Safety and Asset Management Case Study: Washington State
Asset management is viewed by many in the transportation profession as one of the most effective approaches to investment decision-making in today’s fiscal environment. Given constrained resources, but still facing increasing demands for improved infrastructure and services, transportation managers must determine the most cost-effective approach to using the limited amount of funding that is available to improve transportation system performance. According to the Federal Highway Administration, asset management can be viewed as a set of business principles and best practice methods for improving resource allocation and utilization decisions that consists of the following core principles: • Policy-Driven – Resource allocation decisions are based on a well-defined set of policy goals and objectives. These objectives reflect desired system condition, level of service, and safety provided to customers, and typically are tied to economic, community and environmental goals as well. • Performance-Based – Policy objectives are translated into system performance measures that are used for both day-to-day and strategic management. • Analysis of Options and Tradeoffs – Decisions on how to allocate funds within and across different types of investments (e.g., preventive maintenance versus rehabilitation, pavements versus bridges; capacity expansion versus operations; different modal mixes, safety, etc.) are based on an analysis of how different allocations will impact achievement of relevant policy objectives. Alternative methods for achieving a desired set of objectives are examined and evaluated. • Decisions Based on Quality Information – The merits of different options with respect to an agency’s policy goals are evaluated using credible and current data. Where appropriate, decision-support tools are used to provide easy access to needed information, and to assist with performance tracking and predictions. • Monitoring to Provide Clear Accountability and Feedback – Performance results are monitored and reported for both impacts and effectiveness. Feed-back on actual performance may influence agency goals and objectives, as well as resource allocation and utilization decisions.