A systems approach to asset management for the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust

  • Alison Turner

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisEngineering Doctorate (EngD)


It is generally accepted that civil infrastructure systems are vital for enabling a nation and its population to achieve economic, societal and individual well-being (Little 2005). Large infrastructure assets, however, are typically expensive throughout their lifecycle (Vanier 2001) and there is therefore a need to elicit as much value from them over as long a lifecycle as possible.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust (CSBT) manages the Clifton Suspension Bridge, with the purpose of both maintaining the bridge in perpetuity and enabling the public to enjoy it. The CSBT is a specific exemplar of the generic issues around how best to manage infrastructure assets for whole life value. While the CSBT expressed a desire for an asset management system to improve their ability to look after the bridge, the purpose of this research is to identify and develop the most appropriate methodologies to support the organisation.
By synthesising different approaches to and definitions of asset management, a classification framework has been developed. This has enabled the CSBT to explicitly identify their approach in relation to the alternatives available and determine whether it is the most appropriate for their purpose and context. This classification of AM is generic and of use to all infrastructure asset management organisations.
An extensive study was carried out within the organisation to explore the stakeholders’ views on organisational purpose and value. The stakeholders’ requirements were captured, as were their perceptions on the key challenges facing the organisation. The output of this study was used to guide the development of an integrated management system, rather than an asset management system.
Utilising systems thinking, models have been developed to explore the CSBT’s asset management processes and some of the related issues, such as uncertainty and data management. These models bring together and structure a broad range of organisational elements crucial to asset management. They represent different world views, while externalising and formally capturing implicit processes and tacit knowledge inherent within the organisation.
Date of Award7 May 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorTheo Tryfonas (Supervisor) & Colin Anthony Taylor (Supervisor)

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