Systematic support for decision making for cities and communes to generate work programs, condition state forecast and financial resource plans based on computationally supported algorithms optimising maintenance interventions

Built infrastructure like roads, bridges, engineering structures, rails, utility lines, pipes and sewer account for a large asset value. In densely populated areas, the replacement value of assets can reach up to 100-200 million CHF/km2. For the maintenance of these assets, it is estimated that about 1-2 % of the total replacement value should be invested, estimated between 1-4 million CHF/km2. The considerable value of these assets is not as much in the invested value, but instead in the utility provided for society and its users. This utility is based on the socieconomic value generated by the existance of the infrastructure, for example the added value of the traffic is estimated in 2001 at about 58.5 billion CHF, or 13.1 % of the gross domestic product.

The infrastructure owners bear the responsibility of reaching certain performance goals for the maintenance of infrastructure assets. The infrastructure assets are to provide a particular level of service without hindrances or safety issues during its operation, which may arise due to a poor condition state or frequent maintenance-related construction zones. Furthermore, the maintenance spending should be minimised and the effect of these maintenance interventions should be reduced as possible.

The generation of optimal maintenance intervention combination to maintain the infrastructure, given the above-mentioned goals, is a complex task requiring the consideration of the properties of each sub-system. The responsible infrastructure operators have the necessary experience and know-how to define which work programs are optimal at every time. The complexity of the generation of the optimal work programs at any given time, with a consideration of all objects across different sub-systems in densely populated areas exceeds tha possibility of any humane capacity. This makes the coordination of interventions of different sub-systems increasingly difficult.

To support this complex task, IMC has developed a methodology, which systematically compares the effectiveness of all work programs on all subsystems considering synergy effects, optimal intervention combinations and time of intervention. Based on the different work programs and their intervention times, the financial need and condition state development are generated for the following 40 years as well as work program recommendations for the following 10 years. 

Moreover, scenarios of reduced work programs, eg. because of budget constraints, can also be simulated.

The integrated road infrastructure management system was originally developed for cities. However, as road infrastructure in larger communes have similar, although generally fewer, subsystems the ISI-MS can also be implemented for larger communes.

For further information (in German) see this or this article about the software in a regional road operator magazine.