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The Critique of the Asset Management Plan (AMP) is for the Auckland City Council (ACC) roading and transportation infrastructure plan 2009/10. This document is a key part of ACC's asset management practices.
The purpose of the plan is to ensure that the council's assets are protected and practically managed over their lifecycle. The plan also links into the long-term council community plan required under the Local Government Act 2002.
ACC's strategic vision and the Transport Strategy 'Connecting People and Places', demonstrates the responsible management of the transport assets and the resulting delivery of the strategic outcomes required of New Zealand's largest city; the leading business and employment centre, and 'First city of the Pacific' gateway for international tourism and trade (ACC Transport AMP 2009/10).
The path from council's vision to how they deliver agreed service levels is shown below:
Figure 1: ACC Vision and delivery strategy (ACC Transport AMP 2009/10)
Tactical Plans and Strategic objectives
Auckland City's transport network is strategically important to the Auckland Region and forms the gateway between local cities. ACC's transport asset management plan (AMP) sits within a framework of national, regional and local strategies and planning documents that signal a clear direction toward a more compact urban layout for Auckland city, supported by a transport system that provides viable and sustainable choices in how to travel.
ACC assets have a replacement value of $3.0 billion and include 1,420 kilometres of roads and nearly 5 million square metres of footpaths. The Asset Management Plan has been prepared by Council's Transport Division, which is responsible for planning, maintaining, operating and constructing the transport network at an optimum level. The plan forecasts optimal costs for managing the roading and transport assets over the next 10 years, at agreed service levels set in accordance with current technical and legal requirements and expectations of customers. It reflects the strategic direction and objectives of the Council for an effective approach to transport needs. The major focus is on asset renewals and setting the standard for new works and upgrades, including the following:
Transport infrastructure renewals (such as footpaths, roads, structures and drainage)
'Central Connector' (improved transit corridor for bus, cycle and pedestrian ways)
Rugby World Cup related projects in Sandringham; around Eden Park
Dominion Road improvements, including bus lanes
Road safety improvements, including walking school buses and school travel plans
Projects related to the Auckland-Manukau Eastern Transit Initiative (ACC Transport AMP 2009/10).
Operations and maintenance strategies determine how the transport network will be managed to consistently deliver service level targets. The council's overall operation and maintenance goal is to ensure assets achieve performance targets at lowest cost over time. A key strategy is managing the asset risk; so that council do not spend more in the long-term responding to asset failures than they would had they managed the risk in the first place. A key means of ensuring cost-effect delivery is competitive tendering of the maintenance and renewal contracts. A new initiative in this regards has been established (western maintenance alliance) which started on 1 July 2008 for a five year term.
The Transport AMP is linked with other council documents as described below.
Auckland City Council
Outlines the financial implications and level of service required to maintain and deliver the big city baseline for Auckland City.
Contributes project and programme detail to the next long term plan.
2009/19 Long term plan
Auckland City Council
A plan developed in consultation with the community on the 10 year plan for Auckland City which enables the council to prioritise projects that will help achieve future goals for the city. The plan shows how council will work towards achieving what the community wants for the future - community outcomes.
Provides the key planning information for the 2009 transport AMP.
Regional Growth Strategy
Auckland Regional Council
Seeks to limit the outward spread of urban Auckland to protect the natural environment, promote more sustainable and intensive ways of living and working, and connected by multi-modal links within the metropolitan urban area.
Provides key planning information for our transport network to fulfil strategy outcomes.
Figure 2: National, regional and local strategies and plans (ACC Transport AMP 2009/10)
Methods and Techniques
The transport division at the council has 5 departments who report directly to the Council's Chief Executive. They are organised into four main groups - Policy, Parking, the Infrastructure Delivery Group and Transport Assets. The asset management team is responsible for the planning and service management of all Transport assets, which comprises engineering, financial analysis, administration and management staff.
The Transport management team deliberately chose to develop the 2009/10 AMP almost exclusively in-house using the methods and techniques as a learning exercise for the council staff. Specialist staff were drawn in to the project team from all parts of the transport division particularly, asset management, strategy, finance and parking, with external specialists used at times to facilitate workshops.
Transport has a well-documented process covering high-level business functions through to individual process maps. The Council has an internal Solutions team which looks at business improvement and change management services within the transport department, overlooking ongoing programme to review and improve processes and systems.
Road trenching has a significant detrimental effect on the life of the asset. To reduce incidence level and real cost of this damage, considerable effort has been directed into the overall coordination of activity. This means varies works programmes are merged so that appropriate pre-seal works take place before final Asphalt or Chip- sealing. Additionally, there has been a major upgrading of the transport infrastructure asset delivery framework moving towards significant improvement, with implementation achieved. ACC have implemented a project management framework as a core part of the Transport Infrastructure delivery including specialist risk management and procurement functions.
Health and safety is an important part of the structure. ACC's efforts are focussed into three core activities:
Safety of the public using council's assets i.e. provide safe roading infrastructure network
Safety of contractors whom the council employ to undertake work on the network i.e. duties of principles as per the Health and Safety in Employment Act 2004
Health and Safety of Transport's employees
In addition to council's standard policies for health and safety, the transport division has also undertaken the following initiatives:
Engaging the Auckland Region Contracts Group for improving minimum contractor standards
Employed Site Safe, a specialist health and safety training firm
Adopted new methods and innovative work practises to improve safety on network
Introduced a wallet card for site based health and safety issues
Developing a traffic management plan for use when staff undertake site based audits (ACC Transport AMP 2009/10)
ACC's organisational approach to lifecycle management includes meeting agreed levels of service at least cost over time. The Councils Lifecycle management plans provide good coverage of how management of the network operates and form clear links between service levels and lifecycle management.
This AMP covers the lifecycle of the transport asset activities including:
operations - running costs
maintenance - proactive & reactive
renewal-replacement and rehabilitation
land development (growth)
vested assets and levels of service (improvements), and regulatory improvements
The ACC Organisational approach to lifecycle management includes:
Meeting the service levels at least cost over time
Lifecycle management plans providing good coverage of how the network is managed
Providing a clear link between service levels and lifecycle management plans
The lifecycle management plans section of the AMP details the broad strategies and work programmes required to achieve the goals and standards. It presents the lifecycle management plan for the transport assets, and includes:
A description of the assets in physical and financial terms
Detailed operations, maintenance, renewals and development strategies
Level of service
Figure 3 shows the confidence framework (NAMS IIMM) used to determine the confidence in the transport asset data.
Figure 3: Asset data - confidence grades (ACC Transport AMP 2009/10)
Figure 4 below reflects the reliability of asset data for the transport assets.
Figure 4: Overall confidence data (ACC Transport AMP 2009/10)
Data Collection and Condition assessment allows ACC to understand the remaining life of its assets or components. This understanding drives future expenditure patterns. By conducting regular condition and performance monitoring, maintenance strategies and/or rehabilitation strategies can be updated and refined, and ultimate replacement programmes can be determined more accurately. Generally, the condition of a network asset is rated on a scale of one to five, where one is excellent and five is very poor. Through condition rating information, the broad condition/level of service of the network asset can be determined.
5 Very Poor
It is critical that council has clear knowledge of the condition of the assets and their performance as all management decisions regarding maintenance, rehabilitation and renewal revolve around these two aspects. Not having this knowledge may lead to unforeseen failure of the asset which can have consequences that constitute a business risk or potential loss to the organisation. The development and continued use of condition assessment data will allow preparation of verifiable predictive decay curves for particular asset types and allow prediction of the remaining life.
Asset condition and performance are graded annually through two condition-rating assessments:
1. High Speed Data survey (HSD) and
2. RAMM Condition Rating
Every year, HSD and RAMM rating are conducted on 100 per cent of arterials and collectors. The rating on the Isthmus roads takes place for 100 per cent of each treatment length, rather than 10 per cent of each treatment length as allowed by the RAMM rating manual. This gives a more accurate assessment of the network condition, resulting in greater accuracy from the modelling tools. The two main performance measures used to determine the condition and performance of the road network are:
NAASRA roughness count
These in turn demonstrate whether the council are achieving the agreed service levels. In addition to these measures (which link to technical performance measures), the following aspects also indicate how the council road pavement assets are performing:
Remaining Surface Life
Surface Condition Index (SCI)
Pavement Integrity Index (PII)
Structural Number (SNP).
Figure 5: Road Condition Grade (ACC Transport AMP 2009/10)
The Councils targeted performance measure is to maintain roads in a condition grade three (moderate condition) or better. Figure 5 demonstrates that a quarter of the council road network is not achieving the agreed level of service. The deferral of renewal work, specifically targeted at renewing poor and very poor condition roads, has increased from 216km in 2005, to 273km in 2008. This suggests that the rate of the council's renewal work is not keeping up with the rate at which the roads are deteriorating from moderate or better condition, to poor or very poor condition.
Future works programmes using existing data
Predictive performance modelling through dTIMs underpins the overall decision-making process for renewals. This requires road age and condition data from High Speed Data capture surveys. The modelling process enabled optimised maintenance practices, with high volume/density traffic sites usually given priority.
Information from dTIMS incorporates as input into planning the forward work plan as it allows the road asset engineer to:
undertake multiyear programming of road maintenance works
predicts pavement performance over time and permits various 'what if' scenarios to be tested
predicts the implications of the investment level on road condition and the forward work programme
make strategic decisions, and assess their effect
be more effective and efficient.
Historically, ACC have not spent sufficiently on roading renewal and maintenance to deliver agreed roading service levels. While maintenance of kerb and channel is important for keeping water out of road pavements, funding of this item is through the road drainage budget and described in the drainage LCMP. Assessment of kerb and channel condition occurs during pre-seal inspections, with correction of poor kerb and channel prior to resurfacing (so long as there is sufficient budget).
Deferred renewal as described in the RAMM report (as a result of past budgetary constraints and faster deterioration of the network) contributed significantly to increasing the deferral of planned resurfacing and reconstruction work. Current budget constraints mean resurfacing occurs for only two thirds of identified sites annually, with one third deferred. Maintaining the situation of deferring renewal work is not sustainable as deferred resurfacing sites can end up requiring reconstruction.
Routine inspections are currently conducted by Onsite Developments, independent of the council contractors, which identify and prioritise defects on local-roads in one ward each month and all major roads. Joint inspections with the engineer and contractor also occur every month.
The council is committed to an ongoing improvement philosophy for asset management, maintaining a systematic approach. Since the 2006 AMP, a number of improvements have been actioned. The Transport division has committed itself to improving systems, data, processes and organisational practices to raise the level of advancement in the AMP.
The Transport division is responsible for approximately $3.0 billion in assets (excluding land value), with road assets contributing 46 per cent of this value at approximately $1.2 billion. ACC operates a number of advanced asset management systems and techniques, to deliver great services at the lowest lifecycle cost. Improvements noted in the 2009/10 AMP aim to further increase knowledge and drive efficiencies in the division. There are a number of challenges that are faced, with a growing population, increased demand for services, economic unease and presenting on the world stage in 2011 as New Zealand hosts the Rugby World Cup. Council has adopted a strategic management approach to improvement planning, continually developing asset management plans, and implementing improvement processes and practices.
The purpose of the improvement plan is to:
identify and develop implementation of asset management planning processes
identify and prioritise ways to cost-effectively improve the quality of the AMP, and therefore decision making and service delivery
Identify indicative time-scales, priorities, human and financial resources required to achieve asset management planning objectives.
The development of the 2009/10 AMP comprises existing levels of service, best available current information and knowledge of various transport staff. It is an ongoing process with the document reviewed and updated regularly. This review process involves using improved knowledge of customer expectations (community consultation) and information from asset management systems and databases. This enables Transport to further optimise decision-making, review outputs, develop and improve strategies, improve risk management and extend the planning horizon; therefore achieving a sustainable approach to asset management and service delivery.
The Auckland City Council Asset Management Plan has been developed with the involvement of the staff from varies departments to take into account different points of view, experience and outcomes required. The Level of Service framework that has been developed is comprehensive. It encompasses all major service areas over the 10 year period. There is an appropriate balance and linking between customer LOS and technical LOS. The LOS also integrates in transport manner to the City Vision and Community Outcomes. Surveys have been completed with detail of what the community wants and where extra operational work is needed. However, there is potential for improvement at the grassroots level for future consultation between the council and rate payers/community. A clear statement is required to clearly define the expected extent of grassroots consultation.
There is a good standard of information in the AMP about growth and demand, and how this translates into projects. The Appendices have been well collated with mention of innovation such as "changes in technology". There is the potential to greater analyse the planned works forecasts to potential changes in demand/growth.
Asset lifecycle management has been covered extensively in the AMP, covered in detail and is comprehensive. A regular format is used for each service area and this is easy to follow. The detailed nature of the information has resulted in particular sections to stand out more than others. For ex: the O&M strategies were not as realistic as the renewals strategies. Other than that, the information in this part of the AMP is of very good quality. This is pleasing to see as a lot of councils have narrow vision and therefore neglect long term management of their assets.
As mentioned above there is good information about the renewals of assets. The O&M strategies, while adequate, often do not match the quality of information seen for the renewals. This could be due to the greater amount to expenditure required for renewals instead of O&M and therefore higher risk profiles. There is an excellent basis for risk management in Transportation, but it is sometimes unclear in the AMP how the risks are being managed in both an operational and strategic way. This is further justified in Section 4.3.3 - Road Maintenance: which was brief and projected expenditure is flat-lined (what's the rationale behind this projected expenditure?). Also, it would be helpful to have historical graphs showing target renewals Vs actual renewals (particularly for roads due to large expenditure/budget). This would then reinforce the difference in shortfalls in renewing at the right time rather than deferring sites each year and only completing 2/3 of the works programme.
The financial Summary of the AMP is of a reasonable standard as there are a number of areas which are unclear and uncertain to the reader. One key area is to provide a better indication of the confidence of the financial forecasts in the same manner that has been achieved with the condition and performance data.