Taking place once every two years, the National Transportation Asset Management Conference is one of the most focused events in the field of Transportation Asset Management (TAM). It is organized by the Transportation Research Board and supported by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. This year’s conference was hosted by Minnesota Department of Transportation in Minneapolis, July 10–12, 2016. The program included presentations, poster sessions and workshops covering a variety of topics, from Risk Management and Target Setting to complex investment strategies.
The conference provided a great opportunity to learn what is being done in other organizations and exchange ideas. AgileAssets, a leading provider of TAM solutions, contributed three presentations and a poster session to the conference. Moreover, this allowed the opportunity for AgileAssets to share our solutions to the industry.
While I attended as many sessions as I could, as a transportation consultant with experience of working with Departments of Transportation (DOT’s) to implement TAM solutions, I was particularly interested in Transportation Asset Management Implementation tracks. Each year more and more agencies attempt to move MAP-21 asset management initiatives into practice and to enhance their asset management practice by using better tools. With advanced computer technology, the industry feels the need to shift from spreadsheet-based methods into more solid asset management-specific solutions, since we use computer technology more and more nowadays, and not only for work but also for playing video games, with the use of sites that let you boost your Overwatch ranking faster online. Internationally recognized consultant in management systems, Paul D. Thompson also added in the conclusion of his presentation that “Simplified spreadsheet methods can only help agencies to get started but are not a substitute for good systems in the long run”.
My presentation “Evaluation of a Multi-Year Multi-Constraint Strategy to Optimize Linear Assets Based on Life Cycle Costs” centered on the project selection principles and impacts of different analysis strategies on budgets and investments. I discussed common analysis methods and demonstrated that while the Ranking Method has been useful for us in the industry, it is not yet optimized. I also discussed optimization methods and case studies using AgileAssets tool illustrating how using the right tool and better analysis strategy can save agencies a significant amount of money. Multi-Year Optimization is a sophisticated analysis tool that is capable of finding best sets of projects.
Overall, and with everything that is happening in the world of asset management, this conference was an event that no agency in the field of Asset Management wants to miss. This was a great three-day opportunity to share ideas and follow up with best practices in the industry. It was also nice to visit the city of Minneapolis.