U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration


<< PreviousContentsNext >>

Construction Program Management and Inspection Guide

Appendix C - Sample Guidelines for Process Review / Product Evaluation Programs


California Division Office Procedure Memorandum

SUBJECT: Program Review/Product Evaluation Program

February 10, 1993

I. Table of Contents
  • Section II: References
  • Section III: Purpose
  • Section IV: Background
  • Section V: Overview of Program Review and Product Evaluation
  • Section VI: Developmental Procedures for the Annual Review Schedule
  • Section VII: Milestones
  • Section VIII: Program Approval and Review Procedures
II. References
  • 23 CFR 640.115 Evaluations
  • FAPG G6021.2 Monitoring of Federal-aid Highway Design Projects
  • PM D6021 Design Monitoring Program
  • PM D6420 Construction Monitoring Program
  • PM D6520 Certification Acceptance Procedures
  • PM D1601 Program Review/Product Evaluation Program Guide
III. Purpose

This issuance supersedes the December 9, 1982, Procedure Memorandum "Process Review - Engineering Management Assessment Plan."

The purpose of this Division Office Procedure Memorandum is to describe the Program Review/Product Evaluation Program (PR/PE). The program provides a basis to fulfill requirements for the administration of the Federal-aid program as prescribed in regulations and directives. The program also evaluates the quality of the work performed and maintains lines of communication with responsible State and Local Agency representatives for the transfer of technology. Additionally, the program facilitates a continual evaluation of the Division's operations to ensure quality engineering and environmental processes and products.

IV. Background

In 1977, the California Certification Acceptance (CA) Plan was approved for Local Agency projects and amended in the same year to include all State-administered projects not on the Interstate system. This was the beginning of the California Division Office's process review program for conducting oversight responsibilities on CA projects. The process review program continued until 1991 when the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 was implemented. Major changes to Title 23 USC in program direction and permissive delegations to the States were introduced. A major provision of the new Act allowed the States to accept increased levels of authority that exempted various types of Federal-aid highway projects from FHWA project review and oversight. In response to the authority granted by this provision, FHWA entered into agreement with Caltrans, approved May 12, 1992, that provided Caltrans with the maximum delegation of authority allowed by law. This authority, granted through Stewardship agreements, delegated oversight authority to Caltrans for "Exempt" projects. In order to better address these program changes and new directions, it is FHWA's policy to increasingly rely on the State organizations for detailed, project-related actions. In keeping with this policy, the Program Review/Product Evaluation will be the California Division Office's primary mode of operation in carrying out its program oversight responsibilities. This does not preclude the use of other program monitoring techniques, including project-specific activities when appropriate.

Factors to be considered in advancing this policy include:

  • Level of Federal Interest
  • Technical Complexity
  • Local Circumstances
  • Risk Management
  • Statutory Requirements

This Program Review/Product Evaluation Program will cover all activities for exempt projects on the National Highway System (NHS), projects administered under Certification Acceptance, and non-Title 23 activities for non-NHS projects.

V. Overview of the Program Review/Product Evaluation Program

The Program Review/Product Evaluation (PR/PE) program is an annual monitoring program that provides the Division Office with a control technique that documents and assures FHWA that State and local agencies are complying with Certification Acceptance procedures and Stewardship agreements. The PR/PE is performed through management reviews and special emphasis reviews. These reviews will evaluate the adequacy of the processes, procedures, and products developed by Caltrans in project development and construction activities. Based on these reviews, assurances can be established that a process is being implemented as intended and is producing the desired product. The purpose is to provide oversight and improvements of policies, procedures, techniques or methods on a statewide or area-wide basis. The PR/PE reviews can be broad in scope, covering a major activity or program such as conceptual studies, preliminary plan development, or PS&E preparation, or they can be more specific in scope, covering products or elements such as geometrics, pavement design/construction, safety, structures, etc. Occasionally a broad review could generate a specific review that could be addressed in an upcoming program or during the present year if it is deemed necessary.

The annual schedule for the PR/PE program will be developed through recurring and cyclical review activities. The recurring reviews are regulatory, statutory, or administrative requirements. As required by FAPG 640.115, the cyclical reviews are considered on a four-year basis and will be developed using special emphasis areas covering the State's administration of CA and exempt NHS projects. Detailed procedures for the development of the annual program schedule are discussed below.

The Program Review/Policy Coordination Section (PR/PC) will develop the annual engineering review schedule. The Planning, Research, and Environment (PR&E), Administration, and Right of Way (R/W) Offices will be responsible for developing respective annual review schedules in accordance with this D-memo with assistance from the Program Review/Coordination Section.

VI. Development Procedures for Annual Program Schedule

Prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, the Program Review/Product Evaluation Engineer(s) will develop the annual program schedule. The subject areas for review are identified from external sources (outside PR/PC) and from the list of special emphasis areas.

The external sources and special emphasis areas are explained below:

  1. Washington/Region Offices. This source defines national and regional emphasis areas.
  2. Division Office Management. Reviews initiated by the Division Office generally are identified as statewide policy concerns.
  3. Caltrans Management. Caltrans Headquarters Offices (i.e., Office of Highway Construction, Office of Project Planning and Development, Office of Local Streets and Roads, etc.) provide input and historical reference for high risk, problem, or procedural areas that are a concern.
  4. Design, Construction and Maintenance Monitoring Programs. These programs will produce historical data derived from design reviews, construction inspection reports, phase inspections, maintenance monitoring reviews, and related activities.
  5. Special Emphasis Areas. This is a prepared list of potential major review elements for the PR/PE program. This list covers a multitude of phases in the development, design, and construction of Federal-aid projects, but is not considered all-inclusive.

The process the Division Office will use to identify reviews that will be beneficial to FHWA and Caltrans is called the "criteria assessment model." The criteria assessment model is a process that will help evaluate and objectively rate each potential topic to determine the need for a PR/PE review. The criteria assessment was developed to consider five distinct areas in advancing the Division Office's program. They are as follows:

  • Level of Federal Interest
  • Technical Complexity
  • Local Circumstances
  • Risk Management
  • Statutory Requirements

(The Criteria Assessment Review Form is shown below.)

The Program Review/Policy Coordination Section will convene a select group of FHWA and Caltrans officials, considering available time/resources, to complete the selection of reviews. The composition of this group is to be considered flexible. The number of individuals comprising this group should be large enough, yet variable, to provide for objectivity in the relative numerical rankings which are assigned during the criteria assessment. Each potential review topic shall be addressed in an objective and impartial manner when utilizing the model. The criteria assessments should not be viewed as absolute for selection or non-selection of a particular review. However, there should be documentation to support selection or non-selection when the criteria assessment ranking is overridden by management or executive decision-making.

VII. Milestones
  1. August 20: All external sources listed above should be solicited for any additional subject areas. The subject areas provided by the external sources will be combined with the Special Emphasis Area list to develop a working list of potential areas to be reviewed.
  2. September 1: The working list is evaluated by the Program Review/Policy Coordination Section for those areas which should receive first consideration for PR/PE review. This evaluation should include historical data and input from the external sources. Those areas considered to be a problem area or concern are transferred to a "short list." Likewise, those areas where there is potential for improvement should also be included on the short list.
  3. September 15: The "short list" is advanced through the criteria assessment model for an objective rating and priority ranking. The criteria assessment model also provides documentation of the relative ranking for those reviews that were not selected. Once the criteria assessment modeling is completed, the final list is provided to the Division Office and Caltrans management for any additional input on the proposed schedule.
  4. October 1: The Annual Program Schedule including the review schedules developed by PR&E, Administration, and R/W shall be approved.

The reviews completed may not be considered for the special emphasis list for the ensuing three years. At the end of the four-year cycle, the group of subjects dropped from consideration are then returned to the special emphasis area list. This method is repeated yearly by adding the subjects reviewed four years prior.

VIII. Program Approval and Review Procedures

The annual program schedules proposed by the R/W, Administration, and PR&E offices shall be submitted to the Program Review/Policy Coordination Section for compilation by September 15 of each year. Each office will be responsible for documenting the selection process.

Prior to the submittal and approval of the annual program schedule, a proposed schedule of review topics and assignments will be circulated to all staff members to assess the impact on other engineering and administrative operations within the Division Office. The Program Review/Policy Coordination Section will then submit the final annual program schedule and proposed review assignments to the Assistant Division Administrator for review and approval.

Establishment and conduct of reviews will be in accordance with the procedures outlined in Process Review Guide Memorandum D1601.

If at any time a review is considered to be unnecessary or excessive, cancellation or down scoping can be requested through the Chief, Program Review/Coordination Section. Documentation supporting the recommendation will be initiated by the Review Coordinator with final approval by the Assistant Division Administrator. While the review activities are proceeding, the PR/PE engineer(s) will coordinate and track all reviews performed by review teams.

Roger Borg
Division Administrator

Graphical Timeline
Working List DevelopedShort List DevelopedCriteria Assessment CompletedSchedule Approved
Aug 20Sept 1Sept 15Oct 1

Schematic diagram of external sources used in the development of the annual program schedule for the California PR/PE Program. These sources include Division Office Management, Design Monitoring, Construction Monitoring, Washington & Resource Center Offices, and Caltrans Management.

Special Emphasis Areas
  • Selection of 3R Strategy, Adequacy of Structural Section
  • Accommodation of Safety Features, Roadside Safety
  • Accommodation of the Handicapped
  • Design Standards, Design Exceptions, Commitments to FHWA
  • Drainage, Hydraulic Analysis, Floodplain Risk Assessment
  • Foundations Analysis for Bridge Design
  • Seismic Analysis
  • Traffic Through Construction
  • Traffic Management Planning
  • Traffic Signals and Traffic Signal Systems
  • Railroads and Utilities Agreements and Plans
  • Bridge Widening and Rehabilitation
  • Bridge Design
  • Consultant Services
  • Highway Landscaping
  • Pavement, Pavement Selection
  • Culverts and Retaining Walls
  • Signs and Markings
  • Safety Roadside Rest Areas
  • Standard Plans
  • HOV Lanes, Ramp Meters
  • Plans, Specifications, and Estimates Approval of Local Agency Projects
  • Oversight of Local Agency Delegations (Certification Acceptance)
  • Federal-Aid Requirements
    • 50% Minimum Federal Funds
    • State Preference in the Selection of Materials
    • Materials Produced by Convict Labor
    • Local Hiring Preferences
    • Publicly Owned Equipment
    • Patented or Proprietary Products
    • Warranty Clauses
    • State-Owned or State-Furnished Materials
    • Salvage Credit
    • Public Interest Findings
  • Public Involvement, Public Hearings
  • Accomplishment of Mitigation Measures
  • Noise Walls, Selection, Design, and Construction
  • Processing of Local Agency Documents
Construction (also see Contract Administration)
  • Grading and Drainage
  • Subbase and Base
  • Asphalt Concrete Pavements
  • Portland Cement Concrete Pavements
  • Signs, Signals, and Traffic Control Devices
  • Guardrail and Median Barriers
  • Traffic Safety in Work Zones (see 23 CFR 630.1010 (e))
  • Bank and Slope Protection
  • Bridges and Major Structures
  • Culverts and Retaining Walls
  • Materials Sampling and Testing
  • Inspection/Project Administration by Consultants
  • Oversight of Local Agency Projects
  • Experimental Features/Projects
  • OSHA Safety
  • Bridge Deck Construction
Contract Administration (See Non-regulatory Supp. FAPG 23 CFR 635A, para. 8a)
  • Determination of Contract Time
  • Plan Development and Preparation of Specifications and Contract Provisions
  • Estimating, Accuracy of the Engineer's Estimate
  • Licensing and Bonding
  • Advertising and Bid Opening
  • Alternate Bids
  • Bid Analysis and Award of Contract
  • Project Staffing and Supervision
  • Subcontracting (See 23 CFR 635.116 (b))
  • Change Orders and Time Extensions
  • Force Account Procedures, Equipment Rental Rates
  • Progress Payments
  • Liquidated Damages
  • Claims
  • Bidrigging, Suspension, and Debarment
  • Oversight of Local Agency Projects
  • Contract Provisions
    • Nondiscrimination, Nonsegregated Facilities
    • Payment of Predetermined Minimum Wage
    • Statements and Payrolls
    • Record of Materials, Supplies and Labor
    • Subletting or Assigning the Contract
    • Safety and Accident Prevention
    • False Statements
    • Implementation of the Clean Air Act and Federal Water Pollution Control Act
    • Buy America
    • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Goals
    • On-the-Job Training
    • Cargo Preference
    • Noncollusion Certification
    • Changed Conditions
    • Indian Preference
    • Suspension and Debarment Certification
    • Restrictions Against Foreign Contractors
    • Termination
Administration of Federal-aid Projects
  • Administration of Public Law Funds
  • Administrative Costs
  • Agreements and Program Delegation
  • Document Coding
  • External Audits
  • Federal-aid Billing
  • Final Vouchering
  • Program Approval, Fiscal, and MMA
  • Approved Administrative Rates
  • Appraisals
  • Business Relocation
  • Local Agency Right-of-Way Program Activities
  • Property Management
  • Residential Relocation
  • Right-of-Way Billing
  • Acquisitions
  • Legal Settlements and Court Awards
  • Outdoor Advertising
  • Utilities
EEO, Civil Rights, DBE and Labor Compliance (also see Construction)
  • Title VI and EEO Requirements and Complaints
  • Supportive Services
  • DBE Certification
Planning and Research
  • Ridesharing
  • Certification of Metropolitan Planning Organizations
  • Public Involvement
Traffic and Safety
  • Section 402 Program Activities
  • MUTCD Compliance
Consultant Services
  • In Design
  • In Construction

Criteria Assessment Review Form

The following decision factors shall be used in the process of evaluating the need for process review/product evaluations. Respond to each of the questions with a rating of 1 for low, 3 for medium, and 5 for high; the criteria assessment will summarize the ratings for each factor and subsequently determine the overall rating of all factors.

Level of Federal Interest  
How does it relate to the current emphasis areas(s)?  
What is the level of investment?  
What is the level of national concern?  
Technical Complexity  
What is the level of new or innovative technology?  
What is the level of experience for those involved in the process/product?  
What is the advocacy role in new or innovative technology?  
Local Circumstances  
What is the degree of obvious trends or concerns?  
To what extent are there known weaknesses?  
How does it relate to the length of time since the last review?  
Risk Management  
What is the risk element?  
What is the shareholders' stake?  
What is the opportunity to achieve substantive results?  
Statutory Requirements  
What are the risks of noncompliance?  
What are the strengths of statutory requirements?  
What is the degree of conflict if there is noncompliance?  
Total the ratings for the 15 items and divide the total by 15.
Use the result as the overall rating.
Overall Rating  
<< PreviousContentsNext >>
Updated: 06/27/2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000