A Guide to Agency-Wide Knowledge Management for State Departments of Transportation

The knowledge that any organization possesses is a valuable asset to be applied in pursuit of the organization's mission. That knowledge resides in the organization's staff and in myriad files, manuals, databases, and other forms distributed throughout the organization. State departments of transportation (DOTs) rely on their knowledge to pursue their mission, the management of a complex system of facilities and services that supports our nation's economy and quality of life. The DOTs face many challenges to effectively maintaining and applying their knowledge assets. For example, employees depart through retirements, downsizing, and reorganization; and physical and electronic information resources become inaccessible or underutilized because of technology change or loss of staff. Failures to take advantage of experience reduce organizational productivity. The changing character of the workforce has made old techniques for knowledge capture and transfer less effective. The changing mission of the DOT raises needs for new knowledge. Leaders at all levels, faced with urgent competing demands, cannot focus on strategic issues of knowledge management. Knowledge management (KM) comprises the set of principles, strategies, and practices used by an organization to identify, generate, collect, organize, preserve, disseminate, share, and apply critical knowledge in pursuit of the organization's strategic mission. Effective KM makes knowledge available to the people who can use it, when they need it, and helps them understand why and how the information can be useful. KM uses a variety of practices and tools to help an organization avoid knowledge loss; promote knowledge capture, preservation, and sharing; and facilitate access to useful knowledge and its application to pursuing the organization's mission. While some agencies have adopted some KM practices and tools, most DOTs have not applied an agency-wide perspective in strategically managing their knowledge resources. Few have kept pace with new techniques and tools developed to support agency-wide KM. Research is needed to describe clearly, comprehensively, and engagingly the value of DOT-wide knowledge management and the strategies, techniques, and tools agencies can use to retain, enhance, manage, and use their knowledge assets. The objective of this research is to develop a guide to the fundamentals of agency-wide knowledge management for state departments of transportation (DOTs). The guide shall describe at a minimum (a) the meaning of agency-wide KM and motivations for its application within a state DOT context; (b) typical KM strategies and processes for developing an agency-specific strategy; (c) steps in developing an agency-wide KM plan and the roles of state DOT leadership and staff in the plan development and execution; (d) performance measures and procedures for assessment of KM effectiveness; and (e) the key points underlying successful agency-wide KM. The guide will inform state DOT leadership and staff on the benefits of KM and assist them in sustainably applying KM in their agencies. The research will be conducted in 3 phases: (1) scoping, (2) guide development, and (3) guide completion. PHASE 1: Scoping - Task 1. Project kickoff. Meet with the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) project panel via teleconference to discuss technical issues to be addressed in the research and the projects work plan. Prepare and deliver a memorandum documenting the discussions and any significant decisions made. Task 2. Annotated outline and outreach plan. Deliver Working Paper 1 presenting an annotated outline for the guide, a brief description of supplemental and supporting materials to be assembled with the guide, a concept map describing how the guide and supporting materials will be organized and presented to the guide's users, and a proposed communication and outreach plan for the guide's dissemination. Working Paper 1 shall include a clearly defined listing of guide elements to be developed in various tasks under Phase 2. Task 3. Interim meeting. Meet in person with the NCHRP project panel to discuss Working Paper 1 and related matters. Prepare and deliver a memorandum documenting the discussions and any significant decisions made. Task 4. Revised annotated outline and outreach plan. Revise Working Paper 1 to address Task 3 discussions. If necessary, prepare a revised project schedule. Secure NCHRP approval before proceeding with Phase 2. PHASE 2: Guide Development - Task 5. Draft initial guide text and support elements. Based on the outline and approved listing developed in Phase 1, prepare text and supporting materials for the initial elements of the guide. Deliver these elements for NCHRP review and comment. Task 6. Draft remaining guide text and support elements. Based on the outline and approved listing developed in Phase 1, prepare text and supporting materials for the elements of the guide not prepared under Task 5. Deliver these elements for NCHRP review and comment. Task 7. Prepare full draft guide text and support elements. Revise materials prepared under Tasks 5 and 6 and assemble these revised materials to present the complete guide content. Secure NCHRP approval before proceeding with Phase 3. PHASE 3: Guide Completion - Task 8. Draft guide. Using materials approved in Task 7, design and produce a complete draft guide with appropriate graphics, hyperlinking, and other devices to facilitate user access and response. Deliver 25 copies each of the printed guide and disk with the guide and supporting materials. Task 9. Final guide. Consider NCHRP comments on the Task 8 guide and supporting materials. Make revisions as appropriate and prepare a memorandum documenting responses to those comments. Deliver the memorandum and 25 copies of the printed guide and supporting disk.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-98

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

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

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

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

    Lemer, Andrew

  • Performing Organizations:

    Spy Pond Partners

  • Principal Investigators:

    Harrison, Frances

  • Start Date: 20140219
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150418
  • Source Data: RiP Project 38180

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01547549
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-98
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Dec 11 2014 1:01AM