Gateshead’s road network provides a fundamental resource, essential both to the economy of the area and for the quality of life for residents and visitors. Its effective management and maintenance has an impact on activity of all kinds, from day to day journeys to work, school, shopping or for leisure, through to the needs of the emergency services and the road freight industry.
In recent years the investment in highway infrastructure and its performance has been increasingly under the spotlight. The current financial challenges and increased public demands and expectations have meant that the way local highway authorities managed their highway infrastructure had to be re- considered.
Asset Management has been widely accepted by central and local government as a means to deliver a more efficient and effective approach to management of the highway infrastructure assets through long term planning. Both our society and economy are underpinned by infrastructure assets including water supply, waste disposal, energy, telecommunications as well as transport. This infrastructure is vital in modern society and requires significant investment for development and maintenance. Such an approach enables more efficient and effective use of resources, while fulfilling legal obligations, delivering stakeholder needs and safeguarding the engineering integrity of the network.
What is Highway Asset Management?
The concept of highway asset management is becoming increasingly important for those responsible for managing highway networks. Asset management is not a new concept and most highway authorities are practicing elements of asset management already. However, the service wide application of asset management is a new concept.
In the highways context - where the asset is the highway itself - the aim is to provide a structured approach to roads maintenance to enable highway authorities to operate, maintain and restore their ‘highway assets' to meet key performance requirements.Looking after the highways network is a national priority given its fundamental role in the economy. To fulfil this potential, it needs to be adequately maintained.
Highway Asset Management Plans
Highway authorities in England are required by the Department for Transport (DfT) to demonstrate they are making the best use of highway assets through Asset Management Plans.
A Highway Asset Management Plan (HAMP) is a tool that allows detailed information, on the assets held by the authority, to be provided at all corporate levels.This would then enable the value for money of local highway maintenance to be measured more effectively against other local transport spending, and eventually assist in crucial strategy and planning decisions.