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PEL Questionnaire Equivalents for New Jersey Department of Transportation

Equivalent Approach: Project Delivery Process

Equivalence Criteria Met

  1. Institutionalized Process
  2. Required:
    1. The early and continuous coordination with regulatory and resource agencies
    2. Public and stakeholder coordination
    3. Description of planning scope and vision statement
    4. Alternatives that were considered, selected, and rejected
    5. Explanation of planning assumptions
  3. Recommended:
    1. Analysis of the affected environment and environmental consequences
    2. Potential strategies for broad-scale mitigation
    3. Description and/or analysis of potential cumulative effects
    4. A method of documenting FHWA approval
In 2011, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) implemented a new Project Delivery Process to streamline and provide consistency in how the Department evaluates, plans, designs, and constructs capital projects. This process helps ensure that all projects meet mobility, community and environmental needs, and are delivered on time at the lowest possible cost. It also serves as a foundation for all of NJDOT's service areas and guidance to project management staff.

The process is described in detail at: http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/capital/pd/

The NJDOT uses the Project Delivery Process to guide work on transportation projects from the identification of a problem through final construction. New Jersey's Project Delivery Process includes:

  • Early and continuous coordination with regulatory and resource agencies.
  • Coordination efforts with the public and stakeholders.
  • Description of planning scope and vision statement.
  • Alternatives considered and screening methodology.
  • Explanation of planning assumptions.

The Project Delivery Process at NJDOT is constantly evaluated and improved based on lessons learned and best practices from other related industries.

Alignment with equivalence criteria

NJDOT's Project Delivery process meets all of the FHWA required equivalence criteria and several of the optional criteria. The following information describes the components of the project delivery process that align with the criteria.

Criteria 1: Institutionalized process

Project proponents are required to follow the project development process described in detail on the NJDOT website whenever NJDOT is involved in the decision-making process. The Capital Delivery (CPD) Web pages describe the institutional method used for delivery of NJDOT capital projects. All components of the Project Delivery Process can be found on the website. The Project Delivery Process Project Customization Guideline provides information on how to customize the method to use on individual projects.

The Project Delivery Process has been officially adopted and formally recognized by FHWA.

Criteria: 2a to 2e, 3a, and 3d

The New Jersey Department of Transportation's Project Delivery Process reflects its commitment to effectively and efficiently managing transportation projects from the Problem Screening Phase through Construction. There are five steps in the new Project Delivery process: Problem Screening; Concept Development; Preliminary Engineering; Final Design; and Construction. Each step builds on the previous one and allows external stakeholders to participate in project development.

The Problem Screening (PS) Phase is the beginning of the delivery process for any potential project. The purpose is to investigate a potential transportation deficiency identified through a Problem Statement submitted to the Division of Capital Investment Strategies (CIS). The sources of the Problem Statement may include New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Management Systems, Planning Studies, a Metropolitan Planning Organization, or internal and external stakeholders. A flow chart showing how projects are considered through this phase can be seen at: www.state.nj.us/transportation/capital/pd/documents/PSPhaseTopDownFlowChart.pdf.

The first step of the investigation is a Tier 1 Screening. Here, a Problem Statement is reviewed and its merit is weighed against data and information contained in the Department's various management systems. Outcomes of the Tier 1 Screening will either:

  • Determine if the Problem Statement can be eventually advanced in the project development process, provided funding is available and it is consistent with CIS goals and objectives;
  • Terminate the Problem Statement because of a lack of need or because the recommendation within a Problem Statement is already being addressed by an existing project;
  • Determine that a quick fix by means of a maintenance work order is appropriate based on SMEevaluations or that further analysis of the problem statement is needed via a Tier 2 Screening;
  • Table the Problem Statement for potential future advancement or Tier 2 Screening when funds become available. When appropriate, a Problem Statement can be reassigned to a different jurisdiction, such as a toll road authority or other agency.

Tier 2 Screening is a review process that occurs based on a recommendation by the Division of Capital Investment Strategy as an outcome of a Tier 1 Screening and is conducted by the Division of Project Management. A Tier 2 Screening further defines the problem and provides a cursory evaluation of potential constraints to advancement, and also makes a technical assessment of issues such as right of way or environmental constraints. A Tier 2 Screening may involve a technical assessment in the field, coordination with in-house staff, and a meeting with local stakeholders. Upon compilation and assessment of the need, a determination will be made that identifies the quickest, most streamlined path that a Problem Statement could reasonably follow, and what project development path would be most appropriate for advancement. The result of a Tier 2 Screening can be placement in a future Study and Development Program or termination. In addition, the Tier 2 Screening could result in a NJDOT Maintenance Delivery project.

Early collaboration with a variety of internal and external stakeholders, including MPOs, other state agencies, FHWA, local and county governments, business and non-profit organizations, begins in PS and continues throughout throughout the process.

Depending on the problem, the major products for the PS Phase may include:

  • Problem Statement validation, subject to screening and funding that can move into the Study and Development (S&D) Program as proposals for Concept Development
  • Proposed Project, subject to funding
  • Senior Management decision that further advancement is not warranted and that the decision is documented and the case is closed
  • Problem Statement Priority Rankings
  • Problem Statement Tracking Database
  • Problem Statement Status Reports
  • Charter
  • Tier 1 Screening Documentation
  • Tier 2 Screening Report

These products document the key decision points, rationale for decisions, collaboration and coordination efforts for future use in subsequent phases.

Prior to the conclusion of the Problem Screening Phase, approval is required from the Capital Program Committee and a Charter must be prepared to advance the Problem Statement to the next phase. The Charter is the document developed by the Division of Capital Investment Strategies with concurrence from the Division of Project Management, and approved by the Capital Program Committee, that formally authorizes the existence of a project, and provides the Department Project Manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to work activities.

The Concept Development (CD) Phase begins with a Problem Statement approved by the Capital Program Committee (CPC) and provided to the Division of Project Management (DPM). The CD Phase involves drafting a well-defined and well-justified Purpose and Need Statement focusing on the primary transportation need to be addressed, building on data from the Problem Screening phase. It is here that the goals for the project and the planning assumptions are established. Continued consultation and coordination with NJDOT Subject Matter Experts/local stakeholders frames the development of a reasonable number of sensible and practical conceptual alternatives and the investigation of environmental, right of way, access, utilities, design, community involvement, and constructability concerns which can produce an environmental screening.

Once the CD phase has been initiated, Data Collection efforts are undertaken to obtain the information needed to validate the problem and develop the Purpose and Need Statement. The data should include but not be limited to the following: As-Built plans, Drainage inventory, Base Mapping and other maps, Management System Input, Traffic/Crash Data, ITS Facilities, ROW and Access, Utility information and Environmental Screening.

Data Analysis is performed upon the conclusion of the data collection efforts and provides the foundation for the development of alternatives. Analysis of traffic, crash and bridge data are performed and documented to support the preparation of the Purpose and Need Statement, and it is the Purpose and Need Statement that focuses the development of alternatives to address the specific project needs.

Alternatives Analysis is performed to assure each developed conceptual alternative addresses the project need and is in compliance with design standards with respect to safety, capacity, Context Sensitive Design, environment and operational improvements. Alternative analysis may reveal the need for revision, integration or elimination of alternatives to assure its consistency with environmental, community and budget constraints in need of further assessment. Additionally during Alternatives Analysis, public outreach efforts are conducted to gain local feedback on the proposed alternatives.

The Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) is the selected alternative identified among the many alternatives developed to address the Purpose and Need Statement. It is selected from an alternative analysis comparison. Identifying a PPA initially requires data analysis, environmental document classification determination, alternative analysis and input from internal/external stakeholders to conclude if the selected alternative provides reasonable cost for derived benefit. The draft PPA shall be presented to the general public for comment and feedback at a Public Information Center.

Documentation is provided in the Concept Development Report, an official document compiled as a package describing the problem, collected data, the findings of the evaluation of all alternatives developed, the finalized PPA and other documented information, such as public outreach conducted in association with the project.

Prior to the conclusion of Concept Development, approvals are necessary to graduate the project to the Preliminary Engineering Phase. These approvals include the Preliminary Engineering Scope Statement Approval, Concept Development Report Approval by FHWA, and Capital Program Screening Committee presentation and approval.

NJDOT's website contains a diagram that shows the activities associated with this phase and shows how they are documented and used as a project advances.

The Preliminary Engineering (PE) Phase involves performing engineering tasks and technical environmental studies in order to produce an environmental document for approval. Building on work completed in the CD phase, the objectives of PE include obtaining approval from the community through a public information center, approval of the environmental document, and creation of an Approved Project Plan. A number of activities are simultaneously set in motion based on the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) identified in CD, such as community involvement (meetings with affected property, business owners), agency consultation, environmental documentation, design level mapping and design services.

To get formal community consensus, the project's Public Involvement Action Plan (PIAP) is executed; a public information session will be conducted, which may lead to some adjustments to the PPA. In the end, local representatives will be asked to submit a Resolution of Support endorsing the project, if formal support was not obtained during the Concept Development Phase.

Engineering Design shall be performed during Preliminary Engineering only at a level of detail necessary to secure the Environmental Document and the Design Exception Report, if necessary. Roadway, structural, right of way, access and utility engineering design may be necessary to gain approval of the Environmental Document and Design Exception Report. Some projects will require that these design details be further defined or the project's Design Communications Report. Public Outreach efforts during Preliminary Engineering will vary depending on the level of engineering efforts necessary to secure the Environmental Document and the Design Exception Report and the amount of information obtained in prior project delivery phases.

Some projects will require that these design details be further defined or developed in Final Design, however the process requires all design decisions to be documented in the project's Design Communications Report. Prior to the conclusion of Preliminary Engineering, approvals are necessary to graduate the project to the Final Design Phase. These approvals include the Final Design Scope Statement Approval, Preliminary Engineering Report Approval by FHWA, and Capital Program Screening Committee presentation and Capital Program Committee Approval.

A Final Design Addendum is executed if the Preliminary Engineering Designer is retained for Final Design. If the Preliminary Engineering Designer is not retained for Final Design, the process to select a new designer is initiated. The Design Exception Report is prepared and submitted to FHWA for approval of substandard design elements that will remain or are proposed on the project. A design exception may be approved when it can be documented that a lesser design value is the best practical alternative. The Preliminary Engineering Report documents the work performed in Preliminary Engineering in summary format and includes the Environmental Document, Design Exception Report, Final Design Scope Statement, Final Design Project Management Plan, Final Design Public Involvement Action Plan, and the appropriate plans in support of the Environmental Document and Design Exception Report. The Preliminary Engineering Report along with the associated plans and reports shall be submitted to FHWA for approval. The Approved Project Plan (APP) is the advancement and approval of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) developed during Concept Development (CD). The APP selection is based on alternative analysis comparisons and provisions of a reasonable cost for derived benefits that satisfy the problem statement. This plan will incorporate detailed environmental analysis and input as gathered in Preliminary Engineering.

Consultation with regulatory/permitting agencies, local representatives and the public continues in the PE Phase to publicize the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the proposed project and to recognize the concerns of the community.

Page last modified on November 18, 2016
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