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Traffic operations asset management systems (TOAMS)

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Hidayat, Dadit G.; Adams, Teresa M.; Bittner, Jason
Midwest Regional University Transportation Center
Aug 2008
Asset management; Best practices; Highway operations; Implementation; Information management; Performance measurement; Public private partnerships
The efforts in promoting traffic operations asset management systems (TOAMS) face significant difficulties. Two fundamental reasons explain this situation. First, asset management principles have been continuously developed based on traditional transportation assets of pavements and bridges. Traffic operations assets (TOAs) on the other hand, have different characteristics with greater uncertainties when determining assets' life-cycle. As a result, asset management principles will need some fundamental adjustments when implemented for TOAMS. Second, the integration of two culturally different activities, operations and planning, creates immense confusion among practitioners. This is especially crucial when addressing analytical tools compatibility, scope of analysis (local vs. regional), and limited training received by planning practitioners about operations and vice versa. This study categorizes three key themes on critical issues related to TOAMS: (1) Connecting investment and performance: The lack of a measurable indicator in current system management for TOAs causes a weak link between investment strategies and systems performance. A justifiable investment strategy is critical, however, it requires a complete data inventory for developing a robust performance indicator as the basis of performance's assessment. (2) Improving configuration planning: Information management is critical especially related to how information is used and reproduced during planning processes. Current confusions among practitioners are on what roles and how they should communicate with each other in the context of TOAMS. Responsibilities of each group are not clearly defined resulting in improper execution of traffic operations tasks. It is critical to enhance the collaboration among groups involved within TOAMS activities. (3) Promoting public-private partnerships (PPPs): Guidelines in implementing PPPs are widely available, including a number of concerns to be anticipated. However, part of the efforts should include documenting state best practices in transportation management, where current discussions on PPPs are found limited. This causes only a few lessons to be learned from other state transportation agencies on how PPPs were implemented. Special attention should also be given to the implementation of PPPs in the area of traffic operations since it is relatively new in this area.
Pt.1: Study findings ; Pt.2: Summary of proceedings for the 2008 National Peer Exchange Traffic Operations Asset Management System (TOAMS)
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