Asset Management Manual
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1.1.2 Getting started

No matter the size of the road organization, its inventory, or the information and data it has concerning its assets, asset condition and network, the road organization should get started with the information it has.

Step 1: Establish the asset management goals and objectives that align with the agency’s mission, desired outcomes and business strategy. If the road organization does not have a written mission that identifies desired outcomes and a business strategy, this should be developed and shared with stakeholders. It is important to set goals and objectives outside of individual asset classes in order to obtain the broader perspective from stakeholders, including elected officials and the public. (For example, the goal for pavement condition involves those responsible for pavements, but the goals of the condition are developed or supported by politicians and the public.) Getting started, questions to ask may include the following:

  • What assets does road organization own and what condition are they in?
  • Does the road organization have an inventory?
  • Is the inventory and condition information of the road organization assets in a paper file or in a computer file, or does the road organization have a computerized management system?
  • Does the road organization know how much has been invested in the subject assets in the past?
  • What are the top priorities for the road organization?
  • What is the goal for the condition of pavements and bridges?
  • Is this goal realistic, or is it aspirational?
  • What is expected concerning asset condition by the public and politicians? Are the expectations and goals aligned?
  • Are these goals openly shared?
  • What strategies should be applied to reach these goals?

Step 2: Undertake a self-assessment and gap analysis to determine the road organization current position across a range of asset management practices and then prioritize areas that need to be addressed to meet the desired position. The most basic self-assessment can be based on the five core questions above; more complex questions pertaining to data, analysis and the use and availability of this information can also be addressed. This information can be used to prioritize weak areas that need to be addressed.

Step 3: Scope the specific improvement actions. It is important to take a holistic view of how asset management relates to the organization’s mission and strategy. Key issues to be addressed include identifying the scope of assets to be included, the framework for decision making, internal business processes, capabilities, data needs and benefits and costs. Road organizations need to look at the way they do business and undertake a self-assessment and gap analysis to assess where they are and what they need to do to better manage their network. This may be a need for additional data, or better sharing of the data, or enhancing processes within the organization. Questions to ask are the following:

  • Is asset management a way of doing business in the road organization?
  • What strategies should be applied to reach asset management goals?
  • Should additional assets be included in the road organization approach to asset management?
  • Does the road organization adequately undertake a risk analysis to manage risk?
  • Does the road organization manage its assets for the long term?
  • Is the road organization able to communicate system condition, performance and needs?
  • Is a detailed gap analysis study needed?

Maturity models

There are a number of maturity models that exist for assessment of a road organization asset management competency. Examples include the following:

  • AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide—A Focus on Implementation
  • International Infrastructure Management Guidance
  • ISO 55000 Self-Assessment Methodology

The AASHTO approach to self-assessment

The AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide—A Focus on Implementation uses a “maturity scale” to describe levels of transportation achievement in a way that allows an agency to reliably locate its current position and to help determine the next steps it should take. The maturity scale is not a value judgement; it does not separate “good” organizations from “bad” ones. Every agency is on a journey toward improved asset management and the maturity scale merely provides the “you are here” marker on the journey. It also simplifies discussion of some aspects of road AM, allowing management, corporate governance and other types of decisions to be set out in relatively self-explanatory terms. A scale presented in the AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide—A Focus on Implementation is presented in Table 1.1.2.

Source: AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide—A Focus on Implementation. Executive Summary. January 2013. © Copyright 2011, 2013 by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Washington, DC. Used by permission.

PIARC approach refers to three maturity levels: Basic, Proeficient and Advanced (see Chapter 2.2.3 Maturity Levels).


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