Incorporating Risk Management into Maintenance Practice

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Incorporating Risk Management into Maintenance Practice


Funding

$450,000

Research Period

18-24 months

Description

FHWA Directive 5520 encourages state DOTs to develop risk-based, cost effective strategies to minimize the impacts of climate change. Environmental stressors, such as extreme heat and extreme cold, and changes in the frequency and magnitude of extreme events, is changing the lifecycle of transportation assets; i.e, reducing service life, shortening replacement cycles, and increasing maintenance costs. Maintenance personnel offer valuable insight as to the costs associated with achieving performance goals. At the same time, maintenance personnel will require guidance as to how to incorporate risk models into maintenance, inspection, replacement, and repair cycles so that scheduled and routine maintenance continue to mitigate the risk from asset deterioration.


Literature Search Summary

This research differs from the existing body of research found in a review of relevant literature due to its focus on the integration of risk management with existing processes. During the review, there was no body of work that mentions incorporating risk management into the existing maintenance practices. In addition, transportation practitioners during multiple stakeholder engagements during the development of the NCHRP 20-123 project initiated the conversation and advocated for the need of this potential research topic.


Objectives

The purpose of the proposed research project is to develop a framework and guidance to help state DOTs on how to integrate and manage risk into maintenance practice. The specific research tasks to accomplish the main objective include:
• Task 1 – Conduct an in-depth literature review of all studies related to risk assessment and its incorporation in maintenance practices not only in the transportation sectors but also in other sectors (e.g., water sector, etc.)
• Task 2 – Conduct a gap assessment of the state of practice to determine what is still needed to incorporate risk assessment in maintenance practices
• Task 3 – Develop methodologies to incorporate existing risk assessment methodologies into maintenance practices.
• Task 4 – Develop methodologies for determining how to adjust maintenance cycles and changes in maintenance costs under non-stationary conditions.
• Task 5 – Develop guidance to help state DOTs to implement risk assessments into maintenance practice.


Urgency and Potential Benefits

From the literature review, there does not seem to be any previous or ongoing research focusing on this topic. This indicates a gap in the area and urgency for research to fill it. From this research, a gap assessment in leadership, coordination, and workforce capabilities and a guidance or framework on how to integrate risk into maintenance practice will be developed.
This project will help state DOTs to make informed decisions to allocate funding to maintenance practices on assets that might have higher risks than others based on potential threats/hazards.


Implementation Considerations

In order to implement risk management into maintenance practice, state DOTs will be responsible for using the research results and engaging the necessary staff. State DOTs can implement the research within their own organization through the flexible framework and utilize the guidance document produced from the project. They would need to conduct a risk assessment for their ongoing maintenance practices and implement updated maintenance practices.

What existing venues or processes could be used to support implementation?
It is key that senior executives, policy makers and program managers need to have a communication plan to communicate with peers in order to effectively integrate risk management. Additional products and activities like training workshops to increase the integration of risk management into maintenances practices, as well as peer exchanges and informative presentations can help state DOTs positively impact their organization.


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