Over the past decade Americans have been clamoring for a focus on infrastructure. As we watch our roads and bridges fall into disrepair, many are left wondering if some of these infrastructure challenges will ever be addressed at the federal level. Though it may be impossible to predict the next big move in Washington, DC, citizens can rest assured that their local governments have not taken their eye off the infrastructure ball, and improvements are always just around the corner. One of the largest investments in infrastructure on the local level, are roads, sidewalks, and right-of-way assets. There are 3 main reasons why local municipalities will not give up on protecting these assets.
The first and most obvious reason to invest in infrastructure management is public safety. By identifying where sidewalks and roads have begun to fail, municipalities can act quickly and responsibly to address areas of potential concern, and improve public safety within the community. This could include filling a pothole on a busy road, eliminating tripping hazards on popular sidewalk routes, ensuring pedestrian curb ramps conform to modern standards, or even improving the visibility and retroreflectivity of a stop sign at a busy intersection. By conducting regular scheduled surveys of these assets, local governments can address public safety concerns before anyone gets hurt. Maintaining and improving public safety is the primary charge given to municipal infrastructure managers. Surveying their assets is an integral first step in this task.
Another reason why municipalities survey their infrastructure assets is to protect the taxpayers investments into city infrastructure. Every year local governments around the country spend millions of dollars in taxpayer funds on infrastructure improvements to sidewalks, streets, and right-of-way assets like pavement markings and street signs. Government regulations such as GASB-34 lay out the guidelines for keeping local agencies accountable for how that money is spent. By conducting infrastructure asset surveys and seeking an independent 3rd party to analyze the data and provide feedback, local governments can provide data that backs their use of infrastructure funds. This process not only satisfies the government regulatory requirements, but it helps improve the transparency that should exist between a local government and their constituents.
Securing Additional Funds
One common reason why a local municipality is likely to seek out a 3rd party consultant for infrastructure management is simply because they need more money. The sad reality in this country is that local governments are frequently and tragically underfunded for managing the assets they are tasked with maintaining. By providing an independent 3rd party expert analysis of their infrastructure needs, local municipalities can secure much needed funding. This is why objective data is key. If an objective, data-driven 3rd party report determines your agency to be underfunded, that same report can be used to gain additional funding from the state. This is extremely common and will likely continue until a broader infrastructure funding plan is passed down from the highest levels of government. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
At IMS we could point to any of the reasons above to justify our significance to the industry, but there is another important value that we tend to focus on even more. IMS exists to protect the bonds of trust between local governments and their constituents. The trust that exists between the citizen and their representatives is foundational to our system of government. By providing our clients with the best possible data and analysis, they can make informed, data-driven decisions, and maintain the bonds of trust with the communities they serve.
Around the country, sidewalks have become major focus areas for infrastructure improvements. Like roadways, sidewalks can display a variety of distresses, from small cracks to severe faults, these distresses should be tracked and addressed by the city to improve public safety and ensure ADA compliance. Some of the most common sidewalk distresses are listed below:
Cracking is the most common sidewalk distress. In inches, a low severity crack will be less than 0.5 inches in width, while severe cracking is anything greater than 1 inch. Typically cracking does not impact the utility of a sidewalk to a degree which renders it inoperable, but severe cracking can be a precursor to more severe distresses, such as faulting. Cracks in sidewalks are not frequently addressed due to the nature of most concrete sidewalks. Rather than replacing an entire panel of concrete, municipalities generally wait until more severe distresses begin impacting the segment before repairs are issued. It is still helpful to know where sidewalk cracking has begun to form, so accurate budgeting and repair plans can be agreed on ahead of time
Faulting is what happens when severe cracks are left alone for too long. The sidewalk eventually breaks apart at the cracked seams and falls away to create large gaps. While a low severity fault can be as small as ½ an inch, high severity faults are anything larger than 1 full inch. Sidewalk faults can expand quickly and may even grow to the point of limiting pedestrian and ADA travel.
Shattered Slabs happen when a segment of sidewalk has been broken up so significantly that parts of the sidewalk are jostled out of place or missing completely. Segments displaying this form of distress severely restrict ADA travel and often present tripping hazards to pedestrian traffic. These segments must be dug out and replaced to return the sidewalk to full service.
Weeds/foliage tend to have significant impacts on neglected segments of sidewalk. Often this comes in conjunction with severe cracking and faulting, where the distressed areas have begun to grow foliage. This has an impact on travel, but it also accelerates the rate of deterioration on the segment. This type of distress is frequently considered an obstruction, rather than a sidewalk defect. In the example image below, the foliage was so invasive as to restrict travel on the segment of sidewalk, and prevent an accurate distress survey from being completed.
Obstructions are calculated and considered separately from the SWCI and should rank higher on the priority for the City to fix. There are two reasons for this. First is the consideration of ADA liability, where even a single obstruction on an overall Excellent SWCI-rated sidewalk will count the entire segment as a failure to comply with ADA regulations. Next is the cost consideration; a majority of obstructions are inexpensive and easily fixed problems. Foliage can be trimmed back, garbage and recycle receptacles can be repositioned so that they do not block the sidewalk and tripping hazards can often be smoothed over without spending a lot of capital.
IMS prioritizes sidewalk rehabs based on need, not worst-first. This methodology seeks to catch a sidewalk when it reaches the steepest point in its deterioration curve, and rehabilitate it to extend the overall lifespan of the sidewalk. Where a sidewalk falls on its deterioration curve is based on the sum of distress deducts gathered from an analysis of the survey recordings. Some distress, such as shattered slab, may impact the deterioration of a sidewalk far more than others. The analysis seeks to optimize rehabilitation funds by spending money in a manner that prolongs the lifespan of sidewalks while minimizing the rate that they fall into more expensive rehabilitation strategies, such as panel replacement.
A lot of the focus around pavement management deals with building a defensible plan for scheduling your planned work. The idea of a “Defensible” plan may mean different things to different people, but to us it means building a foundation based on pavement management best practices and data driven decisions. With the economic effects from the Covid-19 virus pandemic still crippling local government budgets across the country, now more than ever it is important to have a data-driven plan to defend the use of tax dollars.
Sound PMP Logic = Defensibility
Remain data driven even if your management funds have been cut. It is more important than ever when dealing with a tight budget. Setting up the logic and parameters within your pavement management program is one of the most important steps towards achieving this goal. Focus on prioritization. Have a conversation with your team to help determine what prioritization strategy is best for the local conditions that you face. What has worked in the past may not be what is best for the present.
Make sure your prioritization has a focus on cost of deferral. This, in effect, is a cost benefit analysis on the deferral of streets. You know you cannot fix every road in the network, so focus on the ones that are close to falling into a more expensive rehab group. One of the best ways to determine which roads will deteriorate the quickest is to perform deflection testing, or focus on LADD (Load Associated Distress Deducts). Roads with higher concentrations of load associated distresses will deteriorate much quicker and may need to be prioritized higher.
Another great way to limit the amount of work your agency is considering in any given year is to pay attention to ‘critical” or “need year” selections. Roads in these groups have been determined by the factors mentioned above to be at risk of falling into a more expensive rehab category if left alone for another year. Deferral of roads in their need year will just mean that in the years to come, more and more expensive rehab options will be required to return the road to full service. If your agency is facing budget constraints and is looking to limit the number of rehab projects in the next few years, one of the very best ways is to focus primarily on projects in that are in their “need year”.
Pivoting on Project Sizes
A great way to reduce expenses on pavement maintenance is to simply do smaller projects. The Neighborhood approach is certainly spatially efficient, but this is at the cost of optimizing rehab selections and performing non-critical work. A community may prefer an entire neighborhood to be rehabilitated at one time, but when funds are tight, non-critical work should be delayed.
The Block-to-block project selection scheme is another, common, yet extremely inefficient rehab plan. This approach presents the complete opposite problem from the neighborhood approach in that project selections are scattered and, often, extremely small. The rehab map will end up looking like a shotgun blast of scattered rehab selections and mobilization cost will take a serious bite out of the limited rehabilitation funds.
The “onstreet” and “onstreet/side street” approach is preferred in situations where municipalities face an uncertain budgetary forecast. The reason is that projects are large enough to be coherent, but not so large that non-critical work is done. This approach is very good at a maintenance plan that focuses on a few select arterial and collector streets with the occasional local road or alleyway mixed in. It is also one of the easier methods to mobilize for, because projects are more often than not, selected areas recommending a similar rehab strategy.
Resilient PMP Operations
A sad reality of the pandemic economy and the uncertainty that it creates is that many municipalities are faced with staff reductions, early retirements, and furloughs. Navigating through staff reductions can be difficult in an industry like pavement management, where is it not always easy to find candidates with the unique skill sets and training that many have spent decades nurturing. The best ways to manage through a staffing crunch is to have a backup plan. Cross-training is effective, if it is presented the right way. Cross training should be seen as an opportunity, not an obligation. Encourage staff to cross train in an area that they are interested in. Maybe that is GIS, maybe it is QC; if a staff member is training in something that they see value in, the training itself becomes a reward, not a burden. Be careful, however, to set boundaries on training, so that the agency doesn’t lose entire weeks on training activities.
Consider developing a network of consultants with specialized skills that can be on-call, in case the need arises. It is always more cost efficient to manage an ongoing consultant relationship than it is to frantically contract for a last minute emergency. Bringing new consultants up to speed on your PMP needs should not be a last minute endeavor.
Expand your Toolkit
There are literally hundreds of rehab techniques and just as many contractors that will eagerly accept the work. Work with neighboring municipalities and local groups to seek out new and innovative rehab strategies for your pavement network. Even the state asphalt/concrete association may provide contacts or strategies that can save your agency time and money. Connect with local contractors about the rehab strategies that they are best at, and work together to optimize their effectiveness. Design level suggestions from a local pavement engineer may open the door to innovative maintenance strategies, and cost-effective solutions.
A pavement management system is a network level program that forecasts budgets and prioritizes projects; it is not a substitute for design level work. Before your agency dedicates itself to a maintenance project, make sure an in-the-field confirmation supports the planned work. Network level testing helps develop the budgets, while project level testing completes the design. Collaboration with local utility companies can be a great strategy. When planning new project level work, connect with local gas/electric/internet/water providers and see if there are areas where collaboration and cost sharing is applicable.
Sidewalk Condition and ADA Compliance
Sidewalks, pedestrian curb ramps, and curb and gutter repairs can significantly impact your PMP. Ignoring ADA is not an option. Just like with pavement management, a complete inventory and assessment can help identify the potential costs associated with ADA compliance, and a good-faith effort to adhere to the ADA is an absolute requirement for all agencies, no matter the size. Just as with street repairs, make sure to reach out to local utilities for collaborative opportunities when performing maintenance. Sidewalks surrounding parks, schools, and downtown areas generally receive more pedestrian traffic than the other sidewalks in town. Recognize that your budget may limit the areas where sidewalk rehabilitation work can be done, and work with your team to identify the most highly trafficked sidewalks to focus on first.
Successful Management in an Underfunded Covid Environment
Hopefully this has provided you with a few actionable suggestions for improving your pavement management strategies during these uncertain times. Always remember that roads must be treated as an asset, and it is far more cost effective to maintain a good road than to rebuild a failed one. Try your best to achieve the steady state level of funding, which is the minimum funding requirement to maintain the network average. Funding under this level ensures heavier rehab costs years down the road. Review your management strategies and rehab activities, there are inefficiencies waiting to be found, and you want to catch them before they incur additional costs. Finally, having a defensible strategy minimizes outside influences and allows your agency to operate with minimal disruptions. IMS wishes your agency the best in navigating this crisis that we all face, and we will always be happy to connect with you on any subject that our expertise favors. Stay healthy.
It is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced significant disruptions on virtually every industry in our economy. In addition to the massive unemployment and devastating hit to our country’s GDP, we are now faced with an unclear assessment of the long term impact on sales tax revenue. For those in the infrastructure and asset management industries, the uncertainty that clouds tax revenue forecasts presents an immediate challenge.
IMS recently held a live webinar discussing some of these impacts both short and long term. We also identified several solutions that municipalities may wish to fall back on as they see their annual budget getting slashed and redistributed to deal with the, still-ongoing, public health crisis.
Pavement managers are challenged with selecting the “winners and losers” of the annual maintenance plan in a defensible manner. The need to provide clear justification for a pavement management plan becomes increasingly more important as budgets tighten and city councils suddenly understand how expensive pavement maintenance and upkeep is. To this end, we hope that these quick tips will help your agency manage its way through the Covid-19 economic fallout.
Level of Service –
One of the very first steps towards realizing a successful pavement management plan is to determine a desired level of service. The arterial network will average a PCI of 75 while the local network will average a PCI of 60. Setting overarching goals such as this will help your agency both to plan for an annual budget, but also to identify where a lot of the upcoming maintenance activities will take place. Will the upcoming several years be full of chip seals, or will they be inundated with reconstruction projects? Setting level of service goals is a great first step toward creating a defensible management plan.
Identify Limitations of Software and Capacity
Pavement management is a complex process and with thousands of segments of road to consider, it is impossible to administer effectively without the aid of modern software programs. But just having any software to aid in the management of your pavement assets is not the solution. It is important to understand the limitations of both the software, as well as your own team.
Some software solutions are rigid. The program may only allow for one specific type of segmentation, or perhaps be unable to process specific types of information, such as IRI or deflection data. If you run an agency that performs deflection testing, or has an interest in the roughness rating of streets, this software may not be appropriate for you.
On the other hand, some programs present an extreme opposite and open configuration. They are fully customizable and can fit the needs of almost any agency, with an important exception. They require a very high level of technical competency to manage. Keep in mind that, to this point, about 1/3 of software implementations just sit on the shelf. In these cases it may be prudent to have an on-call consultant that can run models and present you with data when it is needed. When you are running an asset management agency that is strapped for funds, the last thing you want to spend money on is an overly robust software solution that your team lacks the proper training to tackle.
bSelect an appropriate Data Collection Method
Models are only as good as the data that goes into them. So, just as you should apply a high degree of scrutiny to your management software, you should apply an equal amount of attention to the data collection process. There are various considerations for data collection, walking/sampling, windshield surveys, and semi-automated data collection to name a few. All are valid and acceptable, but understanding the pros and cons of each will help you to select the form which best fits your agency’s needs.
Walking/sampling may be sufficient for an agency that has predetermined a few select areas where the data will be applied and does not have a large network of streets. It would not be ideal for a vast county network with hundreds of centerline miles of pavement stretched out across a large area. Conversely, a semi-automated survey may be ideal for a large network with varying pavement types and conditions, but not ideal for an agency that lacks the time or resources to perform the rigorous QC processes which are required for semi-automated data.
It is also worth considering past collection methods. If a past survey was done with an automated approach, it may not be appropriate to compare the results to a new survey that is done via windshield. The goal should be to minimize the limitations with the data collection method that your agency chooses.
With your level of service goals identified, your software chosen, and your data collection underway, it is now time to educate your team on the concept of equity removal. Pavement infrastructure should be thought of as an asset. It is the most expensive visible asset your municipality maintains, thus it should be managed with the concept of equity in mind. When a pavement analysis is completed, you will be presented with a budget that represents the minimum level of funding required to maintain your agency’s current condition. IMS refers to this as the “Steady State Budget”.
Now, recognize that any amount of funding that is less than the annual steady state budget will incur an additional debt in the form of pavement deterioration. This debt must eventually be repaid in the form of heavier and heavier rehab activities. This money must come from somewhere, so if you are planning to be underfunded, you must also have a plan for recovery. Luckily, many pavement management software solutions have built in functions to help predict the deterioration of the network very accurately, and can therefore help agencies plan for when they will have the funds to reinvest back into the pavement management system. Just remember that the funds will need to be reinvested in the future.
Selecting level of service goals, software and a data collection method should be the first steps toward guiding a successful pavement management program. With the pandemic still causing unpredictable devastation on our communities, as well as our pocket books, the idea of equity when thinking of pavement management needs to become intuitive to your team. These concepts should be enough to get you thinking, but we are just getting started. Next week we will dive straight in to some PMP parameters configurations, as well as some additional considerations of pavement management, such as the need for ADA compliance.
Since 1985, IMS Infrastructure Management Services (IMS) has operated as the premier pavement and right-of-way (ROW) asset management firm across the United States. IMS is a dedicated pavement management consulting firm that operates a fleet of advanced mobile data collection vehicles equipped with millimetre level scanning devices called the Laser Crack Measurement System 2 (LCMS2). Our team completes over 100 pavement and asset management implementations across North America annually, and we stand second to none in our ability to establish cost-effective maintenance management programs for large and small agencies alike.
While IMS has a large national footprint, we also have a local mindset. Not only has IMS been maintaining the pavement management services for local governments around the country for years, we also have pavement engineers and staff throughout the country that take great pride in work within their neighboring communities. As a result of our experience across the United States, the IMS team has an unparalleled understanding of many local roadway conditions, ASTM D6433 protocols, software configurations, and enhanced customized prioritization techniques that have been customized for local needs.
Our philosophy is based on the provision of quality pavement condition data for the implementation of multi-year pavement management plans. As illustrated in the map above, our extensive reach throughout the United States provides IMS with a unique understanding of the pavement condition in cities of varying sizes, conditions and locally-based management strategies. IMS utilizes this knowledge in combination with local maintenance practices and capabilities to develop and provide comprehensive 5-year maintenance management programs. IMS is the only pavement management consultant who has enough local, regional, and national expertise to offer such a wide ranging comparison across multiple software platforms for PCI reporting.
Whether your pavement management needs are for an airport in Providence, a sidewalk in Pasadena or any of the thousands of miles of pavement in-between, you can be sure that IMS has the experience and local knowledge to lead your project to success.
Our approach, and key service differentiator, is based on three, time proven fundamentals:
Answer the questions that are being asked - don’t over-engineer the project or make it needlessly complicated. Databases and the application of technology are meant to simplify asset management, not make it more difficult.
Service and quality are paramount to success – the right blend of technically correct data, condition rating, and reporting will provide the agency with long-term, stable solutions. Providing effective and reliable service to the client remains our top priority.
Local understanding and communication is key – it is important that all stakeholders understand the impacts of their decisions, and have the system outputs react accordingly. We excel in making ourselves readily available and familiar with local needs and conditions.
The core functions of the IMS model include: objective data collection, software configuration, and comprehensive analysis of results.
Specialized Focus - IMS has over 35 years of experience dedicated specifically to pavement and asset management solutions, providing the client an unrivaled range of expertise and service.
No Boundaries - With clients ranging from Florida to British Columbia, and nearly everywhere in between, IMS excels at offering top class services to all clients, regardless of location.
Quality Assurance - Ensuring consistent quality of pavement condition data is just as important as collecting the data. Each step in the data collection process has been designed to require the data to pass a certain standard or validation before moving on to the next stage, or be returned to the source for correction.
Tailored Customer Service Not all municipal agencies are the same, nor can they implement identical solutions. IMS excels at tailoring solutions for each agency. Instead of being a discrete consultant, IMS strives to become an extension of the agency’s staff. We work together to create a custom solution.
Want to learn more about setting up a pavement management program in your city? Check out "Designing and Implementing a Pavement Management System" - An IMS Whitepaper
Preservation of existing roads and street systems has become a major activity for all levels of government. Because municipalities must consistently optimize the spending of their budgets, funds that have been designated for pavement must be used as effectively as possible. The best method to obtain the maximum value of available funds is through the use of a pavement management system.
Pavement management is the process of planning, budgeting, designing, evaluating, and rehabilitating a pavement network to provide maximum benefit with available funds.
A pavement management system is a set of tools or methods that assist decision makers in finding optimal strategies for providing and maintaining pavements in a serviceable condition over a given time period. The intent is to identify the optimum level of long-term funding to sustain the network at a predetermined level of service while incorporating local conditions and constraints.
The streets that are repaired while in good condition will cost less over their lifetime than those left to deteriorate to a poor condition. Without an adequate routine pavement maintenance program, streets require more frequent reconstruction, thereby costing millions of extra dollars.
The key to a successful pavement management program is to develop a reasonably accurate performance model of the roadway, and then identify the optimal timing and rehabilitation strategy. The resultant benefit of this exercise is realized by the long term cost savings and increase in pavement quality over time. Pavements typically deteriorate rapidly once they hit a specific threshold. A $1 investment after 40% lifespan is much more effective than deferring maintenance until heavier overlays or possibly reconstruction are required just a few years later.
Once implemented, an effective pavement information management system can assist agencies in developing long-term rehabilitation programs and budgets. The key is to develop policies and practices that delay the inevitable total reconstruction for as long as practical yet still remain within the target zone for cost effective rehabilitation. That is, as each roadway approaches the steepest part of its deterioration curve, apply a remedy that extends the pavement life, at a minimum cost, thereby avoiding costly heavy overlays and reconstruction.The following image illustrates the concept of extending pavement life through the application of timely rehabilitations.
Ideally, the lower limit of the target zone shown in the image above would have a minimum PCI value in the 60 to 70 range to keep as many streets as possible requiring a thin overlay or less. The upper limit would tend to fall close to the higher end of the Very Good category – that is a pavement condition score approaching 85. Other functions of a pavement management system include assessing the effectiveness of maintenance activities, new technologies, and storing historical data and images.
For most municipalities, a prioritization methodology based on pavement condition, pavement materials, functional class, and strength rating is used to analyze the network condition and develop the proposed 5 year rehabilitation plan.
The analysis methodologies and data collection technologies at IMS are based on ASTM D6433 Standard Practice for Roads and Parking Lots Pavement Condition Index Surveys for assessment of pavement surface condition and the International Roughness Index (IRI) for quantification of pavement roughness. These measurements of pavement quality are combined to form an overall 0 to 100 Pavement Condition Index (PCI), with 100 being the best.
Want to learn more about setting up a pavement management program in your city? Check out "Designing and Implementing a Pavement Management System" - An IMS Whitepaper
The role of the street network as a factor in the City’s well-being cannot be overstated. In the simplest of terms, roadways form the economic backbone of a community. They provide the means for goods to be exchanged, commerce to flourish, and commercial enterprises to generate revenue. As such, they are an investment to be maintained.
The overall condition of an agency’s infrastructure and transportation network is a key indicator of economic prosperity. Roadway networks, in general, are one of the most important and dynamic sectors in the global economy. They have a strong influence on not only the economic well-being of a community, but a strong impact on quality of life. Well-maintained road networks experience multiple socioeconomic benefits through greater labor market opportunities and decreasing income gap.
As a crucial link between producers and their markets, quality road networks ensure straightforward access to goods and drive global and local economies. Likewise, higher network quality has a strong correlation to improvements in household consumption and income. Roads also act as a key element to social cohesion by acting as a median for integration of bordering regions. This social integration promotes a decreased gap in income along with diversity and a greater sense of community that can play a large role in decreasing rates of poverty.
Conversely, deterioration of roads can have adverse effects on a community and may bring about important and unanticipated welfare effects. Local governments should be aware of when cutting transportation budgets. Poor road conditions increase fuel and tire consumption while shortening intervals between vehicle repair and maintenance. In turn, these roads result in delayed or more expensive deliveries for businesses and consumers. Economic effects of poor road networks, such as time consuming and costly rehabilitation, can be reduced if a proactive maintenance approach is successfully implemented. To accomplish this, a pavement assessment and analysis should be completed every few years in an effort update the budget models and rehabilitation plans.
It is difficult to know what the future holds, but maintaining a 5-10 year plan that is based on best pavement management practices and defensible data can go a long way toward saving your city valuable tax-dollars and improving the level of service in your community.
Want to learn more about setting up a pavement management program in your city? Check out "Designing and Implementing a Pavement Management System" - An IMS Whitepaper
Sometimes pavement management is not about selecting rehabs and planning new projects. Sometimes it is about defending those decisions in front of a town council or even an elected official. For those instances, a presentation showing data filled spreadsheet may not quite hit the nail on the head. Luckily, ESA generates several helpful visual aids that can help you demonstrate your pavement management successes, even when your audience sits blissfully unaware of the complexity of the tasks at hand.
The first thing you will want to understand is the pavement condition outputs from ESA. Three of the most helpful can be found in the Summary tab, $Plot tab, and the Current GFP tab.
The summary tab breaks down pavement condition by functional classification. Take a look at the example below:
The summary tab list the pavement condition by pavement type and functional class, it also highlights overall PCI averages and Backlog percentage. Finally the total area is broken down by each of the aforementioned categories. For example: I can see that the Sample network has 48 miles of asphalt local roads that have an average PCI of 78.
Next lets look at the $Plot tab. This tab is best used to demonstrate the value of your pavement assets. Sometimes the best way to get someone’s attention about pavement management is to show them that there are millions of dollars at stake.
The $Plot pie chart shows estimates for various costs associated with pavement work, such as drainage, sidewalk and ramp work, subgrade/base and more. The Miscellaneous costs are often contractor fees, and other such costs associated with doing work in your town. These costs are estimates and are not substitutes for project level design costs, but, nevertheless this is useful to hammer home just how much money your pavement network is currently worth. In our example town above it appears the total network is valued at approximately $124 Million. That is surely one of the town’s most valuable assets.
Finally, let’s take a look at the GFP tab and go over what IMS considers the “Metrics of Success”. Take a look at the following graph:
You probably noticed immediately that our example town has a very healthy condition distribution. This network satisfies all three metrics of success, Average PCI, % Excellent and %Backlog.
Pavement Condition Index (PCI) – The PCI score is a ranking assessment on the overall health of a pavement segment on a scale of 0 to 100. The network average PCI is a good global indicator of a network’s overall health. The average PCI score from agencies across the country is 60-65. Our example agency above blows way past that with an average PCI of 77.8, so they definitely exceed the first metric.
Percent of Excellent Roads – Roads with a condition category of Excellent are those that score between a PCI of 85 to 100. Generally we like to see an agency with around 15% of their in the excellent category. This indicates that the agency has been investing in their pavement network at somewhere near the steady state level. (The level of investment required to maintain the network average PCI) Our Sample network is sitting at 31% excellent roads, satisfying our second metric.
Backlog –Backlog is the Very Poor and Poor roads (between a PCI of 0 and 40) that represent a portion of the network in need of extensive rehabilitation such as full and partial reconstruction. Using sound pavement management and finance principles, a very healthy network will have a backlog of 12% or less. The example network above has only 1% backlog, easily satisfying this metric.
Hopefully this gives you enough information to comfortably review and discuss your pavement network’s current condition. Next week we will run our first budget and take a look at some of the outputs.
So we have spent some time looking through the tabs ins Easy Street Analysis and discovering some of the pavement management tools that are at your disposal. Before we are ready to run the first analysis, however, it is very common for a municipality to have several committed projects on certain streets in the network. This is referred to as “planned work” and in order for the pavement management system to accurately reflect your network, we want to make sure all of the planned work has been entered into the right place. Let’s take a look at how this is done.
Feel free to follow along the instructions in the video below:
ESA is a powerful pavement management platform, but it is only as good as the information it is given. If you want an accurate pavement rehabilitation plan, you better make sure the system knows any predetermined commitments that the city has made toward pavement projects. The rehabilitation activity, as well as the year the work is planned must be manually entered.
The first step is to navigate to the Network Analysis tab of the ESA Spreadsheet. Here you will find a long list of segments. Since most planned work tends to utilize multiple segments, lets make sure we sort the data set by project id, so it will be easier for us to plow the data into each one of the segments that will be part of your planned project. (if you need help sorting the projects, be sure to follow along with the step by step instructions in the video linked above) Now make sure the “Committed Projects” column is unhidden. ESA has macro buttons located at the top of the sheet to hide and unhide these columns.
Now that the segments are sorted by project id, search for the particular id of the project you are looking to manually add work into. It can be helpful to highlight the rows you are working on so you don’t lose track.
Typically column BU will be the start of the committed projects section. In this column we want to add the year of the planned work. Make sure this information is repeated for each row that will be part of this project.
In the column right next to the year you will need to select the rehab type. This will appear as a long list of numbers that coincide with various rehab types and costs. To find the specific number of the activity you are looking for, jump over to the rehab activities tab and identify the proper rehab code. Make sure you select the rehab code for each of the segments within the selected project.
In the very next column you will have the option of including or excluding this particular project in the analysis. Select 1 to include it, and 0 to exclude it. Make sure this is done for each of the segments within the project.
Now that you have chosen the year/ rehab type/ segments and enabled the selection to be part of the analysis, simply scroll to the right and look at the selections that typically start in column IW. This information should reflect the selections that you have made so far. Confirm that the information is accurate and, congratulations, you have successfully added your first planned work selections into the ESA Analysis. The final step is to click on the “create Inventory” button on the network analysis tab to refresh the inventory CSV file that is used in the Arc Map project. After a moment, return to Arc Map and turn on the “planned work” filter. You should see your new project with the selected rehab activity and year reflected on the map.
You know your town better than anyone, so now with the ability to schedule planned work within your ESA analysis you are taking your first steps towards a pavement management plan that is uniquely positioned to meet your level of service goals.
Next week we will talk about running a budget within the ESA system, and how to interpret some of the graphs and charts that are outputs of the analysis.