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1 SUMMARY Accelerating Transportation Project and Program Delivery: Conception to Completion The demand for continued infrastructure investments in today's environment places increased pressure on transportation professionals to expedite the delivery of projects and programs. Along with reduced delivery schedules, projects must also maintain high qual- ity while minimizing cost. Environmental issues, community activists, stricter regulations, and variable risks are among the myriad of factors that impact project delivery. The trans- portation industry is transforming itself as new ways of delivering projects compete with established ones. Recent advancements have been made in improving project delivery by accelerating critical phases of a project; however, the literature is lacking in documentation of program and project acceleration through innovative holistic methods. This lack has prompted the need to research best practices that provide transportation decision makers at the state level with some options for accelerating their programs and projects holistically. Eight states were selected for this research: California, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Utah, and Texas. Their best practices are documented in the case studies included in this report. Among the research findings was a pattern of shifts in the way departments of transportation (DOTs) do business. While the technical aspects of develop- ing a project or program can be considered a constant among all of the agencies, the DOTs of today have a different focus and adhere to a different set of rules. Trends In the course of studying these states, it became evident that certain trends and challenges were common to many of them. The identified trends are discussed briefly in the following paragraphs: Research indicates that state DOTs are increasingly identifying performance measures as one of their most pressing needs. As attainable goals and targets are set and achieved, pro- grams and projects are accelerated. While the traditional project approach placed greater emphases in the design phase, current approaches focus on thoroughly outlining the pur- pose and need, carefully defining the scope to considerable detail, and clearly outlining the front end of a project even before the feasibility assessment stage. More state DOTs are beginning to use Project Management Institute philosophies to deliver projects, balancing the quadruple constraints of a project (scope, schedule, budget, and quality), more and more in their management activities. Leadership was found to play a critical role in the efficiency with which programs are executed. Managers and adminis- trators orchestrate the dynamic interplay that occurs between individuals, work teams, agen- cies, and stakeholders for an initiative to come to fruition. Strong leadership at the top sets the stage for performance at all other levels.
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2 DOT employees are communicating laterally and vertically, collaborating to reach diffi- cult decisions, and cooperating to meet agreed-upon goals. This effort has led to true part- nering with agencies and the public and the creation of trust-based relationships. The suc- cesses of high-performance teams, specialized function teams, and self-directed work teams support the finding that a team approach fosters accelerated project delivery. State DOTs have recognized that a supportive team environment drives project performance. The need to produce more or better services with limited resources and environmental constraints has compelled state DOTs to change their organizational structures, empower- ing employees to unleash their creative potential and arrive at innovative solutions. Creative realignment--shifting the organization's culture--has required strategic management of the changes required to adapt to new ways of doing things. Which organizational structure better lends itself to efficient program and project delivery? Research has shown that the hierarchical "silos" of the past are gradually being replaced with flatter organizational mod- els that create opportunities for communication and exchange of knowledge across man- agement lines. Regionalization has often resulted in delivery of better quality products and services. Particularly in large states, regionalization offers district offices the flexibility to operate independently or to draw on the support of a larger regional office when required. Research has discovered state DOTs moving toward greater levels of transparency-- accountability--internally and with the public as well. Linked closely with performance measures, transparency also provides opportunities to establish baselines and set targets. Challenges The trends discussed in the following paragraphs have come about in response to a myriad of challenges faced by state DOTs: · "The Perfect Storm"--The demanding and difficult climate within which today's DOTs must operate, created by aging infrastructure, financial constraints, increased population and congestion demands, and environmental sensitivity. · Outsourcing vs. In-house--Striking the right balance of DOT personnel and professional consultant services to meet workload demands, accelerate programs in the best way, and save costs. · Right-of-Way/Utilities/Railroads--The initial planning and scoping of a project has become more important than ever to expedite perhaps the most difficult project phases to accelerate. · Setting Baselines and Targets--Critical to developing performance measures and asset management protocols to ensure efficient and expeditious use of limited dollars. · Context-Sensitive Solutions--An integral step, especially in urban areas with major community concerns. However this strategy may not benefit all projects; used in the wrong setting, it could actually prolong the project schedule. · Policies--Constant review and revision of state and federal DOT and environmental policies is required to ensure timely project delivery without sacrificing quality or envi- ronmental stewardship. Through applying the listed trends and working through challenges, state DOTs have adapted their strategies and operations to become dynamic, flexible structures where com- munication and sharing of knowledge aids them in meeting their mission. Case Studies The case studies in this report highlight some of the best practices that follow a project from the start until the ribbon cutting. State DOTs have spent years first developing or implementing such holistic programs and then refining and modifying elements and
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3 facets within. These experiences have culminated into the comprehensive best practices described. California's success with performance measures allows them 100 percent program deliv- ery annually. Maine's comprehensive bridge tracking program, in concert with a team approach, has allowed the state to rehabilitate its bridges efficiently. Maryland's com- pendium of data and mission-centered performance measures establish a baseline of the health of its transportation system and set a clear target on future goals. Missouri measures tangible results within its unique organizational structure and has succeeded in becoming a transparent agency through the publication of the Tracker. New Jersey DOT's pipeline delivery process identifies the anticipated level of review and regulatory issues presented by a project, then adds it to the appropriate pipeline to minimize unnecessary delays. North Carolina's success stories revolve around the Merger 01 process, which brings the DOT, stakeholders, and permitting agencies to the table at strategic points of project develop- ment for consensus in decisions. The Texas DOT has effectively used innovative contract- ing methods for project delivery and financing, including evergreen contracts and compre- hensive development agreements. Utah involves and engages both the designer and contractor during project development to facilitate design and resolve potential constructability issues early on. Its construction managergeneral contractor procurement method has allowed the state to accelerate project delivery appreciably. Amid the complexity and limitations of the current environment, state DOTs continue to provide the services that are expected of them to support the transportation infrastructure that the U.S. economy cannot be sustained without. This report provides a glimpse of how they deliver programs and projects from conception to completion.