Could state DOTs provide better service for less money?

innovative-dot-second-edition-coverState transportation officials across the country are facing the same challenges: Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking but transportation demands are continuing to grow.

Innovative approaches can help transportation officials overcome both these sets of challenges, and an updated resource from Smart Growth America and the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) outlines how.

The second edition of The Innovative DOT, released today, provides 34 strategies transportation officials can use to position their agencies for success in a new era of constrained budgets. Originally released in 2012 and developed with input from top transportation professionals and agency staff from around the nation, the handbook documents many of the innovative approaches state leaders are using to make systems more efficient, government more effective and constituents better satisfied.

“America’s transportation system is vital for economic growth and to our everyday quality of life,” said Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America. “Faced with tight budgets, transportation agencies are taking new approaches to managing our nation’s transportation infrastructure. The resources in The Innovative DOT encourage smarter investments and a more strategic approach to help deliver the best possible performance given our current fiscal situation.”

In the two years since the handbook’s initial release, state agencies have considered a variety of new funding opportunities, bolstered planning efforts, made better use of existing infrastructure, implemented new design standards and project delivery procedures, and substantially changed the way they do business. The 2014 edition reflects these changes by adding three new strategies for reform, 20 new case studies, and numerous additional updates.

A number of common themes run through the report: Increasing collaboration between state agencies and local partners, breaking down government silos, “right-sizing” transportation projects, investing in multi-modal solutions and streamlining processes are some of the primary ways state DOTs are extracting more value from limited funds.

“Many DOTs are already using innovative reforms and initiatives to provide better travel options and operate more efficiently,” says Chris McCahill of SSTI. “Financial challenges do not have to mean a lesser quality of service. DOTs can get more for their money by evaluating their policy goals and considering a full range of strategies for meeting those goals. This handbook is designed to help them do just that.”

Download the full report at