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4. Asset Management & Project Delivery

This photo shows two NYC DOT employees working on a traffic signal.

DOT maintains a dizzying array of assets. On a typical street, the agency is responsible for traffic signals and street lights, street signs and poles, lane and crosswalk markings, pedestrian ramps, medians and pedestrian islands, the asphalt road surface, and the concrete foundation underneath. DOT also maintains a staggering 789 bridges citywide, from iconic spans like the Brooklyn Bridge to modest crossings like the Carroll Street Bridge in Gowanus. Other significant assets include the Staten Island Ferry operation, the agency’s two asphalt production plants, the Joint Traffic Management Center, dozens of support facilities and yards, and a fleet of 3,000 vehicles and heavy equipment.

To keep New York moving safely and efficiently, DOT is committed to maintaining these assets in a state of good repair. We cannot accomplish our goals of expanded mobility, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and improved street safety unless we meet this obligation first. This is no small task given the advanced age of much of the City’s transportation infrastructure—all four East River bridges, for example, are more than 100 years old. Over the next 10 years, the City will invest $14.4 billion in maintaining and rehabilitating our streets, bridges, and the Staten Island Ferry, and making other major investments. As we implement this ambitious program, we will continue to seek additional funding at all levels of government and explore innovations in project delivery.

A Life-Cycle Approach to Maintaining our Bridges

In the 1980’s, the City learned the hard way the high costs of deferring maintenance on its bridge structures. Because of the City’s financial problems starting in the 1960’s, investment in maintaining and repairing the Williamsburg Bridge was put off for years. In 1988, the bill came due: DOT inspectors found widespread corrosion and cracking in the beams supporting the bridge’s road deck. Faced with the risk of structural failure, the City closed the bridge for two months in order to make emergency repairs.

Deferring maintenance saved the City money in the short run, but accelerated the rate of decay of the bridge, which ultimately needed $1.3 billion in major repairs. By contrast, DOT now conducts regular maintenance of its bridges to prevent decay. Regular maintenance and strategic repairs can extend the useful life of our structures, increase the interval between major rehabilitation projects, and save money over the long term. This life cycle approach to maintaining our assets also increases safety and protects against unplanned bridge closures that can disrupt the street network. 

This photo shows the Williamsburg Bridge reconstruction in the 1990sWilliamsburg Bridge reconstruction in the 1990s

We are also modernizing our approach by adopting best practices in asset management and expanding the use of technology. The agency is replacing legacy computer systems with modern platforms that better track the condition of our infrastructure, help predict future conditions, and analyze the relative costs of repair, rehabilitation, or replacement strategies. These tools can help DOT staff better understand the total cost of different approaches over the life of a given asset and to choose the most cost-effective strategy. 

A State of the Art Asset Management System for Our Streets

This photo shows a NYC DOT crew paving a roadway in Brooklyn.

DOT is responsible for maintaining the asphalt surface of the streets of New York City. The agency is in the midst of a comprehensive effort to improve our road surfaces. The agency is dramatically increasing its road resurfacing program: in fiscal year 2016 DOT will repave more than 1,200 lane-miles of City streets, up from just over 800 a few years ago. Resurfacing totals will reach 1,300 lane-miles in both fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the highest level since the early 1990’s.

But DOT is not just paving more, we are also developing systems to better track the condition of our streets and help extend the useful life of our roadways. The concept, in its early stages, is to build a software tool that can help the agency predict how fast a given street will deteriorate. If feasible, this tool will help us prioritize streets for resurfacing and to target the agency’s resources accordingly. It may also mean fewer potholes and a smoother ride for drivers and cyclists across the five boroughs.

Asset management is not just about keeping our roads smooth and our bridges in sound structural condition, it is also about protecting our transportation network from the hazards of global climate change. As Super Storm Sandy so painfully demonstrated, much of the City, and by extension our streets, are susceptible to rising sea levels and more frequent coastal flooding. As we reinvest in our streets, bridges, and tunnels, the agency is integrating resiliency features to make sure our infrastructure can better withstand the impact of flooding, extreme heat, and increased precipitation.

Fixing the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Triple Cantilever

The photo shows the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Triple CantileverOver the next 10 years, the City will undertake dozens of major capital projects to restore our network of roads and bridges, including significant rehabilitation of major roads essential to the City’s economic vitality. In Brooklyn, the City will rehabilitate and reconstruct the 21 interconnected bridge structures that carry the BQE from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street, including the “triple cantilever” stacked section of highway completed in 1948, which is topped by the iconic Brooklyn Heights Promenade. With no reconstruction work in recent history, the triple cantilever is in need of major repair since many of its components are significantly deteriorated. To reduce the project’s cost by as much as $100 million and its duration by nearly two years, DOT hopes to use the design-build procurement approach.

Finally, DOT is exploring ways to reduce the cost and duration of our major capital projects. The agency manages its own bridge capital projects and works with the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) on capital street reconstruction projects. Currently DOT is required to use the traditional design-bid-build process, which can be particularly time consuming and costly on large infrastructure projects.

To help speed up our capital process, DOT is continuing to pursue authorization from New York State to use design-build contracting, a method of project delivery in which design and construction services are procured under one contract. By overlapping the design and construction phases, design-build increases the accountability of contractors and shortens the delivery schedule, thereby reducing schedule and budget risk for the asset owner. This approach typically achieves a time savings of one to two years when compared to the traditional procurement process. DOT estimates that use of design-build could achieve savings of nearly $250 million across nine bridge projects.  

Design-build is widely used by 41 states and the federal government but remains unavailable to New York City. Certain state agencies and authorities, including the MTA, are authorized to use design-build, which has now been employed in more the 30 projects statewide, including the Tappan Zee Bridge and Kosciuszko Bridge replacement projects. DOT is also exploring other innovative project delivery approaches that can help reduce costs and project duration, while supporting well-paying design and construction jobs.

Increasing Resources to Keep Pavement Markings Fresh 

Pavement markings, such as crosswalks, lane lines, anThis photo shows a NYC DOT employee painting the lines of a high-visibility crosswalk.d bike lane icons, are a key design element in DOT’s Vision Zero, Select Bus Service, and bike lane projects. Over the past 15 years, the agency has dramatically increased its use of pavement markings to make our streets work better, and the total inventory of pavement markings has increased from 69 million linear feet (mlf) to about 225 mlf today – a jump of 226 percent. Keeping markings clear and visible is essential to the safe and efficient operation of our streets.

DOT is embarking on an ambitious program to maintain our pavement markings in a state of good repair. Until recently, the agency was installing about 30 mlf of pavement markings annually.  In 2015, with the support of Vision Zero funding, the agency expanded pavement marking installation to 50 mlf, and is working to further increase output to 75 mlf a year. This increase will enable the agency to continue installing new markings, while freshening up existing ones more frequently. Finally, DOT is also working to increase the durability of our street markings through improved surface preparation methods and the use of new materials.

Goals
Asset Management
1
Maintain DOT’s infrastructure, including streets, bridges, agency facilities, and the Staten Island ferry system, in a state of good repair.
2
Building on current efforts, inventory and assess the condition of all of DOT’s physical assets by 2018.
3
Building on current efforts, set performance and state-of-good-repair targets for each of the agency’s asset classes by 2018.
4
Building on current efforts, adopt best practices in asset management across the agency to more efficiently target capital and expense funding resources.
Resiliency
5
Protect DOT’s infrastructure, especially in coastal areas, from the impacts of global climate change and other threats.
6
Building on past efforts, assess the vulnerability of all agency infrastructure to major climate shocks by 2018.
7
Building on current efforts, determine where further measures are needed to protect high-risk infrastructure against climate shocks by 2020.
8
Building on current efforts, better prepare the agency to operate the street network in the aftermath of major climate shocks by 2018.
Project Delivery
9
Working with our government partners, deliver capital projects, including bridge repair and street reconstruction projects, in a timely and cost-effective manner.
10
To expedite capital project delivery, streamline internal and interagency standard operating procedures for capital projects.
11
To expedite project delivery and reduce costs, secure state authorization for DOT to use design-build procurements for major capital projects.
ExistingInitiatives

Asset Management

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Implement agency $14 billion 10-year capital plan

As laid out in the Mayor’s Ten Year Capital Plan for DOT, the agency will plan for and invest in a range of projects, from bridge rehabilitation to full street reconstruction.  As we implement this ambitious program, we shall continue to identify new resources and pursue cost-cutting solutions to address funding needs.

Continue to adopt best practices in asset management

DOT will continue to update legacy computer systems to better support asset management. The agency will roll out its Sign Information Management System (SIMS) for street signs, complete development of its new bridge asset management system, and develop an asset management system for roadways,sidewalks, and pedestrian ramps.

 

Resiliency

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Continue post-Sandy reconstruction efforts

DOT will continue to complete a broad range of resiliency projects first laid out in the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR). These projects include retrofits to bridges, streets, traffic signals, yards and facilities.  Progress on these efforts is laid out in detail in the OneNYC progress report.

Continue to participate in major multi-agency coastal protection projects

DOT will continue to participate in multi-agency planning and design efforts for coastal protection systems along the East River and the Battery in Manhattan, Staten Island's South Shore, Red Hook in Brooklyn and others areas identified in OneNYC.

 

Project Delivery

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Continue to work with agency partners to improve project delivery

DOT will seek to continue internal and City agency-wide discussions on streamlining the design and review of DOT capital projects. Such coordination among DOT planning teams and our City partners, including the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), DPR, and DDC, will align agency goals before projects are initiated, leading to efficient delivery of projects and lower agency operational costs.   

Continue to expand contracting opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs)

DOT is committed to increasing contracting opportunities for M/WBE firms and to providing support to help them become successful agency contractors. DOT’s designated M/WBE Officer will continue to oversee these efforts.

NewInitiatives

Asset Management

Project Delivery icon

Create asset management task force to coordinate efforts between divisions

DOT will create an asset management task force, with representatives across the agency, to institutionalize best practices. Where practical, DOT will seek to create asset management systems that group asset classes, such as street pavement and pedestrian ramps.

Develop decision-making tools to guide the allocation of maintenance and capital resources across divisions

DOT will create tools and a process to help agency leadership cost-effectively allocate limited capital resources across a diverse range of asset classes.

Integrate social, environmental, and economic costs into these decision making tools

When making these decisions, the agency will seek to take into account not only cost savings over the long term, but also seek to mitigate or avoid adverse social and environmental costs, such as impacts on low-income communities, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Resiliency

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Analyze the risk from climate change in non-Sandy-impacted areas

In conjunction with the City’s Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, DOT will assess the vulnerability of its infrastructure to climate shocks, especially in areas that were not affected by Super Storm Sandy, and evaluate the costs and benefits of potential mitigation actions. This plan will inform DOT’s capital plan going forward.

Develop resilient street design standards for incorporation into the Street Design Manual

DOT will update its Street Design Manual to include a greater focus on resilient and sustainable street design features, including permeable pavement, green infrastructure and natural features, and other climate-adaptation elements.

Develop detailed transportation contingency plans

In collaboration with the MTA, PANYNJ, NYPD, Emergency Management, and others, create detailed contingency plans to address transportation needs in the aftermath of disruptive climate events

Project Delivery

Project Delivery icon

Secure State authorization to use design-build procurements for major capital projects

Working with the State Legislature, DOT will seek passage of state legislation authorizing DOT to use design-build procurements, in which design and construction services are procured under a single contract. 

Require the use of one agency-wide project management system for all DOT capital projects

By using one system, DOT will be able to better manage our capital projects, resulting in shorter project timelines. Over the medium term, DOT will seek to develop a centralized project management system with DDC and DEP.

Create standard approval processes for routine capital work

DOT will create standard project and contract documents for typical capital projects, such as sidewalk extensions and bus bulbs. These boilerplate forms will streamline internal and intra-agency approvals for routine capital projects, thereby freeing agency staff to process complex major projects.