In early 2019, NCHRP 19-14 Right Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming was accepted by the NCHRP panel and is in the publication process. The final report for this research will be published as NCHRP Report 917. Based on that study, the panel requested an implementation program to bring the results of the analysis out to state departments of transportation to facilitate application and implementation.
The critical next step in the right-sizing process is testing the ability of state DOTs to use the programs and procedures presented in the original NCHRP study. The proposed implementation program is designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach while creating opportunities for generating further improvements
The objective of the implementation plan is to bring the analytical models out to those state DOTs who are interested in applying the methodology presented to accomplish a new program of right-sizing transportation investments. This outreach effort should be designed to adapt the models to the specific requirements of several case study applications, testing the effectiveness while generating new opportunities for improving both the models and the implementation process.
The implementation plan will encompass a set of activities as outlined in the following task descriptions. These tasks are defined for the specific state DOTs that have opted into the workshop implementation process.
The NCHRP 19-14 Guidebook came with an implementation plan (Appendix A) recommending pilot implementation efforts. The proposed implementation activities are envisioned to include pilot applications of the right-sizing guidance in four states including Utah, Iowa, Georgia, and North Carolina. Transportation agencies in these four states have proposed specific implementation projects to either test or fully integrate the recommended methods and techniques of NCHRP 19-14 into their decision support, planning and programming and overall investment management practices. The proposed implementation efforts, and associated services will include but not be limited to the following:
1. Online Kick-off Orientation with Implementation Participants in each Implementation State: for each of the four states (with their associated implementing offices or partner agencies), the research team will hold an online kick-off orientation to provide an overview of the NCHRP Right-Sizing Guidebook, its components, and the scope of problems to which it can be applied.
2. Analysis and Synthesis of Implementation Results: The research team will summarize and assess implementation results across the different agency implementation sites upon completion of the implementation efforts to provide a summary of findings that will provide guidance to others interested in similar right-sizing applications in the future.
3. Tailored research team support for agency implementation sites: The team will provide technical support to each site that is specific to the component(s) of the right-sizing guidance that each agency or agency partnership chooses to apply. To ensure the most effective use of resources, (as mentioned in item (1), the research team will also provide both an online orientation and an on-site implementation kickoff workshop with key DOT and allied agency staff in each of the implementation states, to identify the components of the research to be implemented.
4. Peer Exchange among DOT’s (and MPO partners as appropriate) participating in the implementation activities to compare and share experiences and ideas for both their own agencies and peers with further integration of the research in the long-term.
Each component of the proposed implementation program should be described in detail, in terms of the following components:
1. Initial orientation activities: advance training to introduce participants and present the overall program framework;
2. Analysis and synthesis of implementation results:
Implementation assistance may involve pilot demonstrations of how methods from the NCHRP 19-14 Technical Appendix White Papers can be used to develop new project options and partnerships as well. In all cases, the implementation support of the research team is sought in order to demonstrate within the context of agency business practice (1) how the guidebook can be optimally applied, (2) how such applications can be replicated elsewhere and (3) benefits the agency can expect from doing so. In some cases, the bulk of the implementation activity will be led by a constituent organization such as an MPO or municipality in ways that support the DOT business process. In other cases, the DOT itself is the direct implementing agency. Below is a summary of the envisioned implementation support across the four states:
Methods/Tools/Data Support: To provide consistent implementation across all deployment sites for this project, the research team will use a common suite of economic modeling and data resources. The suite of resources will include a compilation of models, data sources and other resources conducive to consistent economic model forecasting and sensitivity analysis for right-sizing studies. This will enable the team to apply a consistent set of alternative forecasts when modeling uncertainty implications for all of the implementation activities.
Step 1. Introductory Workshops and Training: The research team will provide both an online orientation and an on-site implementation kickoff workshop with key DOT and allied agency staff in each of the implementation states. The purpose of these introductory activities is to (1) train the DOT and other agency staff on the overall content of the guidebook with a special focus on the elements to be implemented and (2) to refine the scope of the implementation effort to best utilize agency resources and appropriately reflect the implementation budget.
Step 2. Site-Specific Implementation: The research team will develop a set of procedures for implementing site-specific requirements provided by the participating state DOTs. The details of these requirements will be worked out with the individual states as part of the initial workshop program and implementation plan. The proposal should provide a detailed list of the alternative procedures that will be the framework for the individual state DOT implementation plan.
- Workshop materials based on the research findings of NCHRP Report 917 that will shared with the participants;
- Four regional 2-day workshops;
- A peer review following completion of the workshops, and a survey of opinion from participants to capture their satisfaction with the workshops;
- Brief report at the conclusion of the effort summarizing all activities and describing the methods used to design and conduct the workshops as well as how other state departments of transportation could apply the information; and
- Monthly status reports briefly describing work completed, work to be completed in the next month, and any issues that require the attention of the NCHRP staff office
Work is now underway. The first workshop will occur in late September 2019