By SSTI and SGA staff
Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking. Yet state Departments of Transportation have ambitious goals: improve safety; reduce congestion; enhance economic opportunity; improve reliability; preserve system assets; accelerate project delivery; and create healthier, more livable neighborhoods—just to name a few.
These goals would be challenging even if money were no object, but dwindling conventional federal and state transportation funding makes them even harder to achieve. So DOTs must go beyond the conventional.
SSTI has partnered with Smart Growth America to develop The Innovative DOT: A Handbook of Policy and Practice as a resource for state transportation officials and other stakeholders. The handbook provides 31 recommendations for transportation officials who are positioning their agencies for success in the new economy.
The handbook documents many innovative approaches state leaders are using to make systems more efficient, government more effective, and constituents better satisfied. Despite budgetary challenges, innovative DOTs are improving existing services in the short term and planning effectively for the long term. They are adopting innovative yet pragmatic reforms. They are reevaluating and retooling traditional practices to ensure that those practices continue to provide users with a robust, economically beneficial transportation network.
These leaders and agencies are better meeting the needs of their residents, galvanizing political support for their work, and supporting the future prosperity of their state. Their success, documented in The Innovative DOT, offers a model for others to follow.
The handbook is intended to be a living document, with updates and revisions to reflect new policy concerns and best practices. Readers are invited to contact Eric Sundquist with comments and suggestions.