An efficient asset management process is needed to ensure cost-effectiveness in planning, delivery, operation and maintenance of large infrastructures or infrastructure networks.
Asset Management is an established and standardised process in Industrial Engineering and Services. This is not the same in Civil Engineering and infrastructure networks. Indeed, infrastructure asset management generally focuses on the later stages of a facility's life cycle, specifically maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement; risk-based approaches are not always integrated, and network resilience perspective is not implemented throughout the lifecycle, etc. and once such services are provided, there is not is not a harmonised approach for infrastructure asset management.
This is why a process for efficient asset management is needed to define methods and tools to track assets, manage maintenance activity, determine the life cycle and replacement costs of the assets, assist in determining funding strategies, optimise capital investments in operation and maintenance, and help with the replacement of assets. Currently, the procurement, design, construction, exploitation and public communication to the final users and society of land transport infrastructures:
* are not multimodal,
* are not cross-assets but focused on individual assets,
* lack a common risk based approach and the implementation of resilient concepts throughout the whole life cycle
This fragmentation hinders lifecycle objectives and creates information gaps between these processes. To address these issues, there is the need to establish a common framework for the governance, management and finance of transport infrastructure projects that will ensure the best possible return from limited investment funds in transport infrastructures.
The 36-month RAGTIME project, which started in September 2016, aims to do this by developing, demonstrating and validating an innovative management approach, laying out a whole system planning software platform, based on standard multiscale data models, able to facilitate a holistic management throughout the entire lifecycle of the infrastructure.
The concept proposed in RAGTIME is to move from current Assets Integrity Management (AIM) approaches towards Advanced Asset Integrity Management (AAIM) of transport infrastructure networks across all phases in the lifetime of an infrastructure project. The concept is interdependent of three modules: governance module (investment decision processes, communication etc.), finance, economic and risk module (socio-economic context analysis, business cases etc.) and management module (technical etc.), which all together enable owners and operators to ensure the best return of their investments.
Overall approach and methodology
The project has been structured into three main phases:
Phase I (Setting the scene and defining the AAIM framework) - focuses on defining the technical, legal and economic requirements to be introduced in the platform, gathering existing and new standard asset management tools and determining how each of these aspects have to be interrelated in the management of infrastructure through entire lifecycle.
Phase II (Investigation & Development of AAIM) - focuses on the different issues related to the three different tools to be integrated in the existing standard asset management tool.
Phase III (Integration and Validation) - focuses on demonstration and validation of the AAIM approach for three case studies.
In order to define the technical, legal and economic requirements of the RAGTIME platform, the project consortium has set out to analyse existing management practices and comparison of different national législations, which have an influence on investments, overhauling and reconstructions. This is being done by liaising with transport infrastructure owners and operators through face to face discussions, telephone discussions and a questionnaire. If you are interested in being involved please click here, fill in the questionnaire and send to the Project Coordinator (contact details below). The outcome of this task is a report, Mapping of European practices, recommendations, standards and tools on the management needs of different sectors of transport infrastructure, which will be published in the coming months. More info about the report in the next issue of newsletter.
RAGTIME falls under the H2020 topic of MG-8.4a-2015 - Smart governance, network resilience and streamlined delivery of infrastructure innovation. The kick-off meeting was held in Bilbao, Spain on 20th-21st September 2016.
For more information, see www.ragtime-asset.eu or contact Project Coordinator Maria Zalbide at email@example.com. You can also hear more about RAGTIME at the FEHRL Infrastructure Research Meeting 2017 (FIRM17) on Friday 7th April 2017.