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13 heavily impact and influence the outcomes of the project. only to state regulations. States own and operate all the fed- There is a greater emphasis on the project manager's responsi- erally funded roads within their boundaries. bility and ownership of project successes or failures. Where projects are predominantly state funded, another DOTs such as in North Carolina have realized that "silos" dimension is added to project acceleration: There is usually created by the traditional vertical organizational structure strong political backing and impetus to get a project com- often prevent projects from being accelerated or delivered pleted quickly, because elected officials want the ability to say completely. In many states, these silos have been or are being to the public, "This is what I've accomplished during my term eliminated, and upper level managers are embracing the con- of office" before they are up for re-election (within two years). cept of "thinking outside the box," while they develop solu- It was also noted during the research that the sooner and tions that are based on outcomes rather than outputs. more quickly a project is built, the lower the cost of the The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) materials. This is obviously an additional incentive to accel- has found that a team approach has significantly helped in erate a project. accelerating programs. These self-directed teams provide Officials at the California Department of Transportation greater input, training opportunities and greater account- (Caltrans) mentioned that consistency in funding accelerates ability for projects. projects, while fluctuations in funding availability results in project delays. MaineDOT is utilizing publicprivate partnerships (PPP) Project Prioritization and Selection as an option for funding and construction when developers The state DOTs' approach to project prioritization and selec- need a traffic permit to open onto state roads. Transportation tion was found to depend on who was empowered to make improvements are coordinated with private investments and decisions with regard to selecting and prioritizing projects. applied to localized improvements. For example, the DOT The role of decision maker usually went to the entity funding might negotiate a deal with a superstore chain to pay for an the project or their agent. Federally funded projects, in gen- extra turn lane at an intersection project and then use the eral, are prioritized by metropolitan planning organizations funding to supplement a total reconstruction project for the (MPOs) that employ a quantitative transportation planning intersection. Maine feels that PPPs are an important tool that approach in developing a list of needed projects. Research is still underutilized. revealed that in cases where projects were funded principally or entirely by the state legislature, that body--or individual Performance Measures legislators--had the ability to raise a project's priority by des- ignating funds to build it. Whether state or federally funded, Performance measures are a key concentration area for however, both legislatures and MPOs utilize a systematic ap- most DOTs interviewed. With the exception of one, the DOTs proach to transportation project prioritization. researched are in various stages of collecting data and infor- Most state DOTs also use traffic volumes and truck traffic mation that is used in performance measures. Some states are data indirectly in the prioritization process. Along with vehi- quite advanced and have performance measures in place that cle delays, safety elements, and potential future growth, these help agencies to communicate needs and priorities to the pub- quantities are important factors in overall road user costs and lic and decision makers. The North Carolina DOT (NCDOT) life cycle projections. has an online performance "dashboard" that is tied directly to the agency's success in meeting its fundamental goals and can also provide real-time statistics at the county level. Perfor- Funding mance measures may also help agencies make better decisions As alluded to in the preceding paragraphs, the mix of federal to address long-range goals, system performance, and imme- and state funding for DOT projects was found to vary greatly diate outcomes. from state to state, with some having 80 percent or more of When developing performance measures, DOTs have dis- their transportation budgets funded through their state legis- covered that there is often no baseline for comparisons, because lature. Other states are much more dependent on federal aid, performance was not measured previously. In addition, no receiving almost all of their funding through U.S. congres- standard guideline exists against which to measure current sional allocations. Regardless of their major funding source, performance. At their most basic level, performance mea- all states studied have been confronted with the need to "do sures can report on a host of varying things such as pavement more with less," as funds have become scarce. In addition, conditions, safety, bridge conditions, crashes, injuries, travel projects funded even partially with federal dollars are required times, and congestion levels. Moving from mere outputs to to undergo federally established planning and environmental outcomes, successful performance is expressed in a variety analyses; only projects funded entirely by the state are subject of ways such as service quality, efficiency, productivity, and