Click for next page ( 39


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 38
38 resources are adjusted so that Caltrans continues to head in projects on a quarterly basis. District directors meet on a reg- the right direction. For the "soft" indicators that are difficult ular basis with the director and review a STAR report which to measure, data is being collected over several cycles so that helps them track key milestones such as approval of the envi- a baseline can be established. ronmental document, ROW certification, plans, specifications & estimates, Ready to Let dates, and award dates for all the Reporting Results. Once the wheels were in motion for projects in the district. A "star" on this report indicates that Caltrans, it and its partners realized the benefits of develop- the goal was met ahead of schedule. ing and implementing performance measures. Performance measures led to better decision making, candid communi- cation with the public and other stakeholders, easier prior- Conclusions itization of projects and improving accountability. These pos- Caltrans continuously strives for a 100 percent delivery goal. itive results led to integrating the performance measures into With one decade of performance measure experience, Caltrans the long-range plan. has combined system outcome with organizational goals and Once Caltrans obtained results and gauged the relevance kept the local regional organization involved. Performance of the information, the decision to share the results with the measures have allowed Caltrans to become more transparent Business, Transportation and Housing Agency (BTH) on a to the public and other stakeholders through quarterly report- quarterly basis showed its confidence and its desire and abil- ing of performance data against the baselines and targets. ity to strive for excellence. More recently, in December 2007, Above all, Caltrans had refined its ability to deliver programs Caltrans made its quarterly performance measure report avail- and projects in record time, from the moment they are con- able to the public for the first time. The online report included ceived to the time they are open for public use. For Caltrans, some vital measures, shown in the form of a "dashboard," performance management is an all encompassing approach i.e., a series of easy-to-read gauges (see Figure 4) that pro- that has effected greater efficiency for California's transporta- vide the viewer with a sense of the overall condition and sta- tion system and streamlined the processes through which ideas tus of Caltrans at a glance. The baseline, target, and current become realistic critical transportation networks. data, including comments, are included for each perfor- mance measure. Maine Caltrans had fully embraced a culture of performance-based management. A Bridge Program with Accountable Teamwork and Leadership Contract for Delivery--Accountable Links in Performance Measures. Linking all facets of the Caltrans' project delivery Maine is a small, rural state with an active and innovative process may not have been an initial goal when performance state department of transportation. Maine ranks 39th in the measures were first implemented. This by-product, however, United States in terms of area, 40th in terms of population, has certainly become the final end product against which the and 38th in terms of population density. (37, 38) In 2005, less system itself and Caltrans are measured. Perhaps one of the than 30 percent of the state's VMT occurred in urban areas most difficult steps that Caltrans took was to link individual (the lowest among all eight case study states). (39) However, employee performance evaluations to the overall performance per capita VMT in Maine is about 11,300--about 13 percent measures. In other words, the director of Caltrans and all dis- higher than the national average. (39) trict directors discuss the planned project deliveries for the fol- Maine has 22,236 miles of public roads. (40) Of these, lowing year. District directors sign a "Contract for Delivery" 367 miles are interstate highways, 2,295 miles are arterials, for the fiscal year that indicates a specific number of projects and 5,595 miles are collectors. (40) The state owns and man- they will deliver. This agreement mandates great responsi- ages a network of 2,722 bridges. (41) Eighty-five percent of the bility and accountability on the part of district directors, state's lane miles are located in rural settings. (39) and their respective staff, to deliver the contracted number of Maine has 3,857 bridges, 70 percent of which are under the jurisdiction of the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT). (41) Of the state-owned bridges, 14.4 percent are considered structurally deficient. That places Maine at 13th highest in the nation with regard to percentage of structurally deficient bridges. In 2007, MaineDOT estimated that without proper investment, the number of state-owned bridges consid- ered in poor condition would double in 10 years, going from Figure 4. Example of a 9 to 18 percent. (41) MaineDOT's latest Long-Range Trans- dashboard gauge. portation Plan indicates that, in 10 years, the state runs the

OCR for page 38
39 risk of having nearly 10 percent of its bridges closed or posted Teams produce urgency. There are real deadlines and lines at lower weight limits. (42) of responsibility. "We can't hide things anymore." The Long-Range Transportation Plan goes even further, The chain of command is simpler, with more accountability. clearly stating MaineDOT's view about its roadway system: Team leaders can make decisions. "The State of Maine is losing ground in the struggle to main- tain and improve the transportation system that is vital to There are, however, issues with the team approach that its economic well-being." (42) It recognizes that the state everyone must address for them to be successful. The team has had to depend on a funding stream whose federal share approach requires significant buy-in and effort in order to has shrunk nearly 10 percent over the past 10 years. (A state be effective. It takes added effort to set up team meetings to motor fuel tax is the key non-federal source for highway/ ensure that all parties are represented. Managing a team is bridge projects.) It foresees a gap of between $2.5 and $3.3 bil- an important skill that needs to be learned. The team leader lion to provide basic improvements to Maine's bridges, arteri- needs to address these ongoing issues (43): als, collectors, and other parts of the transportation system by 2030. Such improvements include replacing 30 to 40 bridges Input from team members is important, but ultimately the each year, modernizing almost 200 miles of inadequate arteri- project manager needs to be able to make decisions. als, and modernizing 1,850 miles of collectors. (42) One has to watch out for the "squeaky wheel," the team One critical note in the Long-Range Transportation Plan member who by dint of personality or seniority can tend points to the relationship between long-term needs and the to overpower the team, and seemingly force the rest of need for more effective and efficient delivery of services: "before them to follow. we receive new resources, we must demonstrate to [the governor] The team leader needs to know how to aim for and recog- and the legislature that we are maximizing the benefits from nize consensus. It is not always easy to establish. every taxpayer dollar we already receive." (42) Teams are encouraged to take risks, e.g., employ context- sensitive solutions, but this is not always easy to do, since Organizational Structure-- adherence to AASHTO standards has long been institu- The Team Approach tionalized as a major part of the training and experience for many MaineDOT employees. Team leaders need to At the beginning of the 21st century, MaineDOT formal- encourage risk taking, while still recognizing the need for ized a change in organizational structure, such that the adequate backup for important design choices. highway and bridge programs function in a team approach. Prior to this change, the organization has been described as In addition, at MaineDOT, the environmental unit is not an "assembly line," with handoffs from one group to the next, formally a team member. Some believe that the environmen- each operating as a "silo" or "stovepipe," both organizational metaphors that essentially depict a vertical structure designed tal department very much needs to be part of the team. Right- to keep what is inside from interacting with the surrounding of-way personnel are part of the teams, but a dedicated staff environment. In sharp contrast, the team approach brings rep- member at the central Bureau executes the final property con- resentatives of various key divisions together, typically led by a demnation for all projects. Some project managers see this project manager who guides the team--and the project--from as a potential bottleneck that prolongs the project schedule planning through construction. Multimodal projects typically regardless of their efforts to expedite other tasks. Thus, there include outside consultant representatives on the team. are important issues that project managers at MaineDOT The team approach has been described as having "signifi- face and try to deal with constructively when institutional cantly helped in the acceleration of programs." (43) It also has trade-offs require a mix of team and non-team approaches. been cited as helping in employee retention and growth. An important part of the team approach is that it Some of the following positive opinions of the team approach encourages--and nearly requires--cross training of that were indicated are noted: MaineDOT personnel. Engineers will need to serve as proj- ect managers from scoping through design and into con- Teams have significantly improved communications. There struction. The goal, or effect, is for the individual engineer are frequent team meetings and self-directed teams. to learn many aspects of many different jobs. This cross- Teams have played a significant role in helping to retain training not only produces effective project managers, but trained employees. It broadens their work experience while further adds to employee morale and employee retention. challenging them with a variety of responsibilities. One final point should be made about organizational Teams are more efficient. Almost everyone is a part of the structure: MaineDOT has five regional offices, but the high- project team and provides input into a project budget and way program is very centralized. "Regions are not fiefdoms," schedule. said one official. "Key support staff is in Augusta; uniform

OCR for page 38
40 policies are established and are maintained statewide. It is a found the pavement to be in worse shape than anticipated, struggle to maintain regional consistency, but we do a good the resurfacing work urgently needed to be done sooner than job . . . via monthly meetings with the regions." Another aspect planned. The idea was put forth to fast track the resurfacing to of centralized activities occurs in the Property Office. Capa- three months, which would require the closing of all lanes bilities now exist to obtain statewide multiple-listing services along the southbound side of I-295 during that period. Maine- online. Information about sold properties can easily be ex- DOT officials cite several reasons as to why this project accel- tracted and helps the state make reasonable offers for needed eration was so successful. (a) Early and continuous public out- property. Appraisers are able to obtain information in 15 min- reach was conducted. This consisted both of meetings with utes, as opposed to a week of work in the field. As one official local officials about detour routes and other meetings with the noted, "Maine . . . is small enough so that everyone can work public about the need for the project. Slabs of the deteriorat- closely. The organizational matrix works well. Regional and ing concrete were exhibited at public meetings to clearly show central responsibilities go across lines." (43) the severe problems of the pavement. It was felt that if the public understood the need and the problems generated by Accelerating Design and Construction the pavement condition, there would be a better likelihood of on Critical Projects buy-in despite the inconveniences imposed by such a major detour. (b) Also, significant media attention was generated MaineDOT describes itself as reacting especially well to by the outreach effort. (c) Internally, staff-related efforts were crises--quite simply, it heightens the sense of urgency. The undertaken, including cross-training of staff, shifting of super- two projects discussed in the following paragraphs were noted visory personnel, and the establishment of managerial cham- by MaineDOT as examples of successful fast-tracked projects. pions for the project. One of the challenges associated with accelerating a critical Verona-Bucksport Bridge Replacement Project project is the effect it may have on other, non-crisis programs. Among mid-level managers, the perception exists that con- The Verona-Bucksport Bridge Replacement Project was centrating all efforts on accelerating a large project (as was the completed in 30 months. The original bridge was identified as case with the I-295 resurfacing) can actually delay the delivery a failing structure. Project acceleration was achieved through of the remainder of the program. It is important to give vent a multipronged approach. For instance, MaineDOT insisted to these perceptions and formulate a plan, when focusing on on what was almost literally a shotgun-enforced teaming a super-critical project, to move ahead on schedule with the of design and build functions. There were between 30 and rest of the program. 40 day-long meetings among the designer and contractor. All efforts were made to expedite environmental review. There was extensive, early, and continuous community involvement. Bridge Legislation and Project Prioritization However, MaineDOT points out that, largely because of the As stated earlier, MaineDOT oversees nearly 2,800 bridges. historical nature of the existing bridge, it was not possible to Nearly 16 percent are considered structurally deficient, and gain a consensus of public support for the project. On the other many more are likely to deteriorate over the next 10 years. (41) hand, MaineDOT considered early disclosure of the estimated project cost to be important in winning support among some To address this problem, the Maine state legislature passed two stakeholders. significant pieces of legislation that helped to expedite bridge There was a strong effort to utilize CSS in the design process. projects. In 2001, the Local Bridge Program (LBP) divided It was acknowledged that the existing bridge was historical, responsibilities for various types of spans between MaineDOT but the failing structure could not be preserved. Its histori- and towns. It made MaineDOT responsible for all larger bridges cal nature led MaineDOT to incorporate new historical and and the towns responsible for smaller spans on town ways. appealing aspects to the new bridge: incorporating an obser- It allowed MaineDOT to focus its capital and maintenance vatory into the design of a support pillar and using elements efforts on larger bridges that need it. State Highway Fund dol- and materials from other well-known historical structures. lars are conserved by better leveraging federal funds, because To accomplish this, MaineDOT maintained a strong relation- only bridges with a span of more than 20 feet are eligible for ship with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the federal funding. MaineDOT could fulfill its responsibility state historic preservation office. for bridge safety by continuing to inspect all smaller spans and larger bridges every two years. Most important, the larger bridge projects could be delivered quickly, without the cum- Interstate 295 Resurfacing Project bersome process of calculating cost-shares, letters offering Several miles of I-295 were scheduled to be resurfaced over projects, town funding authorization, preparing town billing, three construction seasons. However, when an inspection processing town payments, and resulting delays.

OCR for page 38
41 Table 3. Breakdown of capital bridge improvements trians, and bicyclists; use of safety features on structure or funded by Maine's bridge investment plan. approaches. Environmental Compatibility Quality: Aesthetically plea- Types of Improvements Quantity sing; fits into surroundings; minimal or no environmental Bridge Replacements 80 impacts; improved environmental conditions; historical or Bridge Improvements Not Yet Scoped 59 archeological integrity maintained; minimal or no ROW impacts; good erosion control during construction; satis- Bridge Rehabilitations 10 fied public. Bridge Removals 6 Functionality Quality: Meets purpose and need; appropri- Minor Spans 27 ate structure type; appropriate structure size; effective use Bridge Preservation 64 of right-of-way; effective accommodation of pedestrians and bicyclists; effective accommodation of boats and trains. Total 246 Cost-Effectiveness Quality: Appropriate scope of work; Source: Maine Department of Transportation (44 ) good workmanship ensured; low-maintenance structure type; durable materials used; reasonable life cycle costs; In 2008, the state legislature created a funding source for effective use of extra work or change orders; reasonable MaineDOT to provide $160 million ($40 million per year) project costs; effective design, plans, and specifications. to supplement the currently anticipated bridge funding of Overall Quality approximately $280 million ($70 million per year), to cre- ate a $440 million, four-year bridge investment plan. (44) Baseline target quality scores were assigned by a quality This plan represents a bold step toward addressing the bridge assessment team (QAT) to projects and then compared to the funding recommendations contained in the November 2007 overall quality score assigned by that QAT at the project's report to Governor Baldacci entitled "Keeping Our Bridges completion. The overall quality score measures a great deal Safe" (the Bridge Report), as well as the goals in 2007 P.L. Chap- about the construction process (including costs), as well as ter 470 "An Act to Secure Maine's Transportation Future," both an overall assessment of how well the project performs from of which have been incorporated into "Connecting Maine," safety, environmental, functional, and public reaction per- MaineDOT's Long-Range Transportation Plan. spectives. What it doesn't do is measure aspects of a project Among all the case study states analyzed in this report, as it progresses through the pipeline. Maine is the only state that has created this special bridge To begin tracking projects as they move through the pipe- funding source. This legislation identifies and funds 246 badly line, MaineDOT has begun to implement a new dashboard needed capital bridge improvements in every corner of Maine. tracking system for all projects. The dashboard tracks proj- Table 3 presents highlights of this bridge investment plan. ects that are identified in MaineDOT's Biennial Transporta- MaineDOT officials played a strong role in creating the list tion Improvement Program (BTIP) and its Biennial Mainte- of 246 bridges. The four-year funding has created a strong nance Activity Plan (BMAP). It classifies projects into three urgency within MaineDOT to undertake these additional categories: bridge projects expeditiously--in some ways similar to the urgency created by the Verona-Bucksport bridge replace- Green: Two types of projects are in the green category: ment project and the I-295 resurfacing project. Projects that have just been kicked off Projects that remain in the following parameters: Scope stays consistent with the Scoping Report. The Evolution of Performance Review-- Estimated expenditures stay within seven percent of The Bridge Program programmed amount. In 2004, MaineDOT's bridge program instituted the first Four or fewer change orders. form of project performance review in the DOT. Known as Project schedule stays within 25 days. "Quality Assessment of Completed Bridge Projects," it mea- Yellow: Projects move to yellow parameters when: sured the quality of the work performed on various bridge Project experiences a minor scope change from the Scop- projects. Scoring was based on a 1 to 4 scale with 1 being ing Report. unsatisfactory and 4 being exceptional. Project falls 25 to 40 days behind schedule. Scores were assigned to five criteria: Project experiences five to nine change orders. There is municipal unrest concerning the project. Safety Quality: Effective maintenance of traffic during Project cost estimate exceeds programmed amount by construction; improved safety to traveling public, pedes- eight to twelve percent.