International practices in investment decision making in road sector

Li, Qindong and Kumar, Arun (2003) International practices in investment decision making in road sector. [Report]


This document provides the findings of an international review of investment decision-making practices in road asset management. Efforts were concentrated on identifying the strategic objectives of agencies in road asset management, establishing and understanding criteria different organisations adopted and ascertaining the exact methodologies used by different countries and international organisations. Road assets are powerful drivers of economic development and social equity. They also have significant impacts on the natural and man-made environment. The traditional definition of asset management is “A systematic process of maintaining, upgrading and operating physical assets cost effectively. It combines engineering principles with sound business practices and economic theory and it provides tools to facilitate a more organised, logical approach to decision-making” (US Dept. of Transportation, 1999). In recent years, the concept has been broadened to cover the complexity of decision making, based on a wider variety of policy considerations as well as social and environmental issues rather than is covered by Benefit-Cost analysis and pure technical considerations. Current international practices are summarised in table 2. It was evident that Engineering-economic analysis methods are well advanced to support decision-making. A range of tools available supports performance predicting of road assets and associated cost/benefit in technical context. The need for considering triple plus one bottom line of social, environmental and economic as well as political factors in decision-making is well understood by road agencies around the world. The techniques used to incorporate these however, are limited. Most countries adopt a scoring method, a goal achievement matrix or information collected from surveys. The greater uncertainty associated with these non-quantitative factors has generally not been taken into consideration. There is a gap between the capacities of the decision-making support systems and the requirements from decision-makers to make more rational and transparent decisions. The challenges faced in developing an integrated decision making framework are both procedural and conceptual. In operational terms, the framework should be easy to be understood and employed. In philosophical terms, the framework should be able to deal with challenging issues, such as uncertainty, time frame, network effects, model changes, while integrating cost and non-cost values into the evaluation. The choice of evaluation techniques depends on the feature of the problem at hand, on the aims of the analysis, and on the underlying information base At different management levels, the complexity in considering social, environmental, economic and political factor in decision-making is different. At higher the strategic planning level, more non-cost factors are involved. The complexity also varies based on the scope of the investment proposals. Road agencies traditionally place less emphasis on evaluation of maintenance works. In some cases, social equity, safety, environmental issues have been used in maintenance project selection. However, there is not a common base for the applications.

Additional Information

Item Type: Report
Collection: CRC for Construction Innovation
Keywords: CRC for Construction Innovation; Program C : Delivery Management of Built Assets; Project 2001-010-C : Investment Decision Framework for Infrastructure Assets Management
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2014 03:18
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2014 03:20
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Icon.Net Pty Ltd
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