Close this search box.

Culvert Asset Management System Best Practices/Pilot Project

Project #: 4W5947
Start Date: 03/03/2016
End Date: 08/06/2016
Status: Completed

The final report identified best practices for culvert asset management systems in state departments of transportation (DOTs).  Researchers conducted an extensive literature review and surveyed state DOTs, with 47 states responding.  In the survey, 33 states reported that they inspect small culverts.  Nineteen states reported that they had culvert inspection manuals. The survey also found that culvert inspections are carried out by DOT maintenance staff, student or summer interns/workers, bridge inspectors, or central staff. Twenty-one state DOTs reported that they provided culvert inspection training, either developed in-house (15 states) or based on bridge inspection (6 states).  Researchers also identified the most common data fields collected in culvert inspection and inventory databases, as well as the most common technologies (e.g., Trimble, iPad, paper, or a combination) used for field collection of data.  Photos are incorporated into the inventory data system in 21 states.  Inventory software included state-developed systems, Agile Assets, and AASHTOWare.


Most culverts in New Mexico are reaching the end of their serviceable life (60-70 years at best). The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) was interested in establishing a database on the condition of existing culverts so that appropriate action can be taken to avoid potential hazards to public safety. Systematic inspection of culverts would prevent catastrophic failures and would facilitate lower-cost interventions (i.e. slip lining) in lieu of total reconstruction of culverts and highways. This would also reduce the likelihood of sinkholes in highways that can cause traffic fatalities and injuries.

This research project identified best practices for implementation of a Culvert Asset Management System (CAMS). The project reviewed existing practices in other states to facilitate identification, inspection and maintenance of underground drainage infrastructure assets. It identified key data that should be collected for each culvert. The project also served as a pilot project to identify how to ensure that NMDOT asset databases can be integrated into a single Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP) database by identifying critical data fields and precise data specifications that should be used for all NMDOT asset inventories, consistent with Agile Assets software. The study also developed recommendations on how to integrate and expand the existing culvert ArcGIS shape files into a complete CAMS database.



The purpose of this project was to identify best practices for implementation of a Culvert Asset Management System (CAMS) for the New Mexico Department of Transportation.


  • Natalie Villwock-Witte
    Natalie Villwock-Witte