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5 Background organization often creates hand-offs from one unit to another, in many cases leading to problems in project delivery stem- Transportation projects, which include highways, bridges, ming from changing managers, circumstances, resources, pri- and railroads, have a large impact on the immediate economic orities, and influence. In addition, expediting transportation and social environment. Their effects are felt over many years projects is also affected by an agency's organizational struc- as they change the physical landscape and transform the qual- ture. Efficiency can be achieved via both process and organi- ity of human life by allowing regions to become accessible. zational design. Often, overall strategic plans that foster an In general, large projects have such a multitude of interwoven accelerated approach need to be implemented. These plans components and stakeholders that completing them on sched- should hold their course throughout all phases of a project and ule, on budget, and to acceptable standards becomes a com- be clearly supported throughout the organization. plex challenge. Another challenge presents itself in maintain- Much has been done to increase the flexibility of funding ing these large capital investments over many years while and promote multimodal transportation, but there has been strengthening relationships and coalitions with stakeholders little change in the process of implementing projects since and political leaders. Equally important are the smaller trans- the road building era of the 1960s and the regulatory era of portation projects which maintain, reconstruct, or expand the 1970s. For example, in 2001, the average time required existing facilities, or undertake emergency repairs. These proj- for major highways and airports to advance from planning ects compete for limited resources while customers demand to opening was 13 years and 10 years, respectively. Environ- higher-quality transportation options and cost-efficient solu- mental permitting alone took more than three years (one- tions delivered in a timely manner with minimal disruption. third of the planning time) to acquire. (1) In today's strained Meeting the transportation goals in today's fast-paced, ever- economic environment, where resources and funding are changing landscape requires a holistic approach. limited, it is unacceptable to delay transportation projects Typically, a project begins with an idea or a concept to for so long by processes that perhaps could be shortened. meet an identified need, which then graduates to the planning Yet the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the phase. It is then programmed and moves through design to American Association of State Highway and Transporta- reach the final construction phase, sometimes many years later. tion Officials (AASHTO) stated in a 2002 report that delays The lengthy planning, design, and construction processes are to project delivery were related to intrinsic flaws. Figure 1 indi- often further slowed down by complex issues related to envi- cates that unsuccessful delivery of a project was due to four pre- ronment, community, property acquisitions, and funding. A dominant reasons: (a) lack of funding, (b) local controversy, goal of many transportation programs and projects in today's (c) low priority, and (d) complexity of the project. (2) environment is for all aspects to be accelerated in one way or NCHRP Project 20-24 compared state DOTs' construc- another so that benefits are realized in time and cost savings, tion project costs and schedule performance. The review of without a sacrifice in the quality of the final product. Estab- approximately 26,500 projects across 20 states revealed that lished acceleration techniques and strategies tend to address in almost 50 percent of the cases, projects were not delivered only one or two phases of the project at a time. Phases are seg- on time. For projects over $5 million, 65 percent of the proj- mented, and many acceleration tools and best practices apply ects were not delivered on time. Other factors causing delays only to a given phase. There are numerous impediments to in project delivery are utility conflicts, right-of-way (ROW) developing a project with an approach that envisions the en- acquisitions, environmental and political issues, and inade- tire project, with all of its intricate issues, from conception to quate coordination between agencies and stakeholders. Many completion. One of the goals of this research is to uncover of these concerns can be addressed through programs that those processes by which state DOTs have made paradigm provide a holistic approach to program and project delivery. shifts toward accelerating projects holistically. In the course The statistical trends are worth a second glance. America's of obtaining information from eight DOTs from around the population is expected to reach 420 million in the next 50 years. country, numerous methods leading to accelerated project In the last 40 years, highway lane miles have increased by 6 per- delivery were identified and analyzed. cent while vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has increased by A considerable amount of published research on accelerat- 194 percent. While business travel has kept pace with growth ing project delivery has focused on practices to speed comple- in employment, social and recreational travel has doubled in tion of various phases of the project delivery process. However, the last four decades. Because over 88 percent of workers com- few of these studies have taken a holistic approach to the entire mute in private vehicles, commuter traffic heavily impacts delivery process from the first idea for a project to the opening U.S. highways. The nation's interconnected transportation for use by the public. network moves about 12 billion ton-miles per day. All of these Most of the agencies implementing transportation programs trends continue to have a direct impact on the transportation and projects are organized by sequential work phases. This network. (1)
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6 Source: FHWA, Reasons for Project Delays, 2002 Figure 1. Reasons for project delay. To date, what is absent from the literature research is The results of the literature search were reviewed to nar- documentation of any holistic programs and projects that row the list of states selected for further consideration. Case demonstrate how programs and projects are managed and studies for final selection had to represent a range in size and accelerated from conception to completion. This absence in scope of programs and projects, activities in rural and urban itself substantiates the need to research best practices that can areas, and activities in large and small transportation agencies. provide state decision makers with some options for acceler- The difficulty arising from this task was due to the large num- ating their programs and projects. ber of states that exhibited projects and programs that led to expedited project delivery. Many examples were cited in which some aspect of the project was accelerated so that the end result Scope of Study was a project completed on a shorter schedule. Other reviewed Research began in July 2007 with a literature search, using articles and reports highlighted large, complex projects that key search words, to review serial publications, professional are not the typical project for implementation. Owing to their journals, articles, and databases to identify primary strategies larger budgets and political support, such projects often got and practices for accelerating programs and project delivery. priority both within agencies and externally as well. Approximately 200 annotated references were generated from Apart from selecting such case studies, the team also had to this search. These were reviewed to identify those strategies, research states that delivered basic operations and mainte- best practices and methodologies currently being used to accel- nance ("meat and potatoes") types of projects. These ongoing erate programs and projects across the United States. programs ensure infrastructure is in a state of good repair and In reviewing the literature, the research team noted that systems are operating as effectively as possible. Narrowing some states contributed more frequently to the body of pub- down the long list of exceptionally well-documented exam- lished information on this topic. In addition, certain accel- ples of successful projects and programs was challenging. The eration strategies were better documented than others. The team relied on selection criteria and panel comments to assist research team maintained its focus on techniques and best with the final list of states that resulted. practices that provided a holistic approach on project accel- The preparation for interviewing the selected eight states eration from conception to completion. required a flexible approach. In addition to individual inter-
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7 views, the team felt that discussion panels or a workshop type subscriptions. Search engines included Google, Factiva, JSTOR, of environment would help draw information from partic- Science Direct, Mergent Online, Lexis/Nexis Academic, ipants, as a group setting would elicit more discussion. By ProQuest, and Compendex. involving key staff members from different divisions and var- Approximately 195 of the identified articles concerned ious backgrounds, the discussion format allowed participants some aspect of project acceleration. These articles were sorted to hear different perspectives of an issue. into 10 categories: Minutes were recorded by the research team at interviews and panel discussions carried out at each of the eight state DOT · Construction headquarters. Follow-up emails and conversations continued · Contracting for clarification of discussion details. Then began the inten- · Project development, process, design and funding sive task of developing case studies for each of the interviewed · Environment states. The research team continued with an analysis of the · Monitoring research findings and identified key points to focus on for each · Multiproject factors state DOT. Transcriptions of interviews, meeting minutes, · Personnel issues printed materials, and online sources, including the state DOT · Political and public relations websites, served as source material for the case studies. · Strategic planning, organization and culture · Teamwork Data Collection Approach The research team then revisited the search and broadened The literature review for this project followed a multistep it to include the following sources and search terms: approach. First, the team reviewed the relevant TRB references and the "Scoping Study for an AASHTO Guide on Accelerat- · Dissertation Abstracts Online--This database includes over ing Project Delivery" to identify preliminary references, search two million records for dissertations and theses from terms, and appropriate search engines. The identified terms mirrored those in the proposal: the United States, Canada, Britain, and other European countries. Abstracts are available since 1980 for most disser- · Project acceleration tations and since 1988 for most theses. The database includes · Project management dissertations and theses dating back to 1861. No full text is · Improving transportation project delivery/project delivery available from this database. time factors/project delivery delays · Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations-- · Environmental streamlining The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations · Bracketing planning and environmental analysis Union Catalog is intended to serve as a repository of rich · Engineering quality survey mapping graduate educational material contributed by a number of · Constructability reviews member institutions worldwide, with the hope that this · Milestone reviews project will increase the availability of student research for · Substantial completion reviews scholars. Most of the included theses and dissertations are · Proactive ROW acquisition available in full text online. · A + B contracting · WorldCat Dissertations and Theses--All dissertations, · Incentive payments/disincentive penalties theses, and published material based on theses and dis- · Lane rental sertations cataloged by Online Computer Library Center · No excuse completion dates (OCLC) member libraries. · Innovative construction techniques · Organizational theory and structure-specific references. (These terms were included in the initial search. This search Second, the team conducted a general Internet search for was meant to provide more theoretical references that relevant resources and then progressed to a specific search might have been overlooked during the initial search.) using search engines available through Virginia Tech library · Document management references.