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Bridge Asset Valuation and the Role of the Bridge Management System


Today, most if not all transportation agencies or Departments of Transportation (DOT) are moving towards implementing asset management systems or components of asset management systems. Asset management systems for bridges generally answer fundamental questions about ownership, location, and condition, and most also address the cost of preservation and improvement needs, as well as the forecasting of future performance. But so far there are few tools to estimate the economic value of bridge assets and the effect of agency policy on this valuation. This question has become especially important to many agencies in response to GASB 34, and it is also a useful performance measure for management decision support. Often without the ability to answer the question of “what is the value of our assets?” engineers and/or administrators are unable to adequately support an argument for increased funding of infrastructure (particularly when borrowing to finance improvements). In essence, the civil engineering community is facing a new era where valuation of infrastructure assets is being required, but the procedural guidelines/models needed are yet to be developed or adequately defined. Fortunately, most modern BMS such as the Stantec Ontario Bridge Management System (OBMS), developed for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, have all the necessary data and models to perform the asset valuation calculations for individual bridges, subsets of bridges, or for the entire network. In the particular case of OBMS, a new performance measure called the Bridge Condition Index (BCI), which is calculated based on bridge condition and financial weight or importance of contributing elements of the bridge, can be directly tied to the current asset value of the structure. In this paper, methods to determine the asset valuation of structural assets are discussed, and means to carry out these calculations are shown which can be implemented in a bridge management system. Different GASB 34 compliant methods are shown which can be used depending on the agency preference.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Ellis, R.M
Thompson, P.D