Accelerating Transportation Program and Project Delivery: Conception to Completion

Transportation agencies must continually improve their managerial, organizational, and operational effectiveness; and project delivery--the process that takes new or renewed transportation facilities and services from conception to completion, ready for users--is a primary indicator of an agency's effectiveness. Individual highway and other transportation projects are developed under programs intended to implement agency and legislative initiatives and other public policy. The way programs are organized and managed can determine the speed and efficiency of project development. Accelerating program functions can speed up project delivery. The delivery process includes planning, programming, design, construction, and related activities. Accelerating delivery entails addressing environmental review issues in a timely manner, acquiring rights-of-way from multiple property owners, developing context-sensitive solutions in design, securing approvals from myriad government agencies, satisfying various community concerns, monitoring project-delivery timeframes, assuring that project-development resources are available when needed, and identifying and reducing impediments to faster decision making. It is not unusual for major projects to take 5 to 7 years in the development phases and then 3 to 4 years more in construction. Many projects take far longer because significant community, environmental, or property-acquisition issues must be resolved. Delayed projects increase congestion and project expenses, adversely affect safety, impose social costs, and impede economic development. Recent research on accelerating delivery has focused on tools and business practices that can speed the completion of particular phases of the project-delivery process. Few, if any, of these studies have addressed the subject of acceleration from a holistic perspective, looking at the full delivery process from initial conception to completion of construction and from program as well as project perspectives. Most agencies are organized to manage the sequential phases individually, without consideration of the overall process. Project development for these agencies entails a series of formal handoffs between organizational units, with each unit responsible only for its own phase. In many cases, however, delays arise as a result of factors that influence several project-delivery phases, such as an agency's internal management procedures, legal requirements, and funding uncertainties. In addition, delays often arise from the way programs are structured and administered. While research can yield improvements to expedite completion of each individual phase, there is a need for research also to consider better ways to organize and manage the overall process. This research should consider diverse experience and identify best practices in accelerating program and project delivery. The objective of this research is to provide examples and other guidance regarding best practices for accelerating program and project delivery while maintaining quality. The research will review and assess delivery acceleration strategies, techniques, and practices at program and project levels, from conception to completion. The research product will be a comprehensive source of information on strategies, techniques, and practices that may be used to accelerate delivery and avoid delay throughout the entire process. This product must be user friendly and provide users an appreciation of the time savings that can be gained. It should encourage transportation agencies to address the organizational and process issues affecting delivery.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-73

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  USA  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC    20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  USA  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Lemer, Andrew

  • Performing Organizations:

    Jacobs Engineering Group

  • Principal Investigators:

    Keck, Dennis

  • Start Date: 20070402
  • Actual Completion Date: 20100228
  • Source Data: RiP Project 16153

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01464647
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-73
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:46PM