Innovative DOTs

State DOTs face many challenges in the 21st century: maintaining and operating existing infrastructure, ensuring public health and safety, embracing new technologies, developing a strong workforce, and investing the future, all while maintaining equity, environmental stewardship and balanced budgets.

These modern demands often require new thinking, skills, and processes. SSTI works with transportation agencies to outline clear goals, identify potential challenges and opportunities, and implement standards and policies to ensure good outcomes.

The Innovative DOT Handbook offers 34 specific recommendations to help state transportation officials position their agencies for success in the coming era.

Improving Policy and Practice

The success of DOTs in addressing complex issues often depends on the data and decision-making rules used in implementation. Many common practices have not kept up with current policy needs. A prominent example is the decision-making rule to add highway capacity in hopes of improving “level of service.” With new data and more powerful analytic tools, SSTI applies an outcome-based decision-making model, replacing legacy decision-making rules with new methods and metrics that address policies around multimodal accessibility, equity, climate impacts, and more.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Smart Scale in Virginia

Virginia is a national leader in multi-modal, data-driven project prioritization. SSTI has supported the continuing development of its Smart Scale program and, specifically, the metrics and analyses used to evaluate the accessibility and land use benefits of transportation investments. Our team has also worked with stakeholders throughout Virginia, leveraging big data to advance more cost-effective solutions. Learn more about the program at

SmartTRAC in Hawaii

Building on the success of Virginia’s Smart Scale program, SSTI and Smart Growth America helped the Hawaii DOT pilot the Smart Transportation Rank Choice (SmartTRAC) program to better align transportation investments with priorities around safety, preservation, accessibility, traffic management, and environmental protection. This involved assessing the mode shift potential of bike and pedestrian projects using accessibility analysis.

Accessibility Analysis at WSDOT

The Washington State DOT launched a multimodal accessibility program in 2019 with technical support and research assistance from SSTI and Smart Growth America. Their program sets a new framework for thinking about transportation system performance, identifying transportation gaps, and evaluating outcomes like environmental justice, health, and travel options.