Performance-Based Tools to Enhance Investment Decision Making: Assessing a Regional Bridge Network and the Long-Term Consequences of Underinvestment

 

External link: http://www.trbtoolsofthetrade.org/files/theme/A8-3-paper.pdf

Publication date: September 1, 2016

Capsule summary: This study assessed the impacts of underinvestment in bridges and developed tools for identifying investment priorities.

Author(s): Cambridge Systematics

Publisher(s): TRB


Definition: Processes of upgrading, maintaining, and expanding transportation assets throughout their life-cycles
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Definition: A federally funded transportation policy-making organization, comprised of local government representatives and transportation authorities
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Definition: Governmental agency focused on transportation
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Definition: Documentation from a conference, symposium, or similar event
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Description: The poor conditions of the bridges in the Genesee-Finger Lakes region necessitated an evaluation of investment practices for the community, and an assessment of needs. This study investigated the impacts of insufficient funding for bridge infrastructure. The outcomes of this project were the development of the Bridge Asset Management Planning Tool and the Bridge Prioritization Screening Tool for investment decision-makers in the Genesee-Finger Lakes region.

Objectives: The objective of this research was to develop bridge management strategies and guidance for practitioners. The study included a network level analysis of outcomes of various investment scenarios for bridges, and developed two tools for making investment decisions. The two tools were the Bridge Asset Management Planning Tool and the Bridge Prioritization Screening Tool, which respectively compared costs for types of maintenance projects and prioritized maintenance projects based on traffic demands while proposing traffic solutions.

Findings: The research revealed that there is extensive underinvestment in infrastructure in the Genesee-Finger Lakes region. In areas with harsh climates and aging structures, future investments will need to increase in order to maintain a State of Good Repair. In the case of the Genesee-Finger Lakes region, this means doubling investments over 10 years or implementing a 60% increase in annual investments over 25 years. Many bridges in the region are structurally deficient, and the tools developed by this study will facilitate maintenance efforts in the future.

Recommendations: In order to compensate for underinvestment and maintain a State of Good Repair, communities with structurally deficient bridge infrastructure will likely need to dramatically increase their bridge investments. The use of assessment tools such as those developed by this study will facilitate project prioritization and maximize use of limited funds. This study also identifies further opportunities for research, such as the development of cross-asset and pavement evaluation tools, in order to produce mode-neutral assessments of conditions and needs.

Research Theme: Transportation Asset Management

Community Type:

Transportation Mode:

Planning Scope:

Organization Type: DOT, MPO or RPO

Planning Subject: Analysis, Evaluation and Assessment, Network Analysis, Performance Management, Plan Implementation, Planning Methods, Ratings, Resource Allocation