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4 CHAPTER 1 Introduction and Background Introduction These successes have been realized through processes that view the projects as one continuous, fluid endeavor from Delivering high-quality transportation programs and proj- beginning to end. ects on schedule and within budget is a goal shared by trans- This report examines the characteristics, methods, and portation departments and highway administrations across practices employed by the DOTs of eight states, identified the United States. Each state presents a unique set of circum- through a literature review and selected for their represen- stances for its DOT to overcome in carrying out its mission. tative characteristics, to aid in accelerating their programs Aging infrastructure, limited funding, community concerns, and projects. In addition, this report presents an analysis of and political influences are just some of the factors that hin- the common trends--and the common challenges--that der the expedient delivery of a program or project. Addition- surfaced during the research. What becomes patently clear in ally, the changing demographic and economic trends of the studying each of the investigated states is that today's finan- American public pose another layer of difficulty for trans- cial, social, environmental, and political climates are vastly portation professionals to expedite programs. With more different from what they were 50 years ago. This change, individuals entering the workforce and relying on an already combined with an ever-increasing population and matur- saturated network of roads and highways for their mobility ing infrastructure, demands that transportation agencies needs, state officials have had to deal with the imbalance of examine and adjust their goals, objectives, and methods on higher demands and constrained outputs in surface trans- an ongoing basis to accomplish their mission and provide the portation projects. In this environment, any tool or method public with an outstanding roadway network. shown to accelerate transportation program or project deliv- This report is intended to benefit individuals involved in ery at the state level warrants a closer look and a serious assess- the planning, implementation, and management of public ment of its potential to succeed in a different state. transportation programs and projects at the state level, par- In recent years, state DOTs have made advancements in ticularly in the area of highways and bridges. It is recom- improving project delivery by accelerating critical phases of a mended that users of this report have the following basic skills project, improving the communication among stakeholders, and/or background: strengthening public outreach efforts, and expediting the per- mit approval processes by collaborating with environmen- tal agencies. However, none of these efforts lend themselves An understanding of project management principles for to a holistic approach in program and project delivery. By highway design, construction, and maintenance, within their very nature, they are segmented and provide only brief the context of a state DOT accelerations in project delivery. Familiarity with the federal funding process for transporta- Several states have taken a broader approach to deliver- tion projects through approved transportation improvement ing programs and projects. Expanding on smaller successes, plans developed by metropolitan planning organizations combining winning strategies, and taking a holistic approach An understanding of federal and state environmental and to project delivery have all led to reduced time frames and, other regulatory permitting and approval processes, right- in some cases, cost savings in delivering projects. States are of-way, and utilities taking on more risks and trying innovative procedures to meet A basic knowledge of contracting methods for procurement milestone dates and open facilities to the public as promised. of professional, construction, and management services