The successful implementation of a computerized road management system (RMS) depends on the interaction of three fundamental components: Processes, People and Technology. If any of these components are lacking, the system will not be successful. The best technology in the world will ultimately fail if implemented in an environment where there are no people to run it, or where the processes are not in place to utilize it.
In 2005, the World Bank, funded by TRISP, hired consultants to conduct interviews in 21 different road agencies in 16 countries to gauge their experiences in implementing RMS. A standard questionnaire was completed for each agency. The agencies were chosen to represent a cross-section of experience in different continents. National road agencies were primarily chosen, although some large provincial and state agencies were also interviewed.
What is apparent from the study is that agencies that are successful in their implementations have built strong foundations in all of the fundamental components over a number of years. First and foremost, they have developed an ‘asset management mindset’, that is, they explicitly and conscientiously implement policies that are geared towards managing their highway infrastructure as an asset whose value must be maintained and improved. Their executives and management promote asset management principles in order to ensure that funding and budget are allocated to appropriate areas. They are explicitly committed to the RMS, in the sense that it is built into their processes and procedures. They ensure that sufficient budget is available for data collection, for upgrades and maintenance of the systems, and for staff training and progression.
If there is no ‘asset management mindset’ in place, if there is no organizational unit with specific responsibility to implement the system, or if the results of the system are not validated and utilized, then the system can be regarded as a failure. Unfortunately, most agencies were found to have failed in one way or another.