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Tips for Getting Started

By now readers will understand that this guidebook advocates a rigorous CSS measurement framework that focuses on the processes and outcomes of CSS implementation, at both the project- and organizational-levels. Full realization of such a framework is likely to occur over time. At the outset of their efforts, transportation agencies just beginning to implement CSS may prefer to emphasize project-level measures that are directed to a handful of "pilot" projects. These measures can then be expanded to cover additional projects as implementation efforts grow. Likewise, measures that address processes may hold favor early on during implementation, before measurable outcomes are achieved. By now readers will understand that this guidebook advocates a rigorous CSS measurement framework that focuses on the processes and outcomes of CSS implementation, at both the project- and organizational-levels. Full realization of such a framework is likely to occur over time. At the outset of their efforts, transportation agencies just beginning to implement CSS may prefer to emphasize project-level measures that are directed to a handful of "pilot" projects. These measures can then be expanded to cover additional projects as implementation efforts grow. Likewise, measures that address processes may hold favor early on during implementation, before measurable outcomes are achieved.

Following are a series of suggestions for helping agencies to begin their CSS performance initiative:
- Create a Champion for CSS Measurement. Ideally an agency will have a champion for CSS measurement who can guide development, implementation, and reporting of measures, and who is familiar with the principles. This person may also have lead responsibility for overall implementation of CSS, agency-wide. Utah DOT for example has a "CSS Director" position. Other states rely on more decentralized approaches, and it is possible that each district office could have a champion.
- Start Small. Measuring CSS is challenging. Starting with too many measures on too many projects may doom a measurement program to failure as staff become overloaded and frustrated. States should avoid allowing the CSS performance measures to take over the CSS implementation efforts. Starting with a few measures, or a pilot set of projects can help to make measurement more manageable.
- Incorporate Feedback from External Sources. A central tenet of CSS is that a highway, by the way it is integrated within the community, can have far reaching impact beyond its transportation function. Make sure that measures incorporate feedback from those most directly affected by projects, whether they are citizens, or other stakeholders such as local officials or advocacy groups.
- Focus on Planning and Preliminary Design. While all areas of DOTs' project development, operations, and maintenance activities should be measured, planning and preliminary design deserve special scrutiny because they are the points in project development at which project direction can be altered to ensure consistency with principles. In particular, Problems, Opportunities and Needs identification, and "scoping" are critical steps within the planning and design phases of project development. (All stages of project development and ongoing operations and maintenance are important in CSS principles, and measures should not completely ignore these issues at the expense of a focus on planning and design.)
- Measures for Small Projects are as Important as Those for Large Projects. Smaller projects such as routine repaving, bus shelters, or safety improvements, should be included in measurement efforts along with higher profile, larger projects. Different projects will likely require different measures.
- Build Measures into Project Development Process and Strategic Planning. Measures of CSS should be part of overall project development processes, both as a way to help institutionalize CSS and to help improve data gathering; for example, by including stakeholder surveys as part of public involvement activities, or by setting measurable project goals.

External Links:

More Information: www.trb.org/publications/nchrp/nchrp_w69.pdf



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