As with many organizations, the COVID pandemic prompted state transportation agencies across the country to embrace greater flexibility in where, when, and how employees work. For large organizations with diverse staff—from road maintenance crews to administrative support—the transition presents many challenges. A new NCHRP report outlines how several agencies have approached those challenges and offers guidance for those still trying to find their way.
Earlier this month the FHWA announced a proposed change to its design standards that are currently applied to all highway projects. The changes are intended to give engineers and planners much more flexibility and autonomy by eliminating outdated standards. For roads with a speed limit below 50 mph, the proposal seeks to remove 11 of the 13 design criteria; for roads over 50 mph, three criteria would be removed. In August, FHWA released a document that addresses some misconceptions about how federal funding can be used and when a design exception must be requested. It emphasizes that federal rules and funding are significantly more flexible than has been portrayed in the past.