A large city shines internationally with
its innovations in asset management
The City of Montreal wanted to evaluate its infrastructure maintenance
deficit in relation to its target service levels. The data obtained would
be used to inform a strategic investment plan aimed at addressing the
maintenance deficit over the medium term while reducing costs. The
objective was to select the most cost-effective options for reaching
its objectives in the short, medium and long terms.
4,000 km of water mains
4,000 km of water mains
4,800 km of sewer mains
4,000 km of roads
Value of assets: ≈ $50B
“The results of our analyses show that a targeted proactive approach to interventions
is very profitable, leading to savings of 30 to 50% while maintaining an equivalent
or better level of service”
(Source: ceriu.qc.ca, page 28)
The City of Montreal was spending hundreds of
millions of dollars annually on maintaining and
renewing its water supply (water mains), wastewater (sewer) and roadway (pavement and sidewalks)
Several decades of chronic underinvestment had
resulted in a significant maintenance deficit.
Given the advanced age of most of the City’s
underground water pipes, it was estimated that
the majority of the network would need to be
renewed in the short or medium term.
The City was also faced with the increasing
deterioration of its roads due to the annual freezethaw cycle, combined with advanced subsoil deterioration, leading to a sharp increase in the
number of potholes.
Complete reconstruction was the asset renewal
strategy advocated by most of the City’s experts;
rehabilitation strategies to extend the life of assets
were not often considered.
Reduction of total asset lifecycle costs and annual
investment needs while targeting the same service
Quick and easy quantification of the short-,
medium- and long-term consequences of budgetary
adjustments. Development of a medium- and longterm strategic vision to better manage workforce
Measurement of the cost of life extension interventions (rehabilitation) on the overall lifecycle of
Optimization of decision-making processes for
asset maintenance and sustainability through the
selection of the most cost-effective intervention
Extraction of the list of works to be carried out
according to all applicable constraints.
Justification of implemented strategies to elected
Consolidation of expertise and centralization of the
knowledge base within a single platform.
Creating a model of all network assets and aggregating them in the form of segments so that various
synchronization rules can be applied.
Factoring in the physical constraints generated by the co-existence of assets (e.g. need to open the
roadway and replace water mains when replacing
Developing an asset-centric model showing the
evolution of its condition according to evolutive
attributes (age, condition and material, etc.) and
non-evolutive attributes (location, size, hierarchy,
Demonstrating the effectiveness achieved through the selection of various lifespan extension options in order to update existing decision-making processes and obtain a better return on investment.
Prioritizing renewal work while preserving a balance
between reducing the number of assets in poor
condition and reducing costs, all while avoiding any
loss of intervention options.
Analyzing the maintenance deficit in relation to
desired levels of service, and quantifying the
resources and timelines required to reduce and
manage this deficit.
Drawing up a long-term investment plan, including
projected levels of service.
Generating a list of works (intervention plan) for
planners to implement long-term strategies.
The network was broken down into asset classes
that were modeled individually using drag-and-drop
functionalities, without any line of code, ensuring
the sustainability and longevity of the solution.
The internal expertise of infrastructure managers
was digitized, including the modeling of assets
evolution and decision-making processes (decision
The criticality level of each network component was
modeled according to various factors such as age,
materials, dimensions, failure history, etc.
A model was developed to prioritize interventions
on the most critical segments while managing risks
related to loss of rehabilitation options and reducing
the number of assets in poor condition.
A set of constraints has been configured in order to
take account of the various budget allocations and
capacities to carry out the work from the various
jurisdictions participating in project management
and realization (districts, suburban municipalities,
All interdependencies between network components were incorporated into the model, making it
possible to implement optimal work synchronization
strategies and consider the effects of individual
interventions on co-existing assets within the same
Replacing Excel, which is no longer the most suitable
option due to the high number of assets and the
need to consider their full lifecycle when assessing
the cost-effectiveness of proposed long-term
Moving away from tools with a deterministic
approach, because options for work synchronization
can vary according to the uncertainties inherent
to individual assets.
Creating an accurate financial model able to
demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of lifespan
extension strategies (rehabilitation of water mains
and sewers) in order to minimize invasive and
Eliminating the use of standard advanced
modeling tools (Matlab, Python), which prevent a
reliable operationalization of strategies and can
compromise the long-term sustainability of the
model (lack of documentation, difficulty in changing
rules, departure of persons responsible for programming, etc.).