The National Academies

NCHRP 08-170 [Active]

Closing the Loop: Post-Implementation Evaluation of Transportation Projects

  Project Data
Funds: $600,000
Staff Responsibility: Jennifer L. Weeks
Research Agency: High Street Consulting
Principal Investigator: Kevin Ford
Effective Date: 2/20/2024
Completion Date: 2/20/2026


State departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) have long worked toward implementing performance-based planning and programming (PBPP). These practices became more robust after federal requirements for performance reporting was first introduced in the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.

While many state DOTs and MPOs are fairly advanced in their application of performance-based planning, agencies seek to understand how to perform project evaluation of fully completed and operational transportation projects, i.e., post-implementation projects. Evaluating the performance of projects after they are implemented against the project’s strategic goals and objectives provides a feedback loop that informs future project selection, funding, development, and implementation. Post-implementation evaluation results are also useful for communicating to the public and decision-makers about projects.

Research is needed to provide informative, practical direction to agencies on how to design and apply post-implementation project evaluation.


The objective of this research is to develop a guide and toolkit for the post-implementation evaluation of projects and programs. The guide should include frameworks for process and analysis, flowcharts, and decision tools that will facilitate the post-implementation evaluation. 

The guide and toolkit should be easily implemented, using self-assessments, checklists, and other tools applicable to projects of various sizes, scopes, modes, and purposes. The final deliverables should highlight examples of effective practices through case studies or other illustrative applications of the guide and tools.  The deliverables must accommodate agencies with limited experience as well as agencies that are more advanced in their evaluation practices.

The guide and toolkit will at least encompass the following elements:

  • One or more process frameworks that include specific steps in how to conduct evaluations under a variety of settings;
  • Timelines for conducting evaluations, recognizing that some performance goals might take years to realize after a project is operational;
  • Directions on how to select the correct process and/or timeframe for a given project;
  • Instruction on how to identify appropriate post implementation performance measures that respond to agencywide and project-specific goals and objectives; 
  • Instruction on how to measure the success of goals against these measures, particularly over time as a project matures in its operative state;
  • Methods or tools for isolating the performance of a project within a given context, such as within a given transportation and/or land use environment; 
  • Methods or tools for evaluating a project in conjunction with other types of external factors that may influence the performance of a project in operation such as unanticipated economic or social disruptions, or as a component of a set of transportation or land use investments or policies;
  • Methods or tools to identify, collect, and apply quantitative and qualitative data for post-implementation project evaluation; and
  • Recommendations on when and how to communicate the results of evaluations to different project stakeholders, including members of the public.

Anticipated deliverables of this project include the following: (1) a guide and toolkit for supporting ex-post project evaluation; (2) case study examples to support application of the developed guide and toolkit; (3) an implementation plan for supporting application of the products of this research in practice; (4) a Conduct of Research report that summarizes the research process and outcomes; and (5) communication materials targeting stakeholders, leadership, etc.   



STATUS: Project is underway as of February 20, 2024.  


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