Percentage of infrastructure classified as poor or failing condition in the Comprehensive Infrastructure Assessment

Status

Based on the 2020 Comprehensive Infrastructure Assessment (CIA), 12.35 percent of infrastructure has been classified as “poor” or “failing” condition.  This value is a gross approximation, based on Current Replacement Value (CRV) of assets included in the assessment and represents only a subset of the City’s total infrastructure.  It is limited to assets for which a condition has been determined and for which a CRV is available.  This section describes how the CIA is conducted, how percentages are calculated, and the limitations of this value at this time.  The following sections will provide information about the CIA and provide detailed information on asset condition based on systems and infrastructure types.
The Comprehensive Infrastructure Assessment is conducted every two years as part of the City’s Long-Range Capital Improvement Program Strategic Plan. The CIA was first conceived and published in 2014 and updated in 2018 and 2020. The CIA includes a limited number of City departments that own and manage infrastructure; a total of six departments are included in the 2020 update. The assessment focuses on fixed infrastructure such as streets, water distribution systems, parks, and a limited number of buildings. It does not include fleet assets, or communication and technology infrastructure.
Aggregating to a single number for reporting presents several challenges.  Chief among them is combining a wide variety of infrastructure types: networks (such as streets, water distribution and drainage systems) and single point assets (e.g., water treatment plants, parks, buildings).  These assets have a wide variety of values, some are more integral to key (or critical) city operations than others.  Another challenge is variation in asset condition assessment methodologies.  Different asset types are assessed by different criteria; for example, streets will have different requirements than sidewalks.  A final challenge is the level to which aggregation is used; for example, is an airport terminal reported as one unit, or based on the systems that make it up, such as its structure, plumbing and heating systems, baggage handling systems, etc.
The CRV of infrastructure assets provides the basis for calculating the percentage reported here.  Departments assess the condition of their infrastructure assets, using internal or industry-specific criteria to determine where their assets fall in a range from “excellent - A” to “failing - F” condition. They provide that information, along with the CRV of their assets to the Asset Management Office in the Public Works Department.  Sometimes, departments may not have condition data for all or part of their assets; these are reported as “unknown” condition.  Condition percentages are then multiplied by total CRV for that infrastructure network to provide monetary values for assets in each condition grade.  These values are then added together to determine the percentage of infrastructure in poor or failing condition.  Assets in unknown condition are excluded from this calculation, as are those with no CRV reported by their departments.
Limitations
There are several limitations to the percentage of assets in poor or failing condition as reported here.  First, data is limited to participating departments; it does not reflect conditions of all infrastructure across the City and should not be interpreted as a complete representation of asset conditions within the City.  Assets with no CRV or condition data are excluded from calculations, further limiting the applicability of the data presented here.  Next, condition calculations do not address the issue of asset criticality – in this exercise, park playgrounds are treated as being as critical to the City as water treatment plants.  Additionally, the twelve percent of infrastructure reported as poor or failing presents an over-simplified picture of City infrastructure; more important details emerge as assets are broken out by infrastructure type and condition.  Finally, keep in mind that data is reported by participating departments using different criteria; poor or failing condition will mean different things in different areas.

Trending

No trend information is available for this measure, since this is the first year that the Comprehensive Infrastructure Assessment has gathered data on Current Replacement Value.
CIA results and findings have varied over time as the departments participating in the assessment have changed.  The 2020 version includes the following departments:
  • Austin Transportation Department
  • Austin Water Utility
  • Aviation Department
  • Development Services Department
  • Parks & Recreation Department
  • Public Works Department
  • Watershed Protection Department
The CIA continues to develop in many ways.  Assessment criteria continue to evolve, as shown by the addition of the CRV to help calculate overall condition percentages.  The ability of departments to assess the condition of their infrastructure changes over time, as personnel and tools for assessing conditions change.  In the future, more departments will be invited to participate in the assessment.
Note: To see the underlying data for the chart, please select the "View Source Data" link.

Additional Measure Insights

The Comprehensive Infrastructure Assessment uses a classification hierarchy to group similar types of infrastructure.  The highest level is the Category, assets that support a particular public function such as mobility or utilities.  The next level down is Systems, groups of infrastructure assets that serve a particular need – vehicular transportation, water, or parks.  Networks are uniform types of infrastructure: streets, water pump stations, or park amenities.  Note that terminology in this area has not standardized, and it will continue to change.
This illustration shows conditions of infrastructure networks included in the 2020 CIA, grouped by their systems.  The condition statuses presented here are those reported by participating departments; they are not weighted by current replacement values.  More detailed data about network conditions is available in the City Open Data Portal.
Most networks are in good to excellent condition, with at least 75 percent of assets in satisfactory condition.  There are several networks with high incidence of unsatisfactory conditions: streets, parking lots & roadways in parks, aviation terminals, PWD service centers, wastewater lift stations, and traffic signals all have unsatisfactory conditions of at least 25 percent.
Over one-third of the infrastructure networks have a high level of “unknown condition.”  This may be due to a lack of resources to conduct inspections.  Another cause is an absence of criteria to use conducting assessments.

Measure Details and Definition

1) Definition:  This measure estimates how much of City infrastructure is in poor or failing condition, based on participation in the City's Comprehensive Infrastructure Assessment (CIA).
2) Calculation method: Infrastructure assets are weighted by their Current Replacement Value (CRV).  Then the value of assets in poor or failing condition are divided by the value of all assets that have a condition assessment and a CRV.
3) Data Collection Process:  Data for this measure is collected by the Public Works Department Asset Management Office.  The CIA is conducted every other fiscal year.
4) Measure Target Calculation: No target is set for this measure. 
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Every two years (Fiscal Year) 
Date page was last updated: February 2021