University of Twente Student Theses


Implementation of performance age principles in the decision-making process at Rijkswaterstaat

Cuendias González, Saúl (2018) Implementation of performance age principles in the decision-making process at Rijkswaterstaat.

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Abstract:This thesis was conducted in the Netherlands under the supervision of Rijkswaterstaat, the executive agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. A recent study has revealed that most bridges from the Dutch road network are replaced due to functional problems (e.g. bridge dimensions, traffic capacity, safety, landscape fragmentation, etc.). This means that the current asset management at Rijkswaterstaat focused on technical problems is not enough. New methodologies, procedures and tools should be developed to fill up the gap between functionality and technique analysis. The final goal would be to have an integrated approach in which technical and functional features are considered to make objective and sound decisions. Then, the problem statement of this research is as follows: “There is a lack of objective and standard decision-making procedure at Rijkswaterstaat when a bridge is replaced due to functional reasons”. Within this framework, under the supervision of Rijkswaterstaat, it has been developed the Performance Age, a methodology which outcome is the age of a bridge according to its functional performance based on a series of performance indicators. The Performance Age is a first concept that can provide useful and objective information about the bridge functional performance, but certain limitations have been encountered that might jeopardize its implementation. The purpose of this research is developing a standard methodology that supports decision making at Rijkswaterstaat using the Performance Age principles. Consequently, the following research question has been formulated: How can the Performance Age principles be applied to the decision-making process for bridge replacement at Rijkswaterstaat? Based on the Performance Age research, a literature review and several interviews with different experts within Rijkswaterstaat and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the Performance Age methodology was improved and adapted to become useful for the decision-making procedure. The developed methodology can be seen in figure i. The methodology starts with the determination of relevant aspects for bridge functional analysis. At this step, the methodology was moulded to include the decision-maker’s point of view by means of an interview as an adequate contribution to ensure that the methodology aligns with reality. The outcome of this step is the Hierarchy of Bridge Functional Criteria. The Hierarchy of Bridge Functional Criteria is then weighted. Each aspect influencing functionality has a different importance, leading to different weights. Thereafter, the bridge is assessed in two-steps. First, a pre-evaluation step that aims to ensure that the bridge performs to a minimum level in those performance indicators which are essential for the proper bridge service (safety, traffic volume carried, load bearing capacity, bridge geometry and noise emissions). Technicians from Rijkswaterstaat and monitored data will be used to determine the score of the bridge in the pre-evaluation. A threshold is defined and if the bridge does not score above that threshold, the Remaining Functional Life is 0 so the bridge should be directly replaced. If the bridge succeeds the pre-evaluation, the rest of performance indicators are assessed and scored in the evaluation by technicians and monitored data. The score is used to, with a set of mathematical equations, determine the Global Bridge Functional Performance, a number between 1 (“perfect”) and 4 (“poor”) that indicates how the bridge functionally performs. Finally, the Global Bridge Functional Performance is related with the Functional Evolution with time of the bridge and the Remaining Functional Life is obtained. The Remaining Functional Life would be an objective and sound information supporting decisions and improving the resource efficiency. The outcome of the research shows the following results: ❖ It is confirmed that the functionality assessment problem exists because technicians and decision-makers are aware of it and innovations in the field are welcomed if they help to improve the efficiency of asset management in the Netherlands. ❖ The Remaining Functional Life can be a useful tool for decision makers as it allows a repeatable, sound and objective procedure to make well-informed decisions among competing alternatives. ❖ The methodology can allow decision-makers to make decisions based on empirical grounds rather than the subjective justifications that are currently used. This will help decision makers to defend their decisions against the stakeholders. ❖ Involving decision-makers in the design of the methodology is an adequate approach to focus efforts in the right direction and to inculcate an ownership feeling with the methodology that eases its implementation. ❖ The information given by the methodology (remaining functional life and the performance score in the performance indicators) will allow decision makers to make more precise replacement strategies, planning and prioritization among different alternatives. III ❖ The functional performance can be well-studied with a set of 10 performance indicators validated by technicians and decision-makers. It can be seen in table ii. ❖ The methodology will improve the Life Cycle Management at Rijkswaterstaat by including the Life Cycle Performance to the already implemented Life Cycle Costs and Life Cycle Risks. ❖ The Remaining Functional Life can be integrated in the Economic End of Life Indicator (EELI) used at Rijkswaterstaat to decide on bridge interventions more precisely and make a more efficient use of the resources. Based on the results of the study, certain recommendations are given: ❖ The information obtained from this research should be added to DISK (the bridge management system from Rijkswaterstaat). ❖ Rijkswaterstaat should ensure that the workers are aware of the functionality problem and presentations might be useful. Workers would be more eager to use new methodologies and give ideas for other potential researches. ❖ Rijkswaterstaat should improve the knowledge sharing and reduce the information fragmentation within the organization in order to ease the implementation of novel procedures and tools. ❖ It is recommended that Rijkswaterstaat starts monitoring adequate data to determine the functional performance objectively. ❖ It is strongly recommended that Rijkswaterstaat reduces the uncertainty of the methodology by studying further the functional evolution curves and the assessment scale.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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