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Webinar Overview The presentation will provide historical background on the development of transportation asset management within the United States and the current legal requirements for the development of transportation asset management plans (TAMP). There will be a brief discussion of the various required components of the TAMP, and a discussion of how the TAMP can be used to facilitate an agency’s approach to climate change (adaptation). At the federal level the TAMP is also linked to Infrastructure Performance – Keeping Good Roads Good. Mr. Wlaschin will provide valuable incite into the linkage and potential performance requirements. The final Federal Rules for the TAMP and Infrastructure Performance are expected this fall and will affect all state DOTs. [divider type=”1″] [/divider]


JB “Butch” Wlaschin

Senior Consultant

JB-WlaschinPrior to his association with KEI as a Senior Consultant, Butch Wlaschin served as Director of FHWA’s Office of Asset Management, Pavements and Construction. As the Office Director, Butch fostered and led the development of the nationwide initiative to advance the concepts, principles and culture of transportation asset management within all 50 state transportation agencies. His efforts along with his team led to the development of federal legislation (MAP-21) requiring the development and implementation of asset management in all states. Butch served as the Secretary of the AASHTO Subcommittees on Asset Management, Construction and the Joint Technical Committee on Pavements, as the FHWA Liaison for the Subcommittee on Maintenance. Through those activities I was recognized as a leading proponent for asset management and pavement preservation. I also served as the U.S. DOT representative on the ACRP 01-16 panel which developed the Asset and Infrastructure Management for Airports – Primer and Guidebook. He co-chaired an international scan team assessing how European and Australian transportation agencies effectively manage their pavements through asset management. Butch led the creation of a series of comprehensive studies on Risk-Based Transportation Asset Management. And another on financial planning and asset management. Butch also chaired an international European Workgroup that assessed Asset Management and the effects of Climate Change. Butch held the position of Director, Office of Program Development in the Office of Federal Lands Highway since 1997. As a member of the Federal Lands Leadership Team and Board of Directors he was responsible for the development of policy, standards and fund distribution for the $1.2 billion annual Federal Lands program. He directed a multi-disciplinary staff of 17 planners and engineers that provided program management and interagency liaison with more than a dozen federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Department of Defense and numerous tribal Governments. Prior to becoming the Office Director, he served as the FLH Management Systems Engineer and oversaw the initial groundwork for the ISTEA and TEA-21 mandated FLH Management System rules and processes. He received his BSCE from Lamar University in 1970, and his MSCE in Geotechnical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1976. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Virginia, and a Panel Member of the TRB Asset Management Committee, as well as an Instructor for NHI’s Asset Management Training.

Below are three questions not addressed in the live webinar.

Q1)  Could you share your views on how to reduce the data collection requirements for PMS, while keeping its usefulness for decision making, I believe this is one main reason why PMS is not used that much in developing countries/ local councils that lack resources to do the detailed data collection, that is required say we use ASTM PCI method, or HDM4

I don’t believe it is completely necessary to collect volumes of data to be able to make sound decisions for PMS.  Several software programs use simple visual observations and assessments, while others use the FUGRO or PATHWAYS data collection methods.  By assessing the agency’s business practices and strategies tools are available to optimize the decision trees assessing both structural and environmental distresses, weighing various treatment options and gradually improving roadway condition performance over time.  Several communities and organizations in North Carolina and Florida are making important steps using very limited data.  I think the key is understanding how to optimize the data and decision trees to achieve the right mix of fixes.  It can be done.

Q2)  Could ask Butch to elaborate a little more about what are the academic sector in general and the Schools of Engineering in particular to contribute to “Changing culture from we build highways to we provide a critical service”?

A good question, as I said a very similar one posed to me while visiting Georgia Tech several years ago.  I think much of the core civil and environmental classes are spot-on. I would like to see a 2-3 hour required class that focuses on the basic concepts of asset management; not just for transportation but all civil projects.  The class could focus how planning, design and construction all have a link to asset management, not just the post construction aspects.  I would take the 6 or 7 key elements of an asset management plan and talk about each of them in relation to best practices.  Maybe an early session of financial crisis and the need to optimize the limited dollars available.  

It might be tough to initially make this an upper division class, but like some of the basic “intro to civil” classes offered at many universities a required lower level class it might be a place to start the conversation.  Maybe use my example of rebuilding a major highway without disrupting the traffic or minimizing impact to the public might be an interesting challenge.  One possible solution might be to use good asset management principles and extend the useful life of the asset.  A similar concept could be applied to a dam or hydro facility, how about replacing the Lincoln tunnel?  Sure many of the solutions will end up in the hands of the designer, but maybe with the adoption of various asset management principles the next tunnel would last twice as long.  I have often said maintenance and preservation start long before the ribbon cutting ceremonies.

Q3)   Is there any evidence that performance based contracting gives better value than conventional procurement? Should the public authority ensure there is a well defined asset management plan in place before handing over to private sector under performance based contracts?

I did not hear any evidence -based findings at the past TRB conferences, but we have certainly heard that most if not all of these contracts seem to employ the basic principles of asset management in their operations.  These companies are focusing on stretching their dollars and making sure that they return the asset as agreed to at the end of the contract.  In some situations that means to let it deteriorate to a point that requires a total rebuild, but in many other cases it is to make it perform as planned for 20-to-30 years beyond the normal.  While it is tough to get these organizations to open their books or even report on their approaches for fear to giving up key information, the results seem to indicate their version of asset management is working.  They have a long-term strategic – systematic approach to keeping the asset in a state of good repair.  It is a documented strategy.  It is a corporate culture.  Quite different from a DOT’s strategy to build the best highway system or the safest freeway.  A sound asset management system employed by a state DOT may keep the DOT from going to ‘performance-based contracts’ if the culture finally takes hold. But until then the state will be hesitant to trust that a performance-based contract can do a better job than state contracts.