Quantifying the Benefits of Managing Ancillary Transportation Assets
As transportation agencies begin to expand their infrastructure management programs to include ancillary assets such as guardrails and traffic signs, the question of how to prioritize these assets for inclusion in existing programs becomes important, especially when faced with limited resources. This paper assesses the opportunities to prioritize ancillary assets for management based on quantified benefits of managing each asset category. Two reported methods for quantifying the benefits of asset management are reviewed, revealing some challenges in applying them to ancillary assets, and a third framework based on benefit-cost analysis (BCA) is proposed and evaluated. The results indicate that the supporting roles played by ancillary assets within the transportation system makes it difficult to attribute certain costs and benefits to specific assets. Furthermore, the benefits of an asset management program at one level of maturity may be different from the benefits at another level of maturity due to expected differences in outputs and outcomes. This paper reveals the importance of considering benefits and costs of asset management programs over an extended period of program maturation, rather than at a snapshot in time, in order to make sound decisions on the value of such programs, and emphasizes the importance of systematic data collection to track the evolution of benefits and costs of asset management programs.