Complex transportation project management: An in-depth look at process integration, alternative financing, and sustainability

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Bahrevar, Elika
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Jennifer S. Shane
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Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

The United States depends on surface transportation for personal mobility, commerce, and shipping. Therefore, an efficient surface transportation system enhances a nation's livability and economic competitiveness. In recent years, projects have become more complex and uncertain due to increases in the number of effective project elements and interactions that can influence the project. Therefore, traditional project management that track and controls time, cost, and technical issues through the project development process cannot manage the higher risk and uncertainty associated with complex projects. Shane et al. developed five dimensions of project management for complex projects through a case study research on national and international complex projects. The research group found that finance and context are two extra dimensions that highly affect project's complexity.

The present transportation financing methods consist of a complex set of federal, state, and local revenue sources which cannot answer the present and future growing need. Therefore, introducing alternative new and innovative financing methods is important to assist states in practicing them to fulfill their growing transportation infrastructure need. In addition, with consideration to tight resources and limitations that financing issues can put on the project (e.g. long delays), project management and finance management become more vital through complex projects.

Context as a fifth complexity dimension covers a broad pool of subjects (e.g., environmental, political, social aspects). Sustainable approach, defined as an approach to satisfy current need without compromising future generations' ability to fulfil their need, is one of the nation's priorities. This priority was addressed with leadership in energy and environment design sustainability rating system for buildings in 1997, and has continued with several sustainability rating systems developed for highway infrastructures through the last decade.

This research studies complex project management strategies implementation through U.S. states' department of transportation project development process, in addition to studying two extra project complexity dimensions of finance and context (sustainability) in more detail.

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Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013