Asset Management and Metropolitan Planning Organizations

The project has the following five specific tasks:

1)      Perform literature review regarding asset management tools and the use of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM).
2)      Review the state of the practice in participating MPOs and individual organizations.
3)      Develop a template for SSM to characterize the investment decisions made by regional planning agencies and the role asset management can and does play in these decisions.
4)      Conduct case studies of metropolitan planning organizations.
5)      Synthesis of case studies to identify issues, gaps, and opportunities for applying asset management at the regional level.


Principal Investigator(s):

P.S. Sriraj


P.S. Sriraj




The objectives are three-fold:

1) to understand the state of the practice of asset management and its place in the long range plan for the region.

2) identify gaps and needs in data and tools.

3) explore tools to support asset management at the regional level.


Various agencies and stakeholders have opined that one of the major obstacles to successful implementation of asset management within organizations has been with respect to the lack of coordination and agreement on the goals of asset management. While the technology for managing assets is available, one needs to overcome the hurdles presented by the human activity system. It is in this context that this project will contribute to pushing the envelope by providing a better understanding of the human activity system as well as identifying the key barriers towards successful implementation of asset management at the regional level.

The project will include structured interviews with stakeholders from various public agencies including local metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) as well as the various transportation entities in the region. The interviews will serve to identify the gaps in the existing data stream as well as in understanding the data needs for the region. This process, with theoretical underpinnings in public participation, will make use of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM). SSM is a qualitative approach to intervene in complex problem situations. It is a holistic and systemic approach that has been used to understand problems in the transportation context. The management of assets by an MPO is a problem situation that lends itself to being studied with this methodology.

Expected Results or Products:

This project will provide insights into the asset management practice at a handful of MPOs with an eye on transferring the lessons learned to other regions and to highlight any improvements that can be made to the existing state of practice in these regions.

NOTE: A report or paper from this research is not immediately available.


P.S. Sriraj
Urban Transportation Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
412 South Peoria Street, Suite 340
Chicago, IL 60607
Voice: (312) 413-7568
Fax: (312) 413-0006






Midwest Regional University Transportation Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison