NCHRP 08-118 Risk Assessment Techniques for TAM

Status: Active
Potential Funding: Unspecified


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As transportation agencies are faced with aging and deteriorating infrastructure in a context of limited resources, it becomes imperative that assets are managed efficiently and effectively. To this end, Federal Regulations Title 23 CFR Part 515 require state transportation agencies to develop Risk-Based Transportation Asset Management Plans (TAMP), including a risk management plan. The risk management plan must include identification, assessment, evaluation, and prioritization of risks, as well as a mitigation plan for addressing and monitoring top priority risks. State transportation agencies are seeking to improve the assessment of risks to transportation assets as part of optimized investment decision-making.
Transportation agencies must contend with a wide variety of risks as they manage transportation assets. Owners must respond to impacts of events both within and outside their control. These risks can include funding uncertainty, regulatory changes, leadership and policy changes, increasing costs, severe weather events, evolving technology, and others. Underestimating risk can lead to costly repairs and reconstruction, while overestimating risk can lead to wasted resources. Asset owners require better techniques for assessing and managing risk.
Approaches to managing risk range from qualitative assessments of likelihood and consequence at the enterprise level to quantitative, probabilistic approaches at the network and program levels such as scenario analysis, simulation, and other approaches to predictive modeling. Successful organizations, across both the public and private sectors, effectively and efficiently quantify the effects of risk and uncertainty related to threats and opportunities.


The objectives of this research project are to
· Develop enhanced techniques to consider and evaluate asset management-related risks as part of investment decision-making practices, including qualitative, quantitative, and analytical methods—building on and aligning with previous and continuing research efforts in the areas of TAM and risk management;
· Review effective processes to determine how existing and potential approaches can be used when integrating enterprise, network, and program level risk analysis. Alternative approaches should address how state departments of transportation (DOTs) make multi-objective, cross-asset investment decisions under uncertainty to best support national, state, and local asset performance goals for pavements, bridges, and other assets;
· Develop strategies and procedures for risk mitigation and response with applicable tools and tracking mechanisms for transportation agencies to improve risk assessment in existing and evolving asset management business processes; and
· Develop implementation guidance, including practical tools and techniques for incorporating risk and uncertainty, as well as possible measures of asset resilience that can be integrated into risk assessment procedures in support of national, state, and local asset performance goals.

Research Plan:

The research plan should be presented as a two-phase effort. Phase I will synthesize materials on existing practice and perform a critical assessment of existing tools, approaches, performance measures, and procedures that can be used to build new or improved risk assessment tools and techniques in support of transportation asset management. Phase II will produce supporting implementation guidance and tools.
The research should build on existing asset management guidance detailed in previous NCHRP reports, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Transportation Asset Management (TAM) Guide, and other state-of-the-practice guidance for assessing and managing risks, including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). AASHTO material is available on the AASHTO TAM portal, and FHWA guidance is accessed through its web pages focused on asset management and resilience. The research also will help improve the state of practice in risk-based transportation asset management and help ensure that the full range of relevant factors is incorporated into transportation agency resource allocation procedures.

Duration: 24 months
Project Budget: $600,000

Topics: Analytical Tools and Models, Guidance/Lessons Learned
Subjects: General/TAM Practice, Resource Allocation and Program Development, Risk Management