The National Academies

NCHRP 20-24(37)E [Final]

Measuring Performance Among State DOTs, Sharing Best Practices— Preservation: Comparative Analysis of Bridge Conditions
[ NCHRP 20-24(37) (Measuring Performance among State DOTs: Sharing Good Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $75,000
Research Agency: Spy Pond Partners
Principal Investigator: Frances D. Harrison
Effective Date: 9/3/2009
Completion Date: 8/31/2010

            Previous work by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) has demonstrated the value of comparative performance measurement in three areas to date: Project Delivery, Smooth Pavements, and Safety. Each of these projects has involved compilation of detailed performance data for multiple DOTs, calculation of performance measures for each agency, composition of peer groups for comparative analysis, identification of the top tier of agencies with respect to the selected measures, and interviews to determine practices that may be related to exemplary performance.
            The first Project comparing on-time, on-budget capital project delivery performance successfully demonstrated how the comparative process developed by NCHRP 20-24(37) is gathering user support as well as delivering timely feedback on best practices that have achieved successful results. The next comparative initiative completed in April 2008, successfully demonstrated that states can benefit from comparative measures. This comparative study highlighted five states that have “smooth pavements” and what practical management methods and technical applications they are using to obtain smooth pavements. The third comparative measures effort is finishing and focused on safety performance using the Fatalities Accident Reporting System data. This effort focused on ten state interviews to identify best practices in governance, budgeting, and technical methods that resulted in the reduction of fatalities.
            This work has been well received by the transportation community and has resulted in the collection of a wealth of data and information to be shared among agencies. These successful endeavors have created momentum for further interest in comparative performance measurement. This momentum can be continued by addressing another key concern of transportation officials: improving and maintaining the condition of the nation’s bridges.
            Because of aging infrastructure and increased traffic volumes over the past two decades, one of the most critical areas of concern is the condition and functionality of bridges. We intend to use the comparative analysis of bridge conditions to identify successful practices for preservation, and maintenance and operations activities of a state DOT. These performance indicators can highlight best practices specific to bridges, as well as organizational structures, relationships with partner organizations, and budgeting practices.

The objective of this continuation was to conduct a comparison of state departments of transportation (DOTs) regarding bridge condition-related performance measures and then report on successful techniques employed by the leading agencies. As with earlier work conducted under NCHRP 20-24(37), this comparison includes identification of high-performing organizations with respect to a selected set of key performance indicators and determination of the practices that these organizations have employed to achieve these results. The study presented recommendations on developing performance measure(s) suitable for cross-state comparison of the entire bridge population. 

Products Availability:  Agency final report was submitted to AASHTO. (NCHRP Staff: Waseem Dekelbab)

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