Unlocking the value of standardised transport data

Supplied by the Asset Management Data Standard Programme Team at the NZ Transport Agency.

Picture a world where data is easily described and recorded, readily shared, exchanged, and understood. Waka Kotahi with the transport sector is designing the Transport Asset Management Data Standard (AMDS), leveraging multiple benefits from the significant investments in road infrastructure for the transport sector.

The standard is designed to improve land transport asset information to support better decision-making about New Zealand’s land transport assets.

The design of the standard is system neutral, flexible, and scalable, and is consistent with the latest international and New Zealand data standards and practices across all types of infrastructure, including water.

Enabling a digital future

The AMDS programme is committed to ensuring that the transport sector can make more informed, data-driven decisions.  AMDS is striving to develop a standard for defining and managing data and related information on assets through all stages of the asset lifecycle.  By doing so we are establishing a unified, reliable, and reusable approach to help support the implementation of Digital Engineering (DE) throughout the sector.

Our approach to planning for DE is to enable a collaborative way of working through digital processes to enable more productive methods of planning, designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining assets through their lifecycle, focusing on the management of consistent and reliable data and information from project delivery through to asset operations and maintenance.  It will provide a digital twin decision-making environment better able to reflect the challenges of providing good service to our customers and forecast the impacts of alternative approaches.

At a simple level the data standard supports observations and measurements of safety defects, for example, in a way that better enables planning, prioritisation and implementation of remedial action than current information systems can. Because the data standard is spatial, it enables the ready use of spatial analytics across all New Zealand’s transport networks once implemented and populated. With more rapid advances in analytics tools in the Transport sector, this is leading to better modelling, richer scenario testing and forecasting, and better targeting of activities to improve customer service.

David Darwin, AMDS business owner says; “We are creating conformity in service and asset data so that digital engineering process and analytics can be widely applied across the supply chain and Councils to deliver wide benefits from better planned and delivered projects, better targeted and managed road maintenance and renewal.”

Creating a future sector standard

The standard is being developed by the sector for the sector to ensure it is fit for purpose across the industry.

Leah Watts from Waka Kotahi says; “From April 2021 we reset the approach to the design of the data standard, acknowledging that without sector SMEs taking an active role in the development of the standard we would struggle to meet the accelerated timeframes while ensuring a collaborative fit for purpose standard.

“The establishment of a dedicated working group to review the standard has also assisted with ensuring that the right SMEs within RCAs have awareness of asset classes of interest to them as they are released.

“The members of this working group actively assist with providing feedback. The other mechanism to ensure the standard is fit for purpose is through the feedback that we received from the wider sector through the provisional release of a standard. This enables the team to consider the feedback and make any required updates prior to stabilising the asset class.”

The standard is being developed to support the complete asset management lifecycle enabling the monitoring of trends, impacts, service performance or asset condition. Targeting the right intervention at the right time. Enabling a better understanding of when and why maintenance renewal and improvement activities are needed, what different roadworks can achieve and cost, and how they should be designed and scoped to address all service defects and outcomes together for least disruption.

AMDS is intended to support current and future multimodal networks and reflect the planning and design activities around that for asset management.

Preparing for implementation

The standard will be implemented by the 68 Road Controlling Authorities (RCAs) and Waka Kotahi for State Highways over five years (2 NLTP periods) concluding in 2027. RCAs have been grouped into 10 implementation tranches and planning is underway with Tranche 1 RCAs. This approach has been developed in partnership with the transport sector.

Waka Kotahi is working in partnership with RCAs and suppliers to plan implementation.

Evan Yeoman from Higgins says; “We are currently working with the Waka Kotahi AMDS Programme team to plan implementation with Masterton District Council. It is great to work in partnership and support the first tranche of AMDS implementation. This will increase our knowledge of AMDS and provide us with learnings that can be applied to Higgins’ customers in later tranches.”

Waka Kotahi has produced the supplier considerations to adoption reference guide which is available on the AMDS website.

To understand the preferred timing, and potential impact and scale of the implementation for each RCA, the AMDS Programme team is meeting with all RCAs and suppliers. There is great willingness by the sector to adopt the standard and to work together to make AMDS a success.

Shaped by the sector for the sector

To support the implementation of the standard, the AMDS team is working closely with dedicated AMDS RCA and supplier groups at regular intervals, who provide invaluable feedback to the process, give advice, and help to represent the views of the sector.

The programme also works with sector groups like Civil Contractors New Zealand, which will play a key role in advocating and supporting adoption of the standard over the implementation period.

The Senior Supplier Group was recently established as an advocacy forum for AMDS across the implementation period. Made up of senior supplier representatives from across the sector, the group’s role is to provide advice on the challenges and opportunities of sector adoption of AMDS, offering an interface into supplier organisations.

Group representatives will act as senior industry advocates, disseminating information into their own organisations and to RCA and sub-contractor partners.

Wayne Oldfield from Waka Kotahi says; “Working in partnership with supplier organisations is key to the successful implementation of AMDS. The senior supplier forum creates the platform for a no surprises approach and ongoing dialogue, bringing discussions to the table in an open setting and working together to find solutions.”

Realising the benefits and rewards

Greater data standardisation and sharing across the sector will realise significant benefits through improved efficiencies, network planning and resilience.

Applying the standard to data creation from the planning and design onwards will make the handover of data by developers and contractors from the design and building process to maintenance and operations far easier. By starting with a specification of the data we will need at the end and collecting asset data in a standardised way from the beginning, the handover process will be just a further milestone in the data collection and reporting journey.

Supplier organisations will benefit from the use of common language nationally, to further advance efficient processes and productive practices to maximise operational efficiency and deliver better results with increased certainty around a quality service. The standard will standardise training making it easier for staff to work across multiple contracts. AMDS will enable better collaboration of organisations and decision making, ultimately providing a higher-quality service and experience to the asset users.


AMDS is developing and implementing a common language and data structure that defines and describes assets, their attributes, characteristics, properties, location, performance, and all information needed to perform efficient and effective end-to-end life cycle asset management.

The standard is being developed iteratively, with input from Waka Kotahi and industry SMEs and through sector engagement. We invite you to have a look and contribute your feedback.

Version 1.0 of the standard will be ready by 1 July and will be managed and updated as a living standard by Waka Kotahi and the sector to respond to technology and practice changes and investment partner needs.

AMDS will provide better outcomes for local and central government across transport and wider infrastructure sectors, providing a foundation to realise the benefits of digital engineering across the asset lifecycle.


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