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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Review of SDDOT's Pavement Management System
Project Researcher: Katie Zimmerman, Applied Pavement Technologies
Project Manager: Christina Bennett
Research Period: 7/3/2006 - 11/30/2007
Cost: $97,000.00

Problem Statement:The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) adopted a multi-year, network optimizing pavement management system and supporting software from Deighton Associates in 1995. The SDDOT system supports network optimizing over project optimizing and worst first. The Department realizes that the science of pavement management has advanced since the time the SDDOT system was incepted, which may allow improved pavement management at the SDDOT. In addition, recent organizational changes at the SDDOT may affect how the Department will choose to manage pavements from this time forward. Finally, personnel, policy, and philosophical changes over the past eleven years have complicated and possibly obscured the important role of pavement management in the Departments capital investment and asset management decisions.

Since pavements on the South Dakota State Trunk Highway System represent a $2.3 billion investment with a $4 billion replacement cost, managing pavements is a critical, Department-wide concern. A diverse array of policies, procedures, and systems represent influences that can significantly impact the pavement management process. A sampling of potential impacts includes:

  • conflicting departmental definitions regarding the prioritization of reconstruction, resurfacing, and maintenance needs;

  • institutional restructuring, which inherently leads to philosophical changes in management processes;

  • desired project-level improvements that sometimes conflict with highway system or network priorities;

  • potential changes to pavement design processes as a result of the new Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide currently being considered for implementation by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO);

  • changes to accounting and budgeting processes that leave uncertainties in the funding for highway projects and highway network planning;

  • highway maintenance activities that sometimes go unrecorded;

  • Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 34 and other national asset management enticements;

  • Outcome of SDDOT Research Project SD2005-01 "SD Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide Implementation Plan", to be completed Summer, 2006;

  • limitations within the software or computing environment.

  • Considering the age of the current SDDOT pavement management system coupled with the evolution of many surrounding and supporting processes, a thorough review of the Departments pavement management philosophy, system, and supporting policies is very much in order. By reconciling the inadequacies or inconsistencies that are affecting pavement managements direction within the Department, establishing a full list of criteria that satisfies SDDOT requirements should ensure a more effective management strategy for the state highway system.

    Findings: The study recommends a strategic direction for pavement management within the SDDOT and provides specific recommendations to the pavement management process to achieve a better overall vision. Enhancements to the pavement management process were also identified to further improve the effectiveness of the SDDOT's decision-making process.

    Research Objectives:
    1  Establish departmental consensus on the desired role and functionality of SDDOT's pavement management process in consideration of technical and organizational needs.
    2  Propose revised or new policies and procedures related to pavement management that are consistent with all practicable, administrative, organizational, and operational needs.
    3  Define the requirements of a Pavement Management System-including data collection, analysis, and reports-to effectively manage highway pavements in accordance with departmental philosophy.
    4  Assess the capabilities of SDDOT's current Pavement Management System and alternative systems to meet the newly defined functional requirements.

    Research Tasks:
    1  Review material furnished by the project's Technical Panel related to pavement management at the SDDOT, including departmental policies, the Department's strategic plan, and the current synopsis of SDDOT's Enhanced Pavement Management System.
    2  Meet with the project's Technical Panel to review the project scope and work plan.
    3  Conduct pavement management overview and interview sessions with various groups in the SDDOT that have impact, or are impacted by pavement management activities, including: central office design personnel, central office finance & planning personnel,
    4  Review pavement management practices at other state departments of transportation where needs are deemed similar to the SDDOT's and perform comparative analyses to identify pavement management practices that might be deemed distinctly practicable for
    5  Propose an agenda and content for a workshop that guides the SDDOT Executive Team and personnel involved with pavement management, planning, and design through a consensus-building process relative to the future role of pavement management at the Dep
    6  Summarize the findings of Tasks 1-5 and present them first to the project's Technical Panel and on the following day to the SDDOT Executive Team.
    7  Upon approval of the project's Technical Panel, conduct a facilitated workshop with the Executive Team and appropriate staff from the SDDOT that ultimately leads to recommended strategies for performing optimized pavement management at the Department
    8  Propose and present, for review and approval of the Technical Panel, recommendations based upon the outcome of the facilitated workshop and sound pavement management principles, specifically laying out the strategic direction for pavement management
    9  Upon approval of the recommendations by the Technical Panel, prepare final drafts of the proposed SDDOT pavement management process, policy documents needed to support the process, and a recommended strategy for incorporating the pavement management
    10  Based on SDDOT concurrence with the proposed pavement management process, develop a system requirements document that addresses data collection and management, analytical tools, hardware, software, and necessary training, along with estimates of cost
    11  Upon review and approval of the system requirements document by the Technical Panel, prepare a final report and executive summary of the research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
    12  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

    Documents Available:
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