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CHAPTER 2 Background and Definitions Distinguishing Characteristics of Transit Projects Several types of project delivery methods are currently available to the owners of publicly funded transportation projects in the United States. It is important--especially in the case of large, complicated transportation projects--to select the most appropriate project delivery method. Contractual relations, contemporary laws and regulations, owners' perceptions of risks, awarding mechanisms, and method of payment all influence the selection of a project delivery method. This guidebook in no way advocates one project delivery method over another. In fact, it is the expressed purpose of this effort to assist transit agencies in choosing the delivery method, from among the many project delivery methods, that is most appropriate for a particular proj- ect. In the material that follows, alternative project delivery methods will be compared with the traditional design-bid-build (DBB) project delivery method, which functions as a benchmark against which all other methods can be evaluated. The literature shows that the use of alterna- tive project delivery methods can accrue benefits for owners. However, the benefits of alterna- tive project delivery methods presented in the literature occur most often across a population of projects rather than on an individual project. Thus, the reporting of benefits found in the liter- ature should not be misconstrued as advocating one project delivery method over another. All project delivery methods have yielded both successes and failures. Selecting the wrong project delivery method is often a significant driver of project failure. Therefore, the reader should understand the results of the research reported herein as evidence that a given project delivery method may be used successfully on a specific set of projects, not as evidence that any particu- lar project delivery method is inherently superior to all others. Before describing various project delivery methods, it is important to note the features of major transit projects that distinguish them from other transportation projects. Transit projects are larger projects, usually in excess of $100 million. Transit projects, especially projects with fixed-guideway systems, usually consist of at least two large contracts: (1) civil and (2) systems. The nature of these two contracts and the specialization required for each are such that usually two different entities deliver these contracts. This circumstance makes coordination between these two entities of paramount importance to project success. Generally, in DBB projects, the owner hires a construction manager (CM) (this construction manager is a representative of the owner, i.e., the agency CM, as opposed to the construction manager at risk [CMR]) to coordi- nate these two separate contracts and manage the work. In design-build (DB) projects, the design-builder often subcontracts to separate systems and civil contractors or forms a joint ven- ture with them. Another feature of transit projects is that they are usually built in major urban population centers. This increases the complexity of dealing with various stakeholders. There- fore, a major criterion in choosing a project delivery method for a transit project is the delivery method's ability to accommodate the needs of various stakeholders in a complex environment. 8