Road Network Operations
& Intelligent Transport Systems
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Asset Management

A road operator or road authority's assets will consist of:

  • infrastructure assets, principally the roadway, lighting, signals and
  • signing, including electronic dynamic (variable) message signs
  • land and buildings; vehicle depots etc.
  • telecommunications assets
  • control rooms, computers and associated roadside equipment
  • intellectual assets, including software, standards, records, drawings, safety audits and departures

Considerable investment is needed to maintain these assets. Failure to maintain and update the hardware assets may lead to road safety issues. Failure to retain records may lead to abortive expenditure or even litigation should some disaster occur.

An authority must appreciate the benefits and accept the need to introduce asset management planning and direct sufficient resources to the process. To succeed, it is necessary for Chief Executives, Technical, Corporate and Service Directors to contribute positively to the process.

Consideration of the value of assets held and their potential contribution to improved service delivery must be a high priority, along with their effective, efficient and economical management. This will necessitate the introduction of strategic asset management planning. The tool to achieve this is the Asset Management Plan.

Asset Management Plan

The Asset Management Plan (AMP) should genuinely challenge what and how services can be improved through more effective asset management. The plan will be a corporate document, which will link to corporate and service objectives.

Systems that will facilitate a two-way information flow between the various planning processes need to be set up.

The key benefits in preparing an AMP include:

  • provision of significantly improved information on utilisation of assets and the associated costs
  • help in achieving a sustainable asset base thus maximising the benefits to services
  • transparency in achieving and understanding of whole life costs and the balance between maintenance and replacement
  • better awareness of the costs of asset utilisation
  • adoption of a longer planning horizon
  • the information to make an effective case for adequate asset management resources

These benefits cannot be gained without the allocation of sufficient resources to the AMP process. Lack of attention to the asset management will have a detrimental effect on the quality of service. There is a serious risk of wasting money on assets that are not required to meet service needs or are unnecessarily costly to run. Failure to provide service can arise because equipment is of poor physical quality or there is insufficient data to inform decisions about how best to manage. Poorly defined financial and managerial procedures also cloud accountability.

The key elements of effective asset management planning are:

  • adoption of a corporate approach to asset management and integration into the wider corporate planning framework
  • development of a strategic view
  • allocation of sufficient resources to the asset management process
  • availability of accurate running cost data, area, condition and usage data
  • arrangements and procedures to review assets robustly and in a structured way
  • robust performance measurement

The adoption of an effective asset management-planning regime has potentially significant resource implications. These include:

  • the resources required to develop the asset management processes (both corporately and within Services)
  • obtaining the core data requirements
  • undertaking condition surveys
  • procurement and adapting software and entering data. It is usually preferable to purchase
  • “off the shelf” solutions
  • maintenance and update of records and data data security measures

Key processes should be linked to the budget cycle.

It is recommended that an AMP should have 5 key parts:

  • an overview of aims, objectives and strategies
  • a statement of the current portfolio
  • key areas for change
  • preferred options for key areas
  • implementation programmes

It is further suggested that an Asset Management Plan is prepared on a 5 year cycle, with annual review and updating.

Reference sources

Highway Development and Management Model HDM-4 information page