The highway infrastructure asset is the most valuable asset owned by the public sector in the UK. The significant levels of funding for the management of this asset are under continuous scrutiny, with increasing pressure from government and the public for transparency, accountability and more efficient use of the limited resources available.
Asset management is a well-established discipline, implemented in the UK and internationally for the management of physical assets. Many asset owning organisations have adopted the principles of asset management and as a result, can demonstrate benefits in terms of financial efficiencies, improved accountability and stewardship of the asset, better value for money and improved customer service.
In the highways context – where the asset is the highway itself – the aim is to provide a structured approach to roads maintenance to enable highway authorities to operate, maintain and restore their ‘highway assets’ to meet key performance requirements. Looking after the highways network is a national priority given its fundamental role in the economy. To fulfil this potential, it needs to be adequately maintained. Highway authorities in England are required by the Department for Transport (DfT) to demonstrate they are making the best use of highway assets through Transport Asset Management Plans.
A Transport Asset Management Plan (TAMP) [PDF, 950Kb] is a tool that allows detailed information on the assets held by the council to be provided at all corporate levels. This would then enable the value for money of local highway maintenance to be measured more effectively against other local transport spending, and eventually assist in crucial strategy and planning decisions.