Table of Contents

2.1.1 Definitions of asset strategies

It has been found useful to approach the total asset management task by developing separate but integrated strategies which focus on road system performance, capital investment, infrastructure preservation and road use. Figure 2.4 illustrates the relationship between the strategies in the context described in Figure 2.1.

The RSMS, RIS, the IPS and RUMS provide a framework for providing, maintaining and managing road infrastructure assets which are fit-for-purpose – in terms of capacity and condition – for the current and projected use. They also provide the means to deliver quality road user-driven services.

Examples of the various forms of road asset management strategies used by Austroads member agencies, are outlined in Case Studies 1 to 5.

Figure 2.4: Hierarchy of asset management strategies

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The various types of strategy are as follows:

1. Road system management strategy (RSMS)

A RSMS examines the community needs and expectations for the performance of the road system. It defines the ‘fit for purpose’ levels of service standards for the configuration, capacity, condition and use of the road system assets which will together achieve that performance.

The focus of a RSMS is to establish an over-arching hierarchy of performance-based standards for the capacity, use and condition of the various components of the road network which reflect the strategic function and level of use of different routes in the network.

The RSMS is a strategic document used by governments and road agencies to demonstrate the relationship between the directions of the development of the road system and the community’s expectations of economic development, social development and environmental management. The latter is commonly presented in government policies, strategies and plans, supplemented by direct community consultation. The RSMS is a significant document used to demonstrate to government and key stakeholders the synergies of targeted investments in the management and development of the road system, together with other initiatives to achieve government policy outcomes. The RSMS presents the rationale behind fit-for-purpose performance targets and corresponding standards for the capacity, condition and use of various components of the road system.

2. Road investment strategy (RIS)

RIS translate road system performance objectives (driven by community outcomes) to priorities for investments in road system capacity.

A RIS identifies and prioritises what capital investments are required that will progressively achieve the target network configuration and capacity identified in the RSMS, recognising forecast patterns of road use demand and funding availability.

The RIS articulates the priorities and effectiveness of capital investments in the capacity of the road system. It provides the framework for the progressive development and evaluation of road system improvements to achieve the performance objectives and target standards developed in the over-arching RSMS. It is used for the guidance of planners, project designers and the developers of road investment proposals.

3. Infrastructure preservation strategy (IPS)

IPS translate road system performance objectives (driven by community outcomes) to priorities for managing the condition of road system assets.

An IPS identifies and prioritises what asset maintenance and renewal activities are required to achieve and sustain the asset condition standards as identified in the RSMS. It recognises both measured and forecast patterns of deterioration of asset condition, the effects of various treatment strategies on life-cycle costs of the asset and the effect of asset condition on road user costs, ride quality and safety.

The IPS provides the strategic framework for managing the condition of the road network. It enables the development of sustainable maintenance and renewal programs to achieve and maintain the asset condition objectives and target standards developed in the road use management strategy. It is primary guidance for asset managers and maintenance management personnel.

4. Road use management strategy (RUMS)

RUMS provide a strategic framework to manage the use of the road system (Austroads 2016). Examples include vehicle registration criteria, mass and dimension limits, operational requirements, licensing of drivers and operators, traffic management, and road space allocation. Such operational management strategies are complementary to the RIS and the IPS.

The road system cannot respond to unconstrained use. Strategies to manage use are commonly included in a RSMS and as separate focused strategies for particular user groups (e.g. freight strategy, port access strategy, timber cartage strategy).

A typical RUMS may include:

  • designated routes for heavy or oversize vehicles

  • speed management strategies

  • restricted hours for the movement of oversize loads

  • peak hour operation of transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes

  • priority for public transport vehicle movements.

Travel demand management (TDM) strategies – which focus on managing the level of travel demand and influencing modal choice – are a sub-set of RUMS.

An example of a road asset management strategy used by Austroads member agencies is outlined in Case Study 1 (for Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR)).

Case Study 1: Example of a road asset management strategy in use by road agencies: Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR)

TMR manages investment in the maintenance, preservation and operation of the state-controlled road network underpinned by asset management planning (Figure 2.5). TMR produces an annual asset management plan that was recently aligned to meet the whole-of-government requirements within the Queensland Government for the development of total asset management plans.

An element management process was adopted for the management and delivery of maintenance, preservation and operation of the Queensland state-controlled road network. An element was defined as a work activity, or work item, related to a road system that requires resources and/or funding to ensure an appropriate LoS is achieved. Each element describes a different type of work on the road network. A list of the current elements is presented in Table 2.1.

Each maintenance, preservation and operations element has an Element Management Plan (EMP) for which an Element Leader is responsible. Element Leaders are technical experts chosen for their skills and experience in a given element. They are appointed to lead the development and maintenance of the EMP and the technology associated with the element.

Performance targets are established for each element. These targets are ‘aspirational’ long-term (20‑year) targets which a reasonable road agency should seek to achieve considering lifecycle implications, legislative requirements and road user expectations. These targets are modest in nature and aim to provide a network which is at least in ‘fair’ condition. Within the constrained four-year funding envelope of the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP), TMR’s externally-published four-year investment program, performance milestones are established for each element. These milestones are achievable performance levels appropriate to the level of investment in the four-year period.

Each EMP outlines the objectives and scope of the element, including a priority list of works to be completed with the allocated funds, or a set of rules to enable Districts to develop a prioritised program of works. Element Managers are District representatives responsible for element activities at the District‑level. They provide advice and support to the Element Leader in the development and moderation of the Queensland Road System Performance Plan (QRSPP) and provide technical advice to Element Leaders in terms of fitness-for-purpose, solution, innovation and technical support.

In 2016, TMR implemented a Tactical Asset Management Planning framework. The purpose of this initiative is to provide a linkage between the strategic asset management planning, the QRSPP and the resultant District Delivery Plans. Each of the District offices is required to produce a Tactical Asset Management Plan (TAMP) annually, in alignment with the QRSPP development process. The TAMP is seen as a key enabler to translate the strategic direction into a plan for delivery.

Table 2.1: Maintenance, preservation and operations elements

Maintenance, preservation and environmentRoad operations
Element numberElementElement numberElement
1Contaminated areas11Vehicle monitoring systems
2Nature conservation13Other transport infrastructure maintenance
3Degraded areas30Route lighting
4Heritage management34Road operations
5Invasive pests 
6Fire risk management
7Management of grids
9Road traffic noise management
15Routine maintenance
16Unsealed road resheeting
17Surfacing treatments
18Pavement rehabilitation
19Bridge and culvert rehabilitation
23Roadside signing
24Roadside and surface delineation
27Batter slope management
29Skid resistance management
70State-wide data collection

Figure 2.5: TMR asset management planning context