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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Applying Transportation Asset Management to Traffic Signals: A Primer

ChapterĀ 8. Summary

Traffic signals are complicated assets critical to the daily functioning and safety of the Nation’s roadways, and this primer provides information on applying TAM to traffic signals. The primer was developed based on national (and international) practices to demonstrate how key asset management concepts are implemented and applied to traffic signals.

The concepts discussed in this primer are organized into five themes for enhancing asset management practices and positioning a transportation agency to address traffic signals in an asset management plan, including in a TAMP, if desired. The themes are:

Asset Identification

TAMP Element: Summary Listing of Assets (23 CFR 515.9(b)-(c) and (d)(3)).

Agencies should answer the questions, “what asset information do we need and why?” and “how do we properly use that information once we collect it?” Collecting the right information at the right time can then help agencies understand their assets’ performance and make informed decisions about their long-term asset needs. This theme provides an overview of what type of asset information agencies should be collecting and why, for traffic signals.

Key Actions:

  • Define and Collect Asset Attributes for Traffic Signals—Start collecting for the overall signal asset. Implement attribute data collection incrementally; that is, introduce new types of attributes over time and/or through a phased approach.
  • Define and Collect Asset Attributes for Traffic Signal Components—Identify the most critical components of the traffic signal and again implement component data collection through a phased approach.

Management Systems for Assets

TAMP Elements: Summary Listing of Assets, Lifecycle Planning, Performance Gap Analysis, Risk Management, Financial Planning, Investment Strategies (23 CFR 515.7 and 515.17).

A robust management system can collect/store information and inform asset management decisionmaking. This theme addresses what type of systems could be used and how those systems should be implemented.

Key Actions:

  • Identify Management System Requirements, Gaps, and Interfaces—Seek feedback from current and future users, and identify existing and future systems/interfaces, to develop a list of system requirements.
  • Develop a Stakeholder Engagement Plan for System Implementation—Consider steering committees, pilot implementation, and other techniques for a successful implementation of new processes.

Performance Measures and Targets

TAMP Elements: Asset Management Objectives, Measures and Targets for Asset Condition, Risk Management (23 CFR 515.9(d)(1)-(2) and (d)(6)).

Many traffic signals comprise different components with different life expectancies and conditions, and agencies often question how to best define the overall condition of these assets. This theme highlights some practices agencies are adopting to combat this challenge.

Key Actions:

  • Develop and Set Asset Management Performance Measures/Targets—Identify performance metrics to help drive data collection and ensure the agency is meeting its strategic and asset management objectives.
  • Develop Reporting Framework and Processes—Identify data to be collected, track data over time, provide it to those who are involved in decisionmaking, and seek feedback on how it informs behaviors.

Maximizing Performance—Lifecycle Planning

TAMP Elements: Lifecycle Planning, Risk Management (23 CFR 515.7(b)-(c)).

To provide a consistent, transparent, effective, and efficient approach to maintenance, an agency should understand the management approaches available. Further, a key consideration for traffic signals is planning for a time when an asset may become obsolete or unsupported. This theme looks at best practices for planning an approach to maintaining traffic signals.

Key Actions:

  • Understand the Outcome from Alternative Maintenance Management Approaches to Lifecycle Planning—Assess alternative approaches, information required, and benefit gained to select a preferred approach.

Resource Allocation—Financial Plan, Investment Strategies, Performance Gap Analysis

TAMP Elements: Performance Gap Analysis, Financial Planning, Investment Strategies (23 CFR 515.7(a), 515.7(d)-(e), 515.9(d)(4), (7)-(8), and 515.9(f)).

A lack of a formal funding needs assessment for traffic may be hampering efforts for long-term management of these assets. Asset management can be used to build a stronger understanding of the funding needs. Further, agencies are starting to use valuation-based approaches to communicate needs. This theme looks at recommended approaches to needs identification and communication of those needs for traffic signals.

Key Actions:

  • Develop a Process to Inform Resource Allocation Decisionmaking—Understand lifecycle planning, risk management, and financial plan to understand the most effective resource allocation approach.
  • Asset Valuation—Consider using asset valuation to communicate the outcome of different investment strategies or to track the impact of changing condition over time.
  • Communicating Investment Strategies—Once a resource allocation decision is made, make sure it is clearly communicated and understood by those responsible for implementation.