Current project delivery practices and processes may not allow state departments of transportation (DOTs) to proactively address (1) changing transportation needs and (2) internal resources constraints. Workforce and material shortages across sectors are increasing the complexity of project delivery at a time when funding for transportation is increasing from federal sources. Therefore, DOTs could benefit by adapting and increasing their project delivery agility.
DOTs may better serve their customers by responding quickly to change over always following a linear waterfall plan. Agile approaches and integration methods must be identified to minimize budgets and shorten timelines for planning, programming, design, environmental permitting, and right-of-way acquisition phases. An example of this could be from building diverse interdisciplinary teams of community project champions, private industry, and government officials to iteratively prepare and approve deliverables under a compressed timeline to meet challenges collaboratively.
This project seeks to identify strategies around (1) organizational optimization, (2) partnerships and collaboration, and (3) workforce development. Examples of each may include, but are not limited to:
- Design or permitting sprints may include six people, including maintenance, community members, and the construction manager, where teams evaluate one component, such as the culvert specification, until all parties are satisfied and approve the design in real-time, reducing the risk of a redesign and its cascading impacts;
- Integrating cross-functional and interdisciplinary teams across organizational boundaries to empower decision-making with communities while exploring methods for resource sharing; and
- Development of training materials that could include best practice guides and video training based lesson plans derived from real-world projects, such as the award-winning Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities’ Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road project.
The objectives of this research are:
1. Develop best practices guide - an agile project delivery guide should include data-driven recommendations that streamline multi-modal delivery across a diverse array of geographically distributed projects. Methods explored to save time and costs may consist of utilizing an integrated teaming approach, agile and lean construction project management methodologies, scrum, Kanban, and other innovative strategies to reduce waste.
2. Training videos could be hosted online based on real-world projects corresponding to the best practices document.
3. Digital Information Radiator - a standardized, digital, cloud-based, and open-source information radiator for transportation projects could be available for project use and as a portfolio performance dashboard.
While there is no easy way to increase DOT workforce in a fiercely competitive job market, examining processes allows the opportunity to dedicate how available person-hours are spent in more productive and effective applications of their expertise. This research project will quantitatively document how various alternative project delivery approaches work in dynamic environments and across multiple modes.