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OCR for page 50
50 process provides the framework for collaboration at two levels: Figure 4.1 is a high-level representation of a model process at the specific-project level and at the larger, overarching pro- that public agencies and railroads could adopt for successful grammatic level. Included in the partnering process are various partnering. The first step is having meetings and discussions to practices, processes, and strategies (including examples of best begin the process of defining how each party wants to stream- practices) that can contribute to a strong partnership. Stream- line and standardize the agreement process. lining of processes before, during, and after project implemen- tation can be effective in making the interaction between Step 1: Plan the Partnering Memorandum the parties and the delivery of projects effective. Models for var- ious processes are also discussed below. Some of these practices/ In this step, the public agency and the railroad begin discus- processes can be used during multiple stages of the project life sions on how to reach a common approach to the highway cycle. Examples of best practices identified during the SHRP 2 railroad project agreement process. The process begins with a R16 project hold many parallels to successful partnering strate- meeting or series of meetings. The following major provisions gies. These best practices include the following: are likely to be included in a partnering memorandum between a highway agency and a railroad: Project start-up meetings; Annual highway-railroad process-review meetings; Define what success means to each of them. Liaison and coordination between public agencies and rail- Deliberate and agree on areas in which both parties can roads; collaborate to ensure success for both. Formal communication and information sharing; Agree to communicate frequently on projects and issues. Escalation procedures; Agree to adopt project management practices for managing Dedicated railroad person for agency projects; collaborative efforts, identifying issues early in the process Effective project management; and keeping projects on schedule, scope, and within budget. Quality-assurance review and feedback; Agree to adopt joint continuous improvements and best Central project repository; practices. These include strategic and operational best prac- Design and standards for new projects; tices, such as the following: Project closeout meetings; and Both agree to a project-tracking process that provides Development of standard project agreements. notice of all pending activities. Both agree to adopt an escalation process for problem These practices can be incorporated into overarching mem- resolution. oranda of understanding that highway agencies and railroads Both agree to adopt a dispute resolution process when can adopt to guide and define their overall partnerships. In the escalation process fails. addition, the details of these best practices can be incorpo- Both agree to identify desired project review times. rated into standardized legal project agreements that can save Both agree to track the actual review times and to use that considerable time and cost in approving individual projects. data for performance improvement and monitoring. The combination of an overall partnering process that incor- Both agree that preliminary notice is given for all high- porates the best practices and streamlined standard project way projects that may involve railroad rights-of-way. agreements can significantly enhance the highwayrailroad Both execute a standardized preliminary engineering project agreement process. In short, the streamlined process agreement within days of railroad notice to facilitate rail- requires development of two types of agreements: nonbinding road review and comment. memoranda of understanding that spell out how the parties Both agree to meet at least annually to discuss success choose to coordinate and binding agreements. The binding and improvement opportunities for their project review master agreement and standard agreements include contract activities. provisions that allow the highway agencies to reimburse the Each party recognizes the other's legal requirements. railroads for reviews and other costs. Both agree to develop an overall master legal agreement that incorporates standard provisions universal to all projects. Steps in the Both express in writing a mutual understanding of a proj- Partnership Process ect review process that they recognize as logical, efficient, The partnering memorandum of understanding is intended and effective. to encapsulate the parties' understanding of how to operate Both agree to identify and adopt standard project man- in a spirit of partnering. A model partnering memorandum agement practices similar to those identified by the Proj- is included in Appendix C. ect Management Institute.

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51 Act to Evaluate improve memorandum of memorandum of understanding understanding Implement Plan partnering partnering memorandum of memorandum of understanding understanding Master Partnering memorandum agreement of agreement Project-specific agreements Figure 4.1. The partnering process between public agencies and railroads. Both agree to standard construction and maintenance Step 2: Implement the agreements with provisions that can be incorporated Partnering Memorandum into all projects. In this step of the partnering process, the public agency and Both recognize that they experience staff turnover and the railroad develop and eventually sign a memorandum of that they want to institutionalize the mutually benefi- understanding formalizing their intentions to partner on the cial project-review process to extend beyond the tenure overall project agreement process (partnering MOU). of individuals. Both parties identify a central point of contact responsi- ble for all project coordination. Step 3: Evaluate the Each recognizes that the other will expend considerable Partnering Memorandum effort to execute the letter and spirit of the understanding, and both express their intent to fulfill their obligations. This third step of the partnering process occurs sometime after Both agree to identify the typical project milestones at the implementation of the memorandum, optimally 1 year after which they agree to submit plans for review. implementation. In this step, the railroad and the public agency The highway agency agrees to create a central project meettoevaluatetheperformance and the outcome of the actions repository to assist with knowledge management and resulting from the memorandum and the practices adopted in "institutional memory." earlier steps. During this meeting, they do the following: Both recognize that frequent and ongoing communica- tion is desired. Review the performance of the implemented agreements, The highway agency agrees to train project-development practices, and processes as a result of the memorandum. personnel on the basic railroad provisions to be incorpo- Review and evaluate both ongoing and completed projects. rated into all projects. Identify issues with the agreements, processes, and prac- Agree to adopt a cooperative and joint continuous tices. Potential changes and "continuous improvement" improvement attitude toward the project review process. opportunities can be identified.