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Estimating Life Expectancies of Transportation Assets

Recently, various media outlets highlighted the deteriorating conditions of America’s roads and bridges. According to the ASCE, 32% of major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing those traveling on deficient pavement $67 billion a year, or $324 per motorist, in additional repairs and operating costs.

Pavement, one of the most visible and most used assets owned by local governments, is also one of the most expensive to manage and maintain. Unfortunately, funding deficits, lack of resources, and a number of other factors force many communities to settle for quick, reactionary fixes rather than implementing the longer term, proactive methods they’d prefer.

The majority of Americans utilize roads in some form every day. For those driving and biking on them, pavement condition can make or break a commute. If your roads are in excellent condition, you have happy commuters (aka: the taxpayers funding your roadways). Conversely, if your roads are in poor condition, you learn very quickly (and loudly) just how important well-maintained roadways are to taxpayers.

In its guidebook, “Estimating Life Expectancies of Highway Assets,” the Transportation Research Board (TRB) provides a practical methodology for estimating the life expectancies of major types of transportation system assets. And it does so in a form that’s especially useful for departments of transportation (DOTs) and other local government organizations for use in lifecycle cost analyses that support management decision-making.

While the focus of the guidebook isn’t technology per se, we couldn’t help but notice the striking parallels between the TRB’s transportation asset management guidelines and the core functions of the Cartegraph Operations Management System (OMS).

Managing transportation assets in Cartegraph

Pavement is just one of many public assets Cartegraph can effectively and efficiently manage. Our system will help any organization proactively manage assets, whether pavement, utilities, facilities, signals, signs, parks, etc.; any and every asset an organization owns.

Cartegraph OMS dramatically changes how an organization operates. It is not just a project designed to gather assets and contain them in a central database, rather it is a business process to change the way your organization maintains its assets. Instead of reactively responding and always catching up to deteriorating roads, an organization transforms to proactively plan maintenance to keep their roads in excellent condition and ahead of the deterioration curve.

Once entered into the software, assets get assigned a deterioration curve and prediction group. As a result, conditions of every road can be known and tracked. Task triggers remind maintenance crews and supervisors when pavement or other assets need inspections or preventative maintenance performed. Furthermore, an organization will realize many benefits, including a healthy ROI once all assets enter OMS and get proactively managed.

Moreover, properly maintained roads and transportation infrastructure are key elements in keeping residents and attracting new businesses. When used in tandem with the TRB’s methodologies for transportation system asset management, Cartegraph OMS will help any organization realize its goals and become the exception within a nation of crumbling roads.

Download the free guide

We recommend TRB's guidebook to any organization -- big or small -- interested in better methods of managing pavement, signs, signals, and other transportation assets. Don't forget to take a look at the TRB's other publications, too.

Click here to get your copy of "Estimating Life Expectancies of Highway Assets, Volume 1: Guidebook"