State departments of transportation (DOTs) and other agencies regularly face practical and functional challenges that require specific organizational needs and capabilities. Such factors may include changes in legislative or regulatory mandates, a budget cut or revenue shortage, or new technology to deploy.
In 2019 NCHRP Project 20-24(95)A, "Ensuring Essential Capability for the Future Transportation Agency", produced the Agency Capability Building (ACB) portal and digital guidebook and associated website that can be found at https://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP_20-24(95)_Final_Documents.pdf. The purpose of these products is to make information, tools, and resources available to agencies to efficiently and effectively address a specific agency need or challenge.
The ACB framework leads agency officials through a process to identify specific organizational needs through change forces, e.g., external factors and trends affecting a DOT. The ACB provides organizational and role-specific recommendations, tools, and other resources for executives, agency directors of human resources, communications, information technology, and other core agency functions, including but not limited to planning, design, and asset management.
The objective of this research is to facilitate the use of the ACB by transportation agencies. The research team awarded this project will develop communications materials and modules; and deliver presentations, webinars, training, and/or other structured opportunities that will market and build awareness of the ACB products and facilitate their use by state DOTs. While focused on state DOTs, the ACB and this implementation project may appeal to DOT partner agencies such as metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and local transportation agencies seeking to improve executive functions.
The media and forums developed to encourage implementation must be designed for a broad array of potential agency beneficiaries of the ACB, including but not necessarily limited to executives, managers, and senior practitioners. The proposers shall consider the unique time constraints, levels of authority and responsibility, availability of resources, and the various ways people learn and absorb information in the design and execution of the research plan. No changes will be made to the ACB portal.
A kick-off web conference of the research team, the project panel, and NCHRP will be held within 30 days of the contract’s execution. The research team will use the kick-off to discuss the details of the amplified research plan and the proposed methodology for achieving the project objective.
The research approach should delineate the specific tasks or activities required to accomplish the research objective. Potential activities envisioned as part of NCHRP Project 20-44(40) should at a minimum:
1. Promote the dissemination and use of the ACB products by communicating their value and content through multiple communications and outreach media, such as brochures, videos, and/or other promotional materials.
2. Make presentations at webinars, conferences, AASHTO meetings, and other events attended by transportation agency leaders to bring attention to the ACB, its benefits, and how to use it.
3. Plan and execute pilot implementation workshop case studies that demonstrate agency application of the research products oriented around a specific agency capacity need or challenge. These workshops should lead to the building of one or more capabilities using strategies and resources from the ACB guidebook and implementing the ACB action planning process. The contractor shall document the state DOT pilot use cases, including lessons learned regarding promotion and instruction on the use of the ACB products, and the outcome of the process.
4. Document the research process, including activities conducted, participants, data collected, and lessons learned in a conduct of research report.
Work has been initiated. The final report is expected in June 2025.