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Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management


Pavement Management is defined as “…a set of tools or methods that assist decision-makers in
finding optimum strategies for providing, evaluating, and maintaining pavements in a serviceable
condition over a period of time (AASHTO 1993).” Pavement management provides a systematic
approach for performing the following functions (Zimmerman et al. 2011):

 Determine current and future pavement conditions.

 Estimate funding needs.
 Provide maintenance and rehabilitation recommendations.
 Evaluate different investment levels and treatment strategies.
 Validate the need for increased funding levels for pavement maintenance and
 Evaluate long-term pavement performance impacts due to changes in material properties,
construction practices, and/or design procedures.

Basic Pavement Management Framework

Pavement management can be used to support agency decisions at three levels: strategic,
network (also known as tactical), and project (also known as operational). Agency decisions
must be made in the context of currently programmed work. In addition, estimating costs of
future treatments is critical in developing preservation and rehabilitation plans. Table 12-1
describes each decision level in relation to the decision maker and the decision/activity type.

Table 12-1. Strategic-, network-, and project-level decisions (Zimmerman et al. 2011).

Decision Maker Types of Decisions/Activities
 Legislator  Performance targets
 Commissioner  Funding allocations
Strategic  Chief Engineer  Pavement preservation strategy
 Council Member
 Asset Manager  Project and treatment recommendations for a
Network  Pavement Management multi-year plan
(Tactical) Engineer  Funding needed to achieve performance targets
 District Engineer  Consequences of different investment strategies
 Design Engineer  Maintenance activities for current funding year
Project  Construction Engineer  Pavement rehabilitation thickness design
(Operational)  Materials Engineer  Material type selection
 Operations Engineer  Life cycle costing

Pavement Management Components

Pavement management features can vary dramatically from agency to agency; however, there are
a number of common components (see Figure 12-1).

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

Current &
Historical Pavement
Pavement Work Management
Inventory Condition History Traffic Components

Inputs Maintenance


Feedback Loop
Analysis Reporting
Parameters Module

Analysis Module

Agency Budgets Maintenance and
Policies and Capital
Priorities Improvement Plan
Analysis Constraints

Figure 12-1. Pavement management components (Zimmerman et al. 2011).

Benefits of Using Pavement Management

The benefits of pavement management include (AASHTO 2001, FHWA 2010b):

 An objective basis for developing strategies to improve pavement performance.

 The ability to justify funding needs for pavement maintenance and rehabilitation
 Improved access to road network information.
 A more systematic approach to identifying current and future road conditions and needs.
 The availability of data to communicate agency decision impacts on pavement condition.
 Improved response to queries from internal and external stakeholders.
 More cost-effective maintenance and rehabilitation decisions.
 A better understanding of pavement performance.
 Improved decisions based on sound technical data.
 Increased credibility with various stakeholders.

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

Pavement Condition Assessment

Pavement condition assessment includes collecting and analyzing pavement performance data
(i.e., cracking, rutting, faulting, structural capacity, surface characteristics) for determining
individual or overall indicators of pavement condition. In general, there are two survey levels of
condition assessment: project- and network-level. A project-level survey includes a detailed data
collection and analysis process that is often conducted on isolated pavement sections used for
pavement design purposes or forensic study evaluations. A network-level survey is typically less
detailed than project-level survey and is conducted on a larger portion or all of an agency’s
pavement network.

Types of Pavement Condition Data

The data available to support pavement management decisions largely affects the quality of those
decisions. The types of pavement condition data normally collected include:

 Distress—observations of visible conditions on or along the pavement surface that are

commonly identified during a pavement condition survey.
 Structural capacity—measures of a pavement’s response to applied loads, sub-surface
conditions that may lead to structural problems, and indirect measurements of
strength/stiffness properties.
 Surface characteristics—measurements of a pavement’s longitudinal profile or
smoothness, surface texture (for frictional properties), and noise.

Pavement Distress Types

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Distress Identification Manual (Miller and
Bellinger 2003) was developed as a tool to help researchers collect pavement performance data
in a consistent, repeatable manner independent of the collector. Table 12-2 summarizes the
distress types included in the FHWA Distress Identification Manual. In addition, the American
Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) D6433, Standard Practice for Roads and Parking Lots
Pavement Condition Index Surveys is another widely used pavement distress guide at the local
agency level. ASTM D6433 includes a standardized pavement assessment process, resulting in
the determination of a pavement condition index (PCI). Distresses included in the calculation of
PCI are shown in Table 12-3.

Additional pavement condition indices include the Present Serviceability Index (PSI) and the
Present Serviceability Rating (PSR). Both of these indices were developed as part of the
AASHO Road Test and are described as follows:

 PSR—a ride quality rating based on the observations of a panel of raters riding over the
pavement section in question. Pavement rating (ranging from 0 [very poor] to 5 [very
good]) was assigned to pavement section based on the level of service the pavement

 PSI—in order to objectively measure pavement condition, the PSI was developed to
incorporate measures of smoothness, rutting, cracking, and patching. PSI is calculated as
shown in Equation 12-1.

PSI = 5.03 – log(1 + SV) – 1.38 (RD)2 – 0.01(C + P)1/2 (12-1)

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

PSI = Present Serviceability Index
SV = Slope variance over section from CHLOE profilometer
RD = Mean rut depth (in.)
C = Cracking (ft/1000 ft2) (asphalt pavements)
P = Patching (ft2/1000 ft2)

Table 12-2. Distress included in the FHWA Distress Identification Manual

(Miller and Bellinger 2003).

Continuously Reinforced
Asphalt Pavements Jointed Plain Concrete (JPC)
Concrete (CRC)
Cracking Cracking Cracking
 Fatigue  Corner breaks  Durability (“D”)
 Block  Durability (“D”)  Longitudinal
 Edge  Longitudinal  Transverse
 Longitudinal  Transverse
 Reflection Surface Defects
 Transverse Joint Deficiencies  Map cracking and scaling
 Joint seal damage  Polished aggregate
Patching and Potholes  Spalling of longitudinal  Popouts
 Patch/patch deterioration joints
 Potholes  Spalling of transverse joints Miscellaneous Distresses
 Blowups
Surface Deformation Surface Defects  Transverse construction
 Rutting  Map cracking and scaling joint deterioration
 Shoving  Polished aggregate  Lane-to-shoulder drop-off
 Popouts  Lane-to-shoulder separation
Surface Defects  Patch/patch deterioration
 Bleeding Miscellaneous Distresses  Punchouts
 Polished aggregate  Blowups  Spalling of longitudinal
 Raveling  Faulting of transverse joints joints
and cracks  Bleeding and pumping
Miscellaneous Distresses  Lane-to-shoulder drop-off  Longitudinal joint seal
 Lane-to-shoulder drop-off  Lane-to-shoulder separation damage
 Water bleeding and  Patch/patch deterioration
pumping  Bleeding and pumping

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

Table 12-3. Pavement distresses identified in ASTM D6433 (ASTM 2009).

Asphalt Pavements Jointed Concrete Pavements

 Alligator (fatigue) cracking  Blowup/buckling

 Bleeding  Corner break
 Block cracking  Divided slab
 Bumps and sags  Durability (“D”) cracking
 Corrugation  Faulting
 Depression  Joint seal damage
 Edge cracking  Lane/shoulder drop-off
 Joint reflection cracking  Linear cracking
 Lane/shoulder drop-off  Large patching and utility cuts
 Longitudinal and transverse cracking  Small patching
 Patching and utility cut patching  Polished aggregate
 Polished aggregate  Popouts
 Potholes  Pumping
 Railroad crossing  Punchout
 Rutting  Railroad crossing
 Shoving  Shrinkage cracks
 Slippage cracking  Scaling, map cracking, and crazing
 Swell  Corner spalling
 Weathering and raveling  Joint spalling

Pavement Condition Surveys

Pavement condition data is typically collected using two primary methods: manual and
automated. In addition, with automated data collection, data is analyzed using either fully-
automated or semi-automated procedures (Zimmerman et al. 2011).

 Manual surveys—include personnel either walking or driving at slow speeds to visually

assess the pavement condition. Manual surveys do not require specialized equipment and
are capable of providing very detailed distress type, severity, and quantity information;
however, data collection is slow and fairly labor intensive. Manual surveys, due to the
slow speed of data collection, can increase the potential for safety hazards to both the
data collection team and the traveling public. Raters for manual surveys need to be
trained to assure adequate data quality. Some agencies require certification.
 Automated surveys—include automated equipment that uses imaging and/or noncontact
sensors for quantifying pavement distress (i.e., surface cracking, surface texture
characteristics, roughness, rutting, and faulting). Automated surveys can be conducted at
or near traffic speeds reducing the exposure of the data collection team and minimizing
the impact to the traveling public.
 Fully automated processing—distress identification (type, severity, and extent) that
requires no human intervention and uses software to interpret differences in grayscale for
identifying cracks and other surface irregularities.
 Semi-automated processing—distress identification (type and severity) that requires
human intervention for quantifying distress type and severity. Analysis is conducted
using specialized software and computer workstations.

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

Factors Influencing Pavement Condition Surveys

The following provides a brief summary of current and/or upcoming changes that may influence
the way agencies are conducting or analyzing pavement condition surveys (Zimmerman et al.

 Preventive maintenance treatments—most pavement condition surveys do not

incorporate the types of distress that normally trigger preventive maintenance treatments,
such as, sealed versus unsealed cracks, raveling or weather, flushing, and oxidation
(Zimmerman and Peshkin 2004).
 Performance measures—the amount and type of data collected during the pavement
condition survey should help support the increased use of performance measures for
improving the communication with stakeholders. See Chapter 8 regarding QA/QC.
 HPMS requirements—specify the annual reporting of IRI, cracking, rutting, and
faulting data. Other data requirements include the date of last overlay, date of last
reconstruction, and thickness of the latest overlay, which may be part of the PMS
construction history or stored in a Maintenance Management System.
 MEPDG calibration—pavement management is a logical source for obtaining much of
the needed data for local calibration of the MEPDG; however, studies have shown that all
the required data is currently not available in most pavement management databases
(Pierce et al. 2010).

Data Collection Protocols and Standards

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has
developed a number of standards for pavement data collection, which include:

 AASHTO R 36, Standard Practice for Evaluating Faulting of Concrete Pavements.

 AASHTO R 43, Standard Practice for Quantifying Roughness of Pavements.
 AASHTO R 48, Standard Practice for Determining Rut Depth in Pavements.
 AASHTO R 55, Standard Practice for Quantifying Cracks in Asphalt Pavement
 AASHTO PP 67, Standard Practice for Quantifying Cracks in Asphalt Pavement
Surfaces from Collected Images Utilizing Automated Methods.
 AASHTO PP 68, Standard Practice for Collecting Images of Pavement Surfaces for
Distress Detection.
 AASHTO PP 69, Practice for Determining Pavement Deformation Parameters and
Cross Slope from Collected Transverse Profiles.
 AASHTO PP 70, Standard Practice for Collecting the Transverse Pavement Profile.
 ASTM E-950 Standard Test Method for Measuring the Longitudinal Profile of Traveled
Surfaces with an Accelerometer Established Inertial Profiling Reference.

Pavement Inventory Data

Pavement inventory data is needed to identify, classify, and quantify a pavement network. The
minimum amount of inventory data needed to describe the pavement network includes (Khattak
et al. 2008; Dewan and Smith 2003):

 Functional class.
 Route designation and type (Interstate, U.S., County, City).
Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

 Segment length.
 Average pavement width.
 Pavement type.
 Shoulder type.
 Shoulder width.
 Number of lanes in each traffic direction.

Other pavement characteristics to consider include (Zimmerman et al. 2011):

 Layer thicknesses.
 Layer material properties.
 Joint spacing.
 Transverse joint load transfer.
 Subgrade type and material classification.
 Drainage information.
 Environmental information.
 Pavement history data.
 Cost data.
 Ownership information.

In addition, traffic volume and loading data are essential elements of a pavement inventory. The
FHWA Traffic Monitoring Guide (FHWA 2001b) and NCHRP Report 509 (Hallenbeck and
Weinblatt 2004) provide basic traffic data collection guidelines.

An essential element of pavement inventory data is the ability to associate it with a location
referencing system. Almost exclusively, state and local agencies incorporate a linear and
highway or street oriented referencing system. With the emergence of global positioning
systems (GPS) and other spatial technologies more elaborate referencing systems that
accommodate and integrate data expressed in multiple dimensions are becoming more common

Pavement Performance Modeling

Pavement prediction models play an important role in a number of activities that include
(Zimmerman et al. 2011):

 Estimating pavement conditions.

 Identifying treatment timing.
 Identifying cost-effective treatment strategies.
 Estimating pavement needs.
 Determining the impact of different pavement investment strategies.
 Providing feedback on the effectiveness of pavement designs or treatment strategies.

The accuracy of the pavement performance prediction models is important to correctly estimate
the year and pavement repair level (e.g., preservation treatment, structural overlay,
reconstruction), and/or the future condition of the pavement network. The more closely the
performance models reflect actual pavement performance, the more accurate the assessment of
future condition levels or treatment needs (Zimmerman et al 2011).

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

Data Requirements for Pavement Performance Modeling

A number of data requirements must be satisfied for developing reliable performance models and
include (Darter 1980, Zimmerman et al. 2011):

 Adequate data source—data for each model variable for each pavement section should
be available and preferably available over an extend period of time.
 Significant variables—determine which variables (e.g., climate, traffic, layer thickness,
material properties) have the greatest influence on pavement performance and what
modeling method can be used to consider these variables.
 Functional form—select a modeling form that fits the data and reflects the typical
agency deterioration patterns.
 Precision and accuracy—statistical measure of reasonableness between the predicted
performance and actual field results.

Performance Modeling Approaches

The first step is to consider when developing pavement performance models is what performance
condition the model will predict. Typically, pavement performance predictions include
(Zimmerman et al. 2011):

 Distress severity and extent—identification of changes in severity and extent of a

specified distress.
 Individual pavement condition indices—identification of changes in a specific
condition index (e.g., cracking index, roughness index).
 Composite indices—identification of changes in a composite index (e.g., PCI).

The second step is to determine the type of model to be used. The more commonly used models
include (Zimmerman et al. 2011):

 Deterministic models—predicts a single dependent value from one or more independent

 Probabilistic models—predicts a range of values for the dependent variable.
 Bayesian models—incorporates both subjective (i.e., prior knowledge and experience)
and objective data (i.e., actual monitoring data) to develop regression equations based on
probabilistic parameter distributions.
 Subjective (or expert-based) models—relationships between an independent and
dependent variable are based on expert opinion rather than historical data.

Finally, using statistical methods, the model should be evaluated to determine how well the
model fits actual pavement performance data. Several statistical methods can be used for
evaluating the performance model reliability and include (Zimmerman et al. 2011):

 Goodness-of-fit—statistical analysis of how well the model fits the observed data and
typically determined using a measure of the average square of the residuals.
 Residual plots—graphical comparison of the model residuals to the independent
 Standard Error of Estimate—estimates the standard deviation of the sample.

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

 t-Test—hypothesis test that follows the Student’s t distribution. In a one-sample t-test,

determines if the population mean differs significantly from the observed sample mean.
For a two-sample t-test, it can be used to determine if a significant difference exists
between the population means.
 F-test—hypothesis test that follows the F distribution and is used to statistically
determine if two population standard deviations are equal.

Project and Treatment Selection

The most common use of a pavement management system is the development of
recommendations for project and treatment selection. Using performance models, a pavement
management system can be used to determine pavement preservation and rehabilitation needs
and to evaluate the impact of treatment strategies on the condition of the pavement network.

The following provides definitions for pavement maintenance, preservation, rehabilitation, and
reconstruction. Table 12-4 also provides a summary of the activity application in relation to
pavement distress conditions.

 Corrective Maintenance “includes activities that are performed to address specific

deficiencies that negatively impact the safe, efficient operations of the facility and the
future integrity of the pavement section. These types of activities are generally reactive
in nature (Geiger 2005).”
 Routine Maintenance includes “work that is planned and performed on a routine basis
to maintain and preserve the condition of the highway system or to respond to specific
conditions and events that restore the highway system to an adequate level of service
(Geiger 2005).”
 Preventive Maintenance includes “a planned strategy of cost-effective treatments to an
existing roadway system and its appurtenances that preserves the system, retards future
deterioration, and maintains or improves the functional condition of the system (without
significantly increasing the structural capacity) (Geiger 2005).”
 Catastrophic Maintenance includes “work activities generally necessary to return a
roadway facility back to a minimum level of service while a permanent restoration is
being designed and scheduled. Examples of situations requiring catastrophic pavement
maintenance activities include concrete pavement blow-ups, road washouts, avalanches,
or rockslides (Geiger 2005).”
 Preservation is defined as “a program employing a network level, long-term strategy
that enhances pavement performance by using an integrated, cost-effective set of
practices that extend pavement life, improve safety, and meet motorist expectations
(Geiger 2005).”
 Rehabilitation includes “structural enhancements that extend the service life on an
existing pavement and/or improve its load-carrying capability.
– Minor rehabilitation consists of non-structural enhancements made to the existing
pavement sections to eliminate age-related, top-down surface cracking that develop in
asphalt pavements due to environmental exposure. Because of the non-structural
nature of minor rehabilitation techniques, these types of rehabilitation techniques are
placed in the category of pavement preservation.
– Major rehabilitation “consists of structural enhancements that both extend the service
life of an existing pavement and/or improve its load-carrying capability (Geiger

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

 Reconstruction “is defined as the replacement of the entire existing pavement structure
by the placement of an equivalent, or increased, structure (Geiger 2005).”

Table 12-4. Pavement activities by purpose (Geiger 2005).

Purpose of Activity
Restore Improve or
Increase Increase Slow Surface Restore
Type of Activity Capacity Strength Aging Characteristics Functionality
New Construction     
Reconstruction     
Major Rehabilitation    
Minor Rehabilitation   
Preventive Maintenance   
Routine Maintenance 
Corrective Maintenance 
Catastrophic Maintenance 

The following provides a brief summary of the process for identifying treatment needs and
project selection within a pavement management system (Zimmerman et al. 2011).

 Define treatments or treatment categories. Identify which treatment(s) will be

considered to address the various pavement distresses (e.g., as listed in Table 12-4).
 Set treatment trigger rules. Establish trigger rules for defining the pavement condition
under which each treatment would be considered viable.
 Develop impact rules (or reset values). Include rules to be used in the pavement
management analysis that define the pavement condition after a treatment has been
 Project and treatment selection. Several approaches may be used for project and
treatment selection, these include (Zimmerman et al. 2011):
- Ranking. Projects are selected “based on some type of agency priority, such as
pavement condition and/or traffic levels…the ranking technique does not consider the
cost effectiveness of different preservation options it does not provide the information
necessary to optimize the use of available funding. Therefore, it is not recommended
as a long-term strategy for managing a pavement network.”
- Multi-year prioritization. “The needs in one or more years are considered
simultaneously and the most cost-effective use of available funding over the analysis
period is identified.” This approach considers the “consequences of delaying or
accelerating a treatment and the cost-effectiveness of a treatment is taken into account
in developing the program recommendations.”
- Incremental Benefit /Cost or Marginal Cost-Effectiveness – This approach “provides
a means of comparing treatment options over multiple years. It also considers
marginal improvements in treatment strategies that can be considered when funding is
adequate. As a result, the analysis compares the trade-offs associated with
accelerating or postponing treatments, and different treatment options for a single
section can be evaluated while taking all the other network needs into consideration.”

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

- Optimization. This approach determines “how to efficiently allocate resources so that

network conditions are maximized (the objective function) and costs are minimized
(the constraints).”

Figure 12-2 illustrates an example of how the resulting pavement conditions can be used to
illustrate impacts of funding level on overall network condition. This example shows the overall
network PCI for the current funding level (current budget), funding to maintain the network PCI
(status quo), and improvements to the network PCI are desired (goal). Under the current budget
scenario ($204 million/year), over the 25 year period, the PCI decreases from approximately 65
to 40 and results in a significant budget increase to address the resulting backlog of pavement
needs (increasing from approximately $6 billion to $80 billion). However, if the status quo
budget is obtained ($343 million/year), then as expected, there is no change in the PCI condition
over the 25-year period. However, if the goal budget ($450 million/year) is obtained, then the
resulting PCI increases from approximately 65 to 75 and the backlog of pavement budget needs
reduces from approximately $6 billion to $1 billion over the 25-year period.

$25 100

$20 80
Backlog (in billions)

$15 60

$10 40

$5 20

$0 0
2007 2012 2017 2022 2027 2032

Current Budget Status Quo Goal

($204 Million/Year) ($343 Million/Year) ($450 Million/Year)
Backlog Backlog Backlog

Figure 12-2. Backlog and PCI over time and under different annual funding scenarios
(redrawn from Romell and Tan 2010).

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

Implementing a Pavement Management System

Each agency should consider the needs, the functionality, the sophistication of the decision
process, and the available resources for supporting pavement management (now and in the
future) prior to investing in pavement management software. The following provides general
guidelines for selecting and implementing a pavement management system.

Pavement Management Software

In general, there are two categories of pavement management software: public domain and

 Public domain applications are typically developed by a public entity and include basic
pavement management functionality to meet the needs of a large number of public
agencies. Popular public domain programs include MicroPAVER and StreetSaverTM.
 Proprietary software is developed and licensed by a private corporation. Proprietary
systems typically can be customized to meet individual agency needs, but may also result
in higher costs than public domain systems.

The following factors should be considered when selecting the pavement management software:

 Condition survey procedure. Public domain software programs typically use distress-
based pavement condition survey procedures. Proprietary software programs can be used
to incorporate agency specific pavement condition rating procedure or multiple indexes.
The data collection method (e.g., manual or automated surveys) typically does not
influence software selection.
 Pavement inventory and condition data storage. Most public domain systems store
pavement section data with a unique ID. If any agency uses a different segmenting
approach a proprietary software program may be more appropriate.
 Frequency of pavement management software use. For system with minimal use, the
simpler the software the better, since it may be difficult to remember how to operate more
complex systems.
 Factors used to differentiate between treatments. Most public domain systems
identify feasible treatments in relation to such factors as surface type, pavement
condition, and functional class. If more complex treatment rules are used proprietary
software may be needed.

Pavement Management System Implementation Steps

Most agencies incorporate the following implementation steps (AASHTO 2001; WSDOT 1994):

1. Form a steering committee. The committee should be comprised of people who will
use the data as well as those that will provide the data. Typical members include
management, planning and programming, maintenance and operations, field offices, and
engineering. The committee purpose is to provide guidance and oversight of conducted
2. Assess agency needs. Identify agency needs in relation to analysis, reporting
capabilities, and resource requirements.
3. Select the software. Select the pavement management software that best meets the
identified agency needs.

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

4. Collect data. Data collection includes both inventory data and pavement condition
information. A vital component of this step is including location referencing information.
5. Configure the software. This step includes the development of pavement performance
models, treatment selection rules, and budget models.
6. Test the software. Once all the data and the models have been incorporated, the
software should be testing to ensure that the treatment recommendations make sense.
This can be accomplished by evaluating the reasonableness of the predicted performance,
the reasonableness of the treatment rule, and/or the reasonableness of the treatment costs.
7. Fully implement the program. This step may include collecting additional needed data
and/or conducing a network level analysis.
8. Document the pavement management software and implementation process.
Documentation should include all aspects of the pavement management software and
implementation process, which includes, but is not limited to, final data decisions, model
development, treatment costs, and reporting.
9. Conduct training. Internal training of staff is required so that an agency is capable of
operating the systems itself. Potential training modules could include pavement
condition survey methodology, data needs and requirements, software operation, and
10. Review and update the system regularly. Due to changing conditions (i.e., additional
years of pavement condition data, climate impacts, incorporation of new materials or
practices) updates to the pavement management system will be needed. Review and
updates include performance models, treatment rules, treatment costs, surface types, and
construction history.

Future Directions in Pavement Management

In 2010, the FHWA sponsored the development of a 10-year Pavement Management Roadmap
which identified current gaps in pavement management and established research and
development initiatives and priorities (FHWA 2010c). The Pavement Management Roadmap
identified 47 short- and long-term needs (representing a funding need of nearly $15 million) in
the following four broad topics areas:

 Promoting pavement management benefits. Improved methods are needed for

demonstrating the value of continued investments in data and personnel for supporting
pavement management activities. In addition, an important identified need was to
improve techniques for quantifying the benefits of sound pavement preservation
 Using pavement management data to support design activities. A number of
pavement activities may benefit from the data contained within a pavement management
system. These include, but are not limited to, calibration of the MEPDG, development of
site-specific performance models to be used in pavement design activities, and the
potential incorporation and analysis of automated methods for collecting pavement
structural condition data.
 Incorporating a broader range of factors in project and treatment selection,
including sustainability and risk. Strategies are needed for incorporating such factors
as safety, congestion, environmental or sustainability issues, and risk due to the
likelihood of catastrophic events, into the treatment timing and selection process.
 Privatizing highway maintenance. The success of privatized highway maintenance
contracts will be dependent on a number of factors including the development of

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

effective performance standards for guiding the contractor in decision related to

maintenance activities, the development of comprehensive performance measures, the
ability to accurately quantify the contractor’s performance through pavement condition
data, and the process for obtaining and integrating historical data from privatized

Asset Management Principles

This section describes the concept of transportation asset management, and outlines the basic
principles of this subject. Transportation asset management is closely related to pavement
management, but is concerned with the full set of physical objects, referred to as “assets,” a
transportation organization must manage. The following subsections detail the core concepts,
discusses performance measures, systems, and data required for supporting asset management,
describes how transportation asset management may be implemented, and discuss the
implications of asset management for pavement management.

Core Concepts
All highway agencies that own physical assets must manage them in some fashion, and thus
practice asset management at some level. The following describes the core concepts of asset

 Takes a network view: requires the analysis of the full set of transportation assets an
organization manages, considering the set of assets required for a functioning
transportation system and the connections between different parts of the system.
 Aligns with strategic direction: requires an organization to have both a clear set of
strategic goals and that it undertake an effort to align its systems, processes, and decisions
with those goals. Often this entails defining performance measures and targets for those
measures that support the organization’s goals, and taking actions to help improve
performance in targeted areas.
 Leadership which aligns the agency: in practice implementing asset management
requires change, and strong leadership is required to align the organization and guide this
 Communicates with stakeholders: provide stakeholders with the information needed to
support decisions, such as results of analyses of implications of different investment
decisions on asset performance, and building constructive relationships with stakeholders
to engage them in the decision-making process.
 Makes data-driven, informed decisions: the need for quality data, and for a decision-
making process that utilizes that data in a transparent manner.
 Integrates agency programs and budgets: efforts to implement frequently involve
“breaking down the silos” that separate different programs or asset areas. Practicing
effective asset management entails evaluating programs and budgets at an integrated
level to provide for distribution of resources that best achieves agency objectives.
 Monitors outcomes: needed to determine what is achieved by an agency’s decisions, and
to evaluate whether the results are consistent with what was expected. An agency should
monitor its program delivery process to determine whether projects are completed on
time and on budget, and using the most effective delivery strategies.
 Focuses on continuous improvement: emphasize the basic idea of continuous process
improvement. Instituting an asset management approach is not a one-time effort, but

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

rather a continuing process of improving an organization’s management approach,

monitoring the results of those improvements, and making further improvement.

Measures, Tools and Data for Asset Management

Fundamental requirements for establishing an effective asset management approach include
implementing performance management, using analytical tools to support decisions, and
collecting asset inventory and condition data. This section discusses each of these fundamentals

Performance Management
Establishing an effective performance management program is often the starting point for
implementing a set of asset management improvements, and frequently requires establishing a
range of sub-processes, analytical tools and supporting systems. Figure 12-3 identifies the basic
steps in establishing a performance management program. These steps are organized into three
groups: identification of an agency’s measures, integrating the measures into the organizations
processes and tools, and establishing specific performance targets considering the agency’s
goals, funding and predicted performance.

Figure 12-3. Steps in establishing a performance management program

(Cambridge Systematics et al. 2006).

Analytical Tools
A range of analytical tools are needed to support an asset management approach. Figure 12-4
illustrates analytical tools required for asset management, presenting them in the form of a
toolbox which supports decision-making using asset data, business rules and a set of analysis
parameters as input. The tools “in the toolbox” perform tasks such as life cycle costing,
benefit/cost analysis, needs analysis, and risk analysis. These tools in turn support decision-
making by analyzing needs and solutions, evaluating options and illustrating investment versus
performance trade-offs. Pavement management systems are designed to provide many of the

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

tools illustrated in the figure for pavement assets, while bridge and maintenance management
systems address many of the analytical needs for other assets.

Figure 12-4. Concept for an asset management analytical toolbox

(Cambridge Systematics et al. 2005).

Asset Data
A prerequisite for use of any analytical tool, and the foundation of an asset management
approach, is asset data. Measuring performance, performing a needs analysis, analyzing
investment tradeoffs and performing other analytical tasks all require significant asset inventory
and condition data. Typically agencies have well-developed programs for collecting pavement
and bridge data, though it is hardly uncommon for an agency to discover more data are needed
when undergoing efforts to make increased use of the available data to support decision-making.
By contrast most transportation agencies have less data available on other assets besides
pavement and bridges. In many cases, sampling approaches are used to characterize conditions
of maintenance features such as signs, pavement markings, and fencing. Further, collection of
inventory and condition data for other assets besides pavement and bridges may be handled in a
decentralized manner, with individual district or area engineers determining what data are
needed without the support of centralized systems or dedicated resources for asset data
collection. Thus many asset management implementation efforts focus on improving data
collection and management, particular for other assets besides pavement and bridges.

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

AASHTO’s Asset Management Data Collection Guide (AASHTO 2006) recommends an

approach for determining what asset data an agency should collect. The greatest amount of
inventory data is recommended for collection for assets such as paved surfaces, bridges, and
culverts. Relatively little data is recommended for assets such as slopes, impact attenuators and
landscaping, either because less data is deemed necessary and/or because one or more of the
indicated types of data is not applicable to the asset type.

Implementing Asset Management

AASHTO’s 2011 Transportation Asset Management Guide (AASHTO 2011) focuses on
providing implementation steps and guidance. Figure 12-5 outlines the basic steps in
implementing an asset management approach. As illustrated in Figure 12-5, implementing an
asset management approach starts with setting basic direction, including the agency’s goals and

Figure 12-5. Asset management implementation steps (AASHTO 2011) Used by permission.

Once the scope of the transportation asset management (TAM) effort is defined, the next step is
to align the organization to support the targeted asset management improvements through
developing a change strategy integrating asset management concepts into the agency culture and
processes, establishing roles and responsibilities, and developing performance management

The next step recommended in the implementation process is the development of a

Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP). Ideally, this plan should document the state of
an agency’s assets, describe the agency’s goal and objectives with respect to managing its assets
moving forward, and detail how the agency will maintain and improve its assets in the future.

NCHRP Report 632 (Cambridge Systematics et al. 2009) further recommends that the TAMP be
developed using the agency’s Long Range Plan as a starting point for information on agency
goals and objectives.

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

Regardless of whether or not an agency develops a separate asset management plan, or

incorporates consideration of its asset needs in other documents, a focus on implementing asset
management will typically carry through to a range of other supporting tools and processes, such
as those illustrated in the rightmost box of Figure 12-5. Broadly speaking, implementing an
asset management approach will impact all areas: service planning, life cycle management,
integration, information systems, and data collection/management.

Implications for Pavement Management

The concepts of transportation asset management have a range of implications for transportation
agencies including, but not limited to, how they set goals, measure performance and program
work, as well as concerning what data they collect and measures, and what systems they need to
support their efforts. Given that the focus of this manual is on pavement design, construction
and management, it is important to specifically consider what the implications of a focus on asset
management might be regarding pavement management. The concepts of transportation asset
management have three basic implications for pavement managers and how they approach
pavement management:

 Asset management emphasizes the importance of considering the full range of decisions
the asset owner must make concerning a road, from construction to operations and
maintenance to eventual expansion/upgrade or end-of-life. This suggests that the
pavement manager should at least consider, if not explicitly account for, factors that may
often be omitted from design, construction and management systems and approaches.
For instance, in considering how best to manage a section of pavement, the manager may
wish to account for the criticality of the road section to network performance, putting
increased emphasis on mitigating risks to critical road sections. Further, though life-
cycle costs concepts are well-established in pavement management, user costs are often
omitted from consideration under the assumption that they do not vary between
alternatives, or simply are too difficult to quantify. Considering the full range of
decisions for the road system forces a reconsideration of these and other assumptions, and
may result in refinements in data, systems and/or approaches to pavement management.
 Another important implication of asset management is that pavement, though the most
prevalent asset for most highway departments, is but one of many assets in the
transportation system. Decisions about what pavement sections to rehabilitate or
reconstruct cannot be made in isolation, as an agency must consider system-wide
concerns in establishing its budgets by asset and investment objective. Thus, pavement
managers need to consider how to best communicate the existing conditions and
performance of an agency’s pavements, as well as the potential consequences – positive
or negative – of a given set of investments. This is needed to provide decision-makers
with the best information possible when making system-wide decisions.
 In the final analysis, the concepts of asset management are largely consistent with those
of pavement management described in this document. And this is no coincidence, as the
field of transportation asset management has emerged as transportation researchers and
practitioners have taken the concepts initially implemented in managing pavements and
bridges, and applied these to the transportation system as a whole. Thus, the current
focus of the transportation community on asset management largely serves to reinforce
best practices in pavement management, and should lend support to improve the systems,
data and approaches for pavement management.

Handbook for Pavement Design, Construction and Management Pavement and Asset Management

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