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OCR for page 43
43 Recommendations of the international scan teams to improve A recommended framework for managing quality, U.S. practice included the following: which could be adapted to developing a better under- standing of pavement marking performance, has To create a greater sense of teamwork between public been proposed by Hughes ("Managing Quality" and private sector groups. Several themes emerged in 2000). This framework emphasizes better knowledge this recommendation--for example, early contractor of performance relationships, performance-related involvement in the project development process, inte- specifications, a rational basis for pay schedules, gration of the contractor's role within a partnering optimal levels of inspection and testing, knowing the approach to meet a customer's goals, a recognized con- cost-effectiveness of quality assurance procedures, tractor role in promoting quality during the project life and methods of quantitative analysis related to these cycle, and a willingness to consider alternative processes issues. and methods--all of which can apply to innovative The appropriate distribution of staged payments approaches to warranties. through the performance-evaluation period of a multi- To take actions at the federal, state, and local govern- year pavement marking warranty was raised by one of mental levels in the United States to promote greater use the interviewed private sector firms, and agencies now of warranties, including short-term (e.g., up to 5 years) contemplating multi-year warranties are dealing with materials and workmanship warranties leading to long- this question. This issue will likely gain increased term performance warranties in the future. Legislation attention as more agencies begin to use warranties and enabling wider use of best-value procurement processes as warranty periods grow longer. Research is needed to and contractor prequalification could be sought where look at financial modeling from both an agency and a needed. Best-value and contractor-prequalification pro- private sector perspective, to provide guidance on a fair cesses could also be implemented. distribution of payments over time, to relate the pace To provide roles for industry in education, participation in roundtable discussions and pilot projects, and to of payments to accrual of costs, and to provide suffi- strengthen industry knowledge and capabilities regard- cient incentive for successful completion of warranted ing construction and maintenance methods and products services. that can support warranty use. Consideration could also be given to the wider use of To consider ways to accelerate identification, evalua- incentives tied to superior pavement marking perfor- tion, approval, and acceptance of new products, and to mance above the warranted level. This approach incorporate these products within project specifications. would provide, for example, an additional payment if The example of a European turntable for accelerated actual retroreflectivity at some point were higher testing of pavement marking materials was the focus of than the minimum acceptable level specified in the one such recommendation. This recommendation is warranty. An incentive would encourage even better now under discussion among U.S. industry representa- visibility and longer life than that envisioned by the tives involved in pavement markings. warranty, a "do more, get more" proposition in terms of lower life-cycle costs. Quantitative research on relative costs and benefits of RESEARCH NEEDS pavement marking warranties would clarify existing uncertainty on the value of warranties and establish a The discussions in chapter three identified several gaps in firmer basis for determining where warranty use might current knowledge, including questions raised by agencies in be economically most efficient. their survey responses that suggest needs for future research. Better information on these topics could help agen- A broader, more strategic, and more quantitative under- cies formulate a more strategic view of warranties; standing of the role and value of pavement marking war- that is, as one method in a range of options to achieve ranties is needed. Such a research objective would tie the desired goals of a longer pavement marking life, together several loose strands in current knowledge; for improved performance during this life, lower life- example, the need for better systematic models of pave- cycle costs, and reduced need for road occupancy to ment marking performance and how materials proper- repair or replace deficient markings. ties and initial installation techniques affect this perfor- Although all current warranty specifications contain mance, the impacts of pavement marking performance some performance-based provisions, only three agen- on road-user mobility and safety, the need for an equi- cies' example warranties in Appendix D are pure per- table mechanism of contractor payment, and the lack of formance specifications that allow contractors to select reliable information on the relative costs of pavement materials and methods. Further research could assist marking warranties--whether initial cost, annual (or agencies in understanding the advantages and disadvan- recurring) cost, and life-cycle cost. Several research top- tages of performance specifications, lessons learned ics can be identified and addressed comprehensively or from agencies that have used them, and opportunities individually: for wider use.

OCR for page 43
44 Research could investigate engaging contractors to state agency to maintain communication on current a greater degree in the pavement marking program, issues. Formation of a panel to clarify and resolve dis- performing functions such as data collection needed agreements was also proposed where such mechanisms to monitor the warranty, and processing and posting are not now formalized; for example, to determine the data for segment- or network-level review and whether an infraction is serious enough to disqualify a assessment. contractor from future work. Again, this matter might be Several agencies that do not now use warranties alluded dealt with through a research study or through industry to interactions between pavement marking warranties roundtable discussions and peer exchanges. and other contractual or bonding commitments, includ- The ATSSA white paper discussed in chapter three and ing federal-aid provisions. Some agencies also perceived Appendix E (web only) raises several questions on how warranties to conflict with the desire to close out con- the United States might proceed in pursuing accelerated struction contracts expeditiously once construction work testing of pavement marking materials and product was accepted. Although it is not clear whether these con- approvals, building on European experience with test cerns represent an actual need for research (other agen- turntables. Research to address these questions could cies had apparently addressed these types of concerns in determine whether an accelerated test facility is needed their own warranty programs), at least wider communi- and is feasible, the role of the National Transportation cation of acceptable procedures--for example, through Product Evaluation Program in relation to such a facil- roundtable discussions or peer exchanges--would assist ity, and a recommended strategy, if warranted, to agencies and could promote greater use of warranties if develop such a facility and an agency-acceptable capa- their concerns were allayed. bility for product approvals. The interviewed private sector firms suggested basic A comprehensive handbook on pavement markings has improvements in communication and dispute resolution been produced for airfield applications. A correspond- where they do not now exist. For example, qualified ing handbook for highways could consolidate informa- product lists could be introduced where they are not now tion on materials properties, performance histories, cor- used. As another example, a liaison committee has been rect application methods, and other data for reference established between a local chapter of the American by agencies, contractors, materials suppliers, and other Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and the interested parties.