The Innovative DOT

Third Edition, January 2015
State officials across the country are facing the same challenges. Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking. Yet state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have ambitious goals: improve safety, address congestion, enhance economic opportunity, improve reliability, preserve system assets, accelerate project delivery, and help to 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 these goals even harder to achieve.

In response to these challenges, DOTs across the country are changing the way they do business. Recognizing that America’s transportation network is crucial to economic growth, agencies are taking new approaches to transportation that fit the unique demands of their states and that provide greater benefits at less cost. They 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 successes offer models for others to follow.

A handbook of policy and practice
Smart Growth America has partnered with the State Smart Transportation Initiative to develop The Innovative DOT, a resource for state transportation officials. This handbook provides 34 recommendations transportation officials can use as they position their agencies for success in the new economy. Developed with input from top transportation professionals and officials at state agencies 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.

About the 2015 edition
Smart Growth America and the State Smart Transportation Initiative continue to work with state departments of transportation and track innovative strategies for meeting 21st century transportation needs. In the three 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 drastically changed the way they do business. The 2015 edition reflects these changes by adding 10 new case studies and numerous updates.

Download the handbook

The Innovative DOT: A handbook of policy and practice
Download the full third edition including Introduction, User’s Guide, and all 34 tools.

Click here to download the full handbook.

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Download the eight Focus Areas

Focus Area 1: Revenue Sources
Tools included in this area: Identify Mechanisms for Funding Non-Roadway Transportation; Implement Value Capture; Establish a Next-Generation User Fee.

Focus Area 1: Revenue Sources

Focus Area 2: Revenue Allocation and Project Selection
Tools included in this area: Establish Revenue and Funding Flexibility: Mode Neutral Evaluation and Funding Distribution; Incorporate Asset Management; Develop a Performance- and Outcome-Focused; Project Selection Process; Remove Barriers to Off-System Investment; Update Funding Formulas and Implement Competitive Fund Distribution for Smart Transportation.

Focus Area 2: Revenue Allocation and Project Selection

Focus Area 3: Pricing
Tools included in this area: Use Variable Tolling to Manage Demand; Implement Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance.

Focus Area 3: Pricing

Focus Area 4: Increasing Transportation System Efficiency
Tools included in this area: Reform Level of Service; Use Practical Design and Context Sensitive Solutions; Improve Street Connectivity; Modernize Access Management Standards; Use Transportation Demand Management; Invest in System Management.

Focus Area 4: Increasing Transportation System Efficiency

Focus Area 5: Improving Options for Mobility and Access
Tools included in this area: Make Urban and Metropolitan Transit a Key Partner; Support Statewide Transit for Job Access and Economic Growth; Enact Policies That Support Complete Streets; Provide Leadership in Promoting Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel; Update Design Policies and Standards.

Focus Area 5: Improving Options for Mobility and Access

Focus Area 6: Providing Efficient, Safe Freight Access
Tools included in this area: Support Freight Rail Service; Support Intermodal Freight Connections; Foster Win-Win Outcomes for Freight and Passenger Rail; Encourage Innovative Freight Delivery.

Focus Area 6: Providing Efficient, Safe Freight Access

Focus Area 7: Integrating Transportation and Land Use Decision-Making
Tools included in this area: Pursue Policies that Integrate Transportation and Land Use Decision-Making; Conduct Scenario Planning; Improve Public Facility Siting; Coordinate Infrastructure Investments Across Agencies; Promote Transit-Oriented Development; Incorporate Climate Change Resilience into Long-Range Planning.

Focus Area 7: Integrating Transportation and Land Use Decision-Making

Focus Area 8: Improving DOT Processes
Tools included in this area: Set and Achieve Comprehensive Goals for Transportation Investments; Streamline Project Development and Delivery Processes; Improve Agency Organization and Initiate Cultural Change.

Focus Area 8: Improving DOT Processes