This chapter provides a tabulation and analysis of the results from the FHWA Integration Solutions Survey. As described in the previous chapter, the purpose of the survey was to gather useful and accurate data on current practices in the integration between the disciplines of planning, environment, engineering and real estate in the development of transportation solutions. The following five sections correspond to the grouping of questions in the survey:
While the results of each question are presented sequentially, a discussion of the results is also broken out by those respondents who stated their agency has as integrated approach and those that do not. A copy of the survey is included in Appendix C and definitions of terms used in the survey are provided in Appendix D.
Section 4.1 provides an analysis of the first three questions of the FHWA Integration Solutions Survey. Responses to these questions give an overview of survey respondents by (1) discipline and geographic location, (2) the number of field units in each agency, and (3) the number of entities with which each agency coordinates in the formulation of their Statewide Transportation Plan (STP) and Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The section concludes with a discussion of the association between integration, number of field units and number of coordinating agencies.
4.1.1 Question 1: What is the primary discipline in which you work?
A total of 154 people responded to the FHWA Integration Solutions Survey. Of the 154 respondents, 146 were employees of State Departments of Transportation (STDs) and the remaining 8 were employees of other types of transportation-related agencies. Efforts undertaken by JFA and FHWA to encourage participation resulted in a 70 percent response rate from STDs. In addition, JFA contacted a number of other agencies and businesses to consider input from people working in different transportation-related settings. A total of 8 responses were received from representatives of theFederal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), various Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and foreign transportation agencies combined. Table 4.1 shows the number and percent of survey responses from STDs and other transportation related entities involved in the development of transportation solutions.
Table 4.1 Number and Percent of Survey Responses from STDs and Other Transportation Related Entities
|Type of Respondent||# Responded||# Contacted||% Response|
|Other Transportation Related Entities||8||54||15%|
Response by DisciplineOverall, JFA received input from the majority of people contacted in each of the four disciplines. Of the total number of responses from STDs, JFA received the most input from members of the Planning discipline, with a total of 41 responses and a 79 percent response rate. Members of the Real Estate discipline had the least amount of input with a total of 31 responses; nearly a 60 percent response rate. Chart 4.1 shows the percent of response from each of the four disciplines. Two of the 146 respondents identified themselves as working within the discipline of Management, and as a result, were excluded from Chart 4.1.3
Chart 4.1 Number and Percent of Survey Responses from STDs by Discipline
Response by Geographic Location
JFA conducted an analysis of STD responses by geographic distribution based on the states included in the FHWA Resource Center regions. The four FHWA Regional Resource Centers represent states in the West, Midwest, East and South.4 JFA received a proportionate number of responses from each of these regions. Chart 4.2 shows the rate of response from STDs within each of these four regions. The greatest response was from the South, with 41 responses or a 73 percent response rate. The smallest percentage in responses was from the East, with a 66 percent response rate (37 responses). At least one response was received from each state, district and territory contacted in this survey effort.
Chart 4.2 Number and Percent of Survey Responses from STDs by Geographic Location
* While the actual number of responses from the Midwest is less than from the East, the percentage of responses received in the Midwest is greater because there are fewer states represented in the Midwest.
4.1.2 Question 2: How many field units (i.e. districts or divisions) are in your agency?
Based on survey responses, over three-quarters of STDs have between 1 and 10 field units. Of the total set of responses, 49 percent responded that their agencies have between 6 and 10 field units while 29 percent responded that their agencies have between 1 and 5 field units (see Table 4.2 below).
Table 4.2 Frequency in Number of Field Units in each Agency
|Number of Field Units||Total||Percent of Total|
|1 to 5||41||29%|
|6 to 10||70||49%|
|11 to 15||17||12%|
|16 to 20||1||1%|
*Percent may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.
4.1.3 Question 3: What is the number of entities with which your agency coordinates in the formulation of your Statewide Transportation Plan (STP) and Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)?
Over three-quarters of STDs coordinate with 1 to 15 agencies in the formation of their STP and STIP. Of the total set of responses, 47 persons (33 percent) responded that their agencies coordinate with 1 to 5 other agencies (see Table 4.3 below).
Table 4.3 Frequency in Number of Agencies with which Each Entity Coordinates in the Formulation of their STP and STIP
|Number of Agencies||Total||Percent of Total|
|1 to 5||47||33%|
|6 to 10||29||21%|
|11 to 15||33||23%|
|16 to 20||11||8%|
* Percent may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.
4.1.4 Relationship between Integration, Number of Field Units and Number of Coordinating Agencies
There appears to be a relationship between agencies with an integrated or non-integrated approach and the number of field units. As seen in Chart 4.3 below, agencies with greater than 9 field units are less likely to utilize an integrated approach. Those with fewer than 5 are also less likely to use an integrated approach. Perhaps the advantages of integration are difficult to capitalize upon when dealing with a large number of field units. And likewise, those advantages are essentially non-existent when dealing with only a very few.
Chart 4.3 Percentage of Integrated Agencies based on Number of Field Units
There appears to be an association between the number of entities with which an agency coordinates in the formulation of the Statewide Transportation Plan (STP) and Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and whether an agency has an integrated or non-integrated approach. As shown in Chart 4.4 below, agencies that coordinate with greater than 20 entities are more likely to be integrated than agencies that coordinate with less than 20 entities.
Chart 4.4 Percentage of Integrated Agencies based on Number of Coordinating Entities
It is possible that agencies which coordinate with a greater number of entities in the formulation of the STP and STIP also coordinate with a greater number of staff members, agencies and public parties in the project development process. As noted by some survey respondents, increased involvement from the public and other entities is integral to developing consensus and reducing potential conflicts in an integrated transportation solution development process. When asked to summarize an agency's process in one or two most successful points, respondents wrote:
This section provides an analysis of current practices employed in each agency. Respondents were asked if current practices in their agencies are (A) centralized/decentralized, (B) uniform/not-uniform, and (C) integrated/not-integrated in their approach(es) to developing transportation solutions. Generally, centralized vs. decentralized refers to the administration of the entities and whether or not decisions are made centrally or at the field unit/district/division level. Uniform vs. non-uniform refers to whether or not the same practices are followed in each field unit/district/division. Integrated vs. non-integrated refers to the respondent's judgment as to whether the practices employed by their agency integrate the expertise of the four disciplines in question as opposed to a linear process in which one discipline's efforts are handed off to the next with little interaction between them.
4.2.1 Question 4: Is the practice of developing transportation solutions in your agency centralized or decentralized?
The majority of respondents stated that the practice of developing transportation solutions in their agencies is centralized. Of the decentralized agencies, 70 percent stated that procedures were uniform across field units in the development of transportation solutions. Based on these survey results, just over half of the agencies are centralized, and the majority of decentralized agencies have uniform procedures across field units. Chart 4.5 shows the percentage of centralized, decentralized and uniform, and decentralized and non-uniform agencies.
Chart 4.5 Percent of Centralized vs. Decentralized (Uniform vs. Non-Uniform Procedures across Field Units) Agencies
The survey asked respondents who indicated that their agency is both decentralized and lacking uniform procedures across field units to provide further explanation. Some responses from staff that identified their agencies as having a centralized practice also offered some additional comments. Their comments reveal that although their agency practices are centralized, there is some variation based on discipline and size of the project. The following are some of their comments:
The most frequent comments from respondents who indicated that their agency is both decentralized and lacking uniform procedures across field units reveal that while their STDs do have general guidelines and procedures, there is a significant amount of flexibility at the regional and local levels. While some attribute this to a lack of understanding about the transportation planning process, staff unawareness, or inaccessibility to such guidelines, the majority of respondents believe that the freedom to make planning decisions at more local levels provides for more innovative and effective solutions. The following are some of these respondents' comments:
4.2.2 Question 5: Can the process your agency follows (e.g. the disciplines involved, the sequence of their involvement and the relative levels of involvement) be described uniformly regardless of the transportation solution being addressed?
Just over half (53 percent) of the respondents replied that the process their agency follows could be described as uniform. The survey prompted those who replied positively to describe the process with respect to their discipline's involvement and the sequence of their involvement, while indicating points of overlap or coordination. An analysis of these comments by discipline is included in Chapter 5.
Of the remaining 47 percent who replied that processes within their agencies could not be described as uniform, the survey prompted them to list up to six factors that most influence the transportation solution development process in order of their likelihood of influencing the process.5 Approximately 32 different types of factors were listed by respondents.
Two different analyses were conducted with the responses to this part of question 5. The first analysis shows which factors were listed most frequently, irrespective of the order in which they were listed. The second analysis shows which factors were most frequently identified as the number one most influential factor affecting the transportation solution development process.
Most Frequent Factors
Chart 4.6 shows the most frequently listed factors, irrespective of the order in which they were listed. Categorizing all 32 different factors into 10 groups, the five most frequent responses are (1) identified impacts, (2) complexity/magnitude, (3) cost, (4) public interest, and (5) funding. The most frequent factor (22 percent) listed is identified impacts, which are impacts that a project may have on the environment, economy and community. The second most frequent factor (14 percent) is the complexity or magnitude of the project in terms of design, environment, and interaction with other agencies. Both the third and fourth most frequent factors occurred 13 percent of the time. These factors were project costs including design and acquisition, and public interest, involvement and support. The fifth most frequent factor (10 percent) is funding.
Most Influential Factors
Chart 4.7 shows the factors most frequently listed as the number one most influential factor affecting the process of developing transportation solutions. Of all responses, complexity/magnitude was listed most frequently as the most influential factor (29 percent) affecting the development of transportation solutions. The following five were also listed as the most influential, but not as frequently as complexity/magnitude: cost (17 percent), identified impacts (11 percent), the ability of a project to address a certain need or fulfill a benefit within the transportation system (11 percent), funding (8 percent) and maintenance vs. capital improvement (8 percent).
A comparison between results in Charts 4.6 and 4.7 shows that the following four factors were listed most frequently by respondents as an influential factor, as well as most frequently as the number one most influential factor:
The fourth most frequently listed top influential factor, the ability of a project to address a need or provide a benefit for the transportation system, was not listed as one of the top five most frequently listed factors.
Chart 4.6 Most Frequently Listed Factors Affecting the Transportation Solution Development Process
Chart 4.7 Factors Most Frequently Listed as the Number One Influential Factor Affecting the Transportation Solution Development Process
4.2.3 Question 6: Provide more detail on the involvement of your particular discipline in the process of transportation solution development
An analysis of qualitative responses to Question 6 is included in the discussion of practices provided in Chapter 5.
4.2.4 Question 7: Would you describe your agency's process of developing transportation solutions as a new or non-traditional approach with more integration between any combination of the planning, real estate, engineering and environment disciplines?
Most of the respondents described their agency's process of developing transportation solutions as a new or non-traditional approach with more integration between any combination of the planning, real estate, engineering and environment disciplines. Chart 4.8 shows the percentage of agencies with integrated and non-integrated processes.
Chart 4.8 Percent of Agencies with Integrated vs. Non-Integrated Processes
4.2.5 Type of Procedures and Processes in Integrated Agencies
An agency integrated in its approach to developing transportation solutions is more likely to be decentralized, as shown in Table 4.4. It is possible that the management and systems planning in a decentralized agency requires decision-makers to consider more carefully the interaction between disciplines in the development of transportation solutions. Perhaps also, a decentralized environment fosters more innovative thinking with each field unit or division office serving as an example for different ways of approaching or completing a task. Therefore, decentralization may support integration because it provides more opportunities for disciplines to learn from one another and to collaborate throughout different stages in the project development process. On the other hand, coordination may be more difficult in a centralized agency where decisions are made at the central office or headquarters.
Table 4.4 Percentage of Integrated and Non-Integrated Approach in Centralized and Decentralized Agencies
|% Integrated||% Non-Integrated|
A centralized agency is more likely to be integrated if it has uniform processes regardless of the transportation solution being addressed. It is possible that uniform processes support integration because they provide structure and guidance to the development of transportation solutions when more parties are involved and when interaction between disciplines is increased. Table 4.5 below shows an association between uniform processes and the likelihood of integration in centralized agencies
Table 4.5 Percentage of Integrated and Non-Integrated Approach in Centralized Agencies with Either Uniform or Non-Uniform Processes
|% Integrated||% Non-Integrated|
|Centralized and Non-Uniform||37%
|Centralized and Uniform
There is a pattern in the frequency of certain processes and procedures in integrated and non-integrated agencies, as shown in Chart 4.9 below. Agencies with decentralized and uniform processes are most likely to be integrated. This likelihood of integration decreases when processes are non-uniform and agencies are centralized. The trend in non-integrated agencies is the opposite. Agencies with centralized and non-uniform processes are most likely to be non-integrated. The likelihood of integration increases when processes are uniform and agencies are decentralized.
Chart 4.9 Percentage of Decision-making Processes in Integrated and Non-Integrated Agencies
Comments from survey respondents suggest that some agencies that describe their approach as integrated are moving towards decentralization and adopting more uniform practices. The following are some comments from integrated agencies:
4.2.6 Question 19: Once a project or a transportation solution has been identified, what is your agency's project development style?
As shown in Chart 4.10 below, "Phased" project managers is the most frequent of project development styles, followed by "Single Point" and then "Functional Discipline" project managers.6
Chart 4.10 Development Styles, Percentage of Responses
4.2.7 Project Management Styles in Integrated Agencies
There is an association between an agency's project management style and whether the agency has an integrated or non-integrated approach to the development of transportation solutions. Agencies with functional discipline project managers (e.g., bridge, roadway design, geotech, ROW, etc.) are more likely to be non-integrated, as shown in Table 4.6 below. Agencies with one of the following types of project management styles are more likely to have an integrated approach:
Table 4.6 Percentage of Project Development Styles in Integrated and Non-Integrated Agencies
It appears that functional discipline project managers are less frequent in integrated agencies because these types of project managers only focus on their particular mode or discipline; as a result, collaboration between modes and disciplines may be limited. On the other hand, integrated agencies focus on increased interaction between disciplines as an approach to developing better transportation solutions.
This section provides an analysis of questions directed at agencies that identified themselves as using an integrated approach in the development of transportation solutions. The respondents answered Questions 8-11, which concerned the effects of an integrated approach on their discipline's timing of involvement, level of involvement, effectiveness, and efficiency in the overall process of developing transportation solutions. Responses to Questions 12-15 concerned:
4.3.1 Question 8: Does your agency's new approach affect the timing of involvement of your discipline as compared to a more traditional, stove-piped or linear approach?
Overall, 82 percent of the respondents felt that a more integrated approach affected the timing their discipline became involved in the development of the transportation solution. All Real Estate respondents agreed that their timing of involvement was affected. Engineering and Environmental respondents were about equal in feeling that their timing of involvement was affected. The Planning respondents were the least affected in the timing of their involvement. Chart 4.11 shows the percentage by each discipline responding affirmatively to the issue of timing.
Chart 4.11 Impact of Integrated Approach on Each Discipline's Timing of Involvement in the Development of Transportation Solutions
4.3.2 Question 9: Does your agency's new, more integrated approach affect the level of involvement of your discipline as compared to a more traditional stove-piped or linear approach?
Chart 4.12 shows that 80 percent of respondents thought that the integrated approach affected their level of involvement. The Real Estate respondents overwhelmingly found this to be true. Environment and Planning respondents were close to equal in stating that an integrated approach affected their level of involvement while less than two-thirds of the Engineering discipline respondents stated that an integrated approach affected the level of their discipline's involvement.
Chart 4.12 Impact of Integrated Approach on Each Discipline's Level of Involvement in the Development of Transportation Solutions
4.3.3 Impact of Integration on the Timing and Level of Involvement of Each Discipline
Overall, the majority of respondents thought an integrated approach affected their discipline's timing and level of involvement in the transportation solution development process. The most frequent comment is that disciplines are more involved earlier on in the process during the planning and scoping phase. Increased collaboration in the project development phase leads to consensus and reduces potential revisions later in the process. In addition, there is an effort to keep members on the project informed on the progress throughout the length of the project. As shown in Chart 4.13 below, there are differences among disciplines in the extent to which an integrated approach affects their timing and level of involvement.
Chart 4.13 Impact of Integration on Each Discipline's Level and Timing of Involvement
The majority of engineers believe an integrated approach affects their discipline's timing (86 percent) and level of involvement (61 percent) in the development of transportation solutions. However, engineers are the least convinced of the effects on their level of involvement in comparison to the other three disciplines. One possible explanation is that in non-integrated agencies, engineers have greater coordination and more involvement throughout the development process than the other three disciplines. As a result, an integrated approach does not affect their discipline's level of involvement as much as it affects other disciplines.
The timing of involvement for an engineer may be more affected than the level because involvement is required earlier in the process, during the scoping and planning phases. Some comments from engineers regarding the timing of involvement are as follows:
An integrated approach affects the timing (100 percent) and level (95 percent) of involvement of the Real Estate discipline the most of the four disciplines. One possible reason is that in a non-integrated agency, the Real Estate discipline has the least amount of involvement in the scoping phase and the least amount of interaction with other disciplines. On the other hand, an integrated approach incorporates Real Estate concerns earlier and to a greater extent throughout the project development process. Some comments from Real Estate respondents include:
The majority of planners thought an integrated approach affected their discipline's level (83 percent) and timing (78 percent) of involvement in the development of transportation solutions. While most planners believe their discipline's involvement is required earlier on in the development process, some believe involvement is more continuous throughout the length of the project. The following are some comments from planners regarding their level and timing of involvement:
4.3.4 Question 10: Does your agency's new, more integrated approach affect the effectiveness of your discipline's contribution to the overall process of developing transportation solutions?
Overall, 90 percent of all respondents indicated that an integrated approach positively impacted the effectiveness of their discipline's contribution. All of the Environment and Real Estate respondents noted a positive impact on the effectiveness of their discipline's contribution.
The responses from the Engineering discipline were more varied; while 13 percent of the respondents felt that there was no impact, 4 percent felt there was a negative impact on their effectiveness. A high percentage of the Planning discipline felt there was a positive impact on their effectiveness, and only 5 percent felt there was no impact. Chart 4.14 shows the percentage within each discipline that thought an integrated approach either had a positive, negative, or no impact on the effectiveness of their discipline's contribution.
Chart 4.14 Impact of Integrated Approach on the Effectiveness of Each Discipline's Contribution to the Development of Transportation Solutions
4.3.5 Question 11: Does your agency's new, more integrated approach impact the efficiency of your discipline's contribution to the overall process of developing transportation solutions?
Overall, 74 percent of the respondents felt an integrated approach had a positive impact on the efficiency of their discipline's contribution to the overall process of developing transportation solutions. Six percent felt there was a negative impact, and 7 percent felt there was no impact on their efficiency. One hundred percent of respondents in the Environment discipline considered the impact to be positive on the efficiency of their discipline's contribution. The majority of Planning and Real Estate disciplines (85 percent) thought there was a positive impact on their efficiency. The Engineering respondents were the least convinced of the positive impact; of all the disciplines, they had the highest percentage of negative responses. Chart 4.15 shows the percentage within each discipline that thought an integrated approach had either a positive, negative, or no impact on the efficiency of their discipline's contribution to the development of transportation solutions.
Chart 4.15 Impact of Integrated Approach on the Efficiency of Each Discipline's Contribution to the Development of Transportation Solutions
4.3.6 Overall Positive Response to Impacts of Integrated Approach on Development of Transportation Solutions
Respondents feel an integrated approach has a positive impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of their discipline's contribution to the overall process of developing transportation solutions (see Chart 4.16 below). All four disciplines responded similarly. Effectiveness is enhanced because each discipline is more involved in the scoping and planning phase of the project during which alternatives are developed and the preferred solution is identified. Efficiencies also increase with an integrated approach because potential problems from the perspective of each discipline are more likely to be identified early on in the process due to increased multi-disciplinary coordination in the planning phase. Collaboration throughout the project ensures a greater chance of consensus among staff within the department, the public and other agencies; this decreases the potential for conflict and revisions later in the process. Comments about the positive impacts of an integrated approach are as follows:
Chart 4.16 Impact of an Integrated Approach on Contributions to the Development of Transportation Solutions
4.3.7 Impact of Integration on the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Contributions to the Development of Transportation Solutions
As a whole, respondents thought that an integrated approach has a positive impact on the effectiveness (90 percent) and efficiency (86 percent) of their discipline's contribution to the development of transportation solutions (see Chart 4.17 below). The smaller percentage of positive responses regarding efficiency may be a result of the greater time requirements during the initial project development phase in an integrated agency. Although more time up front ideally leads to less time later on, some respondents perceive this increase in involvement during the planning phase as a further constraint on already limited resources.
Chart 4.17 Impact of Integration on the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Each Discipline's Contribution
The majority of engineers believe an integrated approach positively impacts the efficiency (77 percent) and effectiveness (83 percent) of their discipline's contribution in the development of transportation solutions. However, engineers are not as convinced of the positive impacts as the three other disciplines. Engineers who responded negatively or neutrally, stated:
All respondents from the Environment discipline indicated that an integrated approach positively impacts both the effectiveness and efficiency of their discipline's contributions to the development of transportation solutions. One respondent stated, "[t]he integrated approach is the only way to go." According to these respondents, environmental issues are identified early on and considered throughout the life of the project; this leads to less conflict and rescoping later in the process. Also, the permitting process is streamlined because of better relationships with resource and regulatory agencies. Comments from the Environment discipline are as follows:
All respondents from the Real Estate discipline also indicated that an integrated approach positively impacts the effectiveness of their discipline's contribution to the development of transportation solutions. An integrated approach allows the Real Estate discipline to address issues and concerns that would otherwise result in increased design and ROW costs as well as project delays. Early consideration also provides alternatives to acquiring residences and businesses, thus reducing relocations and minimizing impacts on private property owners' land. Some comments from the Real Estate discipline are as follows:
The majority of respondents from the Planning discipline thought an integrated approach positively impacts the effectiveness (95 percent) and efficiency (85 percent) of their discipline's contribution to the development of transportation solutions. Some comments from the Planning discipline in support of these positive impacts are as follows:
4.3.8 Question 12: Have efforts been taken to measure the results of this new, more integrated approach?
One-third of the respondents confirmed that efforts were taken to measure the integrated approach, about half of the respondents replied that no efforts were taken, and a quarter did not know whether any efforts had been made. Chart 4.18 shows the percentages of agencies that reported measuring the results of their integrated approach.
Chart 4.18 Efforts Taken to Measure Results of the More Integrated Approach
4.3.9 Question 13: Could your agency's integrated transportation solution development process be collapsed into one or two most successful points of practice?
Almost half of the respondents said their agency's integrated transportation solution development process could be collapsed into one or two successful points or practices. A discussion of these qualitative responses is included in Chapter 5.
4.3.10 Question 14: Did your agency consult with any other entities in the development of your multi-disciplinary integration approach to the development of transportation solutions?
Overall, 87 percent of the respondents consulted with other entities in the development of their integrated approach to the development of transportation solutions. Of these respondents, 93 percent consulted with the FHWA. Next in popularity of entities with which STDs consulted were other State Agencies (78 percent) and MPOs (73 percent). Other entities consulted included Other Federal Agencies (41 percent), Regional Planning Organizations (37 percent) and Other (27 percent). Chart 4.19 lists the types of planning and transportation agencies consulted for the development of an approach to transportation decision-making.
Chart 4.19 Planning and Transportation Entities Consulted in the Development of an Integrated Approach
List of "Other" Entities Consulted:
4.3.11 Question 15: To your knowledge, did your agency face any impediments when implementing the new more integrated approach?
Eighty-four percent of the respondents said they faced impediments when implementing the more integrated approach. These respondents indicated the following impediments:
The most common impediments faced when implementing the new approach were the need for training/skills and the perceived increase in workload. The actual increase in workload was considered less of an impediment than the perceived increase in workload, as seen in Chart 4.20 below.
Chart 4.20 Impediments Encountered when Implementing an Integrated Approach
List of "Other" Impediments:
This section covers Questions 16-18, which were directed towards agencies that indicated they do not use an integrated approach. Here, we found what respondents from each of the disciplines thought about an integrated approach and why they believe their agencies are not using a more integrated approach.
4.4.1 Question 16: Do you think a multi-disciplinary approach that involves an increased level of integration between the disciplines of planning, real estate, engineering and environment would be useful in the development of transportation solutions?
Of those who responded, 88 percent stated an integrated approach would be useful in the development of transportation solutions while 12 percent stated such an approach would not be useful. Table 4.7 provides a more detailed profile of positive and negative responses by discipline. Over 90 percent of respondents from the Environment and Planning disciplines believe that a multi-disciplinary approach with an increased level of integration between disciplines is useful in the development of transportation solutions.
Table 4.7 Responses Indicating Whether or Not a Multi-Disciplinary Approach is Useful, Percentage by Discipline
The survey prompted those who responded positively to provide a description of the ways in which such an approach would be useful. The following list includes responses most frequently noted:
Many people noted that the integrated approach was not a new concept. An engineer from the Washington State Department of Transportation affirmed, "this survey assumes integration between disciplines is ‘new', and that is a false assumption." A planner from the Michigan Department of Transportation stated, "we do not regard any of the concepts in this survey as new. Michigan has had an integrated project-development process for over 25 years, involving planning, engineering, environmental clearance, and real estate."
4.4.2 Question 17: Do you think a multi-disciplinary approach that involves an increased level of integration between the disciplines of planning, real estate, engineering, and environment would positively impact the quality of your discipline's contribution to the development of transportation solutions?
Of those who responded, 81 percent stated an integrated approach would positively impact the quality of their discipline's contribution to the development of transportation solutions while 19 percent stated such an approach would not have a positive impact. Table 4.8 provides a more detailed breakdown of positive and negative responses by discipline. Over 90 percent of respondents from the Environment discipline were certain that an integrated approach would positively affect the quality of their discipline's contribution.
Table 4.8 Responses Addressing the Impact of a Multi-Disciplinary Approach, Percentage by Discipline
People responding positively to Question 17 were prompted to indicate ways in which they thought an integrated approach might impact the quality of their discipline's contribution to the development of transportation solutions. The following are some responses by discipline:
Based on the number of environmental procedural concerns raised by a number of states, it appears the Environment discipline would benefit substantially through a more integrated approach as environmental concerns and issues would be raised earlier in the development of the project. A member of the Nebraska Department of Roads stated, "if we are aware that we are an important part of the planning process, we would seek to achieve a higher level of input. It is frustrating when a solution is selected without thought of the environmental consequences and then we are expected to make the environmental problems go away."
In comparing results of Questions 16 and 17, it seems that although most respondents believe an integrated approach to developing transportation solutions would be useful, fewer are certain such an approach would increase the quality of their discipline's contributions to the process. Of the four disciplines, respondents from Environment were the most supportive of an integrated approach on the development of transportation solutions, as well as on the quality of their discipline's contributions to the process.
Comments from those respondents who stated an integrated approach is not useful and would not have a positive impact on their discipline's contribution indicate their agency's traditional approach is well-established and well-structured to include input from all disciplines when necessary. Comments from these respondents who do not believe an integrated approach would be useful or would have a positive impact on their discipline's contribution include:
4.4.3 Question 18: Do you have an opinion as to why your agency has not adopted such a process?
Respondents with an opinion as to why their agency has not adopted a multi-disciplinary process were asked to indicate which of five reasons provide an explanation as to why the agency has not adopted such a process. Respondents were encouraged to check all reasons that apply. The frequency of response for these five reasons appears in Chart 4.21 below.7
Chart 4.21 Reasons Multi-Disciplinary Approach Not Adopted, Percentage of Responses
Table 4.9 shows a breakdown by discipline. The frequency of responses to certain reasons varies by discipline.
Table 4.9 Frequency of Responses as to why a Multi-Disciplinary Approach was Not Adopted, Percentage by Discipline
|Perceived Increase in Workload||Perceived Lack of Need by Management||Perceived Lack of Need by Staff||Need for Information / Training||Other|
Among the four factors listed as possible reasons for why an agency has not adopted a multi-disciplinary approach, there is variation by discipline in the relevance of each factor.8 Of the Engineering respondents, the two most frequent opinions were "Perceived Increase in Workload" and "Perceived Lack of Need by Staff," each receiving 25 percent of responses. The Environment discipline agreed that the "Perceived Lack of Need by Management" was the most common reason as to why their agencies had not adopted an integrated approach. Of the Planning respondents, the "Need for More Information/Training" was considered to be the most prevalent reason their agencies had not adopted a multi-disciplinary approach. The two most common responses by the Real Estate discipline were "Perceived Increase in Workload" and "Perceived Lack of Need by Management," both options receiving 21 percent of the total responses.
4.5.1 Question 20: Please provide any comments you may have on an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to transportation decision-making, including ideas you have on this concept in general or your state's practices in particular.
Generally, respondents commented that integration is a useful approach that will enhance the efficiency of each discipline in the process of developing transportation solutions. The following is a list of comments regarding the integrated, multi-disciplinary approach and the quality of the survey:
Comments in Support of Approach:
Comments Critical of Approach:
4 The West, East and South regions each represent 14 states/district/territory while the Midwest represents 10 states. A list of states represented by each FHWA Regional Resource Center is listed in Appendix E. (back)
5 Of these 71 responses, 4 people did not include any factors, and an additional 2 people who noted that processes within their agencies could be described as uniform responded by listing factors. (back)
6 The "Other" category displayed on Chart 4.7 refers to responses that one or two people made but should be considered. These "Other" project development styles include: (1) Single Point Project Manager style currently being developed (1 survey response), and (2) Single Point Manager does not have authority or training to lead projects (2 survey responses). The "Other - Combination of Styles" category includes the combination of a single point project manager style with a functional or phased style, and the combination of phased project manager with a functional style. Refer to Appendix D for a definition of these management styles. (back)
7 The "Other" category displayed in Chart 4.21 refers to responses that one or two people made but should be considered. These "Other" reasons are: decentralization discourages integration (2 survey responses), lack of funding (2 survey responses), lack of political support (1 survey response), and negative backlash from local and regional governments who feel land use decisions are not in purview of federal or state officials (1 response). (back)
8 The Environment, Planning and Real Estate disciplines all chose "Other" more frequently than any of the four factors. For Environment, comments in the "Other" category touched on subjects such as cost, political barriers, time costs, and inflexibility towards change. Despite these comments, there were Environment respondents who were in favor of a multi-disciplinary approach and are applying it to their planning process. For Planning, comments in the "Other" Category included time costs, resistance to change, negative criticism from local and state governments, and lack of staff. The Real Estate discipline chose "Other" more frequently than the other three disciplines, stating that the reasons why their agencies had not adopted a multi-disciplinary approach were due to the lack of time, lack of funding for project managers, and increased real estate costs. Some of these Real Estate respondents indicate their agencies were in the process of implementing a multi-disciplinary approach. (back)