Optimizing utility owner participation in the project development and delivery process.
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Optimizing utility owner participation in the project development and delivery process.

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      Coordination with utility owners during the project development and delivery process involves multiple activities, such as requesting and collecting data about the location and characteristics of existing facilities to identifying and analyzing utility conflicts, coordinating with utility stakeholders for the resolution of those utility conflicts, preparing and executing utility agreements, coordinating and inspecting utility adjustments, and coordinating reimbursements and audits. Effective communication, cooperation, and coordination among utility stakeholders are critical to keeping transportation projects on schedule. Unfortunately, these elements are frequently lacking during project development and delivery to allow for the adoption of costeffective solution strategies. This report documents the results of research completed to develop strategies to improve the participation and response of utility owners in the project development and delivery process. To achieve this objective, the researchers (1) reviewed strategies that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and other agencies use to engage utility owners, (2) developed a set of strategies designed to optimize utility owner participation, (3) conducted stakeholder meetings and workshops to gauge the potential acceptability of these strategies, and (4) developed recommendations for changes to business processes and procedures. The four sets of strategies are: (1) modernization of the utility process, (2) utility conflict matrix approach, (3) streamlining and standardization of utility cost data submissions, and (4) core skill training on utility topics. The research also included the development of an implementation plan and standalone guidebook and training materials to assist in the implementation of each of these strategies.
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