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 69
69 mittee is in the process of defining benchmarks for various complexity and continuing population growth, had strained categories. This process is also providing NJDOT with an the department's ability to adequately serve the citizens of opportunity to define where the data collection gaps are in North Carolina and other users of the highway system. The its system. While bridge and pavement categories have his- percentage of construction contracts advertised and awarded torically been well documented with consistent and detailed on schedule was fairly low. (75) reports, other areas have very little information. The "softer" In light of this realization, officials at NCDOT were strongly side of transportation such as safety, congestion, and quality motivated to seek ways of improving efficiencies, optimizing of life are more challenging to measure and benchmark. The performance, and expediting program and project delivery. lack of available data for these categories complicates the goal But the process had already begun some years earlier. In the of setting future system conditions. For instance, New Jersey 1990s, the department had developed a collaboration--a may want to achieve a 70 percent improvement in the level of Merger Process--with state and federal regulatory and per- safety on a system-wide basis. Simply measuring the current mitting agencies that had measurably reduced the delays that level of safety is difficult. Future goals for levels of safety are customarily followed the filing of permit applications for even more difficult to establish without the right metrics. major infrastructure projects. More recently, the depart- Similar challenges face the steering committee, but it has two ment pooled its collective expertise and took a hard look at broad goals: its organization and operations, resulting in a careful but comprehensive restructuring to meet the new challenges faced ˇ Develop an asset management plan in the 21st Century. ˇ Develop an asset management improvement strategy This restructuring, which provides greater accountability and tracks performance at multiple levels, has benefitted pro- NJDOT has a challenge ahead of it in implementing and gram and project delivery holistically, from conception to establishing an asset management plan that can help decision completion. makers pursue the right projects at the right time for the right cost. For now, it is relying on data that exists in its internal Background management systems to see where the gaps exist in its repos- itory of information. Using that as a starting point, it will Although North Carolina ranks 28th in the nation in geo- build upon that information and move forward. New Jersey graphical area, among the Eastern Seaboard states only Florida is in the process of determining how and what kind of infor- (22nd) and New York (27th) are larger. (37) However, in terms mation will be required to set the benchmarks for some of the of gross mileage, NCDOT's jurisdiction is the second largest difficult-to-quantify areas of transportation which it wants in the nation behind TxDOT's, having responsibility for to measure and monitor. The improvement strategy will con- 79,067 of the state's 103,500 miles of highway. (76) This per- tinue to develop and mature the processes that are currently centage (76.4 percent) is the highest share of state-owned and in place. At some point, NJDOT leaders recognize that a shift maintained highway miles of any state in the United States, has to occur in the culture and mindset of the department in the national average being around 20 percent. In 2006, North order for asset management to be a success. But that is not too Carolina's public roads consisted of 1,086 miles of interstate far off in the horizon. highway, 9,960 miles of other principal and minor arterials, Overall, NJDOT has put in place a system of four project 17,463 miles of major and minor collectors, and 74,991 miles pipelines that simplify the flow of projects from conception of local roads, for a combined total of 103,500 miles. Despite through to completion, regardless of project size or complexity. the immense size of NCDOT's highway system, just seven per- cent of the state's roads, the 5,400 miles constituting North This approach may be applicable to other state DOTs, depend- Carolina's Strategic Highway Corridors, carry 45 percent of ing on their particular circumstances and the political, physi- the state's traffic. (76) cal, and social environments in which they work. With an estimated population of slightly over nine million people, North Carolina is currently ranked 11th most popu- North Carolina lous in the United States. (37, 77) Like many other states, until the late 1980s, North Carolina's rural population out- Realigning for the 21st Century and Beyond numbered its urban population. However for several decades, When the North Carolina Department of Transportation the urban population of North Carolina has exceeded the (NCDOT) adopted its 2004 Long-Range Transportation Plan, rural population by a small percentage. (78) The gap between the business model it was following clearly had to change. urban and rural population is widening, due partly to state Increasing congestion, aging infrastructure, and financial residents migrating from countryside to city and suburb, but limitations, coupled with its highway system's large size and owing more to immigration from other states. Between July
OCR for page 70
70 1, 2007, and July 1, 2008, the RaleighCary metropolitan area sulting in "siloed," or isolated, knowledge. For example, saw its population climb 4.3 percent to 1.1 million, making information collected by Traffic Congestion may not be it the nation's fastest-growing metropolitan area during that regularly shared with Planning, and information on a proj- period. (79) North Carolina's four largest cities all lie in the ect site collected by the Division of Highways may not be central Piedmont region of the state, between the Coastal adequately shared with the Rail Division. In addition, best Plain region to the east and the Appalachian Mountain region practices may not have been adequately shared across the to the west. department. VMT has gone up in North Carolina as it has throughout Response: A completely reorganized NCDOT, focusing the nation. In 2006, NC roads experienced 101,515 million on functions and processes. VMT, up 13.4 percent from 89,504 million in 2000. It is ex- ˇ Insufficient accountability for project delivery across busi- pected to double in the next 20 years. During the same period, ness units--Accountability for successful project delivery the state's population is expected to grow by another 50 per- was often unclear, leading frequently to slow and ineffi- cent, surpassing that of Georgia, Michigan, and Ohio and cient project delivery. making it the seventh most populous in the nation. (80) Response: A series of metrics and performance indica- North Carolina is experiencing a demographic shift and tors, presented in a public-facing dashboard as well as an will have to adjust to the increasing urbanization along with internal results-based reporting model. an aging infrastructure. But the state has been impacted more ˇ Inconsistent coordination and success across geographies by the economic shift that is gradually changing the global in planning, designing, delivering, operating, and main- economy. This state, whose economy was traditionally based taining projects--Division managers would coordinate on tobacco, furniture, and textiles, has transformed itself into some processes with staff familiar with their regions, while a knowledge-based enterprise. (81) Infrastructure manage- coordinating others with whomever was available. ment and maintenance has played a key role in supporting Response: Organization of the entire delivery process, NCDOT's vision to become an operations-based agency. from beginning to end, around North Carolina's three geo- graphical regions (Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Appalachian Mountains). Organizational Structure ˇ Slow, multilayered, sometimes bureaucratic decision- Reorganization for NCDOT was more than simply mov- making processes across the organization--In some areas ing some units around or creating new departments. Reorga- too many layers existed between senior, middle, and lower nization meant tearing down the old processes, methods, and management with regard to decision making, leading to structures and disposing of the old culture to create a solid, extended and inefficient decision making and contribut- efficient organization. To do this, NCDOT had to expose its ing to a reduction in the Department's productivity. Unit ideologies to an external, neutral third party and allow itself to heads were often limited in their independent decision- be critiqued. NCDOT leadership engaged an outside consult- making power. ant with proven expertise in organizational transformation Response: A concerted effort to change NCDOT's culture and capability-building to help it analyze its organizational to provide managers with wide decision-making leeway. structure profile; identify its strengths, weaknesses, processes, and methods; and address project development and the per- Transformation Initiatives mitting process. A Transformation Management Team (TMT) composed of Five transformation initiatives were identified: (a) align managers and analysts from across the department internally strategic direction with a new mission statement and goal, led the effort in designing and implementing NCDOT's trans- (b) streamline project design and delivery, (c) design a more formation and future improvements. The TMT worked with productive organization, (d) increase accountability for and the consultant to diagnose the NCDOT's situation, set priori- visibility of performance, and (f) improve talent management. ties for transformation, and build its capabilities by identifying All of these initiatives are synchronized to deliver programs areas for long-term continuous improvement. more efficiently. The first links projects, programs, and services The following list includes four of the major organiza- to goals. It addresses funding and creates strategic planning and tional structural challenges the TMT and consultant found function. The second initiative seeks to streamline the delivery and NCDOT's response to them (80): of projects through proper prioritization. The third initiative attempts to break down the silos so that the transportation net- ˇ A "silo culture" that discouraged coordination among busi- work operates as one system. This initiative assists the depart- ness units--Employees tended to focus on meeting unit- ment in creating opportunities for shared insights, economies specific goals, as opposed to organization-wide goals, re- of scale, and single-point accountability. The fourth initiative
OCR for page 71
71 emphasizes accountability and visibility for performance so collaboration, leading to more cohesive processes. To inaugu- all employees work effectively toward corporate goals and rate its reorganization, NCDOT adopted a new mission state- suggests organization-wide metric-based management. The ment: "Connecting people and places in North Carolina-- last initiative seeks to make choices about where and how to safely and efficiently, with accountability and environmental invest in human capital. Retaining critical talent, improving sensitivity." In addition, it set forth a series of goals that are employee performance, and creating a culture that builds tied directly to an online performance dashboard. morale, collaborative approaches, and proactive problem- NCDOT's operations are led by the secretary of trans- solving techniques help to change traditional mindsets. (75) portation, a member of the governor's cabinet. A 19-member Board of Transportation is the department's governing body and is responsible for assisting in the transportation decision- Creative Realignment making process and approving fund allocation. Board mem- Similar to the concept of creative destruction, NCDOT has bers are appointed by the governor. undergone a process of "creative realignment." In this pro- NCDOT has six divisions: Aviation, Bicycle & Pedestrian, cess, TMT members methodically examined and often decon- Ferry, Highways, Public Transportation, and Rail. While the structed the old organizational structure from within and reorganization affects each one of these, this case study deals created a new one. This step was essential in order for the for the most part with the Division of Highways. Geographi- department to sustain and remain effective in a financially cally, NCDOT subdivided the state into 14 highway divisions, strained and demographically burgeoning environment. as illustrated in Figure 17. Under the guidance of the TMT, the department was re- structured along new strategic functional alignments and Project Prioritization responsible positions, as follows: (77) While each highway division is responsible for NCDOT's ˇ Organization Monitoring, Communication & Control-- "physical plant" within its designated counties, some of the chief operating officer (chief deputy secretary), inspector department's functions are best left centralized. One of the general, communications director, and governance office most important benefits of having all project development director centralized, under the Preconstruction unit, is project pri- ˇ Transportation Strategy & Investment Analysis--deputy oritization. If this function were to be divided up by high- secretary for intergovernmental affairs and budget coordi- way division, each division would advocate its own projects nation and the chief financial officer and vie with one another for priority. Following a single pri- ˇ Transportation Business Administration--deputy secre- oritization list for state transportation projects does not guar- tary for administration and business development and the antee complete elimination of this type of competition, but it human resources director does tend to minimize the problem. NCDOT began prioritiz- ˇ Transportation Process Management--technical services ing its infrastructure needs from a systems perspective rather director and chief information officer than an individual corridor perspective. ˇ Transportation Program & Asset Management--deputy secretary for transit and the state highway administrator Consistent Administration of ˇ Transportation Program Delivery--chief engineer of oper- Construction Management ations and the commissioner of motor vehicles Another area of centralization in NCDOT's organizational This reorganization aligned NCDOT's direction for the fu- structure is the administration of construction activities. ture in terms of its vision, strategy, and employee engagement. Within the southeastern United States, North Carolina is a It aligned leadership for both Board of Transportation mem- comparatively large state, with a considerable number of pro- bers and senior management, including increased supervisor grams and projects. However, the organization administers a collaboration. Alignment occurred for environmental issues standard set of policies and procedures across the state on and values. In terms of stimulating programs, reorganization how construction projects are managed. This standardization created accountability, coordination, and control among divi- has facilitated a measure of control, ensuring that the same sions; new capabilities; and motivation. Renewing the organ- activities are carried out in the same sequence, regardless of ization led to innovation of ideas and external orientation with where in the state a project occurs. Ultimately it contributes stakeholders and other regulatory agencies so that NCDOT to the overall quality and integrity of the programs and proj- was more responsive and proactive. (75) ects carried out statewide by NCDOT. What resulted was a broader, more horizontal organiza- A Central Construction unit provides statewide support and tion with more opportunities for greater communication and assists in providing consistent contract administration. While
OCR for page 72
72 Source: NCDOT website Figure 17. NCDOT highway divisions. the department's 14 highway divisions actually administer the Current Funding Sources contracts, they turn to Central Construction for assistance and guidance on statewide applications and specifications. For the 20072008 fiscal year, NCDOT's $3.9 billion budget Considerable effort has been expended by NCDOT to was funded 47 percent by a state highway fund ($1,832 mil- develop and launch a computer program called the Highway lion), 29 percent by a highway trust fund ($1,128 million), Construction and Materials System (HiCAMS). HiCAMS 24 percent by federal funds ($943 million), and 0.6 percent by is a custom application that tracks and supports highway department receipts ($24 million). State transportation rev- construction work and the testing of materials used in the enue sources are supplied as follows: motor fuel tax, 55 per- construction process. More than just a database, HiCAMS cent; highway use tax, 25 percent; and fees, 20 percent. is a computer system into which payments to contractors, That same $3.9 billion was projected to be divided up such documentation of materials received (as measured by the that highway maintenance and Transportation Improve- resident engineers), and invoices are all entered. As NCDOT ment Plan (TIP) construction received the largest funding at pays the contractors' estimates based on data entered into $898 million and $1,556 million, respectively. Other construc- HiCAMS, the system can track and document invoices and tion, non-highway programs, other agencies, and municipal payments while simultaneously tracking the status, progress, aid receive the remainder of funds. (82) and completion of projects. The system has the capacity to indicate "approval" of a contractor's invoice--or not--based on current data pertaining to a particular job. HiCAMS also Best Practices for NCDOT tracks contractors' claims, subconsultant agreements, and Merger 01: Streamlining Project Development numerous other pieces of information vital to administering and Delivery through Concurrence programs and projects in an efficient, accountable manner. Originally developed in the late 1990s, HiCAMS has been Over the course of the past 12 years, NCDOT has actively undergoing constant improvements and enhancements ever sought ways to streamline the project development and per- since. With HiCAMS in place, contractor invoices get paid mitting process that so often halts progress on a project within 30 to 60 days from receipt of invoice, and in some schedule. Merger 01 is the process that was developed to pro- cases in less than a week. When these wait times are compared vide a common forum for discussion so that, through inter- with waits of up to 120 days or more that contractors experi- agency coordination, comprehensive evaluation and resolution ence with other DOTs and agencies, it becomes evident that of issues could occur. This process results in quicker and shared keeping information current is actually more efficient than decision making. (83) Merger 01 is a multiagency initiative requiring people at various levels of management to approve whereby regulatory agencies--including various branches of an invoice in order for it to be processed and paid. the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources
OCR for page 73
73 (DENR), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Concurrence is Key. The key to Merger 01 ratcheting FHWA, other state and federal agencies, and numerous areas the project forward is the concept of concurrence. Each of the NCDOT--meet together and formally register their team member--and by association, the agency he or she concurrence at strategic points in the development of projects represents--agrees to decisions made throughout the devel- from their earliest conceptual and planning phases. opment of the project. This agreement constitutes a pledge Very often in the past, after reviewing a submitted design, by the agency to abide by the decision made and not to revisit permitting agencies (such as DENR and USACE) were likely to previous concurrence points unless substantive new informa- return it with recommended modifications to avoid, minimize, tion surfaces that warrants a re-evaluation. or mitigate impacts to surrounding areas that would result A multiagency, multilevel team was formed to determine from a proposed action. Because for many projects, more than what was needed to make a decision at each concurrence point. one permit needs to be obtained--often from more than one The milestone concurrence points in a typical project under regulatory agency--before design and construction can begin, Merger 01 are as follows: this process could be very time consuming. Also, modifications made on a project during the final design phase invariably cost 1. Purpose and need and study area defined more and may be more time consuming than if the same 2. Detailed study alternatives carried forward changes were requested at an earlier stage of the project. 2A. Bridging decisions and alignment review (if applicable) To address these issues, and in an attempt to remedy an 3. Selection of the least environmentally damaging prac- unacceptably low ratio of projects let to projects in design in ticable alternative (LEPDA)/preferred alternative (The a given fiscal year, NCDOT initiated talks with DENR and LEPDA is the NEPA-preferred alternative.) USACE regarding new alignment projects and projects requir- 4A. Avoidance and minimization--A detailed interdiscipli- ing an individual permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water nary and interagency review to optimize the design and Act. FHWA, USACE, DENR, and NCDOT entered into an benefits of the project while reducing environmental agreement to consult early in the project development process impacts to both the human and natural environment and identify specific projects that would follow the Merger 01 4B. 30 percent hydraulic review process, through the application of screening criteria. 4C. Permit drawings review As part of an effort to streamline the project development and permitting processes, an agreement containing a set of Merger 01 provides for resolution of issues causing non- procedures integrating NEPA and Section 404 for transporta- concurrence, in the event that an agency cannot concur. It tion projects in North Carolina was signed in May of 1997 by prescribes the procedure to be followed for three basic types the Wilmington District of USACE, the North Carolina divi- of projects: sion of FHWA, DENR, and NCDOT. This agreement was supported by a federal action that took place in May of 1992 ˇ Projects on new locations when the U.S.DOT, the Office of the Assistant of the Army ˇ Widening and other improvement projects (Civil Works), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ˇ Bridge replacement projects processed as a Categorical developed a policy that would (a) improve interagency coor- Exclusion dination and (b) integrate NEPA with Section 404 procedures. The agreement was modified early in 2005 based on expe- Following the Merger 01 methodology has been found to rience using the 1997 agreement and guidance provided by a save at least six months on a given project's overall schedule. process improvement workshop held by a team representing By far, Merger 01 has accelerated the program and project the three key agencies. Additional streamlining provisions of delivery process for NCDOT. As a result of these formal con- TEA-21 were incorporated as well. Evaluation of this process currence points, project review in subsequent stages is mini- for its effectiveness is ongoing, and the team is making mod- mized, approvals are speedy, and re-submissions are practically ifications, as appropriate. nonexistent. The Merger 01 process accelerates projects. The team, con- sisting of representatives from the NCDOT and regulatory Collaboration Accelerates Projects. The entire process agencies, meets on a project at strategic points in the project of formulating the Merger was successful on several levels. It development process and makes balanced decisions that move involved a greater number of people in each of the agencies, the project forward so that potential project development and and enhanced communications and relationships within and environmental-related risks are avoided. All players provide between all of them. Senior leaders recognized the need to work input on project decisions, with the intent that the environ- together on common goals and participated in the meetings. mental review and permitting processes will go quickly, and Top people from the agencies (the secretary of transportation, post-review modifications to the design can be minimized. the colonel from the USACE Wilmington District, and the
OCR for page 74
74 Secretary of DENR) spoke on what their expectancies were the cycle again and again, making refinements as needed to from the workshops. When mid-level managers and line em- each component of the reorganization along the way. ployees saw and heard these individuals at the workshops, they The first step linked the mission statement with the goals, realized what an important issue this was. which then tie into the metrics. The value tree shown in Fig- As an added benefit, upper-level managers from the vari- ure 18 shows the critical steps that NCDOT took toward ous agencies got to know each other better and now feel com- establishing measures. fortable placing a telephone call to one another and speaking NCDOT addressed many challenges, including long-term directly to top people in other agencies when issues arise. viability; buy-in from all levels; incremental gains versus "Shared decision-making in the Merger process really moves "miracles"; establishing realistic, attainable goals that are things forward. It's not just someone's input; its concurrence easily measured; and creating challenging and rewarding and an agreement not to . . . revisit unless there's huge new work. "Putting the pieces together" in the overall context of information." (84) Merger 01 documents all decisions made NCDOT's business plan and the 25-year Statewide Trans- on projects as they advance from planning through permit- portation Plan was a great accomplishment, as shown in ting and design, so that if a new project manager inherits a Figure 19. (77) project, a history of how the project developed and was shaped NCDOT's organizational performance dashboard is an into its current state is available. All the participants, key deci- online tool that uses a set of gauges to indicate performance sion makers, and decisions are noted so that time is not lost based on actual, real-time statistics. So far, NCDOT has in going back to justify the major decisions that so influence designed metrics for more than 40 independent units. The the flow and flux of a project. metrics are linked to the performance dashboard and con- As one NCDOT executive noted, "In an emergency situation, tinue to be reinforced with new performance management you develop one overarching goal, and it gets accomplished. programs. The dashboard, which can be accessed by anyone There is a lot of ownership and everybody breaks down the through the NCDOT website, is shown in Figure 20. silos and does whatever it takes. There is a common priority-- The dashboard web page is the "tip of the iceberg." By project delivery is the goal." But in a non-emergency situa- clicking on any of the gauges, the Internet user can bring up tion, what happens to the jobs and the deliverables? "Work- more detailed information on the metrics that combine to ing in merger-type relationships, you're working with a sense determine the reading on that gauge. While the gauges on the of trust. The trust is built through relationships." It is a mat- dashboard show performance statewide, a user interested ter of collaborating with a sense of trust versus laboring under in a specific location's performance can drill down to view the a sense of urgency. (84) same data for any of North Carolina's 100 counties. The performance-based management model is intended to provide a longer-lasting transportation network, operating at Organizational Performance Dashboard lower costs with fewer traffic interruptions. Already, $40 mil- One of the initiatives identified by the TMT was to address lion in savings have been identified through interagency col- the issue of performance and accountability. An outgrowth laboration to find ways of saving on the cost of designing and of the Merger 01 process was the imminent development of delivering transportation projects. (85) performance metrics and management. Using the five goals NCDOT's overall performance results for the fiscal year 2008 are impressive: the share of measured activities that met of the organization and keeping in line with the long-range or exceeded expectations was 75.8 percent. (77) plan, NCDOT created a department-wide dashboard that is available to the public via its website. The dashboard serves as a real-time indicator of how well the organization is accom- Future Developments plishing its mission and meeting its goals. Interagency Leadership Team The process to create and implement a system that was usable and reflected the department's goals and missions In 2004, NCDOT advocated for the formation of an Inter- was difficult and required much support and guidance agency Leadership Team (ILT), understanding that the trans- from upper-level management. It involved six tedious steps: portation system needs to be planned in coordination with (a) development of performance measures, (b) establish- economic development, and protection and enhancement ment of benchmarks, (c) strategic program development, of cultural and natural resources, which are also extremely (d) communication and implementation, (e) reporting and important to the citizens' quality of life. A large group of state feedback, and (f) analysis and retool. and federal agencies was brought together in May of 2004 and These steps were designed to operate iteratively, in a con- began meeting on a quarterly basis with the goal of improv- tinuous cycle, so that after "retooling" (step f), the TMT would ing existing operations. More recently, the ILT identified a revisit the performance measures (step a), and move through strategic plan and refined its original three goals: (86)
OCR for page 75
75 Figure 18. Value tree linking mission statement, goals, and metrics. Source: NCDOT website Figure 19. Putting the pieces together.
OCR for page 76
76 Source: NCDOT website Figure 20. NCDOT's organization performance dashboard. ˇ Develop a shared, comprehensive Geographic Information improved communications, customer service, cycle time System (GIS) database. reduction, dollar savings, energy and environment, labor-hour ˇ Partner with local governments and other stakeholders to savings, and safety. Annual winners are rewarded through integrate local land use and long-range transportation plan- recognition of their ideas. CPI has proven to stimulate, pro- ning, as well as applicable environmental and economic mote, and sustain a culture of innovation and improvement planning initiatives, to meet mobility, economic, and envi- throughout all levels of the department. (87) ronmental goals. CPI is not a performance measure per se, but rather a recog- ˇ Improve the Merger 01 process. nition program that encourages innovative thinking and goes beyond rewarding improved processes to publicizing them and This last goal of the ILT is a commitment to improve a cur- encouraging their application statewide. At a CPI Conference rent program that has helped to transform NCDOT. Merger held annually, NCDOT employees gather from throughout the 01 is an exemplary program and is recognized nationally as state both to receive awards for their process improvements an innovative approach to state and federal cooperation in and to learn newly developed best practices from one another. transportation improvement and environmental protection. Awards are presented for each of the seven process categories, However, it has not achieved perfection; it can go further still. and NCDOT compiles a CPI Results Book annually (available Even though work groups and appropriate technology exist on NCDOT's website) to make the three winning improve- to train team members, Merger 01 has not received formal ments in each category available to the entire department. approval by all state and federal partners. NCDOT is contin- More than a recognition and celebration forum, CPI is a uously striving to maximize the full potential of the Merger 01 search for improved methods and outstanding successes, Process. (86) not from high-ranking officials and management consult- ants but from the people who perform the work and face the challenges on a day-to-day basis. It institutionalizes a cul- Continuous Process Improvement ture of continuous improvement. Continuous process improvement (CPI) is a program designed to increase productivity, cut costs, enhance cus- Strategic Planning Office tomer service, and improve business processes. NCDOT employees are encouraged to innovate, document, and sub- NCDOT plans to launch a Strategic Planning Office to con- mit process improvement techniques under the criteria of tinuously align its direction with stated priorities and to make