Rules and Regulations
This page features information on the rules and regulations relating to TAM. Learn more about legislative requirements and creating a TAMP below.
Legislation and Regulations
The federal government recognizes the importance of asset management practice and requires states to develop transportation asset management plans. Many state governments also have implemented laws related to asset management.
The transportation authorization legislation Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) signed into law in 2012 includes a number of provisions related to asset management and performance management for both highway and transit modes. The requirements established in MAP-21 were continued in the subsequent legislation Fixing America First Act (FAST) signed into law in 2015. For the highway mode MAP-21 defines asset management in the context of transportation and requires that State DOTs develop risk-based transportation asset management plans (TAMPs) for assets on the National Highway System (NHS). The law also includes a number of requirements related to performance management. Regarding transit MAP-21 requires that U.S. transit agencies develop TAMPs that detail asset conditions and include a prioritized list of state of good repair (SGR) investments.
Following passage of MAP-21 and FAST the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) developed rules detailing the TAM requirements for highways and transit, respectively. In 2016 FHWA finalized § 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 515 – Asset Management Plans. FHWA’s requirements specify that a TAMP should detail asset inventory, current conditions, and predicted future conditions over a 10-year period, using performance measures detailed in FHWA’s performance management regulations. The TAMP should include the following elements:
- Asset Management Objectives
- Asset Management Measures and Targets
- Inventory and Conditions
- Performance Gap Identification
- Life-Cycle Planning
- Risk Management Analysis
- Financial Plan
- Investment Strategies
In 2016, the FTA finalized asset management requirements U.S. transit agencies must follow. These requirements are detailed in §49 CFR Parts 625 and 630. The FTA requirements detail that transit agencies must prepare TAMPs covering a four-year period and including their revenue vehicles, infrastructure, facilities, and equipment (including service vehicles). Agencies must use a decision support tool to help analyze SGR investment needs and develop a prioritized list of needs. Larger agencies (with rail systems and/or 100 or more vehicles in peak revenue service) must include additional materials in their TAMP, such as a TAM/SGR policy, TAM implementation strategy, evaluation plan, and identification of resources required to implement the plan.
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.