8 Asset Management Systems and Data

8 Asset Management Systems and Data

8.1 Overview

Data and information sit at the heart of Transport Scotland’s asset management decisions which rely on appropriate and up-to-date information to support them. Transport Scotland has made considerable advances in recent years to understand and accurately describe the trunk road assets we are responsible for, as well as assess their condition, safety, and value.

Asset Management Framework

We are adopting a more formal approach to information management that seeks to provide accurate, reliable, trustworthy and useful information that fully supports asset management and reduces the whole life costs of information collection and maintenance. We recognise that data is expensive to collect and maintain and we continue to undertake regular reviews of our data requirements to ensure that the data continues to support our legal requirements and aligns with the requirements of our business.

8.2 Asset Data in Transport Scotland

Supporting Asset Management

The information needed to support Transport Scotland’s asset management practices can be grouped into the four main types as listed below:

Inventory – This is the primary information we need to support asset management planning and implementation. In broad terms Transport Scotland’s inventory data includes location, hierarchy, asset owner, quantity, dimensions, materials, asset manufacturer and maintenance history. Inventory data is needed for all aspects of asset management, but is also essential in ensuring accurate asset valuations. Transport Scotland recognises that inventory data is dynamic by nature and keeping it up to date is a challenge that must be shared with our service providers. 

Safety – A statutory obligation exists for us to maintain our assets in a safe condition and so it is essential that a basic level of data is collected to ensure statutory compliance. This typically includes public enquiries, accident records, safety inspection reports, machine-based carriageway condition surveys, and other specialist inspections such as electrical testing and structures inspections.

Performance – We require a sound understanding of the performance of our assets in order to identify current and required performance. The information typically required includes:

  • Condition information related to aspects of performance, developing lifecycle plans for all asset groups, identifying maintenance strategies and programmes of work, and to financial requirements such as those listed below.
  • Public satisfaction, public enquires, third party claims, traffic flows, accident records, maintenance history, energy consumption and environmental impact.

Finance – We require financial information for many aspects of asset management, including supporting budgets, developing lifecycle plans to determining optimum levels of service, prioritising maintenance activities and determining the value of the trunk road asset. Transport Scotland’s financial data typically includes itemised construction and itemised maintenance costs (unit rates); historic capital and resource spend and current and estimated future capital and resource budgets. The financial data is generally stored and managed in relation to assets, asset groups or geographical locations.

Ownership of Data

The responsibility for developing and enforcing information management processes is centralised, and given to the TRBO Head of Asset Information. This ensures that Transport Scotland realise the benefits that can be gained through adopting common processes and practices across different departments/disciplines and asset groups. The Head of Asset Information is the person with ultimate responsibility for the definition of data and for ensuring that it meets the business needs of Transport Scotland.

Check, Review and Validation of Data

Our Operating Companies produce substantial quantities of information, including financial records, defect reports, and inspection and maintenance records. The Operating Companies are required to validate all data for completeness and accuracy before entering them into our asset management systems in accordance with the contract. In addition PAG regularly audit this information to ensure it meets contractual requirements. Contract performance indicators (KPIs) are used to measure compliance, and financial payments can be adjusted based on performance.

Data Gap Analysis

Transport Scotland recognises that technology is moving quickly and recent developments in good practice have moved the emphasis from collecting data to understanding information. Like most organisations, Transport Scotland’s information management practices have evolved over time. This resulted in an approach that, whilst mostly adequate, required a number of improvements. It was for this reason that we reviewed best practice and developed and implemented formal information management practices through our Asset Management Improvement Programme.

It is generally accepted that to collect every piece of asset data is neither practical nor financially sensible. In 2010/11 we undertook a series of detailed gap analysis of our data, systems and processes and examined the following:

  • What data is currently held and how current and up-to-date is it?
  • Who is responsible for collecting the data?
  • How is the data collected and managed and how much does it cost?
  • To what level of quality is it/should it be collected and maintained? 
  • Who owns the data i.e. is responsible for the quality and currency of the data and for making it available to others?
  • How relevant is the data to fulfil statutory requirements?
  • How relevant is the data to the core activities of Transport Scotland, and which decisions and business processes does it support? 
  • What is the risk of not collecting the data?

The gap analysis resulted in a series of improvements to the way we currently manage our data, including comprehensive procedures for data collection and maintenance requirements, and new a condition inspection for trunk road ancillary assets.

Regular reviews of data requirements and data strategy are undertaken to ensure that data continues to support asset management. The data gap analysis will be revisited in 2015/16 to assess progress and identify further areas of improvement (see Section 9).

8.3 Asset Management Systems

Integrated Road Information System (IRIS)

Transport Scotland has for many years, in common with UK good practice, been developing and using a number of asset management systems to provide information on location and performance of trunk road assets and ultimately support decision making and reporting. Discussion between Transport Scotland and the Welsh Government identified that procuring future contracts in collaboration could provide better value for money to both organisations, as the requirements for asset management systems are very similar. 

A single contract for the supply of an Integrated Road Information System (IRIS) was procured in 2012 for a seven-year period. The contract successfully brought asset management systems under one supplier, replacing various existing contracts as they expired, providing greater integration and delivering significant cost savings. 

IRIS assists us in managing our data more efficiently and allows us to make better investment decisions. It is a fully integrated Geographical Information System (GIS) map-based asset management system, which links condition data with inventory, accidents, structures, drainage, construction, customer services, routine maintenance, works ordering/payment and street lighting to name but a few. It is a bespoke flexible system with 25 core functions that are regularly reviewed and adapted to support current and future business needs. The full list of IRIS functions currently utilised by Transport Scotland is given in Table 8.1, along with other core systems used to manage and maintain the trunk road network.

As part of IRIS we have developed and implemented a new Whole Life Cost Module for use in assessing roads structural maintenance schemes. This has been embedded into our value management process for carriageways and the current 4G Operating Company Contracts.

Core Asset Management Systems

The core information technology enablers currently used by Transport Scotland and our Operating Companies are listed in the table below, along with details of the provider and the Transport Scotland custodian(s) who are responsible for the day-to-day control of the data and for overseeing its acquisition, update and quality. 

Table 8.1: Transport Scotland Asset Management Systems

System Name


System Provider

Transport Scotland Custodian

IRIS Pavement Management System (PMS)

A database and management system used to record and view road condition and construction records of the trunk road network.

WDM Limited

Head of Asset Management

IRIS Scheme Manager

A database and management system used to record and manage all structural maintenance schemes.

IRIS Routine Maintenance and Management System (RMMS)

A database and management system used to record and report on inventory, defects, inspections and maintenance records related to the assets on the trunk road network.

IRIS Management of Incidents

A database used to record details of defects which have the potential to cause disruption on the trunk road network.

IRIS Performance & Reporting module

An analysis and reporting system used to monitor the effectiveness of the Operating Companies against the contract requirements.

WDM Limited


IRIS Development Control

A database to record details of all planning applications and pre applications which may impact on the  trunk road network.

Development Management and Strategic Road Safety Manager

IRIS Collisions

A database used to record and analyse information relating to road traffic accidents on the trunk road network.

Road Safety Manager

IRIS Road Orders

A database used to record details of permanent Road Traffic and Road Scotland Orders.

Asset Systems Engineer

IRIS Lighting Management Function

A database and management system used to record and report on inventory, defects, inspections and maintenance records related to electrical assets on the trunk road network.

Operations Services Manager

IRIS Structures Management System (SMS)

A database and management system used to record inventory, defects and inspection/maintenance records related to the bridges & structures on the trunk road network.

WDM Limited

Network Bridges Manager

IRIS Contract Control and Management System (CCMS)

For issuing and monitoring work programmes and orders and controlling the operation of the Operating Companies in performing their duties.

Head of Management Information Systems

Roads Asset Valuation System (RAVS)

To evaluate and provide the annual asset valuation returns for the trunk road network.


Scottish Roads Traffic Database (SRTDb)

A database holding vehicle count information for the trunk road network.


Operations Service Manager

Customer Care Database

A database used to record and monitor complaints, road defects/spillage/debris reported by the public and third party claims.


Travel Information Manager

Corporate GIS

A tool to allow all of TS to view geographic information against background mapping.

Transport Scotland

Head of MIS

Traffic Scotland Services (ITS: Intelligent Transport System) Host

To deliver Traffic Scotland Services function, provide managed motorways – monitor, control and inform.


Network Operations Manager

Lighting – Central Management System (L-CMS)

To monitor and control road lighting and other illuminated assets on the trunk road network – and deliver variable lighting.

Suppliers via Road Operators (e.g. ZODION, Harvard Engineering, Philips)

Operations Service Manager

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

The Building Information Management (BIM) system is being introduced into the construction industry. It is a process by which information is created, stored, shared and used in a fully collaborative environment throughout the project and asset lifecycle. It involves creating and using an intelligent three dimensional digital model to inform and communicate project decisions and to hold information for maintenance purposes. It is anticipated that adopting a BIM approach will deliver cost savings, inform delivery and drive improvements in data quality by:

  • improving the tools we need to do the job;
  • reducing design iterations and re-works;
  • enabling early identification of potential construction issues and clashes;
  • ensuring all parties are working to common data standards;
  • supporting better asset lifecycle decisions; and
  • enabling easier sharing, access to and use of project and asset information.

The Scottish Government has identified BIM as a vital enabler for reducing the capital cost and carbon burden from the construction and operation of the built environment and have recommended that ‘where practicable, the Scottish Government and the Agencies shall be BIM Level 2 compliant by April 2017’. In response to this we have appointed a BIM Champion to drive implementation across our organisation.

We are also investigating the use of BIM on a number of trunk road projects to assess our data and information needs to allow us to fully understand what BIM Level 2 compliance means for its application to trunk road operation, inspection, management and maintenance. We will use these trials to develop an improvement plan to allow us to improve our decision making and provide efficiency in the delivery of all trunk road projects.

8.4 Training and Skills

Those involved in data management need to have the knowledge and capability to specify and/or undertake data collection and assess the quality of the information collected. We also need to ensure that the asset management system is accessible to all staff involved in managing the trunk road assets to ensure they have the information and data required to undertake their role effectively. The key components of Transport Scotland’s information training and skills programme are:

  • Roles and responsibilities in relation to management of information are defined and incorporated into job descriptions. Several Transport Scotland posts are dedicated to information management, including Head of Asset Information, Business Systems Manager, IRIS Manager and IRIS Support Engineer. Our Operating Company Contracts also include role profiles for key information management posts, including Operations Manager and IRIS Co-ordinator.
  • We have a formal and ongoing programme of training. A series of training sessions are provided to Transport Scotland and supply chain staff at the commencement of any new contract and at regular intervals throughout. This includes training on data collection, recording, analysis, reporting and interpretation of data, and the use of asset management systems and tools. We also ensure that User Manuals/Guides are available, maintained and up-to-date and provide ongoing support through our Asset Management Systems Support Contract.
  • Training provision is periodically evaluated and adapted to respond to changing needs. We monitor our Asset Management System mailbox and coordinate a number of User Group Meetings in order to understand the current and future training needs of Transport Scotland and supply chain staff. We also provide additional training/guidance as a result of issues identified from PAG audits as required.