Level of Service Assessment


Assessing an Asset's Level of Service (LoS) is a critical part of a good Asset Management Plan, and is one of the three cornerstones of an Asset Management Plan, along with Relative Condition Assessments, and Asset Risk Assessments.


Goal of the LoS Assessment


The goal of the LoS Assessment should be for a Municipality to identify if an asset is delivering on its intended benefit. A good assessment of an asset's Level of Service lets a Municipality know if an asset needs to be upgraded, or modified, based on what the asset's users are expecting from the asset.


Understanding Level of Service


Understanding service means having a clear and consistent understanding of:

1. The types of services you provide;
2. The groups of residents, businesses, and institutions that you provide them to;
3. The level of service being delivered currently (your performance); and
4. The level of service you’re aiming to provide (your target).


An Asset's ability to deliver benefit


An asset's LOS is essentially a measurement of its ability to deliver benefits to the users of the Asset. For example, a properly designed road must be able to transport enough vehicles to prevent traffic and inconvenience to rate payers, while also being in good condition so as to provide a comfortable ride. Broadly speaking, there are three different types of Level of Services:

  • Technical - requirements dictated by the technical design requirements
  • Legislated - requirements dictated by various levels of government (ie. Federal/State/Provincial/Municipal)
  • Customer - requirements dictated by the stakeholder that will be using the asset


A proper Level of Service Assessment will incorporate criteria from each of the three categories to ensure that an asset is meeting its benefit requirements.


An example of LoS - Gravel Road


To demonstrate the principles of this article, an example of a Level of Service Assessment for a section of Gravel Road, in the Province of Alberta, Canada, is provided below:



Type
Criteria
Service Target
Actual Service
1
Technical
Availability - Number of days under construction
< 1 day
0.5 day in 2017
2
Technical
Utilization - Annual Average Daily Traffic Usage Ratio (%)
Maximum of 90%
50%
3
Legislated
Provincial - Alberta Transportation Road Geometric Design Standards
Design is compliant with standards
Compliant
4
Legislated
Federal - Transportation Association of Canada - Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads
Design is compliant with standards
Compliant
5
Customer
Ratepayer - Number of complaints per year
< 3
1


From the information above, a Municipality may conclude that this particular section of road delivers an adequate level of service, because the asset's actual service performance meets the Service Target for each criteria.


LoS Assessment Best Practices


In order to ensure proper LoS Assessments, it is important to consider the following:

  • Be consistent, per Asset Type - make sure that each asset, within a specific type, is judged against the same set of LoS criteria
  • Keep it simple - Make an LoS assessment fit for purpose, and do not over complicate it with a vague, or large, set of criteria
  • Keep your customer in mind - Understand the end customer, that receives service from an Asset, is important when deciding which criteria to evaluate the Level of Service against.

References

"Building Community Resilience Through Asset Management." Understanding Level of Service. Alberta Ministry of Municipal Affairs. November 2015.