Potholes, divots, cracks and disintegrating, crumbling roads rank with traffic and car failure as the biggest annoyances that drivers face on a daily basis. But for public transportation departments, these are more than mere problems: they jeopardize the safety of travelers and cost millions to fix.

Over the past several decades, studies of road and bridge maintenance have come to an important conclusion: a preventive maintenance regimen, implemented early in the life of a road or bridge, can be up to six-times more cost effective than reactive/emergency-based maintenance.

Some of the other key findings include:

+The Michigan Department of Transportation (DOT) saved an estimated $700 million in maintenance costs after implementing a preventive maintenance program for their roads. These results were analyzed and confirmed by an independent third-party consultant.

+Another study determined that a preventive maintenance regimen, when applied to roads and bridges that were already in ‘good’ condition yielded cost savings at a rate of $1 for $4; i.e. every dollar spent on preventive maintenance is the equivalent of $4 spent on reactive/corrective maintenance.

+The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has advocated preventive maintenance for bridges since 1987, stating in their manual that applying preventive maintenance measures using preventive maintenance software can minimize most bridge related problems.

+The Governmental Standards Board (GASB) suggests that detailed asset records be maintained on all capital equipment in order to ascertain their “true cost.” This level of transparency places extra pressure on governmental entities to stay on top of their maintenance, as they may be asked to prove that they have done proper maintenance to extend asset life.

Clearly, there is a strong incentive for DOT departments around the world to implement preventive maintenance schedules. But the benefits associated with preventive maintenance are by no means limited to DOT projects and equipment; roads and bridges are just one example of the power of preventive maintenance.

Regardless of the industry, the fact is that taking care of the little things can save serious money.

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