Asset Management & Systems – Auckland Transport Pathways is a finalist in the Excellence in Asset Management Category of the 2022 IPWEA NZ Asset Management Excellence Awards. The Excellence in Asset Management Category is sponsored by Waugh Infrastructure Management.

Auckland Transport Pathways (ATP) is a professional services contract which initiated with the aim to co-develop and implement a robust and cost-effective asset management system (AMS). The system would ensure that an adequate level of service was delivered across the 8,000km of pathways (footpaths, walkways, crossings, and cycleways) in the Auckland region.

This project began in June 2017/18 and was completed in 2022. The project was carried out collaboratively by WSP and Auckland Transport.

Auckland Transport’s (AT) growing ambitions regarding the expansion of their strategic micro-mobility network in order to meet community health, congestion and sustainability goals through mode shift, meant that a more consistent and scalable approach to operations planning was required.

To meet the above goals and deliver on a scalable, cost-effective AMS for pathways new innovations in the areas of machine learning, operations research and database management were implemented at various stages of the proposed AMS after careful collaboration between WSP and AT. The scope of activities included:

Pathways Condition Assessment:

  • Develop a standard list of faults
  • Implementation of a motorised scooter survey
  • Automated fault collection

Forward Work programming:

  • Develop a renewal benefit score through multi criteria analysis
  • Develop an optimisation algorithm to maximise the net benefit score
  • Develop a prioritisation framework

Based on the maturity levels within Sections 2.4 and Section 3.3 of the IIMM this project shows intermediate and advanced asset management excellence through:

  • The development of a decision framework that uses operations research and cost-benefit analyses to optimise expenditure
  • Continual review and improvement of operational process
  • Prioritisation frame works accounts for asset condition, risk and criticality
  • Routinely captured asset condition which is updated as completed works are received
  • Condition results are regularly evaluated by analysing year on year trends to show value for investment

Asset Management Principles

The Auckland Transport Pathway Asset Management System primarily aims at delivering asset management excellence under two principles covered in the IIMM: Section 2.4 and Section 3.3. These are discussed in detail below:

Section 2.4.5: Condition rating methods

For the pathways AMS, condition information is captured through using artificial intelligence to identify faults, as well as their severity, based on network video collected by the WSP scooters.

WSP and AT worked collaboratively to develop a fault guide that not only defines the types of faults required for maintenance, but also defining quantitative ranges of severity banding a 1-5 severity/condition grade. An example is trip lips, that have severity based on the vertical displacement, measured in millimetres. A 10-15mm vertical displacement is defined as a condition grade 4.

These individual faults are then summarised to their given pathway sections, to provide the proportion of each footpath section in grades 1-5. This is a significant change to the previous condition rating and reporting process. It reported lengths of footpath subjectively graded overall, resulting in an averaged score, rather than identifying faults individually including their severity. Lack of repeatability year on year, and/or identification of higher severity faults requiring repair was the outcome.

Collecting of condition data at the finest granular level, extends its timeliness and interoperability, as changes to the overall reporting structure or candidate site list methodology can all be made, knowing the baseline data is uniform and consistent.  The dataset can then be used by other systems due to its uniformity with no loss of fidelity.

Furthermore, the application of a quantitative fault assessment methodology year on year created a reliable dataset for trend analysis that can be used in predicting future condition (section 2.4.6 IIMM). Occurring in tandem with the condition assessment is pathways inventory validation through desktop network video. This is used to ensure that the underlying asset data that is used to gauge the extent of the current network is up to date.

An important outcome of the Pathways AMS is to show value for money. A trend analysis comparing investment, with change in condition, was undertaken to report if over time application of the developed pathways forward work programme (FWP), delivered on improving the network level of service. See community section for an example showing value for money.

Upon proof of value for money, the completed renewal/maintenance work is used to update the individual fault status in the AT database. This is another example of extending the lifespan of regionally collected fault data, as it allows the asset manager to make sound informed decisions, backed up with supporting data, without having to spend additional money to identify completed faults, and real time asset condition updates.

Section 3.3: Operational Planning

A key output of the AT Pathways AMS was delivery of an evidence based forward work programme for renewals and maintenance.

The indicative maintenance and renewal programmes represent the pathway segments identified for renewal, to address poor and very poor condition, while optimising aesthetics and cost.

Summaries of the quantities and costs for maintenance and renewal are reported to enable Auckland Transport to understand; the resource; and works; required to achieve the objectives of its Footpath Asset Management Strategy, i.e., providing:

  • Footpaths that are safe, attractive and easy to use for people of all ages and abilities.
  • A well-maintained and consistent footpath network that meets the needs of the community
  • Value-for-money and affordable footpaths to the users

To deliver on the above, a renewal benefit score was developed based on multi criteria analysis of various pathways attributes including Condition, Material, Age, and Aesthetics.

Next using operations research a non-linear optimisation algorithm was developed to test various combinations of renewal lengths and return a candidate site list that would maximise the net benefit score.

Finally, a prioritisation framework for candidate sites was developed to align them to an existing budget as well as other corridor works e.g., pavement works, utilities, surface water channels, capital works. The output at this stage would be the forward work programme for pathway renewals, allowing alignment and clash detection to be undertaken.

Based on the maturity assessment in Section 3.3 of IIMM, the use of a decision frameworks involving multi-criteria & cost-benefit analysis to prioritise renewals is considered an advanced form of operational planning.