Lean Streets: Improving Road Maintenance in Washington State – LEI

There was a point when Washington State sent out $50,000 checks to 165 small cities under 5,000 population to fund street resurfacing. Streets cannot be resurfaced fully and economically for $50,000, so the money, more than $5 million per year in total, was fighting a losing proposition.

The Washington State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) conducted a PDCA study of how best to provide street preservation support.

The TIB now pays counties to complete preventative street maintenance at a savings of about 60 percent. The $50,000 checks process was replaced by a pavement-management approach that resulted in funding the right street, with the right treatment, at the right time (we call this the “3 Rights”).

The overall lean re-engineering of small-city street maintenance in Washington produced an exceptional outcome. Pavement condition turned the curve after decades of decline and started to improve. Average condition now exceeds performance targets and projects are produced with greater scale economies. About the same $5 million is spent each year, but on a winning proposition.

Learn more at: https://www.lean.org/LeanPost/Posting.cfm?LeanPostId=637