North Carolina’s 10-Year Transportation Asset Management Plan Summarized Important Lessons Learned to Improve Maintenance of Highway Infrastructure.
The groundbreaking legislation, MAP-21, passed by the US Congress in 2012, established an expectation and requirement that state Departments of Transportation (DOT) meet specific performance requirements for the National Highway System (NHS). The legislation identified seven national transportation goals for highway performance management. One of the seven goals focused on maintaining highway infrastructure in a state of good repair, which was the focus area of this study. To meet this goal, North Carolina DOT (NCDOT) developed a Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP), conducted a gap analysis, lifecycle cost analysis, a risk analysis, and developed and investment strategy and a 10-year financial plan projecting into 2028, using pavement and bridge condition data ranging from 2013 to 2018.
- Institutionalize performance management at all levels, aligning measures and targets with agency goals. Given widespread access to modern computerized management systems, transportation agencies have the ability to perform multiple “what-if” scenarios to analyze the future condition of an asset based on different funding levels and investment strategies.
- Establish robust emergency backup communication protocols for utmost reliability. In light of the escalating frequency and intensity of natural disasters, potentially exacerbated by climate change and other environmental factors, having dependable communication methods during emergencies becomes important.
- Implement quality control for data input and outline procedures for generating replacement data. Inconsistent or poor data controls can increase operation and maintenance costs. Issues such as inaccurate reporting, compromised data quality, or data governance challenges might hinder the accurate projection or monitoring of system performance.
- Take a tiered approach when establishing performance targets. As outlined in this study, NCDOT’s performance targets for pavements and bridges were established on a tiered approach based on the highway classification and its importance, to help NCDOT managers evaluate progress toward the organization’s objectives.
- Incorporate performance expectations into annual agency budgets. For the case of NCDOT for example, as stated in this study, various performance expectations are taken into consideration by senior management as annual budgets are developed to make informed decisions based on reliable data and state-of-the practice analysis.