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Strategies for addressing or avoiding common constraints to speed delivery of transportation planning and environmental review projects.

Expediting Project Delivery (C19)

Challenge

Speeding up the delivery of needed transportation projects is high on everyone’s agenda—from the traveling public who desire timely improvements to the local communities that rely on scheduled delivery of goods and services. Transportation agencies are being challenged to deliver projects with greater efficiency and speed at the same time that funding and staffing are decreasing and transportation needs are growing.

The use of innovative approaches and early coordination with resource agencies, stakeholders, and the public can help transportation agencies achieve timely project delivery as well as improved project decisions. A range of strategies is needed to address common constraints to expediting project delivery.

Solution

SHRP2 has developed a Solution for Expedited Planning and Environmental Review. The lists of constraints and strategies in the final report are not exhaustive. The strategies included are those that met specific criteria, and that could be completed within the time restrictions of the study. The research team began drafting a list of fundamental expediting themes during the initial phase of the research and refined this list as the research progressed. The six final expediting themes, with expediting strategies organized by theme, are introduced in the following sections:

  1. Improve public involvement and support
  2. Improve resource agency involvement and collaboration
  3. Demonstrate real commitment to the project
  4. Improve internal communication and coordination
  5. Streamline decision making
  6. Integrate across all phases of project delivery

The product suggests the likely effects of not addressing a constraint, categorized as low, medium, or high, and identifies multiple strategies to apply for each severity category. The solution includes a useful worksheet that allows users to quickly identify the types of issues and/or constraints that could cause delay within their project scope, and offers mitigation strategies for each constraint. that provides background and case examples.

Details on the strategies and constraints can be found in the SHRP2 report, Expedited Planning and Environmental Review of Highway Projects. Expedited Planning and Environmental Review is also incorporated into a suite of solutions located on the Beta version of Transportation for Communities: Advancing Projects through Partnerships (www.transportationforcommunities.com - formerly known as TCAPP), now known as PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects. This site also includes a beta version of the Expediting Project Delivery readiness assessment tool designed to help agencies identify potential challenges to streamlining project delivery.

Benefits

This product saves time by reducing project delays while also providing innovative approaches to improve transportation planning and decision making. This product allows agencies to anticipate where delays are expected to occur and to apply tested strategies to avoid or reduce delays during all phases of project development and delivery.

Strategies to Expedite Project Delivery

  1. Change-control practices
  2. Consolidated decision council
  3. Context-sensitive design and solutions
  4. Coordinated and responsive agency involvement
  5. Dispute-resolution process
  6. Department of Transportation-funded resource agency liaisons
  7. Early commitment to construction funding
  8. Expedited internal review and decision making
  9. Facilitation to align expectations up front
  10. Highly responsive public engagement
  11. Incentive payments to expedite relocations
  12. Media relations manager
  13. Performance standards
  14. Planning and environmental linkages
  15. Programmatic agreement for Section 106
  16. Programmatic or batched permitting
  17. Planning-level environmental screening criteria
  18. Real-time collaborative interagency reviews
  19. Regional environmental analysis framework
  20. Risk management
  21. Strategic oversight and readiness assessment
  22. Team co-location
  23. Tiered National Environmental Policy process
  24. Up-front environmental commitments
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