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Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer Toolkit

Archived: What is ACTT?

Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer (ACTT)
A Program Update


FHWA Office of Asset Management
August 2008

What is ACTT?

"ACTT is a strategic process, which uses various technologies and techniques to reduce construction time while enhancing safety and quality."

(Faster, Safer, Better)

This origin definition can be expanded to "ACTT is a means to reduce overall project duration" because it is suited to address pre-design and design activities as well (such as the environmental/ NEPA process and RW/ Utility issues.)

Thus the slogan "Construct or rehab our roads faster, safer, better."

We want to view ACTT as another "tool on the tool belt" for design development and project delivery. It has been identified as a step in project development where the owner agency can benefit from an outside look, a fresh view of the work at hand.

ACTT Basics

  • A structured 3-day workshop is the centerpiece of the process
  • Utilizes skill sets from a national resource pool
  • National experts teamed with local counterparts
  • Recommendations are documented in a report


A more practical definition of ACTT is that it is a 3-day workshop. [A typical workshop begins with an opening session on the afternoon of the first day, continues with an all-day brainstorming session on the second day, and ends with the presentation of ideas and recommendations by the skill sets on the morning of the third day.]

The process brings together a team of "best in field" national leaders and local DOT counterparts to review project details, targeting innovations and solutions that reduce construction time, improve quality and safety, and possibly save money.

The national experts are chosen from a national resource pool that is managed and maintained by FHWA. The national resource pool is comprised of skill sets that represent the different engineering and transportation disciplines.

ACTT Skill Sets

  • Construction
  • Environmental
  • Geotechnical & Materials
  • Innovative Contracting/ Financing
  • Pavement/ Maintenance
  • Public Relations
  • RW/ Utilities/ RR Coordination
  • Roadway Design/ Geometrics
  • Structures
  • Traffic Safety/ITS
  • Worker Health and Safety

Skill Sets are selected based on the scope of the project and the Department’s needs. There’s flexibility to allow skill sets to be combined or customized.

  • Construction/ Environmental
  • Construction/ Innovative materials
  • Structures/ RR Coordination

How ACTT Works

  • Initiate ACTT Model early (planning process)
  • Set measurable goals for project (traffic, time, cost)
  • Identify needed SKILL SETS (project focus)
  • National & local Transportation Professionals brainstorm
  • Develop & consider all SKILL SET strategies
  • Network with other affected SKILL SETS
  • Develop SKILL SET priorities
  • Develop workshop report
  • Agency makes appropriate changes to the project
  • Ideally, the agency adopts the ACTT mindset and process for future projects

The first three points listed are pre-workshop activities:
With the help of the local FHWA DO, the DOT completes a workshop proposal, which is a 5 -7 page questionnaire that leads or helps the DOT select a highway corridor or project to apply ACTT to, establish preliminary goals for the ACTT project and determine skill sets that should be included to participate in the workshop. Although ACTT may be implemented at any time during the pre-construction phase, it is most beneficial when applied during early project development, when there are less constraints or absolutes affecting the project. A couple of example project goals might be reduced construction time (3 years as opposed to 6 years), a decreased number of consultant contracts or construction contracts, increased traffic flow (example: 45 mph vs. 3 lane minimum performance vs. method), or improved safety and environmental enhancement.

The next four bullets describe activities that take place in the workshop.
Nationals and locals brainstorm innovative ideas
Develop and consider all skill set ideas and strategies

FHWA coordinates the writing and distribution of each report with the State.
Projects have ranged in size from $1 million to $3.5 billion dollars.

History of ACTT

  • TRB Special Report 249 (1996)
    • Recommended strategic forum
  • TRB Task Force A5T60 "Accelerating Innovation in Transportation" (1999)
    • Remove barriers to innovation
    • Advocates continuous quality improvement
    • Foster strategies for beneficial change
  • Sponsored by AASHTO TIG & FHWA until 2005

The origin of ACTT traces back to a 1996 TRB Special Report 249, which noted that, if innovation is to take hold in transportation, there needs to be a strategic forum that specifically promotes accelerated innovation.

As a result, the TRB organized a Task Force in 1999, to help identify and remove barriers to innovation. The Task Force’s first substantial product was ACTT, which responds to the clear need to accelerate not only innovation in construction, but the entire construction process as well.

ACTT has received active support—not only professional but also financial—from both the AASHTO Technology Implementation Group. the Federal Highway Administration and hundreds of State DOT personnel, consultants and contractors.

Status of ACTT to Date

Map of states that have held an ACTT workshop, have scheduled a workshop, and are planning a workshop. States highlighted:
  • Arkansas (considering)
  • California
  • Deleware
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Iowa (2)
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusettes (considering)
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana (2)
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey (2)
  • New york
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio (2)
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington State
  • West Virginia (considering)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

The status of the program is shown here on our ACTT map. 34 workshops have been completed during the past four years and are indicated by the States shown in blue. Several States have held more than one workshop (NY, NJ, IA, OH, MT). As a note, the Baltimore City DOT is the first local agency to conduct an ACTT workshop, which it completed in early January. And Montana conducted its second workshop in late January. Three (3) other States (MA, WV, AR) and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Canada, also have expressed an interest in the program for 2008.

ACTT Experiences and Lessons Learned

  • Feedback received from 6 States that used an ACTT workshop in the project development process
  • The scope of the 6 projects varies greatly
  • All 6 States report significant savings or vital lessons learned as a result of the ACTT process

Logo: Oklahoma DOTOklahoma ACTT

ODOT has realized an estimated $15.8 million in savings for the $360M I-40 Crosstown project

  • Completed early geotech investigations
  • Eliminated cast-in-place wall designs
  • Use of better traffic control schemes/ detours
  • Utilizing pre-established borrow sites

Logo: Louisiana DOT Louisiana ACTT

LaDOTD reduced the construction timeframe from 225 proposed to 125 actual days for its I-20 project

  • Utilized very early strength latex modified concrete
  • Hyroblasted and overlaid 1½" without impacting expansion joints
  • Used innovation in its TCP and detours
  • Incorporated innovative contract methods and optimized the letting date

Logo: Montana DOT Montana ACTT

"It was a very useful workshop" … "The results benefited the project as well as practices across the State. However, the workshop was late in the design process so wasn’t as effective as it had the potential to be."

Logo: New Hampshire DOT New Hampshire ACTT

  • For its I-93 Project, NHDOT incorporated a host of ACTT recommendations. A few include:
    • Prefabrication option for bridge elements and retaining walls
    • Use of Smart Work Zones – all construction contracts
    • Implemented a utility impact and relocation plan, and advance SUE plans for the entire corridor
  • Organizational changes:
    • CPM scheduling now specified on all projects
    • Improved communications among counterparts

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does a typical workshop cost?
A: Between $15K and $25K

Q: Who’s responsible for planning, coordinating and funding the workshop?
A: The host agency with assistance from FHWA

Q: Can a construction contractor participate in an ACTT workshop?
A: Yes, FHWA encourages the host agency to involve contractors in the workshop

Why ACTT in Your State?

  • Apply National Expertise
  • Improve Roadway Performance
  • Improve Safety
  • Reduce Construction Time
  • Minimize Worker Exposure
  • Minimize Traffic Congestion
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Updated: 02/27/2019
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