Performance based analysis can support practical design-based project solutions

April 16, 2010

As communities across the country continue to grow, and federal funds to support our aging infrastructure continue to diminish, public agencies look for new ways to maximize investment dollars with minimal compromise. One key approach is the concept of Practical Design, which was pioneered by the Missouri and Pennsylvania DOTs.

According to the Missouri DOT, who is a recognized pioneer on this topic in the US, “Practical Design” challenges traditional standards to develop efficient solutions to solve today’s project needs. The goal of practical design is to build “good” projects, not “great” projects, to ultimately achieve a great system. Innovation and creativity are necessary for us to accomplish Practical Design.

On April 15th, Brian Ray, from Kittelson & Associates, Inc. and Dr. John M. Mason, PhD, from Auburn University, co-presented a workshop that focused on how industry trends in performance based analysis can support practical design-based project solutions for planning and design projects. Brian and John provided a summary of current and emerging tools that can aid professionals in evaluating, screening, and selecting project alternative concepts. The slides from their presentation are below, as well as a link to email them if you are interested in more details about this innovative approach. We also welcome your experience, insight, and questions. We encourage you to post a comment in the section below.

For a .PDF version of this presentation, please click here

About the presenters:

John M. Mason, Jr., Ph.D., P.E.
Auburn University Vice President for Research and Associate Provost

John Mason has been active in the field of transportation since 1972 and has worked in the both public and private sectors of the industry. He has been a professor at Pennsylvania State University for over fifteen years as the associate dean of graduate studies, research and outreach, interim director of the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, and director of the Mid-Atlantic University Transportation Center. John is currently the Vice President for Research and Associate Provost at Auburn University. John's primary areas of research interest are Highway Design, Highway Safety, Traffic Engineering, and Workforce Professional Development. He also routinely provides consulting services for consulting engineering firms, legal firms, and State/Federal agencies in areas falling within his professional interest and expertise. Specifically, he has worked with the geometric design of highways and streets, exclusive truck facilities, highway safety, tort liability (risk management) for state and local agencies.

Brian L. Ray, P.E.
Principal Engineer, Kittelson &Associates, Inc.

Brian offers more than 20 years' experience in multi-modal transportation planning, traffic engineering, and contextual roadway design. He has performed location design and engineering evaluations for a variety of corridor studies and environmental impact review documents across the United States. He specializes in applying a systems approach in developing transportation solutions. Brian routinely conducts training courses on Roadway Geometric Design, Modern Roundabouts, and Context Sensitive Solutions.

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