a Home for Asset Management
There are many choices to consider when identifying a "home" for asset management. Asset management committees can be used to achieve coordination across units, regardless of where the TAM home is located, in order to enhance the asset management culture across the organization. Some agencies choose to focus TAM activities within a single business unit and use committees and other management structures to achieve the needed coordination. Others appoint a TAM lead individual to play a coordination role with staff support and resources drawn from multiple units across the agency.
As agencies gain experience with TAM, the organizational model may evolve. At early stages of maturity, an agency may not have any organizational unit or function that is performing TAM activities. In developmental stages of TAM, an agency may create a TAM unit to signal its importance, formalize processes and integrate TAM business practices across the organization. Eventually, as TAM practice is well-established, there may no longer be a need for a TAM unit, because TAM becomes the way the agency does business. Many international agencies with mature TAM practices do not have a TAM unit.
Creating a TAM Unit
An agency can conduct an assessment of where TAM-related functions currently are by making a list of TAM roles and where they exist in the agency. This will determine if there are gaps in needed roles. It will then be necessary to decide whether TAM roles should be added to existing business units, or if it is best to have a TAM unit that performs the roles and responsibilities.
If an agency decides to create a TAM unit, the roles and responsibilities that the unit performs can initially be based on the gap assessment. A beneficial aspect of a TAM unit is that it can focus on specific activities, such as the development and implementation of a federally-compliant TAMP.
Placing a TAM leader or TAM unit in the executive office signals the importance of TAM to the agency and provides a close connection to agency leadership. However, the executive office typically has less direct access to technical staff support than planning or engineering units. Connections to individuals with delivery-oriented responsibilities are also less direct than they would be in an engineering or maintenance office. If the TAM unit is not in the executive office, it’s important that there is an executive involved with the TAM program to both understand how TAM is benefiting the agency and to communicate the importance of TAM to the rest of the agency.
Locating a TAM leader or TAM unit within a planning office establishes a tight connection to long-range planning and, in some agencies, project programming. This fosters a long-term view of asset investments and an integrated approach to meet preservation, safety, mobility and other objectives. However, in many agencies, the planning function is not closely connected to project selection, and may have less engineering expertise. In these agencies, planning has less influence over asset preservation investment decisions.
Creating a TAM leadership position or TAM unit within an engineering office puts it in proximity to capital design and construction (program delivery) activities. This will tend to give TAM more influence at the agency, as well as access to technical staff resources. Typically, the engineering office takes care of models for asset condition (i.e. pavement and bridge management units), and optimizing asset treatment decision making. However, because of the project delivery focus, there is less connection to long-term planning, systemwide performance, or routine maintenance.
Maintenance and Operations Office
Designating a TAM leader or TAM unit within a maintenance and operations office provides a strong connection to what is happening “on the ground” with respect to asset performance. It also provides an opportunity to emphasize proactive preservation activities to cost-effectively extend the useful life of assets. However, maintenance is rarely involved in long-term planning or capital programming, so the TAM unit may have less influence on overall funding.
The practice examples below illustrate states that have TAM units in the four different agency locations. There is no one right way to locate the lead TAM unit. Figure 3.1, Locating TAM within the Agency, shows where the lead TAM unit is located in 2019 across the US states. The most commonly used location is the planning function.
TAM involves many integrative functions that require collaboration across business units. This map shows the results of an informal survey of the location of the TAM lead within each state department of transportation.
Figure 3.1 Locating TAM within the Agency: An Informal Nationwide Survey
In 2015, the Caltrans Director created a TAM lead in the agency, recognizing the importance of TAM and the necessity of having a TAM lead who is responsible for implementing TAM and meeting federal and state TAM-related requirements. The TAM lead reports directly to the Caltrans Chief Deputy Director. The TAM lead started without any staff, but the unit has grown to house over ten people. The TAM lead is a veteran of the department and is able to advance the TAM program by getting leadership commitment at the executive level and having the business units throughout the department contribute to needed activities.
Executive Office Model
At Caltrans, the TAM group is in the executive office because of a desire to elevate the importance of asset management. The TAM group has more than 10 people in it who manage the TAMP development, and are also responsible for resource allocation for the State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP). The SHOPP is a ~$4B annual program for major projects on the California State Highway System (SHS).
Planning Office Model
At Michigan DOT, the asset management function is distributed across the agency, but the TAM lead is in the planning bureau. Locating the TAM lead within planning provides a strong link to strategic investment planning and decision-making.
Engineering Office Models
The Connecticut DOT TAM unit resides in the Bureau of Engineering and Construction and reports directly to the Office of the Chief Engineer. The TAM Unit works with asset stewards, designated for each asset, to coordinate TAM activities across the Department.
Maintenance and Operations Office Model
At the Nevada DOT, the Maintenance and Asset Management Division leads the development of the agency’s Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP). The division supports district activities to ensure that the state-maintained highway system is maintained in a condition consistent with the Nevada DOT TAMP, work plans, policies, program objectives, budget, and available resources. It also supports a proactive preservation focus in maintenance that extends to the 10-year investment strategies outlined in the TAMP.
Aligning the TAM Organizational Model with Agency Priorities
The choice of a TAM organization model should align with and support agency policies and priorities. Agencies that have priorities focused on activities that are located in the planning unit (such as economic development, increasing funding, or sustainability) may choose to house TAM in planning. A greater focus on safety and rebuilding infrastructure may lead to locating TAM in engineering. Agencies that prioritize preservation and operations may choose maintenance and operations for the TAM location. Figure 3.2 Organizational Models describes how the home for TAM would work in different parts of the agency.
Figure 3.2 TAM Organizational Models
Considerations in making the choice on the home for TAM.
Integrating All Planning
Centralized vs. Decentralized Models
A second important choice in creating a TAM organizational model is deciding on the degree to which asset management responsibilities are centralized versus dispersed across the agency.
Model 1. Single TAM Unit
In this model, a central office TAM unit plays a strong role in making decisions and driving TAM actions. Influence is concentrated at a single point, which has advantages, but results in less distributed ownership across the agency.
Model 2. Strong but Distributed Central Office Role
In this model, the central office plays a strong function in investment decisions, but there is no single designated TAM unit. Roles and responsibilities are distributed across multiple central office units and are supported by a central office TAM function that is tied to the investment planning role and may not have a title with TAM in it.
Model 3. Central Office Coordination with Strong Field Office Role
In this model, the central office plays a coordinating role but investment decisions are primarily made by field offices. This approach fosters strong ownership and decision-making that is close to the customer. Establishment of clear guidance and standards at the central office helps to avoid inconsistencies across offices, ensures that a statewide view of asset information can be created, and takes advantage of opportunities to gain efficiencies through the standardization of tools and processes. Field units may take on varying levels of ownership for TAM with respect to data collection, condition and performance monitoring, and work prioritization. The advantage of this model is the stronger link between TAM policies, goals, and objectives and work that is implemented. The disadvantage is the lack of consistent application of TAM across the agency and the greater likelihood that non-TAM priorities are implemented.
The TAM unit at UDOT is located in the technology and innovation branch of the agency. This unit is responsible for meeting all TAM-related state and federal requirements and more importantly for advancing TAM and performance management (PM) at the agency. Utah has a strong centralized governance approach to its management so a centralized TAM unit with emphasis on information and innovation works well for advancing TAM.
The TAM unit at ODOT is in the central office under the planning unit but the implementation of TAM resides in ODOT’s field units called divisions. Most decisions on asset investments and actions occur at the division-level. The central office provides data and guidance to divisions, but decision-making on assets occurs within each division. With the MAP-21/FAST requirements and the need to deliver on the two and four year pavement and bridge targets, ODOT is considering ways to strengthen the central office and division coordination.
New York State DOT
At NYSDOT, Asset Management is coordinated under the Director of Maintenance Program Planning who reports to the Assistant Commissioner for Operations and Asset Management. NYSDOT uses a committee structure, described in their TAMP, to define TAM roles and responsibilities. It has three tiers of related teams: first are the field teams who take action on assets; the next tier are statewide teams located in headquarters that provide a statewide functional team, and the top tier is a comprehensive program team that provides policy and monitoring. A diagram of this is provided in section 3.2.1.
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.
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.
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 a 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 (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.
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.
Within each program, key actions 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
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)
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 3.1 illustrates how to provide the link between roles and the key components of a federally-compliant TAMP development process.
Table 3.1 illustrates a way to provide the link between some typical TAM roles and the key components of a federally-compliant TAMP development process.
Table 3.1 - Links to the TAMP Development Process
|TAMP Component||Example TAM Roles and Responsibilities|
|Asset Inventory and Condition||Data 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 Forecasts||State 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
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 Planning||State 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 Management||State 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 Management||The 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 Strategies||The 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 Improvements||The TAM unit uses a workshop to bring together all stakeholders to develop and prioritize TAM improvement initiatives.|
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.
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 3.2 - Agency roles list and location
|Executive||Planning||Engineering||Maintenance & Operations|
|Asset Data Steward|
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.
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.
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.
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.
FHWA/AASHTO Peer Exchanges
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 exchanges 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 assets. 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.
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.
Source: Adapted from New York State Transportation Asset Management Plan. 2018.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. (https://www.michigan.gov/tamc).
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 (https://www.michigan.gov/mic/).
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.
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.
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 (https://www.codot.gov/about/transportation-commission/). 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 widespread 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.
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’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
Understanding the Organization
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 management 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 3.3, 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.
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 predisposed 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.
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 role 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 decisions by supervisors and management.
TAM Change Readiness
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.
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 provides a way to gauge your agency’s situation in order to prepare for change.
System/technology changes can have a major impact on TAM operations and processes. 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.
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.
How To Guides
Develop an Asset Management Policy
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
Ingredients in an Implementation Plan
Assessing an Organization's Change Readiness
Asset Data Collection Readiness Checklist
Preparing Data for Sharing, Reporting and Visualization