Transportation asset management Quality related accounting, measurements and use in road management processes
Abstract: Today there are shortcomings in monitoring, control, analyses, learning and reporting of the results of activities and operations in the road management processes. There are also shortcomings in transparency and verifiability, in knowledge of road management’s costs and life cycle costs, of the road capital’s standard and condition and in measures of quality deficiency costs, productivity and maintenance backlog.The starting points for different applications of the model are taken from experience of the subprocesses in practical road management, independent analyses of activities, operations and results, presence at directors’ meetings (in an independent co-opted capacity) and literature reviews. It is my belief that the problems can largely be solved with transparent, verifiable information that is relevant to the sub-processes. A model has been designed with the transport policy’s requirements at the focus for all sub-processes’ applications without repeating errors as regards internal control, use of standard values and index adjustments. For each component, the model provides quality-related information about its current condition and condition value, acquisition value, replacement value and standard target value with the effects of measures carried out. Changes in standard and condition of new construction, improvements, maintenance and consumption can be shown in the model. Information can also be found on a component’s consumption cost, index adjustment and successively accumulated life cycle costs. Quality deficiency costs, inefficiencies, maintenance backlog, cost drivers, productivity and, for example, expected funding needs can be calculated by computer. The model has been tested and this document also describes the model’s implementation project at the SNRA.Most of the road network’s components have been registered for a long time in the SNRA’s road and traffic data bank as compulsory or optional phenomena. The remaining components will to a large extent be entered automatically. Some will require inventorying. In theory, the quality-related accounting will thus have access to information about every individual component in the entire state-administered road network. For at least 75% (80% in the implementation project) of the total value o fthe road capital, current condition information will exist for each individual component in the road network. The information, that constitutes “best available knowledge” of the components’ current functional condition, is administered in dedicated administration systems and comes from different kinds of inventories. The values of the remaining components can be appraised systematically on the basis of individually assessed technical length of life and, for example, planned maintenance. The model shows that decisions to carry out measures can also be based on “best available knowledge” of socioeconomic effectiveness, consideration of the environment, climate and energy in a life cycle perspective, customers’ (society’s and road-users’) expectations and political demands for fairness. These requirements are systematically worked into the limit values for “as constructed” and “worst acceptable condition”. The condition interval between the limit values shows the component’s functional consumption margin provided that the transport policy’s requirements are taken into consideration.The information makes it possible to consider and stipulate requirements regarding the development of components’ accumulated life cycle costs in procurements. Contractors will have a natural focus on increased productivity and cost increases in projects should be smaller. The model makes the long term planning process more efficient and shortens lead times. Prices, costs, accumulated life cycle costs and various types of deviations can be analysed continuously to achieve systematic learning from good examples and failures. In the project follow-up, deviations are automatically divided within the system into causes dependent on time, quantity, and unit price. Control and monitoring with analyses and learning can be made more effective through automatic monitoring against control limits. The concept of quality-related accounting of road capital should be a part of the international discussion around models for Transportation Asset Management (TAM).
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