IN THIS CASE STUDY YOU WILL LEARN:
- About NDOT’s development of a spreadsheet based tool to evaluate where TSMO can be incorporated into projects.
- How the NDOT TSMO Evaluation Tool utilizes the TSMO Strategic goals and objectives as the project scoping evaluation framework.
- How the tool will be used through a web-based format on a SharePoint site in the future.
The NDOT Statewide TSMO Program Plan was developed and formally adopted in 2020. One example of the newly developed business processes included in the plan is the NDOT TSMO Evaluation Tool. The tool was developed to evaluate all DOT projects at the scoping level to identify opportunities for integrating TSMO solutions and address operational challenges. This tool will enable NDOT to integrate TSMO processes during the development/initiation phase of every project, ensuring TSMO and associated strategies are formally considered and evaluated.
TSMO Planning, Strategies, and Deployment
Historically, projects are developed by the Project Development Committee (PDC) and the scoping team based on the discussions with the respective division(s). NDOT recognized the importance of ensuring TSMO and associated solutions are considered at the scoping level. To this end, development of communications tools and processes in collaboration with PDC was one of the biggest focus areas in development of immediate and short-term action items within the TSMO Program Plan’s Programmatic Elements. Following the identification of statewide TSMO strategic goals and objectives, NDOT began developing tools, processes and action items that support the integration of TSMO strategies into day to day business processes of the DOT.
The NDOT TSMO Evaluation Tool utilizes the TSMO Strategic goals and objectives as the project scoping evaluation framework. The tool includes an individual tab and a list of questions for the project to be evaluated against each strategic goal. The evaluation process begins with Level 1 Analysis. The evaluator will review and respond to the questions listed on each tab and will provide comments and recommendations accordingly. Some questions within Level 1 Analysis are designed in a manner that may trigger a requirement of a Level 2 Analysis based on the evaluator’s response. In this case, the tool will automatically enable the Level 2 Analysis and questions within the specific tab. To further streamline the evaluation process, NDOT has also developed predefined recommendations for some questions.
After the Analysis steps are completed, the tool will automatically generate a list of all TSMO comments and recommendations provided by the evaluator for the scoping team to take into consideration when developing the project’s scope. This process will enable the scoping team to integrate TSMO at the very early stages of every project. It will also provide a better understanding of the required level of coordination and collaboration with and the stakeholders that should be involved in the scoping process, allowing NDOT to thoughtfully assign resources to maximize the benefits.
Communications, Planning, and Execution
The tool was developed in collaboration with the NDOT scoping team. It was reviewed by the scoping team’s representative to ensure necessary changes are made for a smooth integration of this new process. The scoping team was also provided with necessary trainings on how to utilize the tool. Following the meetings, it was agreed that the tool’s integration process begins from within the Traffic Operations division. The plan is for Traffic Operations division to evaluate each project, perform the necessary analysis, and provide the scoping team with a list of TSMO recommendations. As the TSMO program advances within the DOT, the tool will be ultimately utilized by not only Traffic Operations division, but also other divisions and representatives that are involved in the project scoping process.
Outcome, Learnings, and Public Benefit
Even though the tool has not yet been formally adopted, the close coordination and collaboration occurred in the development process enabled advancements in TSMO Collaboration and TSMO Culture dimensions within the DOT. This was achieved through recurring meetings and discussions, and trainings. Divisions within NDOT now better recognize the importance and benefits of integrating TSMO at the scoping level. This process will not only help ensure TSMO goals and objectives are formally considered but will ensure every project will have maximum possible contribution towards achievement of TSMO goals and objectives at the Statewide level. Other benefits include divisions’ ability to share resources and maximize collaboration internally and externally.
NDOT is now in the process of transitioning the tool into a web-based format that is more user- friendly and accessible by the evaluators on a SharePoint.