Modern Project Prioritization for Transportation Investments

Madhav Chitturi, Chris McCahill, David Noyce, and Eric Sundquist. Modern Project Prioritization for Transportation Investments. 2021.

Project prioritization among transportation agencies has always been an evolving practice. At its core, it means setting goals and aligning decision-making processes to meet those goals. This study is aimed at making that process easier. For this study, our team reviewed project prioritization programs at 21 transportation agencies, including 14 state DOTs and 7 MPOs, through a combination of interviews, online questionnaire, and publicly available written documentation. Some key lessons came from a case study of Virginia’s SMART SCALE program, which has resulted in lower average project costs and funding for a broad range of multimodal projects. The main findings can be summarized in terms of three important opportunities in project prioritization: 1) establishing flexible funding programs, 2) evaluating key outcomes, and 3) maximizing benefits per dollar spent.

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