The National Academies

NCHRP 23-36 [Active]

Development of a Knowledge Capture Toolkit for State DOTs

  Project Data
Funds: $225,000
Staff Responsibility: David M. Jared
Research Agency: Spy Pond Partners, LLC
Principal Investigator: Frances Harrison
Effective Date: 6/10/2024
Completion Date: 6/10/2026


Knowledge management (KM) is a collection of policies and practices relating to the identification, sharing, and retention of employee knowledge and expertise within an organization. KM has been instituted in many types of organizations, including government agencies and private firms. KM has been shown to improve organizational efficiency, facilitate decision-making, and foster employee development. KM is also being adopted by state departments of transportation (DOTs) to capture critical knowledge before employees leave and their knowledge is lost. Therefore, it is essential that state DOTs understand the full range of methods available for knowledge capture (KC). 

State DOTs face several challenges in advancing KM and KC initiatives, including the novelty of KM, organizational barriers, limited resources for KM development, an absence of legislation mandating KM, and a lack of standard KM practices. To address these challenges, there is a need for a toolkit of tangible, demonstrable KC methods from which any state DOT can choose that suits their respective goals, organization, and culture. 


The objective of this project is to develop a toolkit for capturing knowledge critical to state DOTs. The toolkit should encompass the full range of KC methods available that state DOTs can implement with minimal adaptation, and it should be accompanied by educational materials to explain and support its use. 

Accomplishment of the project objective(s) will require at least the following tasks. 



Task 1. Review literature on KC. Collect and analyze relevant literature on KM practices, with a focus on testing, evaluation, and implementation of these practices. The literature should consider private sector resources as well as public, including toolkit elements. 

Task 2. Develop a stakeholder outreach plan. Develop a plan for obtaining input from state DOTs and others, as appropriate, on developing and implementing KC methods. Outreach should include stakeholders at various stages of KC implementation. Submit a technical memorandum (#1, hereafter “tech memo”) including the results of Task 1 and the plan developed in Task 2. NCHRP approval of the tech memo is required before work on subsequent tasks may begin. 

Task 3. Administer and summarize the stakeholder outreach. Submit a tech memo (#2) summarizing the results of the stakeholder outreach. NCHRP approval of the tech memo is required before work on subsequent tasks may begin.   

Task 4. Prepare a plan for toolkit development and educational materials. Using the findings from Tasks 1–3, the plan should include, but not be limited to, the following: definitions of terms associated with KM and KC; rationale for KC methods selected; templates for how KC tools are described, including their benefits and associated risks; approach for ensuring that tools in the toolkit are implementable and use emerging technologies such as AI to the extent possible; how state DOTs can choose and apply a capture method aligning with their goals, organization, and culture; and strategies for promoting, maintaining, and updating the toolkit. 

Task 5. Submit an interim report. Prepare an interim report summarizing the results of Tasks 1–4 and including a detailed outline for the toolkit and educational materials. The interim report shall be presented to NCHRP at an in-person meeting in Washington, D.C., with panel travel costs to be paid by NCHRP. NCHRP approval of the interim report is required before work on Phase II may begin. 


Task 6. Prepare a draft toolkit for the use of KC. The draft toolkit shall be prepared according to the plan approved in Task 5. Submit the draft toolkit for NCHRP approval. NCHRP approval of the draft toolkit is required before work on subsequent tasks may begin.   

Task 7. Conduct and summarize a practitioner workshop. Obtain practitioner and industry feedback on the draft toolkit in an online workshop. Summarize the workshop in an online debrief with NCHRP, including any recommended changes to the toolkit. Any proposed changes must be approved by NCHRP. 

Task 8. Submit an updated toolkit. The updated toolkit will be reviewed by NCHRP before its submittal in Task 9. Additional review time should be allocated to this task to allow for iterative review. NCHRP approval is required before work on the final task may begin. 

Task 9. Submit final deliverables. Deliverables shall include the final toolkit, a conduct of research report summarizing the entire research effort, an implementation memo, and a slide presentation summarizing the research. 



STATUS: Research is in progress. 


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