Transport for NSW – Asset Resilience Strategy

Asset Management Excellence Awards Submission – Asset Management Resilience

Transport for NSW Asset Resilience Strategy

Summary of the project, product, framework

In response to the 2019-20 bushfires, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) established the Asset Resilience Working Group in July 2020 to identify, develop, and deploy an Asset Resilience Strategy that considers resilience against multiple threat types, from natural hazard risks to human-induced risks, across the full asset lifecycle, and across all divisions.

The Asset Resilience Strategy was a result of collaboration from multiple divisions, agencies, branches, and transport modes with many perspectives from asset management, environment & sustainability, security, crisis & emergency management, strategic transport planning, Greater Sydney assets, and Regional & Outer Metropolitan assets.

Description of project or framework addressing the assessment criteria

Use of Best Practice Asset Management Principles (40%)

The Asset Resilience Strategy was developed to adopt principles that align with best-practice Asset Management:

  • Alignment with internal TfNSW and external NSW and Federal government strategies
  • Customer-centric consideration of best outcomes for our Greater Sydney and Regional customers
  • Sustainable outcomes in terms of environment, financial/economic, and social sustainability
  • Objectivity in basing our responses on verified scientific modelling and predictions
  • Whole-of-Life consideration of assets and services and associated resilience planning and outcomes
  • Whole-of-Transport consideration of resilience planning and delivery
  • Priority of identified critical assets and scheduling of actions to achieve critical asset resilience
  • Single source of truth collation and analysis of resilience threats, actions, and outcomes
  • Iterative learning to feed lessons learned from extreme risk events into future planning and adaption
  • Far future focused view of the climate-related natural hazard risk environment out to 2100

The principles encourage a holistic “System of Systems” view of the TfNSW transport system, assets and services that considers the “long game” from an integrated, adaptive, and strategic perspective.

Degree of originality and ingenuity of solution (20%)

Prior to the 2019-20 bushfires and subsequent flood events, there was no integrated asset resilience strategy that considered all TfNSW divisions, all transport modes, and all operational assets over an extended timeframe.

The nature of transport assets and the natural and human-induced risks they are exposed to did mean that various parts of the organisation did have a certain level of asset resilience planning, but not to the level of integration and timescales that this strategy seeks to achieve.

For example, vegetation surveys and management and hydrological surveys of drains and culverts have been part of TfNSW rail and road asset management for decades but were generally addressed at a tactical and operational level.

The strategy draws on new and novel strategic natural hazard risk modelling and prediction platforms and tools that have been developed either within TfNSW or by external government agencies and private sector organisations.

The strategy also identifies and recommends a range of actions that can be deployed across the asset lifecycle that include increased use of strategic tools and models to support strategic business cases, early warning sensors and systems, sharing of risk and resilience data, and use of lessons-learned processes and platforms to drive adaptation of new or altered assets to meet the risks and adversities of the predicted future operational environment.

Program and project management (20%)

The strategy encourages new transport initiatives to include long-term strategic modelling and predictions of natural hazard and human-induced risks into the development of the Strategic Business Case and Final Business Case before committing taxpayers’ money to program or project development and delivery.

These risk-based decisions taken in the demand/need and planning phase of the asset lifecycle will lead to long-term improved outcomes to avoid or defend, or recover from, major natural hazard risk events in the distant future.

During the next phase (acquire) of the asset lifecycle, the strategy calls on the project development and delivery organisation to consider asset resilience in the specification, design, material acquisition, fabrication, construction, integration and testing of assets and systems.

Benefit/Value of the project or service to the community or organisation (15%)

The benefits and value the asset resilience strategy to Transport include:

  • Enhanced asset planning to include resilience, including prioritising high-risk areas and asset types for resilience enhancement treatments, based on predictive risk modelling and analysis
  • Improved asset resilience awareness, learning, and capability development across Transport
  • Improved whole-of-life asset resilience considerations and outcomes by projects, including embedding long-term resilience considerations into new asset planning business cases and designs from the start
  • Increased focus on monitoring asset vulnerability and resilience via early warning sensors and systems
  • Continuously improving asset maintenance planning and effectiveness, including improved resilience-based inspections, maintenance intervention, and reactive maintenance outcomes
  • Evaluating and improving emergency response planning, resources, processes, actions, and response times during and after a major risk event, to improve staff readiness to respond to, and recover from, risk events
  • Incorporation of the latest science-based climate change projections into asset management planning, and updating plans when new revised projections become available
  • A consistent approach to asset resilience management across the Transport cluster
  • Striving to reduce disruption and stress to our customers due to major risk events, whether passenger or freight, across all modes, and the society and economy that Transport enables and supports

During the operate and maintain phase, the strategy calls for asset resilience to be monitored and controlled over the operational life of the asset at a tactical level (review asset resilience and pro-actively introduce measures) and at an operational level (review and improve emergency response and repairs to restore assets and services).

Opinion as to specific contribution made by the nominated team

The importance and relevance of the Asset Resilience Strategy has been recognised at a Transport executive level, with updates to the Future Transport Strategy and the Asset Management Framework being made to specifically incorporate resilience. Furthermore, it has driven updates to the TfNSW Asset & Services Plan (Asset Management Plan) to include high-level asset resilience activities across the divisions and agencies. In addition to being best practice, this increased reflection of asset resilience within TfNSW’s asset management planning processes also demonstrates alignment with the NSW Treasury Asset Management Policy for the NSW Public Sector (TPP 19-07).

The Asset Resilience Working Group has drawn on asset management, environment & sustainability, resilience, and security, crisis, and emergency management staff from across the Transport cluster to collaborate and contribute to the development of the TfNSW Asset Resilience Strategy and its practical deployment.

This work has triggered an enhanced systematic approach to embedding asset resilience into planning and executing of asset management activities, as well as other areas such as strategic transport planning, enterprise governance and risk, finance and investment, sustainability, and emergency response.

General comments

Photos: Geoff Ward

©Transport for NSW

The Asset Resilience Strategy recognises that there are overlaps and areas of common concern across a range of engineering and management areas, including Business Continuity Management, Risk Management, Asset Management, Systems Engineering, Security Management, and Sustainability Management.

In adopting a System of Systems approach to asset resilience management, this Strategy considers the cyclical interdependencies between engineered systems (our transport operational assets), the ecosystem that is affected by our engineered assets, and the climate system that can affect our assets and services.

The Strategy also considers the many interactions and interdependencies that Transport assets and services have with other service providers, both government and private sector, including energy companies, water authorities, national parks and managed forests, fossil fuel suppliers, and telecommunications companies. Major risk events such as natural hazard risks and human-induced risks that affect our transport assets and services can adversely affect these other organisations, and vice versa.

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