Risk Management at State DOTs: Building Momentum and Sustaining the Practice

Formal risk management is the systematic effort to control uncertainty and variability to an organization’s objectives by addressing both threats and opportunities. When this process is proactively integrated into organizational decision-making, with risks clearly documented and considered, it leads to better management of resources and the creation of a culture of preparedness. The advantages of formal risk management have led to widespread adoption of the practice in private sector organizations. Many federal agencies also have functional risk-management programs. Some state departments of transportation (DOTs) have effective formal risk-management programs in one or more areas of their business; a few have implemented risk management agencywide. Other state DOTs have piloted risk management but have yet to fully implement and sustain it. Many other agencies have not yet attempted formal risk management. State DOTs face new and increasing uncertainties and disruptions that highlight the need for integrating formal risk management into transportation decision-making. For example, the disruption to transportation system operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting decreases in revenues for transportation point to a need for risk management to identify response strategies and manage risks to overall strategic objectives. Emerging technologies, economic uncertainty, a changing workforce, and the ongoing requirement to develop and maintain risk-based Transportation Asset Management Plans (TAMPs) also drive the relevance and requirement of adoption of formal risk management by state DOTs. In response, a number of risk-management tools and resources for state DOTs have been developed. However, these are not in common use and formal risk management has not been widely adopted. Additional resources are needed to support those working to overcome barriers and initiate, build momentum for, and/or sustain formal risk-management practices. The objective of this research is to develop content on how to implement and sustain the use of formal risk management at state DOTs.


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  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $350000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 08-151

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Weeks, Jennifer

  • Performing Organizations:

    Jacobs Engineering Group

    Corvallis, OR  United States  97330
  • Principal Investigators:

    Campbell, Mara

  • Start Date: 20220621
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240620
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01772192
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 08-151
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 24 2021 10:17PM