Asset Management

What is Asset Management?

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program has many ongoing projects related to Transportation Asset Management. Jeff Smith, Maryland DOT, has prepared this summary outlining the projects.

Source: AASHTO Task Force on Asset Management 1999 – other definitions of Asset Management

Transportation infrastructure is vital to the economic well-being of the individual states and the nation. However, limited budgets, coupled with increasing demand on the transportation network, continue to pose pressing challenges to state transportation decision-makers. A comprehensive process is needed to assist these decision-makers in evaluating investment options for operating and maintaining transportation facilities. Asset management systems are emerging as the vehicles to meet this challenge.

Currently, most transportation agencies are managing individual assets without taking a comprehensive view among these assets and evaluating all the tradeoffs that must be made to assure a program of projects result in the most benefit to the customer. Quantification of these tradeoffs is at the heart of asset management methodology.

Asset Management is a systematic process of operating, maintaining, and upgrading physical assets cost-effectively. It combines engineering and mathematical analyses with sound business practice and economic theory. Asset management systems are goal-driven and, like the traditional planning process, include components for data collection, strategy evaluation, program selection, and feedback. The asset management model explicitly addresses integration of decisions made across all program areas. Its purpose is simple — to maximize benefits of a transportation program to its customers and users, based on well-defined goals within available resources.