Electronic business (e-business) uses information technology to fundamentally change the way in which organizations operate. Some state DOTs are beginning to conduct e-business by communicating information about their activities and providing products and services over the Internet to customers, suppliers, and other DOTs. E-business also offers opportunities in public-private partnering, contracting, procuring, and a variety of other DOT functions, if the DOT's business models are supportive.
While e-business holds great promise for improving service to DOT customers and reducing costs, there have been numerous e-business initiatives that consumed significant resources without creating commensurate value to the organization. Particularly when budgets are tight, it is vital that new initiatives contribute to accomplishing the agency's mission effectively and efficiently.
The objectives of this research are to demonstrate how state DOTs have profitably incorporated e-business into their business practices and to present a conceptual design for one selected e-business application.
Accomplishment of the project objective will require the following tasks: (1) Survey the AASHTO Administrative Subcommittee on Information Systems to determine what e-business applications are currently in use by state DOTs. The survey must be brief to maximize responses but should identify the scope of the e-business application, its perceived benefits to the DOT, the cost, and a contact individual. Existing information on the e-business applications should be requested to minimize unnecessary writing by the survey respondent. (2) Identify responses that represent best practices. As far as practical, these practices should cover the breadth of a state DOT's business. After approval of the practices by the NCHRP, develop concise descriptions of each e-business application. These descriptions should be written for chief executive officers and other top officials in state DOTs and should identify the characteristics of the application, identify its impacts on the DOT and its customers, assess how well the application fits into the business practices of the DOT, briefly describe the implementation plan followed including costs, and identify a contact individual. The descriptions should be written by the contractor based on the materials provided by the state and then reviewed by the state. After approval of each description by the NCHRP, the contractor must provide a PDF version to NCHRP that is suitable for distribution. (3) From the best practices identified in Task 2, recommend one e-business application for which a conceptual design will be refined and documented. The application should be common to state DOTs and its implementation should result in reduced costs to the DOT or improved service to customers. After approval by the NCHRP, refine the design used by the state DOT and document a conceptual design that is portable, scalable, and robust. The design should be patterned after the Sun Microsystems Pet Store Demo (http://developer.java.sun.com/developer/releases/petstore/
) and demonstrate how the complete e-business application could be implemented by a state DOT. To the greatest extent practical, this task should take an open-source approach. (4) Consolidate the results of Tasks 2 and 3 into a report that is suitable for a chief executive audience. Detailed information on the Task 3 demo should be provided on a CD-ROM. Revise the report based on the NCHRP review.
The project is complete.
The reports for Tasks 2 through 4 are below. The detailed information on the Task 3 demo is available for loan from the NCHRP.
Task 2 Report
Task 3 Report
Task 4 Report