Sustainable Highways Initiative

FHWA Sustainability Activities Webinar Series:
Linking Asset Management and Planning
Webinar Transcript

Thursday, June 25, 2:00-3:00 P.M. Eastern

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Description

This webinar highlighted how incorporating transportation asset management principles into the planning process helps to advance sustainability. It showcased ongoing activities at FHWA and recently released publications. The webinar also included an example of a state working to better integrate asset management and planning, focusing on Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).


Presenters

The presenters included:

  • Mike Culp of the FHWA Office of Natural Environment;
  • Alex Oster of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center;
  • Spencer Stevens of the FHWA Office of Planning; and
  • Kirby Becker of the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Full Transcript

Mike Culp

Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Mike Culp and I am the team leader for the Sustainable Transporting Climate Change team in Washington, D.C. and FHWA's Office of Natural Environment. And I'd like to welcome you and thank you all for joining us for today's webinar.

Just a little context. This webinar is the second in a series that we are offering based on a report that we released this past June in 2014 that describes a lot of the activities and initiatives at Federal Highway that advance and support sustainability in the transportation sector. The report is called “Advancing a Sustainable Highway System: Highlights of FHWA Sustainability Activities.” And it showcases what we call sustainability action areas. And those action areas were identified with the input of a sustainability working group that we have here at FHWA which has representatives from the different program offices that are responsible for delivering different parts of the Federal Aid Highway Program.

So today's webinar features Linking Asset Management and Planning. That action area will be presented by Spencer Stevens who is the Transportation Planner in FHWA's Office of Planning. We are also very happy to have presenting along with Spencer, Kirby Becker from Minnesota DOT who is going to talk about Minnesota's Transportation Asset Management Plan and describe how it supports the principles of sustainability. So I want to thank our presenters and again, welcome and thank you all for joining us today. And so now I'm going to turn things over to Alex Oster who is the Community Planner at USDOT Volpe Center in Cambridge, Mass. and she is going to moderate today's webinar.

Alex Oster

Thanks, Mike. Welcome everyone. Before I begin my presentation, I wanted to cover a few logistical items. As a reminder, all attendees are on mute. Please go ahead and use the chat pod located on the bottom left of the screen to post questions at any time during the webinar. We will have the speakers address questions during the Q&A session at the end of the webinar. Also, the webinar will be recorded and posted to the Federal Highway Sustainable Highways Initiative website. To download a copy of today's presentation, go to the file pod in the bottom left of your screen. Finally, throughout today's webinar we will be asking participants to answer poll questions and we greatly appreciate any and all responses you provide. I will now open up the first set of poll questions and allow you a few minutes to respond.

Okay we are going to close the polls now. Again, thank you for your responses.

Before we have a more detailed presentation on linking asset management and planning, I wanted to briefly introduce FHWA's Sustainability Report. As Mike mentioned, FHWA released “Advancing a Sustainable Highway System: Highlights of FHWA Sustainability Activities” in June of 2014. The purpose of the report was to showcase some of the ways in which FHWA is incorporating and embedding sustainability into its activities. This report serves as a resource to the public transportation professionals and those working within FHWA to help them better understand the various sustainability initiatives moving forward within the agency.

As Mike mentioned, the sustainability report features sustainability access areas which are listed on the slide. The action areas represent significant opportunities for new growth and advancement in sustainability for FHWA. They also have high potential for achieving sustainability goals and benefits in the near term. Although not identified as sustainability action areas, the report also includes other key programs and initiatives such as climate change mitigation and environmental streamlining. The report also highlights FHWA's sustainable highway initiatives and related efforts like the Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool, otherwise known as INVEST, and FHWA's Sustainability Working Group. Additionally, each section of the report showcases exemplary state, regional, and local examples of sustainable transportation practices.

Today's webinar will focus on one of the sustainability action areas: Linking Asset Management and Planning. Now, before we begin the presentation on Linking Asset Management and Planning, please take a moment to complete the poll questions on your screen pertaining to the FHWA's Sustainability Report and how you are addressing sustainability in your work.

Great, thank you. I will now turn the webinar over to Spencer Stevens with FHWA's Office of Planning.

Spencer Stevens

Today we are going to talk about the relationship between transportation asset management and transportation planning in general, and show how they provide the triple bottom line of sustainability benefits. We are going to describe the current and potential activities that we have to support implementing asset management, but then also talk about the role of state departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and available resources that we have to continue this conversation.

So what are those interconnections between asset management and planning? Really looking at pulling information together in the prudent use of resources that's required under sustainability. And asset management is taking a risk-based approach in pulling information together with maintenance, preservation, rehabilitation replacement. I will go further on to discuss performance-based planning and programming and how that relies on asset management principles to pull all the information together with the ultimate goal of improving or preserving the condition of our assets in the performance of the transportation system.

So, just a quick overview to make sure we are all on the same page of what we are talking about when we are talking about transportation planning. What you see here is a reflection of transportation planning at both the statewide and metropolitan level are governed by federal laws and also applicable state and local laws, but asset management is really tied to planning long before the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, otherwise known as MAP-21, made the formal connection for us. The paragraphs and text that you see above are from 23 CFR 450, which is the existing planning regulation. I want to clarify that this isn't MAP-21 or the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Again, this shows asset management has been with us in transportation planning long before MAP-21.

So what is asset management? Asset management really grew out of two programming areas of transportation looking at maintenance or preservation and planning which is that structured rational decision making process. Both those areas consider alternatives and attempt to facilitate the discussion of the best ones in the selection to move forward. Although each of them are individually important, when you combine them together, they really create that synergy which is critical to the development of asset management. So transportation asset management is a valuable tool that helps us address these issues in a maximized transporting system performance, improve the customer satisfaction, and minimized life-cycle costs, which is part of sustainability.

So asset management has some key principles and we will kind of walk through them. And they are with us throughout the life cycle of a transportation decision-making process. Policy driven, looking at the resource allocation and the decisions to make sure that they are based on well-defined goals and objectives. Obviously, sustainability should be one of our goals and objectives in the transportation process. It's going to be performance-based. It's going to look at policy objectives that are translated into system performance measures. Also, look and analyze options and tradeoffs as we go through these decisions, how we allocate the funds to make sure that it's based on the most impact of the policy objectives. Again, a sustainability initiative.

So I'm going to show you how asset management approach is in actuality a sustainable management approach to transportation planning. So with asset management we are looking at ensuring that the proper assets can sustain through the desired state of good repair over the lifecycle of that asset and at minimal practical cost. And in pulling this information together, I found a great definition that I like to bring up now. It is actually from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development. And their approach is, “The development that meets the needs of the present world without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Definitely sustainability and pulling that topic and that information together. So we are going to link asset management and the planning so it supports the environment and the economic triple bottom line. Transportation asset management principles and techniques again need to be provided and applied throughout the planning process from initial goal setting all the way through long-range plan, the transportation improvement program, and implied as investment decisions are made throughout the operation, preservation, and maintenance of a transportation project.

Now this text is actually out of the Asset Management Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that was published February 20th, 2015. Public comment has closed on that. It closed May 29th. But I wanted to bring this in to show in the proposed rule the state DOT is going to be responsible for developing a process for each of these activities. Summarizing and listing the pavement and bridges on the National Highway System, otherwise known as the NHS, with the existing conditions that are out there. Managing those measures and objectives, looking at performance gaps, lifecycle costs, and financial planning to make sure that we've got the funding and the expenses and how we are going to fund that information as we go through those developments.

So in addition to those processes we just talked about, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking also sends out a requirement for state DOTs to use a bridge management and a pavement management system as a way to collect that information to process it, store it, and update that inventory and condition data for all the NHS bridges and pavement assets. And looking at forecasting the deterioration of those bridges and pavement assets and looking at the lifecycle cost analysis as we go through the process. Then identifying those short- and long-term budget needs to manage the condition of the NHS bridges and pavements. There are the optional strategies for looking at other things other than bridges and pavements and then also programming in the implementation schedule to manage all that information as we move forward.

Again, the information that is included in the Asset Management Notice of Proposed Rulemaking really takes a look at some of those subparts. Again, pavements on the Interstate system, pavements on the national highway system. Looking at how to improve or preserve the condition of those assets and improve the performance of the national highway system. In addition, state DOTs are encouraged but not required to include other assets on the NHS that are within the right of way of the corridor are things like tunnels, ancillary structures, signs, etc. A state can choose to include that information in the processes as they put this information together. But again, that isn't required. What you see there are the things that are required under MAP-21.

So a lot of what I've been discussing up to this point is what are the state DOTs' role, but what are the roles with the MPOs and again, it's all collaborative. These MPOs are going to be working with the state DOTs to pull all of this information together. But the MPOs are uniquely located and kind of the catalyst for a lot of that public information and keeping the public informed as to what's going on. You'll have a lot of data at the MPO and local level to help select those products and programs as you start moving forward and funding and identifying and documenting those system needs as you pull that information together. And obviously, enforcing the consideration of the triple bottom line of sustainability. And last, but not least, helping to define those performance measures as we move into the system.

So what do I mean when I talk about performance measures and what is performance-based planning and programming process? It really is an approach that provides an opportunity to ensure that our transportation investments are made both in the long term and short term programming of projects. But based on their ability to meet established goals and multiple program areas. And we are going to have to be looking at performance management in the development of our long-range transportation plans. The frequent required plans and processes like strategic highway safety plans, asset management plans, this is how it's all interconnected. The condition management process, the transit agency asset management plans, and the transit agency safety plans. And there are other programming documents, also, that are going to need to include this information, this state transportation improvement program, and the MPO transportation improvement program moving on to the programming side.

Realizing that this was information that was coming, we actually set out to produce a document “Performance-based planning and Programming Guidebook.” We actually started on this prior to MAP-21 performance management and asset management, all of these things were good practices that existed prior to MAP-21. But then in 2013, we put this document out to address kind of the basic concept of performance-based planning and programming. We worked with Federal Transit Administration and a lot of our stakeholders to pull this information together to highlight good practices that we were seeing out there at the state DOT level and the MPO level. And identify those processes that could be very useful in addressing that performance-based planning process. So the guidebook really looks at the key elements of performance-based planning and programming, how it fits within the existing process, and again highlights a lot of really good examples of effective practice that we found out there.

One of the key outcomes of putting this guidebook together and working with our stakeholders and trying to show how this information fits is this chart that if you've ever sat through performance-based planning and programming presentation by Federal Highways, I'm sure you've seen this is rolled out quite often. But it does a very good job of walking you through the process. So we'll start at the top. Looking at that strategic direction, where do we want to go? So we actually need to be asking this information and asking this question to look at our vision for the future as articulated by the public and the stakeholders. And where is our direction that we're going to be taking? Looking at goals and objectives that are pulled from your vision and your goals and your desired outcomes. That's where sustainability would fit into here quite nicely. And then the performance measures, those measures that we're going to use as the basis for comparing alternative improvement strategies and investment approaches, and then tracking the results over time.

Moving down to the analysis portion of it, okay we know where we want to go now, but how? How are we going to get there? And this is really driven by data and specifically data on performance along with a lot of public involvement and policy considerations that the agency is going to have to analyze in order to develop the best investment and policy priorities as you move through here. So looking here about trends and target, specifically you are looking for direction of your results now that you've got performance trends you are kind of working through the process and then identifying the strategies and how you are going to analyze your alternatives. Performance measures really are used to assess those strategies and prioritize our options. And then through that developing investment priorities, a package of strategies of the long range plan that get selected to support the attainment of those targets, the consideration of the tradeoffs between those goal areas as well as the policies.

And then we move into programming. This is the actual selection of specific investments to include in an agency's capital planning, your transportation improvement program, or your State Transportation Improvement Program. Pulling that information together to have an investment plan and approach to pull those investments that you are meeting those targets and your goals, and how are you going to allocate your resources, and how are you going to program your projects to have this discussion prioritizing your selection criteria to identify the specific investment strategies that make sense.

Moving over to implementation and evaluation, this is kind of a how did we do? This is monitoring, evaluating, and then reporting to the general public and the stakeholders how are we doing and our program. We set out these visions and goals and targets. How are we doing now that we have selected specific projects to move into that and then the whole cycle starts all over again? But one thing I did want to point over here on the side—see around all of this is data and public involvement. The planning process runs on data and runs on public involvement so you are going to see that throughout the entire process.

So therefore the incorporation of performance measures, you are going to have to, like I said, start talking in your statewide transportation improvement program and your TIP kind of developing the processes critical to pull that information together on a performance-based planning and programming process. Looking at programming the projects and the strategies, and then communicating the specific investments and how they are pulling that information together, linking it all back up into the long-range plan and those other performance-based plans that are part of the process.

And these are the other performance-based plans that are part of the process. I want to highlight those throughout the discussion here and more specifically the performance-based long range transportation plan, how those feed into that and obviously highlighted here is the Transportation Asset Management Plan, otherwise known as TAMP, gives that connotation and the connection that we are talking about in this. All of this coordination is key to the planning process to provide the opportunity to pull all that information together and to break down the silos and have that communication.

So we followed up the first guidebook with a companion guidebook specifically looking at model long range transportation plans in a performance-based planning or programming process. In here, this is more recent, within the past six months. We are identifying those key elements of a performance-based plan and how that aligns a model plan with the other performance plans that we talked about on the previous slide. Again highlighting a lot of great examples that we found of effective practice. Again this was pulled together with the community or stakeholders of the state DOTs, the MPOs, and the transit operators. We worked with the Federal Transit Administration to pull this together.

So again, these are elements that we typically would see in the transportation planning process. The ones that are highlighted in green may be new to some of us, but we've always had pulling information together and having a baseline of information of the transportation system that would be key information to get out of your asset management plan. Goals and objectives, we have always had goals and objectives and visions in the planning process. In the performance-based planning approach that really provides the key connection to identify those goals and provide the critical role of a performance-based approach. Performance measures may be new to some of us as we go into this, but again, it's really a process to make that informed decision. Our policy decision and project selection decisions looking at performance measures really serve as a basis for comparing those alternatives as we move forward and tracking that performance over time. The trends and targets, looking at a way to look at the basis of how we're tracking our progress over time. Again the asset management plan is going to be critical to that.

Systems performance reports that specifically refer to are inquired in MAP-21. It's a way to report how you start with a baseline and develop, have the long range transportation plan is addressing performance goals and objectives but over time as we go through this, multiple rounds of long range plans, it's really going to help us refine that planning process, the goals, objectives, and targets. We have always been able to forecast or had the discussion about forecasting future conditions and needs. And specifically what are the trends in population, mode share, and employment. And I would hope that a lot of us would have in our trends that we're looking at is the sustainability approach, the triple bottom line approach to transportation program and development. And then strategy and investments, looking at what are our policies, our strategies and how will we pull our investments together to support the attainment of the performance targets and the desired trends. Hopefully the desired trend that we're looking for is the sustainability approach in the transportation process. And last but not least, kind of the financial plan, how are we going to pull this information together in fiscally constrained long range plan and a fiscally constrained program to pull the information together from the public and private sources that are available to reasonably expect to pull our transportation process together and include possibly additional financial strategies that may be needed as we go on. And that's the end. I will turn it back over to Alex.

Alex Oster

Excellent. Thanks, Spencer. You will now hear from Kirby Becker with Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Kirby Becker

Thank you very much. It's really a pleasure to be here to speak with you about some asset management related things that MnDOT has been working on. We believe here at the agency that asset management directly supports the principles of sustainability and hopefully with what I've put together you will kind of see that connection. Today I'm going to highlight three asset management initiatives that are currently underway at MnDOT and describe those key areas under each of the three initiatives that I believe connect to and support sustainability. The three we have are our Transportation Asset Management Plan, we have a flash flood vulnerability and climate adaptation project that was recently completed, and lastly an agency goal to collect better information on maintenance costs specifically labor, equipment, and materials to better refine the life cycle cost analysis that was part of our first asset management plan.

Before I talk about the three initiatives, I would like to just provide a little bit of background for those that are on the webinar today and this graphic here talks about the structure of our agency from a policy perspective, all the way through to implementation and as an agency, and Spencer was mentioning this as a critical component, you really need that strategic direction. And a few years back we went through an extensive effort to reach out to all of our stakeholders including MPOs, other agencies, and the public to develop a long range vision known as Minnesota GO Vision. We look at it as kind of a 50-year horizon for that vision. And specifically the three principles of sustainability that is social, economic, and environmental, it's interesting because the vision ended up being focused on quality of life, economic competitiveness, and environmental health which when you look at the three sustainability principles or areas, there is a strong connection there. That vision really fed into our statewide multimodal transportation plan which is our highest level 20-year policy document as an agency which contains six key objectives and one of those is asset management. And each of those six key objectives has a series of strategies structured around the objective, and also included in the statewide multimodal transportation plan is performance measures and targets, trends and opportunities, a lot of similarities that Spencer just covered.

Next, the middle blue box, you can see there is a green box that I've highlighted around the state highway investment plan, otherwise known as MnSHIP. It is our 20-year capital highway fiscally constrained, capital highway investment plan. And along with a series of other modal and system investment plans, that along with our vision and statewide multimodal plans make up what is known as the Minnesota GO Family of Plans. But for today's purposes I'm only going to focus on this plan that's highlighted in the green box known as MnSHIP.

So this slide identifies all of the elements that MnDOT has included in their Transportation Asset Management Plan. Everything from asset inventory all the way down to what are some of the next steps now that we have a plan developed be it research, be it data collection. But Minnesota along with Louisiana and New York were part of an FHWA pilot project to develop and asset management plan for other states to use as a guide. Now MAP-21 as mentioned earlier by Spencer requires every state to develop a ten-year risk-based asset management plan that at a minimum includes pavements and bridges on the national highway system. In the interest of time for today's presentation I'm only going to focus on bullets two through four. I did highlight or make pulled up bullets two through five, but I want to kind of move forward so that we can allow additional time for question and answer at the end of the presentation.

As part of our first asset management plan we analyzed those assets that you see on the left. We produced a draft plan last summer and have been waiting for the final rules to come out and comments to be addressed and the final direction for asset management planning. And then we will make those modifications to our draft plan that's out there on the website. But because asset management and sustainability as an agency is important and it's identified at the highest level, we wanted to continue with this asset management planning as an agency and we started back in January of this last year to move forward with the second set of assets that you see on the right-hand side of the slide here with anticipation that we will have a final plan by the end of this year.

So I'm going to highlight risk and then I'm going to talk about lifecycle costs and then I'll finalize the TAMP piece talking about targets and how we develop targets. So this slide here focuses on the risk assessment piece as part of the asset management plan and we completed a risk assessment for pavements and bridges, deep storm water tunnels, culverts, overhead sign structures, and high-mast light power structures that were included in our first asset management plan. And we focused on both the most extreme risks as well as the most undermanaged risks as an agency. And what I've included here on this slide are a couple of the risks that were identified for culverts and deep storm water tunnels. For each of the risks for all of the assets, we identified impacts to the asset, to the public, and to the agency, and assigned a risk rating based on consequence and the likelihood of the risk occurring. The last part of the risk assessment was to take the risks that were identified as the highest level or the most extreme and identify mitigation strategies and costs that would help lessen the consequence or the likelihood of that risk occurring. An example that you see here of the risk we had two mitigation strategies to help lessen the risks and they were one, to complete research or a study on problem capacity and storage areas for hydraulic infrastructure. And second, to develop an asset management system that will better support systematic implementation of known asset problems such as condition and capacity.

This is a life-cycle cost iceberg as we like to call it at the agency and as part of the asset management plan we completed a life-cycle analysis for all of the assets within our first asset management plan. To do that we had to collect information from asset experts on deterioration, inspection costs and cycles, and treatment costs and cycles. And that data altogether we could put into a model and get the results of what are we typically doing and what is the desired state where we need to be. And the example that I've included on the bottom right hand side of this slide focuses on the payment life-cycle analysis from the asset management plan and we use the 70-year analysis period and that analysis period was selected really to account for at least one reconstruction activity which we identified right around 50 years. And to be able to compare to a less optimal strategy where reconstruction is delayed. The idea is to do the lifecycle analysis is really to minimize life cycle cost through better management of the assets. And here you can see with the results of our life cycle analysis, we identified that as an agency we are spending about 142 percent beyond the initial construction of a mile of pavement. And if we took an optimal life-cycle approach we could reduce what we are spending in future costs, life-cycle costs, by about 30 percent so that in itself speaks volumes for sustainability.

The last piece that I'd like to highlight from the asset management plan is this idea of performance measures and targets. Targets within the asset management plan were identified for all of the assets including NHS and non-NHS pavements and bridges, culverts, deep storm road tunnels, and overhead sign structures. And they were identified having considered a combination of current policy and investment directions, federal and state requirements such as MAP-21 or GASB-34. Risk was a consideration, deterioration was a consideration, the principles of life-cycle cost, and last, public expectations are also a critical component of where we identify a desired state.

So the ultimate goal of all of this analysis of risk and lifecycle cost and identifying asset inventory conditions and setting targets and how much money is needed to meet those targets using the principles of sustainability and lifecycle cost is to bring all of the information in to our 20-year fiscally constrained highway investment plan, otherwise known as MnSHIP, and the pie chart here you see is the first ten years of MnSHIP. And you can see right now as an agency we are spending or committing to about 65 percent of our overall capital expenditures towards asset management now as an agency, but we are currently going through the process to update this plan and it may increase depending on how we consider the information that's identified in the TAMP during the tradeoff discussions.

The second initiative that I'd like to highlight is the flash flood vulnerability and climate adaptation project. This is another FHWA pilot project and really has a direct and strong connection to some of the risks and the risk mitigation strategies that were identified for pavements, bridges, culverts, and deep storm water tunnels in the asset management plan, the first one. And phase one of this project really helped to inform the recommended TAMP one pavement, bridge and hydraulic infrastructure targets, and investment strategies. This project focused on two districts within the state and there is significant topography issues in these two states. And we focused on these two districts primarily because of the recent risk to extreme flooding and it's district one and district six.

The vulnerability assessment analyzed data for these three different areas that you see on the screen: sensitivity, exposure, and adaptive capacity. And each area included a distinct set of data and you can see some of that data listed here for each of the bullets. Some of the data that was analyzed resulted in an assessment and identification of at-risk assets for flooding within districts one and six and you can see that on the next slide here. This is an example of district six which is southeast Minnesota where Rochester, Minnesota is located. And a similar assessment and map was produced for district one, which is northeast Minnesota where Duluth, Minnesota is located and it may be hard to see, but you can see that each of the bridges and culverts and other infrastructure that's identified on our highway system went through that vulnerability assessment looking at the data and analyzing it and assessing a vulnerability score or index.

The third initiative which I'd like to highlight is an effort that was started as a recommendation from the first asset management plan and was structured around the four asset categories. And this effort involves collecting better information on what we are doing for maintenance activities by asset and specifically by asset condition. So what we're doing is it's a WIG effort, called the Wildly Important Goal and it's structured under the Stephen Covey umbrella for enhancing financial effectiveness. And we are collecting information on labor, equipment, and materials and linking that information to our systems, our management systems. And specifically what you see here is an example for pavements where we are linking the labor equipment and materials to reference point data from our highway pavement management application, which includes the age, the condition, the material for each mile of pavement by reference point out there on the system. And the ultimate goal of collecting the better information is this is the lifecycle cost strategy for the asset management plan for pavements. And you can see the highlighted blue areas where we've identified what's happening out there on the system or what should be happening and the results from the collecting of better maintenance information linking it to the Highway Pavement Management Application, or HPMA, will help refine MnDOT's life cycle cost analysis for pavements and eventually bridges, culverts, and overhead sign structures. So that's the three initiatives that we have going on and you can see that each of the three initiatives have a very strong connection to sustainability and a lot of the principles and ideas that have been presented earlier on in this webinar.


Questions and Answers

Alex Oster

Great, thanks, Kirby. We will now take any questions that you have regarding the presentation. As a reminder, please type your questions into the chat pod and we will answer them in the order that they are received. While we are waiting on questions to come in, if you wouldn't mind filling out the last set of polling questions which will be coming up on your screen now.

Okay we have our first question from Lindsay Ritter, “Can you tell us more about how you get internal alignment to develop and implement these programs? How did you get buy-in on the Four Disciplines of Execution, the 4DX model?” So I assume that's directed at Kirby?

Kirby Becker

Yeah. We recently had a changeover in commissioners and senior leadership and our deputy commissioner is a strong advocate for the 4DX model and so that really helped kind of set the stage for the agency. And as part of that model we identified four strategic areas. So the goal for the agency is to enhance or achieve financial effectiveness as an agency and under there, there are four common areas and it's asset management, project management, communication, and then the other one is focused on project lettings. And without having senior leadership or buy-in or direction for the 4DX model, I don't know if it would be possible. So it kind of came down from the top as an initiative. But beyond the 4DX we also had a business plan that was developed in 2011 working with all of our senior leadership as well as some of our key managers of our areas within the agency. And that business plan lays out a strategic direction for asset management and sustainability. So maybe it was that plan in 2011 that was identified and developed these strategic directions that kind of set the stage for the 4DX model.

Alex Oster

Great, thanks Kirby. We have another question that came in from Jennifer Sarnecki, “In the Minnesota pavement lifecycle graph with the iceberg, can you specify how you achieved the 30 percent reduction?”

Kirby Becker

So in the graph, what I presented was a typical approach to our pavements, a desired, and then a worst first. And it's really the analysis. We aren't achieving the desired state which is the 30 percent reduction. So working with our pavement, our materials office, we were identifying typically what we are doing out there from maintenance perspective, from when we're actually doing mill and overlays, when we are doing reconstructs. And typically when you look at the entire system reconstructions are being delayed to about 70 years, and we identified based on our pavement design manual that we should be reconstructing at 50 years. And when you recalculate those costs within each of the models, that's where you get the 30 percent reduction. And we understand that as an agency we do not have enough money to be able to reconstruct our entire system at 50 years so that's kind of a dilemma that we are faced with.

Alex Oster

Great, thanks Kirby. So we don't have any other questions. And while other people write in, I wanted to make you aware of a couple of documents. Spencer added into the chat pod a link to the Model Long Range Plan Guidebook, as well as the Performance Based Programming and Planning Guidebook. So be sure to check out those resources, and again the links are available in the chat pod. We will wait a minute or so to see if any other questions come in.

Lindsay Ritter wrote in another question and this is for Kirby, “How far do you think you are on the A.M. continuum compared to peers?”

Kirby Becker

That's a good question. I would say that we are probably further than some states, while there are other states that are probably further than Minnesota. I don't know if that really answers your question, but if I had to put us on a scale of maybe one to five we are probably in terms of asset management right around 3.5 in terms of accomplishing everything that we want to do for asset management. But the gaps that we have currently as an agency is we have asset management systems for a lot of our assets so we have the highway pavement management application for pavements and we have BRIM, otherwise known as the Bridge Replacement and Improvement Management, and Pontis for bridges, and we have for culverts we have a system called HydInfra, which is a GIS-based management system. And we have them for many different assets but if you look at each of the management systems, some of those systems are lacking in either age or condition or some of the other specific items that are needed in order to effectively manage the assets. So recently the agency has contracted to build we'll call it a homegrown asset management system where we are taking all of our signals and lighting, which is currently it's called AFMS, which is the Automated Facilities Management System, and build a management system that will help us better manage to the lowest life cycle and it will track things like age and condition and wind. There will be a maintenance module where we will be able to track the maintenance of those assets. So I would say about 3.5 on a five scale and other states I'd say majority of states, maybe they are between two and three, but we were fortunate to be part of a pilot with New York and Louisiana and so we have an asset management plan. And with the completion of the asset management plan along with the other directions, the policy directions, I feel like it's catapulted asset management within the agency and we are keeping the momentum going.

Alex Oster

Excellent. Thanks, Kirby. We have another question from Iowa DOT and they ask, “Are there any plans for maybe a peer exchange or other learning opportunities for states to get together and share more detailed ideas about how to coordinate these plans?” They have been working on this in some detail over the last few months and would really like to know what others are doing. So Spencer or Kirby you can chime in on that?

Spencer Stevens

Yeah, this is Spencer. I am not sure of any peer exchanges that are in the works right now but definitely it's something you could propose through our planning capacity building website as a peer exchange opportunity. I think you are on to something with that.

Kirby Becker

And if I could add, a while back when we were probably about 50 percent of the way through the development of the asset management plan, South Carolina had proposed a similar request through that website and were awarded some funding. I did go down and we had an all-day workshop peer exchange with South Carolina DOT staff and state Federal Highway Division. And so it was really helpful I think for South Carolina to kind of walk through that process. And it wasn't just me. It was Jennifer Brandenburg who was with North Carolina Department of Transportation was there talking through how they look at asset management as well as Michael Bridges from Louisiana Department of Transportation.

Alex Oster

Excellent. Thanks, Kirby.

Spencer Stevens

Alex this is Spencer. I have one more question for Kirby if we have a quick second? How are you coordinating with your MPOs on asset management in Minnesota?

Kirby Becker

That is a really good question, and was something that was brought up during the pilot project. I don't know we are unique to other states. Our state highway system, we own about ninety-nine percent of it and the locals own the other one or two percent. So of the six or seven thousand bridges, twenty-three are actually owned by the locals. But in terms of answering your question and how are we coordinating, we have an MPO coordinator in the office. And the MPOs are meeting once a quarter as directors. And so we go and reach out to them at those director meetings and present or at least throughout the development of the asset management plan from the beginning probably about a quarter of the way and about 50 percent and 75 percent we go and we have conversations with them on performance measures and targets and are we saying the right things within the asset management plan specific to the minimal assets that they own or that their locals own. And so, there has been buy-in throughout the process. It's just there is such a small percentage of the assets that are owned, which is different. A good example is New York. I know a lot of the system in New York is owned by the locals and so there needs to be a lot more coordination with the locals. Maybe more hands on, so that's kind of our process.

Spencer Stevens

Thank you.

Alex Oster

Thanks Kirby. And that is all the questions that we have. We would like to once again thank our speakers for their great presentations and for taking the time to share their experiences working on Linking Asset Management and Planning. We would also like to thank all the attendees for participating. Please do check out our future webinars including the next webinar in this series on Sustainable Pavements, which will be on July 29th from 2:00 to 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time. That concludes the webinar for today. Thank you.

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