The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 51-19 [New]

Public-Private Partnership Arrangements and Performance Metrics
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Staff Responsibility: Jo Allen Gause
Fiscal Year: 2019

Preliminary Scope
The infrastructure in the United States, as in many other countries, is aging, and limited public funds are available to maintain the current infrastructure and foster future growth. A potential mechanism to finance a portion of the ongoing transportation infrastructure needs is a public-private partnership (P3). By definition, a P3 is a contract between the public and private sectors for the delivery of a project or service in which the private partner provides a significant amount of the necessary financing. There are many examples of successful P3’s in the U.S. and in other parts of the world. In recent years, establishment of the U.S. Department of Transportation Build America Bureau and enabling legislation in many states have facilitated implementation of P3 projects in the transportation sector. However, selection of P3 implementation, just like any other project delivery method, is driven primarily by the goals and objectives of a state department of transportation (DOT) and the specific project. DOTs still face many challenges in aligning these goals and objectives to the delivery methods of choice. Also, once a project delivery selection is made, monitoring project performance over the length of the project becomes vital for assessing and improving future project performance and delivery decisions.
Performance metrics in P3 projects should address the DOT’s overall strategic plan and mission objectives, plus the overall quality and performance of a given asset. These performance metrics typically include key indicators of travel time reliability, safety, overall project physical condition,
and other project elements. Despite the importance of performance metrics, knowledge is relatively limited about the most effective practices for selecting metrics, setting metric performance levels, and reasonable approaches to deductions and point systems for failure of the concessionaire to meet contract requirements.
The objective of this synthesis is to document the various P3 arrangements used by DOTs for highway projects and key performance metrics used to select, implement, and assess the performance of those projects.
Information gathered includes (but is not limited to):
  • P3 arrangements used by DOTs
  • Key selection parameters for P3s and the tie-in to DOT goals for the projects
  • Key performance metrics for P3 projects and how they are measured
  • Ways performance metrics are tied to payment mechanisms (e.g., lane availability, route performance, condition criteria, safety performance, unplanned events) to the P3 contractor
  • Methods for accessing performance of P3s
Information will be collected through literature review, survey of DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.
Information Sources (Partial):
  • Quantifying and Benchmarking the Delivery Performance of U.S. Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Transportation National Transportation Center at Marylandf
  • Federal Highway Administration (2009). “Public-private partnerships for highway infrastructure: Capitalizing on international experience.” International Technology Scanning Program.
  • Yuan, J. F., Zeng, A. J. Y., Skibniewski, M. J., and Li, Q. M. (2009). “Selection of performance objectives and key performance indicators in public-private partnership projects to achieve value for money.” Constr. Manage. Econom., 27(3), 253–270.
  • Yuan, J., Skibniewski, J., Li, Q., & Zheng, L. (2009). “Performance objectives selection model in public-private partnership projects based on the perspective of stakeholders.” Journal of Management in Engineering, 26(2), 89–104.

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