Transportation agencies, particularly state departments of transportation (DOTs), generally must operate with limited staff resources, inadequate funds for needed projects, and high political and public expectations to deliver projects more quickly and efficiently. Increasingly, DOTs are expected to build projects of broader scope, more complexity, and larger scale, with substantial financial, political, environmental, economic, and social ramifications. DOT staff efforts to meet these challenges often entail finding ways to improve project delivery and optimize resource use in the project-delivery process. Many states are enhancing their project management performance by implementing new work strategies and adopting new tools in such areas as organizational change management, project management control and reporting, program administration and contracting, professional staff development and training, and stakeholder and public involvement. These strategies and tools may be developed initially by other DOTs or organizations in other businesses, and then are adapted to the specific conditions of the agency where they are to be used. Access to knowledge of up-to-date, effective project development practices is then a resource that DOT managers can use to help them meet the challenges they face.
The objective of this project was to develop a project-management guidance document, a toolbox of effective practices for application in transportation project development. The guidance document would identify the benefits that could be expected from strengthened project management, help managers determine what tools might be useful in their particular situations, and assist these managers in gaining access to new tools and strategies. The research entailed a comprehensive review of literature and survey of current practice relative to project management experiences in transportation and other industries. Based on their assessment of both proven and innovative practices for management of a variety of transportation projects, the research team developed a conceptual framework for organizing the guidance document and selected the contents to be included. Reviews by experienced practitioners were then used to refine both content and organization. The result is an intensively cross-referenced and hyperlinked document designed to be useful to agency professionals responsible for the several stages of project development from initial project identification through construction.
The final report is available as NCHRP Web-Only Document 137.