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60 Review of Existing I-90 Snoqualmie Pass Tracking Practices As part of this effort, WSDOT made several specific commit- A review of existing practices was performed to characterize ments related to the project that were documented in the experiences with commitment tracking and to identify ele- environmental impact statement and record of decision for ments of previous efforts that could be incorporated in a the project. WSDOT also committed to maintaining a project model tracking process. The review included the case studies website to notify the public on project progress. developed for this project, as well as a comprehensive litera- ture review. The literature review covered the commitment New Hampshire CTAP tracking processes of 15 DOTs, and it also reflects survey results for a number of additional agencies. The findings from Following the initial visioning process, work was performed this literature are included in Appendix D. to evaluate the program and make recommendations for The following sections summarize existing practices improved communication among partners. Status reports described in the case studies, detail additional practices were prepared documenting progress of the programs devel- identified through the review, and provide a summary of oped through the visioning effort, detailing budget expendi- best practices and issues identified. tures, planned versus actual progress, and program schedules. Case Study Summary Commitment Tracking Models Several of the case studies incorporate aspects of commit- The case studies and literature provide a number of examples ment tracking. Full case study summaries are included in of commitment tracking approaches in use among transpor- Appendix A. Notable aspects related to commitment tracking tation agencies. The examples presented here differ in scope from the case studies are detailed here. and approach, but for the purpose of summarizing existing practices, examples may be classified within the following general categories: static commitment lists, ongoing commit- Arizona SR 179 ment monitoring, and overall performance monitoring. The visioning process included formation of advisory panels that consulted on project design details, resulting in a Needs- Static Commitment Lists Based Improvement Plan that informed the design. Results of the visioning process were documented on a project website. Static commitment lists consist of commitment listings result- ing from a visioning exercise or project development effort, but they lack a formal process for ongoing review of fulfill- Atlanta 2020 ment. The widespread use of green sheets for listing project A set of 22 benchmarks was established based on the vision- commitments is an example of this type of approach. Of the ing effort. Historic data and specific measures were identified case studies, the Arizona SR 179, I-90 Snoqualmie Pass, and for benchmarks, and progress was tracked on vision initia- Virginia Route 50 visioning efforts resulted in lists of commit- tives for approximately five years. However, specific commit- ments that subsequently were incorporated in project devel- ments and actions were not identified through the visioning opment. The practices of the Indiana and New Jersey DOTs or subsequent processes, and tracking was discontinued. described in the literature review provide further examples. Making a list of commitments is an important first step in commitment tracking. However, ideally, a commitment track- CDTC New Visions ing process would address additional aspects of the tracking This effort did not include a formal commitment tracking process, such as monitoring of commitment fulfillment, and process. However, the visioning process resulted in projected specifying how commitments should be resolved. The exis- budgets for various investment categories in the MPO's tence of a commitment list often serves to motivate agencies Transportation Improvement Plan, which the MPO regularly to fulfill commitments. To the extent that many commitment monitors for consistency with vision targets. lists include environmental commitments in legally binding environmental documents, the implied threat of litigation may serve as a very real motivation for an agency to fulfill its Idaho Transportation Futures commitments. An approach based on compiling a list of com- This effort included an Implementation Strategy Workshop mitments is most appropriate for cases in which responsibility to address specific strategies for obtaining stakeholder buy-in is clearly delineated and other mechanisms already are in place and commitment and maintaining momentum. for ensuring fulfillment.

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61 Ongoing Commitment Monitoring Futures efforts both established a set of performance measures that should be monitored over time, rather than a specific set Commitment monitoring is a comprehensive approach to of commitments. commitment tracking that establishes a set of commitments Performance monitoring is a valuable tool, independent and defines a process for monitoring fulfillment over time. of visioning. Ideally, agencies would implement performance Typically, the organization charged with fulfilling the commit- monitoring separately from visioning, and any commitments ment will have the most information and the most immediate recommended through a visioning effort would be incorpo- stake in tracking the commitment. However, other parties may rated into an agency's existing performance management want and need to be involved in reviewing and tracking com- initiative. Ideally, a visioning effort would identify target per- mitment progress. Of the case studies, the New Hampshire formance levels for the transportation network and result in CTAP case provides the best example of an ongoing commit- commitments on the part of visioning participants to mon- ment monitoring approach. In this example, the visioning itor performance of the system. If a commitment tracking process resulted in a set of 12 initiatives, and periodic reviews process is to be successful, it should be institutionalized into were held by CTAP, at least for the first year following the agency practice, rather than treated as a one-time effort. visioning effort, to review progress on each initiative. Many of the state examples described in the literature include a monitoring component. For instance, the systems used in Potential Barriers to Implementation Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington all Agencies interested in implementing commitment tracking support ongoing monitoring. processes face a number of potential barriers. The most sig- Establishing ongoing monitoring implies the need for cer- nificant barriers include: tain elements that may or may not be addressed in a process that relies on static commitment lists. First, a commitment Inertia: In any agency, the path of least resistance is typically must either be fairly specific, or translated into specific actions, to abide by the status quo. Any change, however well inten- to enable monitoring. Second, specific responsibilities must be tioned, is bound to face resistance and skepticism. Over- assigned, both for monitoring the commitments and fulfilling coming this inertia often requires high-level support and them. Third, a timeline must be established for monitoring demonstration that changing the system will yield benefits. and fulfillment. For instance, an agency might set deadlines Finite resources: Agency staff are hard-pressed to find the for each commitment and establish a review process, or review time and other resources to accomplish their existing project commitments as specific project milestones. These responsibilities. Allocating staff time or resources for pro- additional elements are needed for institutionalizing the mon- cess and system development represents a challenge for itoring process. They are expected to be particularly valuable many agencies. for monitoring commitments made outside the formal envi- System integration challenges: Agencies are burdened with ronmental process, such as for high-level commitments made multiple competing, possibly conflicting, system and pro- independent of a specific project during visioning, or for ongo- cess improvements, each of which requires significant inte- ing commitments that extend beyond the life of a construction gration with other processes. It simply is not practical to project. Thus, the model tracking process described later in implement all the changes at once that an agency may desire, this chapter incorporates these and other elements intended to even absent resource limitations. Environmental stream- help institutionalize the commitment tracking process and lining, implementation of new project tracking systems, per- integrate it within the a vision process. formance measurement initiatives and GIS integration efforts all may provide opportunities that a commitment Overall Performance Monitoring tracking effort could leverage, or insurmountable barriers to getting a new effort under way. Visioning processes often precede project development and Inability to achieve consensus: Implementing commitment result in high-level commitments that do not relate to specific tracking requires consensus, both within an agency and projects. These can be established through an adopted perfor- with resource agencies and other partners involved in the mance indicator program. Although many indicators are tied process. Reaching consensus on the details of a new pro- to specific project activities, it can be difficult to translate a cess or system can require significant time and effort. vision into a specific set of commitments. Further, one can Lack of a champion: Ultimately, high-level support in the argue that the success of the vision should be judged in the form of a committed champion is needed to overcome the context of the overall performance of the transportation sys- challenges described here. If an effort lacks such an indi- tem over time, and how it supports the community values, vidual, or loses its champion to staff changes or competing rather than whether any given commitment is fulfilled. With priorities, then efforts to implement a new commitment this perspective, the Atlanta 2020 and Idaho Transportation tracking process may be stalled or redirected.