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Asset Management for the Roads Sector

In most OECD Member countries, the road network constitutes one of the largest community assets
and is predominately government-owned. Road administrations must maintain, operate, improve,
replace and preserve this asset while, at the same time, carefully managing the scarce financial and
human resources needed to achieve these objectives. All of this is accomplished under the close
scrutiny of the public who pay for and are regular users of the road network, and who increasingly
demand improved levels of service in terms of safety, reliability, environmental impact and comfort.
Asset management as applied to the roads sector represents “a systematic process of maintaining,
upgrading and operating assets, combining engineering principles with sound business practice and
economic rationale, and providing tools to facilitate a more organised and flexible approach to making
the decisions necessary to achieve the public’s expectations”.
Governments are placing greater pressures on road administrations to improve the efficiency of,
and accountability for, the management of the road network. Indeed, in many countries, local highway
authorities face formal accountability and reporting requirements on how they manage their assets.
Asset management systems offer the prospect of significantly improving road network management
outcomes. This report is a review of asset management systems as applied to the roads sector and an
analysis of the responses to a survey conducted among those countries represented on an OECD
Working Group on Asset Management Systems.