Managing the subsurface urban infrastructure, while facing limited budgets, is one of the main challenges wastewater utilities currently face. In this context targeted planning of inspection and maintenance measures plays a crucial role. This paper introduces a cause and effect oriented sewer degradation evaluation approach to support decisions on inspection frequencies and priorities. Therefore, the application of logistic regression models, to predict the probability of failure categories as an alternative to the prediction of sewer condition classes, was introduced. We assume that analysing the negative effects resulting from different failure categories in extension to a condition class-based planning approach offers new possibilities for targeted inspection planning. In addition, a cross validation process was described to allow for a more accurate prediction of sewer degradation. The described approach was applied to an Austrian sewer system. The results show that the failure category-based regression models perform better than the conventional condition class-oriented models. The results of the failure category predictions are presented with respect to negative effects the failure may have on the hydraulic performance of the system. Finally, suggestions are given for how this performance-oriented sewer section evaluation can support scheduled inspection planning.