State of Practice for Defining, Demonstrating, and Documenting Transportation Efficiencies

Public transportation agencies often have an interest in demonstrating efficiencies in the capital development, maintenance, and operations of transportation systems. At the federal level, President Obama’s recent transportation budget proposes “increased quality and value in core administrative functions to enhance productivity and achieve cost savings….bringing greater value and efficiency for taxpayer dollars” (Balutis, 2014). With the increasing challenge of reduced funding, it is not uncommon for a State department of transportation (DOT) to have a goal of achieving X% cost savings through efficiencies in their annual capital and/or operations budget (e.g. by implementing innovative approaches or other strategies that reduce the overall needed budget or expanding services). While there is growing interest in documenting efficiencies, there is not clear consensus on how efficiencies are defined and/or what elements are included. Further, the issue is complicated by the consideration of efficiencies that reduce “internal” DOT costs (e.g. materials, labor, equipment) as well as efficiencies that reduce “external” costs (e.g. user costs such as traffic delay, mitigated or reduced detours, and traveler safety, but not necessarily a tangible cost expended by the DOT). This Transportation Research Synthesis (TRS) examines how transportation agencies define, demonstrate, and document efficiencies. The research resulted in a compilation of State DOT survey results, interview summaries for eight featured State DOTs selected by the Minnesota DOT (MnDOT), one international transportation agency example, and several appendices that show detailed examples of cost savings achieved from efficiencies in transportation. This TRS includes the following sections: (1) Approach - Summarizes the process used for gathering information via a survey of State DOTs and through interviews with selected agencies; (2) Summary of Findings - Results from the State DOT survey, summaries of interviews with selected DOTs, and other notable agency practices; and (3) Conclusions - Key observations and conclusions. Appendix A contains the survey issued to State DOTs, Appendix B presents all survey responses received from State DOTs, and Appendices C through M give examples of cost savings from efficiencies from State DOTs.


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01600671
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: May 25 2016 10:26AM