Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
CONTENTS 1 SUMMARY 5 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Background, 5 Project Scope, Goals, and Objectives, 5 Research Methodology, 6 Report Structure, 7 8 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW Background Literature, 8 State Transportation Agency Utility Coordination Practices, 8 Recent Research, 9 Training, Education, and the Workforce, 12 Additional Resources, 12 15 CHAPTER THREE RESULTS OF UTILITY COORDINATION SURVEYS State Transportation Agency Utility Coordination Survey Responses, 15 Utility Coordination Procedures, 16 Core Elements of Effective Utility Coordination, 19 Design-Build, 24 Education, Training, and Certification in Utility Coordination, 24 Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance, 25 Stakeholder Integration in Utility Coordination, 27 Applied Research and Results in Utility Coordination, 31 33 CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS OF UTILITY COORDINATION CASE EXAMPLES General Findings, 33 Kentucky Case Example, 34 Maryland Case Example, 34 Utah Case Example, 35 Virginia Case Example, 36 Wyoming Case Example, 37 Washington State Case Example, 37 39 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS Key Findings, 39 Research Needs, 42 43 GLOSSARY 44 REFERENCES 45 BIBLIOGRAPHY 46 APPENDIX A SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE 61 APPENDIX B INTERVIEW TOOL 62 APPENDIX C LINKS TO STA UTILITY COORDINATION PROCEDURES
Note: Many of the photographs, figures, and tables in this report have been converted from color to grayscale for printing. The electronic version of the report (posted on the web at www.trb.org) retains the color versions.
SUMMARY EFFECTIVE UTILITY COORDINATION: APPLICATION OF RESEARCH AND CURRENT PRACTICES âEffective [utility] coordination during construction begins with better coordination prior to constructionâ (Thorne et al. 1993). This quote from FHWAâs Highway/Utility Guide presents a fundamental practice for utility coordination: early involvement, communication, and planning are essential. The objectives of this synthesis were to capture the state of the practice regarding util- ity coordination, its effectiveness, and how recent utility coordination research has been implemented. State transportation agencies (STAs) will be able to review this work to gain perspective on the state of the practice in utility coordination, gain insight on what others may consider effective utility coordination, and find a path forward for research and prac- tice to advance to the state of the art regarding utility coordination. The central method for conducting this synthesis was a survey of STAs. The questions sought to establish the state of the practice regarding utility coordination, determine related research being implemented, and determine effective utility coordination practices. The survey was sent to the AASHTO Subcommittee on Right-of-Way, Utilities, and Outdoor Advertising Control and garnered a response rate of 84% (42 states out of the 50 surveyed). In addition to the STA survey, a non-STA utilities stakeholder survey was developed and sent to several organizations including the National Utility Locating Contractors Associa- tion, the American Society of Civil Engineers Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (ASCE-UESI), members of the Transportation Research Board Standing Committee on Utilities, research panel contacts, and others. The non-STA survey received 29 responses. Utility owners accounted for 16 of those responses. In support of the survey development and compilation of this report, a literature review was conducted on areas related to utility coordination. Much of this review centered on location practices and the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP 2) utility prod- ucts, but it also included selected training, education, and academic literature as well as published procedures and policies related to effective utility coordination at STAs. The compilation of these resources as found in chapter two presents STAs with a concise list of resources for further investigation when considering improvements to their utility coordi- nation processes. The surveys and literature review were further used to identify STAs of interest for follow-up interviews. This work occurred during the final stages of the survey question- naires. Representatives from six statesâKentucky, Maryland, Utah, Virginia, Washing- ton, and Wyomingâwere interviewed face-to-face while attending the annual meeting of the AASHTO Subcommittee on Right-of-Way, Utilities, and Outdoor Advertising Control. The interviewees were selected not only to achieve a diverse regional sampling but to question those at various implementation stages of recent utility coordination research and practices. The goal of the interviews was to provide depth and richness to the information
2 gathered from the survey. The interviews may serve as case examples to other STAs that are developing or enhancing their utility coordination procedures. Several notable conclusions were reached through combined assessment of the literature, survey responses, and case examples. These are summarized along the following topics: â¢ Utility Coordination ScopingâThe survey analysis produced a prioritized list of fac- tors for how STAs set the scope of utility coordination involvement for a project; that is, what project characteristics lead to increased utility coordination involvement. Ninety percent of STA respondents reported that they have a documented process for deter- mining the utility coordination scope of a project. These results are valuable to the STAs that review this information and could be used to assess risk and assign con- strained resources (personnel, consultants, etc.). â¢ Organizational Structure VariationâSurvey results indicate that utility personnel are housed at various locations organizationally across STAs. Additionally, STAs operate differently at the local/regional/district level than at the statewide/central office level. This variance can cause confusion with utility stakeholders both within and outside the STA and can add complexity to recommendations. This issue is outlined in the SHRP 2 R15B Final Report. The report states that it is important for the STA and utility owner to understand one anotherâs business processes. It is promising to note, however, that 86% of respondents stated that the utility coordination for a specific project uses a single point of contact at the STA. â¢ Utility Coordination as Part of the Design ProcessâThe case example interviews and literature reviewed suggest better incorporation of utility coordination into the trans- portation design process and early involvement of utility coordinators and owners. With complex facilities and the many nuances of regulations, utility coordination war- rants emphasis at the environmental process level. The survey results indicated that, in some cases, designers and design managers are not involved in the utility coordination process from the start. In addition, right-of-way agents appeared involved much later in the utility coordination process. If right-of-way agents are not aware of utility needs, severe complications and delays can occur. Research suggests that utility stakeholders should be involved early in the design process, and project stakeholders should be well informed throughout the utility coordination process. â¢ Consultant-Led Utility CoordinationâConsultant-led utility coordination often occurs out of necessity (due to lack of personnel availability or experience), but to be effective it must be used with careful controls in place such as certification, prequali- fication, and evaluation. Responses regarding consultant-led utility coordination indi- cated that 57% of the respondents require the consultant to be prequalified to manage utility coordination and 67% of the respondents evaluate their consultants on their utility coordination efforts. Also, designer consultant-led utility coordination and stand-alone consultant-led utility coordination resulted in different levels of satisfac- tion among the survey respondents. According to case example interviews, stand-alone consultant-led utility coordination achieved a higher rate of satisfaction because this process uses specialized consultants who have more utility coordination experience. The case example interviews illustrated that significant disconnects often occur in transportation design professionalsâ understanding of the utility coordination process and requirements of the process. Survey results indicated that consultant-led utility coordination is better managed by consultants selected specifically for that purpose. The consultant expertise required to conduct utility coordination services as part of the design constant contract may be lacking. Last, one of the most important aspects of using consultant-led utility coordination is why STAs choose it: limited in-house staff. Sixty-seven percent of respondents used consultant-led utility coordination for this reason. â¢ Effective Utility Coordination PracticesâOne goal of this study was to provide a definition of what was considered effective utility coordination. When asked whether
3 there was a measure within their STA to gauge utility coordination effectiveness, 52% responded they âDo Not Measure Utility Coordination Effectiveness.â Through follow-up discussion of the case examples, some STAs revealed the use of anecdotal measures, while others have defined schedule and budget performance measures. This response does present a possible need for more formalized measures of util- ity coordination effectiveness. Through the survey results, this synthesis highlights several practices for effective utility coordination, including better communication, timely involvement, and making utility alignment more integral to the design pro- cess. Additional effective practices are noted in the report, with the top practices as determined from the survey results noted in Table 1 as presented by the various respondent groups. TABLE 1 STA EFFECTIVE UTILITY COORDINATION PRACTICES Element Percent of STA Respondents Selected (n = 42) Number of Non-STA Respondents Selected (n = 29) Number of Utility Owners Selected (n = 16) Early Utility Involvement in Design (30% or earlier) 88% â¦ 26 â¦ 15 â¦ Utility Preconstruction Meetings 67% â© 20 â¦ 12 â¦ Defined Procedures (i.e., Utility Coordination Guidance Manual) 67% â¦ 17 â¦ 8 â© Consideration of Utilities Relocation Schedules in Relation to Project Schedules 74% â¦ 15 â© 10 â¦ Use of SUE (Subsurface Utility Engineering) 57% â© 13 â© 2 Regularly Scheduled Meetings with Utility Owners 57% â© 12 â© 5 Communication of Short-Range Transportation Plan 21% 12 â© 9 â© Use of Utility Corridors 14% 12 â© 8 â© Use of Standardized Utility Agreements 60% â© 8 6 Identification of and Plan for Long-Lead Items 50% â© 4 0 Utility Mapping System (utility location information entered into a GIS-based system) 26% 10 7 â© Communication of Long-Range Transportation Plan 24% 10 7 â© â¦ Top three elements selected by respondents. â© Top eight elements selected by respondents. Respondents were limited to choosing their top eight. â¢ Utility Owner and STA PerceptionsâBeyond showing what practices are consid- ered effective, Table 1 also illustrates potential areas to be addressed concerning the perception of STAs and utility owners. For instance, early utility involvement in design is unanimously the preferred practice, as is utility preconstruction meetings, consideration of utility and project schedules, and defined procedures. Of note, there is a substantial disagreement about the effectiveness of subsurface utility engineering (SUE) between the STAs and utility owners. Also, utility owners would prefer that utility corridors be used more and long-range transportation plans be shared. â¢ Legislation, Regulations, and GuidanceâThe flexibility in federal legislation, regu- lations, and guidance, while beneficial to STAs adopting policies to meet their specific needs, creates inconsistencies in utility coordination for utility companies working
4 in multiple states. With many utility facilities moving toward national conglomerates, this practice may need to be revisited. â¢ A Framework or Guidance for Effective Utility Coordination and Applied Researchâ Structure and guidance in utility coordination are needed to increase consistency in regulations and application of practice from state to state. The goal is not to achieve complete standardization but to build consistency for utility owners working across state boundaries and to achieve utility coordination objectives. One potential area for improvement is increasing proactivity in utility coordination. In ranking terms to describe their utility coordination process (reactive, interactive, or proactive), STAs responded nearly equally to interactive and proactive. If the term âproactiveâ becomes a more prevalent descriptor of utility coordination processes, improvements are likely. In addition, utility coordination would benefit from a strategic approach to the applica- tion of research, such as the prioritized application of the SHRP 2 products. Research attempting to improve various aspects of utility coordination independently has led to a lack of consensus over how to integrate these research efforts into an effective standard of practice. Some results of this synthesis indicate that the lack of a standard for new research and technologies may need to be resolved before benefits from such research can be realized. â¢ Training and EducationâThe lack of education and training opportunities for util- ity personnel and coordination is significant. The National Highway Institute (NHI) and ASCE-UESI have attempted to fill this void. However, because accommodation policies and legislation vary from state to state, STAs may benefit from offering state- specific training to clientele outside of the STA. With personnel and knowledge loss, and increased use of consultant-led utility coordination or utility coordination as part of an alternatively delivered project, knowledge management within utility coordina- tion is at a critical juncture. Only 20% of the responding STAs offer or require training or certification in utility coordination, and most are predominantly offering training to in-house staff only. With growing complexity in utility facilities and utility man- agement and coordination, the lack of trade and higher education offerings that cover utility topics is concerning. â¢ Research NeedsâIn addition to understanding the use of SUE and advanced utility location technologies, there is a need for standards of practice, guidance, and train- ing for utility coordination. STAs, consultants, and utility owners may benefit from a knowledge management approach such as a guidebook. In conclusion, the research team and panel designed a study that integrated multiple resources of value about effective utility coordination practices. The sources and references within the literature review illustrated many avenues for future investigation. The survey results revealed the state of the practice and the steps that some STAs are taking to improve their utility coordination practices. The case examples outlined some of the approaches used by several of the nationâs respected utility coordination professionals.
5 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND Utility and transportation facilities often share real estate (utilities within transportation right-of-way) in order to provide services to the public by the most economical means. This long-held sentiment is relayed in FHWA report Highway/Utility Guide (1993) and in other references (Thorne et al. 1993; Anspach 2010). For these benefits to manifest themselves without detriment to utility or transportation projects, effective utility coordination is essential. The purpose of this synthesis is to canvas state transportation agencies (STAs) to establish the state of the practice for effective utility coordination. Owing to a lack of terminology and process standardization across and within STAs, âutility coordinationâ has become a very broad and ambiguous term. Additionally, âeffective utility coordinationâ may be an even more difficult term to define. STAs may handle utility coordination processes differently and within different business units. These variances are within the allowances of federal regulations (23 CFR 645 and specifically Subpart B, Subsection 645.211). For example, as described in the Program Guide: Utility Relocation & Accommodation on Federal-Aid Highway Projects, the definition for âutilityâ as it pertains to reimbursement for relocation is broad in scope and relies on the individual state law to determine if the law treats the facility as a utility (2003). Hence, because state laws will vary, the definition of a utility will vary. For example, cable television is viewed by some states as a utility but to other states it is not. To assist with the terminology used in this report, a glossary is provided. However, one key definition presented here is âutility coordination.â For the purposes of this report, utility coordination is the active effort to communicate, share information, and interact productively with all applicable stake- holders about utility involvement, adjustment, and relocation during all phases (planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance) of the delivery of a transportation project (Thorne et al. 1993). The commonly accepted focus areas of utility coordination include the following: â¢ Providing communication, identification, and engineering expertise throughout utility and transportation project interaction; â¢ Minimizing both utility and transportation project impacts; â¢ Determining relocations and initiating them; and â¢ Reimbursing relocations and disturbances as applicable, according to complex and nonstandard (varying from state to state) regulations. Effective utility coordination can improve the delivery of transportation and other capital facility projects and reduce proj- ect risks posed by delays, safety hazards, and cost overruns. Utility coordination entails agreements, estimates, risk identifica- tion and management, reimbursements, and all other terms associated with these interactions. Utility coordination is effective when there are minimalized impacts to the transportation project and utility facilities. Recent research has attempted to enhance utility location technology and procedures, instill a framework that may include tools for utility coordination, and develop systems for risk management relative to utility coordination. However, simultane- ous implementation of research attempting to improve various aspects of utility coordination has led to a lack of consensus about how to integrate these research efforts into an effective standard of practice. PROJECT SCOPE, GOALS, AND OBJECTIVES The scope of this research synthesis is confined to the analysis of information collected from survey respondents, literature, and case-based interviews. With this in mind, the research team, with guidance from the research panel, developed question- naires with the goal of collecting the following types information relative to effective utility coordination:
6 â¢ Identification of the core elements of effective utility coordination; â¢ Current practices in managing consultant-led utility coordination, both stand-alone and those incorporated into design contracts; â¢ Current practices in performing utility coordination in-house; â¢ How and when stakeholders are integrated into the utility coordination process (e.g., design team, contractors, utility owners, consultants, and resource agencies); â¢ Prequalification requirements for consultants and evaluation measures of performance; â¢ Training and certification available and/or required for utility stakeholders; â¢ How academic programs are educating students about utility engineering; â¢ The process by which an effective utility coordination project is scoped (e.g., project schedule, type and complexity of project, level of effort, and level of risk); â¢ Gaps in knowledge and research; and â¢ Examples of inconsistencies between legislation, regulations, guidance, and practice. The objective of the synthesis is to document how previous research has been incorporated into current utility coordination practice, how STAs and utility stakeholders are scoping, conducting, and managing utility coordination, and what coordination practices are considered effective. This synthesis focuses on the successful application of technologies and research recommenda- tions, identification of educational resources, and procedures by which effective utility coordination practices are incorporated into project utility coordination. Additionally, this effort investigates the interaction and feedback among utility stakeholders outside the STA including consultants, utility owners, researchers, and contractors from a second survey issued to non-STA stakeholders. This synthesis highlights the state of the practice so that efforts can be made to fill research gaps and establish a path to improvement. Some issues facing effective utility coordination for STAs include a lack of staffing resources, standard termi- nology, and application of research, technology, and coordination practices in general. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The central aspect of the research methodology is the survey of STAs to establish a state of the practice regarding utility coordination, determine related research being implemented, and determine practices viewed as effective in utility coordina- tion. The survey was sent to the AASHTO Subcommittee on Right-of-Way, Utilities, and Outdoor Advertising Control and garnered a response rate of 84% (42 of the 50 states surveyed). In addition to the STA survey, a non-STA utilities stakeholder survey was developed and sent to several organizations including the National Utility Locating Contractors Association (NULCA), the American Society of Civil Engineers Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (ASCE-UESI), members of the Transportation Research Board Standing Committee on Utilities, research panel contacts, and others. In support of survey development and compilation of this report, a literature review was conducted on topics related to util- ity coordination. Much of this review centered on location practices and the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) utility-related products, but it also included a review of select training, education, and academic literature as well as published procedures and policies related to effective utility coordination at STAs. With regard to the surveys, the full questionnaires can be found in the appendices. The survey attempted to gather informa- tion regarding the following: â¢ Procedures and effectiveness of utility coordination processes â¢ Organizational structure relative to utility coordination processes â¢ Elements of effective utility coordination â¢ Timeliness of utility coordination â¢ Incorporation of SHRP 2 utility products â¢ Use and evaluation of consultant-led utility coordination â¢ Guidance and legislation inconsistencies â¢ Research and knowledge gaps. The non-STA stakeholder survey was similar in scope to the STA survey but eliminated lines of questioning that applied only to STAs, such as inquiries about STA structure. The non-STA survey attempted to collect information regarding stake- holdersâ experiences with effective utility coordination so these experiences could be compared with STA feedback.
7 Concurrent with the final stages of the survey questionnaires, STAs were identified for follow-up interviews via literature review and initial survey responses. Representatives from six statesâ Kentucky, Maryland, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyomingâwere interviewed face-to-face while attending the annual meeting of the AASHTO Subcommittee on Right- of-Way, Utilities, and Outdoor Advertising Control. The interviewees were selected not only to achieve a diverse regional sampling but to question those at various implementation stages of recent utility coordination research and practices. The goal of the interviews was to provide depth and richness to the information gathered from the survey. Specific details collected included the following: â¢ Use and application of utility coordination methodology; â¢ Decisions on whether to use in-house or consultant-led utility coordination; â¢ Recent applications of research, plans, or processes for applying technologies or coordination efforts; and â¢ Overall coordination procedures. The interviews serve as case examples to other STAs for developing or enhancing their utility coordination procedures. REPORT STRUCTURE This report synthesizes the findings about the state of the practice of utility coordination and its effective implementation. The authorsâ charge in this report is strictly to present information as collected void of opinion and bias. The opinions expressed in the presentation from detailed case examples are those of the utility professionals and should be viewed as such. The report is organized as follows: â¢ Literature Review â¢ Survey Results â¢ Case Examples â¢ Conclusions.