A basic approach to programming normally allows for the production of annual works programs only. At this maturity level, organizational barriers still exist that limit the use of strategic objectives and other elements of planning to support longer programming periods. Another restricting factor for the development of multi-annual programs is a high level of uncertainty with respect to future revenue.
Though analysis tools are present at the basic maturity level, organizations at this stage tend to privilege the implementation of such tools over the improvement of the business process they should support, thus reducing the potential impact that tool use may have on the overall performance of the organization. Nevertheless, at this level return on investment might be used as a basis for decision making when this capability is built into the tools employed.
Also, at the basic level performance models within management systems are frequently not developed or calibrated to an appropriate degree to ensure that local conditions are properly simulated. In this respect, it should be emphasized that all performance models used in asset management systems (road deterioration, traffic assignment, vehicle operating costs, etc.) should be carefully adjusted to local conditions. Using default models, as is done in a number of countries due to economic or technical issues, should be discouraged if not prohibited because all medium- and long-term results from studies such as benefit-cost analysis or risk analysis are strongly dependent on the relevance of the models.
Most management systems in operation at the basic level support works programming only for pavements and, to a lesser extent, for bridges. Budget allocation for assets other than pavements or bridges are often carried out based on historical expenses.
Finally, because management of stakeholders’ expectations is usually also at an early stage, pressure may arise to favor projects addressing the needs of specific groups or projects with special political significance at the expense of other projects with better potential to achieve the goals of the road organization.