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The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Review of Operations in the Virginia Department of Transportation's Project Development Process
Benjamin H. Cottrell, Jr.
Benjamin H. Cottrell, Jr.
Year: 2007
VTRC No.: 07-R24
Abstract: The Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT's) project development process (PDP) directs how construction projects are developed. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the manner in which operations is currently considered throughout the PDP and to identify opportunities to expand and enhance the consideration of operations such that the outcome is a more efficient and effective roadway system. The term operations refers to the safe, efficient, and effective movement of traffic on the highway system. Overall, the PDP is working well with regard to addressing traffic engineering issues. The project team process is valuable in reviewing and developing plans. Although there is some variety in the manner in which TE staff participates in the PDP across regions, there is consensus that the process is most effective when TE staff members are involved regularly and throughout the process. A blend of flexibility to account for the uniqueness of projects and project teams and consistency in the application of the basics of the PDP is important. Communication among all PDP team members is a critical component of the process. The resolution of recommendations brought by any team member needs be documented and disseminated to all team members. Checklists used to ensure that all issues have been addressed are not currently universally employed but are considered valuable in instances where team members are new to the process or the team desires the additional structure checklists provide. Clear procedures for dispute resolution are needed to improve the PDP process when consensus cannot be reached on recommendations. Recommendations are offered for improving the operations aspect of the PDP, including providing a description of role and responsibilities of the TE staff in the PDP, providing guidance as to who has responsibility and accountability for TE and safety-related items in the plans, reviewing the process for establishing a schedule and budget to make certain that adequate time is provided for project development and reviews with a focus on program management, and examining the opportunity to begin the PDP concurrent with the end of the planning process.