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Concept Design for an Online Information Source for Major Surface Transportation Projects: A Discussion Paper

June 29, 2017
Related Materials
  • Discussion Paper: PDF
  • Presentation: PDF  |  HTML

Presented by Benjamin Perez and Jagannath Mallela, WSP
June 29, 2017


Patrick DeCorla-Souza

Patrick DeCorla-Souza
P3 Program Manager,
USDOT Build America Bureau & FHWA Center for Innovative Finance Support


Ben Perez

Benjamin Perez, WSP

Jagannath Mallela

Jagannath Mallela, WSP


Technical Reviewers
Tom Boast
Qingbin Cui
Michael Garvin
Jonathan Gifford
Keith Molenaar
Nick Norboge
Matti Siemiatycki
Ed Strocko (USDOT)

P3 Expert Roundtable
Leon Corbett, Florida DOT
Matt Girard, Plenary
Randy Park, Utah DOT
Bill Reinhardt, Public Works Financing
Jim Stark, Indiana DOT


Patrick DeCorla-Souza
Leslie Lahndt
Pete Clogston

Discussion Paper Overview

Legislative Context

  • To the maximum extent possible, the FAST Act directs FHWA and the Bureau to:
    • Identify procurement thresholds for transportation project cost and schedule increases
    • Measure cost and delivery schedule changes
    • Monitor how performance outcomes vary with different procurement methods
    • Collect project-specific information and make it openly available on the internet
  • This research addresses considerations for a first step

A Two Tiered Project-Specific Approach to Data Collection

  • Tier 1 provides basic descriptive and project outcome information collated from existing sources
  • Tier 2 elements would support advanced research and analysis using information not captured in existing repositories
  • Based on feedback from industry stakeholders, initial focus on compiling Tier 1 data
  • The Tier 1 and 2 elements could be adjusted based on availability and data quality
  • Tier 1 -- First increment would test approach, usefulness and burden
  • Tier 2 information retained for potential use by other researchers
  • Comprehensive Information Source Tier 1
    • Provides benchmark information on project delivery
    • Uses existing data sources for all major projects
      • FHWA Center for Innovative Finance Support Data
      • FHWA Major Project Database
      • FHWA Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS)
      • FHWA National Bridge Inventory (NBI)
  • Comprehensive Information Source Tier 2
    • Provides detailed data for in-depth analysis
    • Could be assembled from project documentation where available based on Tier 1 experience

Governance and Platform

  • Decisions regarding these aspects will:
    • Be critical to functionality
    • Assert role of contributors, data owners, and managers
    • Have implications for sponsors' commitment and resources needed
  • Paper provides basic options and makes recommendations

Discussion Paper Development

Information Source Target Audiences

  • State DOTs
  • Metropolitan Planning Organizations
  • Transportation Procurement Practitioners
  • Public Policy Officials
  • Academics
  • Private Sector Partners

White Paper Organization

Executive Summary

Chapter 1: Online Information Source Structure and Purpose

Chapter 2. Information Source Projects

Chapter 3. Tier 1 Data Requirements and Sources

Chapter 4. Online Information Platform

Chapter 5. Long-Term Maintenance and Enhancement

Chapter 6. Recommendations and Next Steps

Appendix A: FHWA Major Projects

Appendix B: Tier 2 Data Requirements and Potential Sources

White Paper Review Process

  • First Draft Delivered January 6, 2017
    • Reviewed by 10 industry and academic experts
  • Second Draft Delivered March 3, 2017
    • Subject of a Round Table Reviewed on March 28, 2017 attended by industry experts
  • Final Draft Delivered June 6, 2017
    • Reflect Round Table input and final FHWA comments and edit

Information Source Goals

  • Understand project procurement outcomes
  • Facilitate benchmarking analysis
  • Inform decision-making
  • Validate decision-making
  • Facilitate industry and academic research

We address these goals by providing data to answer 21 Core Research Questions

21 Core Research Questions

  • Used to identify potential data to be included in the Information Source
  • Information Source is an interim step -- provides data to help answer the questions, not the answers

Comparing Outcomes for Non-P3 Procurements

  • Cost performance
  • Risk mitigation
  • Scope evolution for P3 and non-P3 delivery
  • Schedule certainty
  • Procurement and oversight requirements
  • Life cycle costs
  • Financing costs
  • Design and construction quality
  • Maintenance quality
  • Service quality
  • Local subcontractor and disadvantaged business involvement
  • Labor rates

Information Source Projects

FHWA Major Projects

  • Cost of $500 million or more using Federal funding
  • 104 current projects
  • 33 completed projects
  • A variety of procurement models
    • Design-bid-build (DBB)
    • Design-build (DB)
    • Design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) concession

Tier 1 Data

Tier 1 Data

  • Higher level benchmark library
  • Intended for decision-making assistance and project performance review
  • To be assembled for all FHWA Major Projects

Relational Database Structure

Relational Database Structure Chart

View larger version of Chart

Tier 1 Data

  • Can be assembled from EXISTING repositories
    • FHWA Center for Innovative Finance Support Data
    • FHWA Major Projects Database
    • FHWA Highway Performance Monitoring System
    • FHWA National Bridge Inventory
    • Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) Website
    • State DOT project delivery websites
    • National Conference of State Legislatures


Online Information Platform

  • Purpose:
    • Compare project performance outcomes for different delivery methods
  • Content:
    • Data collated from multiple sources over time
    • Alphanumeric information, documents, maps, images, URLs
  • Relational database structure:
    • Use non-proprietary software and coding practices
    • Avoid third party add-ons
    • Streamline ongoing maintenance costs
  • Support the following functions
    • Search Filters
    • Display Tables
    • Sortable Columns
    • Reporting
    • Data Upload and Export
    • Online Help and Tool Tips
  • The Information Source's governing structure will influence its design

Data Management Questions

  • Do the data already exist?
  • How will the data be obtained or collected?
  • What is the schedule and budget for data collection?
  • How will the data be checked and certified?
  • Can the data be made publically available?
  • How will the data be stored, accessed, and protected?

Data Management Plan Options

  • Distributed Responsibility
  • Total Ownership
  • Hybrid Approach

Distributed Responsibility

Source Owner
  • Responsible for data governance
  • Responsible for IT enablement including online platform and technology resources
  • Responsible for managing user community
Data Providers
  • Understand data standards, formats, definitions
  • Ensure data quality
  • Upload data to information source
End user
  • Data discovery, analysis
  • Feedback

Total Ownership

Source Owner
  • Responsible for data governance
  • Responsible for IT enablement
  • Responsible for data collection and data quality
  • Responsible for managing user community
End user
  • Data discovery, analysis
  • Feedback


Source Owner
  • Responsible for data governance
  • Responsible for IT enablement
  • Responsible for managing user community
Data Providers
  • Provide raw data
Data Liaisons
  • Understand data standards and information source requirements
  • Work with data providers to collect data
  • Ensure data quality via review board
  • Upload data to information source
End user
  • Data discovery, analysis
  • Feedback

Recommendations and Next Steps


  • The information source would be most useful in informing higher-level public policy decisions
  • Focus on compiling Tier 1 information
  • Conduct a pilot as a proof of concept
    • Confirm what information is available and the level of effort to collect it

Contact Information


Download Discussion Paper:

Discussion Paper cover page


Patrick DeCorla-Souza
P3 Program ManagerFHWA Center for Innovative Finance Support

Mark Sullivan
P3 Program DirectorFHWA Center for Innovative Finance Support


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