FHWA Creates an Office of Asset Management
Asset management--the cost-effective operation, maintenance, and preservation of transportation systems--is not a new concept for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); but with the opening of the agency's first Office of Asset Management on February 1, 1999, the concept received a new emphasis and a new focal point. The Office of Asset Management is dedicated to putting into practice FHWA's belief in an integrated asset management system that incorporates highways, bridges, tunnels, hardware, and other assets. One of the primary roles of the new office is to act as a consultant to the states as they implement asset management practices. Knowledge-sharing is the root of this effort. In encouraging the states to move away from a purely engineering-based system to more of an economic system, part of the office's role is helping the states to think more like the private sector when managing their assets--that is, to consider the costs and benefits. The result ideally should be transportation systems that are effectively managed from a user perspective. The office is also helping the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Transportation Research Board prepare an asset management guidebook for state use.