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Sharing Work Zone Effective Practices for Design-Build Projects

Chapter 3: Transportation Management Plan Development Tools for Design-Build Projects


State and local transportation agencies are required to have a transportation management plan (TMP) on all Federal-aid transportation projects (23 C.F.R. § 630.1012 2016). A TMP is a set of coordinated transportation management strategies implemented to reduce traffic and mobility impacts, improve safety, and promote coordination within and around work zones. TMPs consist of a temporary traffic control (TTC) plan and address the transportation operations (TO) and public information and outreach (PI&O) components of a project.

How Is a Transportation Management Plan Developed in a Traditional Design-Bid-Build Project?

TMPs on traditional design-bid-build projects are developed by the owner/agency (or agency consultant) in consultation with stakeholders. While some TMP items are included in the owner/agency’s plans, specifications and estimates (PS&E) package for implementation by the contractor, the owner/agency is responsible for the implementation of TMP components excluded from the contract. TMPs on design-bid-build projects:

  • Start with conceptual design during the preliminary engineering phase.
  • Are finalized in the final design phase.
  • Depend on the "significance" of the project—that is, the severity of work zone impacts/higher level of disruption and duration of project construction.

What Would Be Different Using Design-Build?

The key characteristics of design-build projects are as follows:

  • Final design and construction are performed by the contractor/design-builder through a single contract.
  • Project development phases are not sequential. There is an overlap between the design and construction phases.
  • Roles and responsibilities of both the owner/agency and the design-builder are different from those for traditional project delivery methods.
  • Risk is shared between the owner/agency and the design-builder.
  • Design and construction requirements should be clearly articulated in the request for proposals (RFP) before procurement.

On design-build projects, the design-builder develops the TMP based on the partially completed TMP or TMP template provided by the owner/agency. The design-builder may implement the TMP once approved by the owner/agency. Design-build is often more suitable for projects where the schedule needs to be expedited and the owner/agency is clear about the scope of work.

This document builds on a review of existing TMP-related guidance, policies, practices, and procedures compiled in the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Work Zone Management Program as well as State transportation agency Web sites. The following sections present flowcharts, timelines, and examples to help with developing and maintaining TMPs on design-build projects.

Transportation Management Plan Selection Process for Design-Build Projects

This section includes a series of flowcharts to outline the progression of steps, roles, and responsibilities of the owner/agency and design-builder involved in performing the following activities:

  • Development of transportation management plan (TMP).
  • Development of temporary traffic control (TTC) plan.
  • Development of a traffic incident management (TIM) plan.
  • Development of a public information and outreach (PI&O) plan.
  • Design-build project development.

Development of Transportation Management Plan

In a typical design-build project, the design-builder is responsible for preparation of a transportation management plan that defines the strategic plan for traffic management on the project under consideration. The design-builder's TMP should, at a minimum, address major aspects of the work for individual construction areas, phases, and stages, including lane closures, bridge closures, interchange closures, local streets, construction phasing and staging, numbers and type of major traffic shifts, detours, typical section requirements, pull out requirements, and emergency access. The TMP is reviewed and approved by the owner/agency prior to the commencement of the first phase or stage of construction. The design-builder's TMP should also include a checklist identifying specific items for public information data collection and management activities on the project. Depending on the significance of the project, the TMP may include a TTC plan, TO related items, and a PI&O plan. For nonsignificant projects, only TTC plans are used.

The TMP development process involves identification of transportation management strategies to manage the work zone impacts of the project under consideration. These strategies are re-evaluated/revised as needed before the implementation of the TMP. In the TMP development process, the owner/agency is responsible for defining requirements for (1) work zone impacts assessment and allowable impacts during project construction and (2) transportation management strategies. To facilitate the TMP development process, the design-builder has to compile project information, identify project stakeholders, define TMP strategies, develop, finalize, and implement TMP, and monitor work zone safety and mobility impacts during construction. Once the TMP plan is implemented, the owner/agency will be responsible for providing oversight over monitoring work zone safety and mobility impacts during construction. Figure 1 presents the TMP development process for a typical design-build project.

Figure 1. Flowchart. Transportation management plan development process.

Figure 1 is a flowchart that illustrates the Transportation Management Plan development process for a typical design-build project in discrete steps that are sequentially connected by arrows.

Source: Applied Research Associates, Inc.

(Note on acronyms: Temporary Traffic Control (TTC), Transportation Operations (TO), Public Information and Outreach (PI&O).)

Development of a Temporary Traffic Control Plan

A TTC plan is a primary component of a TMP used for the maintenance and control of traffic during work conducted within the highway rights-of-way by a design-builder working within the highway rights-of-way for each project. A TTC plan could be simple or complex depending upon the type, size, complexity and duration of the project, and the anticipated work impacts generated by the project.

In a typical design-build project, a design-builder is responsible for establishing a TTC team to coordinate with affected parties. A TTC team should at a minimum include design-builder’s public information officer, design-builder's traffic control supervisor, owner/agency representatives, city/local agency representatives, and other TMP stakeholders. The design-builder should submit a list of task force members to owner/agency for acceptance within a specific period after notice to proceed (NTP). The TTC team provides important input to the design-builder's PI&O plan. The design-builder will be responsible for scheduling and conducting TTC team meetings. The TTC team would be responsible for review and refinement of the TMP and its implementation, review and refinement of the design-builder's TTC plans, specifications, and details, dissemination of TTC information to task force meeting attendees, and determination of additional membership invitees affected by the TTC, as deemed necessary. It should be noted that some states refer to TTC plans as Traffic Control Plans (TCP) or maintenance of traffic (MOT) plans.

The design-builder has the option to request a variance in TTC for any closure, detour, or other access restrictions. Variance requests are primarily submitted when safety is a concern and/or other project goals (e.g., reduction of project duration) and criteria can be maximized. The owner/agency designee reviews the variance request from the design-builder, and may extend the review time if additional public information surveys are required, or if revisions are requested. The variance may require local agency approval for detours utilizing local streets that fall within the local agency's jurisdiction. The design-builder is responsible for performing all the work necessary to meet the requirements associated with TTC in accordance with the owner/agency requirements and specification. The work will include, at a minimum, facilitating safe and efficient movement of people, goods, and services around the project while minimizing impacts to residents, commuters, and businesses.

Figure 2 presents the TTC plan development process for a typical design-build project. A TTC plan should address traffic control strategies and staging in the work zone in compliance with the requirements of the owner/agency and the requirements of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). While the design-builder is responsible for majority of the activities associated with the TTC plan development and implementation, the owner/agency is the entity that defines requirements for traffic control strategies, and reviews and approves the TTC plan developed by the design-builder.

Figure 2. Flowchart. Development of temporary traffic control plan.

Figure 2 is a flowchart that illustrates the Temporary Traffic Control plan development process for a typical design-build project in discrete steps that are sequentially connected by arrows.

Source: Applied Research Associates, Inc.

Development of a Traffic Incident Management Plan

In a typical design-build project, a design-builder is responsible for the development of a detailed TIM plan in addition to the TMP to manage traffic incidents and operations on the project under consideration. The design-builder's TIM plan should be in conformance with owner/agency requirements and specifications. The TIM plan should, at a minimum, include information on:

  1. Coordination with the PI&O plan.
  2. Incident detection and identification.
  3. Incident response.
  4. Incident site management.
  5. Incident clearance (including but not limited to accidents and disabled vehicles).
  6. Dissemination of traveler information and notification regarding incidents.
  7. Emergency services notification, including local police departments, agency patrol, local fire departments, ambulance services, and other emergency response providers.
  8. Notification of school districts with possible impacts to their school bus routes, student drop-offs and/or pedestrian facilities.
  9. Geographic and other special constraints.
  10. Information on available resources.
  11. TIM operational procedures.

The design-builder's TIM plan will be reviewed and approved by the owner/agency within a specified timeframe after issuance of the NTP. The design-builder cannot begin work that impacts traffic before the owner/agency accepts the TIM plan.

Figure 3 presents the TIM plan development process for a typical design-build project. The process begins with identification of project stakeholders, followed by establishment of the TIM team, development of TIM strategies, and finally, development of the TIM plan. The primary role of the design-builder is to identify project stakeholders and develop needs and enhancements, goals and objectives, preliminary strategies, and a final strategic plan associated with TIM. The owner/agency defines the requirements of TIM strategies and assists the design-builder in establishing a TIM team and identifying TIM team leaders.

Figure 3. Flowchart. Traffic incident management plan.

Figure 3 is a flowchart that illustrates the Traffic Incident Management plan development process for a typical design-build project in discrete steps that are sequentially connected by arrows.

Source: Applied Research Associates, Inc.

Development of a Public Information and Outreach Plan

For the public information and outreach on a typical design-build project, the owner/agency and design-builder are responsible for coordination with the traveling public, businesses, communities, local agencies, emergency responders, utility owners, and other third parties. In most cases, the owner/agency takes the lead on the development of the PI&O plan and functions as the official spokesperson for the project and point of contact for the media. In addition, the owner/agency is also responsible for distributing outreach content, marketing the outreach plan, and maintaining the project Web site and social media content. The owner/agency also performs quality assurance of any information and outreach activities performed by the design-builder.

The design-builder is responsible for supporting the owner/agency's public and media outreach activities. The design-builder provides the necessary materials and information for the owner/agency to use in the PI&O efforts. The design-builder also provides daily content for the project Web site and social media. The design-builder’s responsibilities also include supporting the owner/agency's coordination efforts with the public, stakeholders, partners, and third parties; providing outreach and technical staff, as necessary, for owner-organized public forums; and assisting the owner/agency in responding to media enquiries.

Figure 4 presents the PI&O plan development process for a typical design-build project. While the design-builder is responsible for these activities, the owner/agency is expected to define the requirements of PI&O strategies. The owner/agency will also assist the design-builder in identifying stakeholders, establishing the PI&O team, identifying internal and external resources for the PI&O campaign, obtaining public/stakeholder feedback, and implementing the PI&O plan.

Figure 4. Flowchart. Public information and outreach plan.

Figure 4 is a flowchart that illustrates the Public Information and Outreach plan development process for a typical design-build project in discrete steps that are sequentially connected by arrows.

Source: Applied Research Associates, Inc.

Design-Build Project Development Process and Timelines

Design-build projects facilitate an accelerated project delivery schedule due to the overlap between design and construction activities. This section presents the progression of events leading to the development and implementation of the TMP, work zone performance assessment, maintenance, and operations. The TMP and work zone evaluation process has been outlined for the following phases: concepts planning, preliminary engineering, preliminary design, procurement, final design, construction, performance assessment, and maintenance and operations. The owner/agency is responsible for all activities in the concepts planning, preliminary engineering, and preliminary design phases.

Based on the preliminary design, once the owner/agency has developed the design-build criteria package, a request for qualifications/proposals (RFQ/RFP) is issued and proposals are invited. During this procurement phase, the owner/agency has the option to invite alternative technical concept ATC proposals. The ATC process involves meetings between the owner/agency and the proposer, review and approval of ATC submittals, and incorporation of approved ATCs in the RFP by the owner/agency. Once the owner/agency has awarded the project to a design-builder, the design-builder is responsible for the final design. The owner/agency may choose to review the proposed design from the design-builder. Once the design is finalized, the design-builder is responsible for construction of the project. The construction phase is followed by the performance assessment phase, wherein the owner/agency assesses project performance and revises its work zone impacts/management process as needed. Based on the project experience, the owner/agency can then improve its procedures and guidelines for maintenance and operations.

Figures 5 and 6 present the ATCs and TMP development and work zone evaluation process and timeline for a typical design-build project.

Figure 5. Flowchart. Alternative technical concept.

Figure 5 is a flowchart that illustrates the Alternative Technical Concepts process for a typical design-build process in discrete steps that are sequentially connected by arrows.

Sources: Applied Research Associates, Inc.

Figure 6. Flowchart. Design-build project development.

Figure 6 is a flowchart that illustrates the design-build project development process for a typical design-build project in discrete steps that are sequentially connected by arrows.

Sources: Applied Research Associates, Inc.

(Note on acronyms: Transportation Management Plan (TMP), Request for Proposals (RFP), Maintenance and Operations (M&O).)

Review of Transportation Management Plan Related Clauses in Sample Design-Build Projects

TMP related clauses that were reviewed for sample design-build projects are presented in table 1.

Table 1. Transportation Management Plan Related Clauses in Design-Build Projects.
  • Standards and requirements.
    • The request for proposals (RFP) clauses generally identify various standards that are applicable to the design-builder's design and construction documents. These standards include American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and State standards, technical memoranda, specifications and special provisions pertinent to traffic engineering, traffic control devices (e.g., signs, signals, and pavement markings), work zone requirements, etc.
    • The RFP references typically include supplemental information that is specific to the project.
  • Best value/evaluation criteria—points for transportation management plans (TMP)/maintenance of traffic (MOT) plans.
    • A two-step process is generally followed: a request for qualifications (RFQ) is issued, and shortlisted respondents are invited to submit a proposal in response to an RFP.
    • The selection process typically began with a pass/fail evaluation to determine whether the proposals were responsive to the requirements of the RFP. The evaluation includes both technical and price criteria, and it may include oral presentations and interviews. The evaluation criteria include descriptions of qualitative or quantitative ratings. Technical factors to be used in the proposal evaluation are also listed.
    • Among the States surveyed, the weightage for "maintenance of traffic" in technical evaluation ranges from 8 to 20 percent of the total score.
  • Incentives/disincentives, lane rentals, A + B bidding.
    • The owners specified the time-related clauses, including the incentive/disincentive (I/D) amount, lane rental values, and target completion dates, in the RFP. To specify the time-related clauses in the RFP, not only did the owners complete the work zone impact analyses for the project, but they also specified the strategies for work zone traffic control and construction. The owners appear to be prescriptive in specifying the time related clauses as well as the traffic control strategy, possibly owing to the fact that these projects are significant in terms of work zone impacts.
  • TMP requirements, roles, and responsibilities.
    • Overall, the owners appeared to specify the TMP strategies in the RFP while allowing the design-builders to fill in the details and implement the strategies. For instance, in the "Fast 14" Massachusetts I-93 project, the owner/agency prescribed the use of crossovers as the traffic control strategy but left the details of designing crossovers as well as the plan sheets to the design-builder. Accordingly, the design-builder has the responsibility to perform, furnish, and install necessary devices and coordination to implement the strategies. Performance criteria are typically used only to determine design details.
    • Typical responsibilities of the design-builder include but not limited to:
      • Provide design details, such as revised signal timings, in accordance with the data provided by the owner.
      • Obtain necessary construction access permits for road closures.
      • Coordinate with various stakeholders.
      • Prepare access plans for commercial, construction and emergency vehicles.
      • Provide pedestrian access.
      • Prepare designs for temporary roadways and undertake improvements at intersections, ramps, and roadways.
      • Undertake inspection of the work zone traffic control.
    • The RFP typically requires that the TMP should be prepared in accordance with the applicable standards and references, subject to the owner/agency's approval.
    • The RFP typically requires design-builders to provide plan of proposed location and details for staging areas, work zone access/egress, and enclosure/storing of equipment during both working and nonworking hours.
  • MOT plan, sequencing and staging.
    • The design-build RFPs included the following requirements for the MOT plan:
      • Major stages/phases of work.
      • Construction duration of each major stage/phase.
      • Roadway/ramp closures and restrictions and their duration of each major stage/phase.
      • Detour routes.
      • Construction access plan.
      • Incident management plan.
      • Staffing qualifications.
    • The owners specified the construction approach for these projects that would drive the decisions on TMP strategies.
  • Closure information.
    • The owners typically specify the routes that are allowed or restricted for closure and their closure timings; however, the RFPs solicit innovative ideas in design and construction to reduce closure durations.
    • The RFPs typically require the design-builder to notify pertinent authorities and stakeholders of any planned closure/restrictions in advance.
    • The design-builder is typically required to submit an emergency access plan for each closure type and period.
  • Access during construction.
    • The RFPs typically require that emergency access shall be provided to work sites at all times.
  • Coordination with police, fire, and emergency.
    • The design-builder is responsible for creating a crisis communications plan.
    • A representative from the police/fire/emergency response community is included in coordination and review meetings.
    • Typically, the design-builder is responsible for creating a safety plan and implementing it to ensure work zone safety.
  • Coordination with other projects.
    • The owner/agency will typically list known or anticipated projects within the area, or that may be affected. However, it is up to the design-builder to coordinate with those projects.
  • Special events.
    • One RFP specifically called out various events and noted days of the week and time of day when closures were not allowed. Events ranged from the State fair to university football games.
  • Public information (PI) strategies.
    • The RFPs typically list several media that are used to disseminate information to the public.
    • The RFPs also typically list all the people/groups of people to whom information is required to be distributed.
    • Typically, the design-builder is responsible for managing the public information and keeping everyone up-to-date.
    • Typically, the design-builder is responsible for developing materials for the owner/agency to use for informing the public.
    • Typically, the design-builder is responsible for creating a PI plan.

Survey of States on Design-Build Practices

Representatives from several States were surveyed to identify their work zone related design-build practices and how they allocated risks to the design-builder during the different design-build project development phases. The States surveyed included Ohio, Florida, Colorado, and California. The survey results indicated that, in general, the States:

  • Specify who will develop, review, and approve the TMP and the various TCPs for the project, as well as the review timelines in the RFP.
  • May specify in the RFP the timeframe for TMP needs to be updated and the entity responsible for the updates.
  • Typically have their staff and design-builder’s TMP staff work from the field offices.

The following subsections provide information on the best practices of the States surveyed.


  • Owner/agency specifies in the RFP the review timeframes TMP and the various TCPs for the project.
  • Owner/agency requires design-builder team's worksite traffic supervisor (WTS) to inspect, evaluate, propose necessary modifications to, and document the effectiveness of, the traffic control devices and/or traffic operations on a daily basis.
  • Design-builder team's WTS conducts a weekly night inspection of the work zone setup for daytime work operations, and one daytime inspection per week for nighttime projects. Design-builder team’s WTS is involved with documentation of several project events, including:
    • Initial traffic control setup (day and night review).
    • Daily traffic control setup and removal.
    • When construction staging causes a change in the traffic control setup.
    • Crash occurrences within the construction area.
    • Removal of traffic control devices at the end of a phase or project.
    • All other emergency traffic control needs.
  • Design-builder team's WTS is also responsible for:
    • Reviewing/inspecting work zones daily to ensure compliance with owner/agency's specifications and drawings.
    • Monitoring crash occurrences in the work zone.
  • Owner/agency uses incident management plan (for weather, special events, incidents) for larger design-build projects in metropolitan areas.
  • Owner/agency considers allowance of closures and closure durations in the design-build project development process.
  • Owner/agency offers training to the design-builder on work zone MOT. It is geared toward designing and producing proper MOT plans and does touch on Ohio Department of Transportation MOT policies and procedures.
  • On the technical proposal scoring, agency allots 5 to 20 percent weightage to the MOT element.
  • Agency's work zone speed policy allows design-builders to reduce the speed limit when certain conditions and factors are met.
  • Owner/agency has partnership with Office of Safety, Department of Public Safety to provide selected interstate work zones with additional speed limit enforcement dollars.
  • Owner/agency maintains monthly metrics for reviewing work zone mobility and work zone crashes.
  • Owner/agency uses law enforcement officers to provide assistance during setup and tear-down of work zones.
  • Owner/agency is involved in all MOT-related decisions.
  • Owner/agency controls public information and outreach with support from the design-builder.
  • Owner/agency’s TMP managers are responsible for reviewing the various stages of TMP designs.
  • Owner/agency evaluates traffic impacts through reporting to a Project Impact Advisory Council (PIAC).
  • Owner/agency reevaluates TMP and overall traffic management of a design-build project in the event of considerable impacts to traffic or backups.
  • Owner/agency specifies requirements for PI&O and leads PI&O effort.


  • Agency’s RFP specifies when the TMP needs to be updated and the entity responsible for the updates.
  • On RFPs of some projects, owner/agency may specify the use of traffic management centers (TMC) or portable cameras to monitor incidents in the work zones.
  • Owner/agency staffs are assigned to develop, implement, and monitor the TMP.
  • Owner/agency has multidisciplinary team review the effectiveness of TMPs in the field.
  • Owner/agency has different review procedures for each TMP component (TTC, TO, and PI&O) versus the full TMP.
  • Owner/agency does not consider MOT as a separate item in its proposal scoring matrix.
  • Owner/agency has specifications that define design-builder’s responsibility for events within and outside of the work zones.
  • Owner/agency has benefit-cost guidelines for work zone impacts mitigation strategies.
  • Owner/agency considers work zone impacts earlier in the design-build project development process.
  • Owner/agency’s work zone impacts assessment extend beyond the project to network level.
  • Owner/agency, along with the design-builder, conducts a post-construction work zone performance assessment on every design-build project.
  • While the design-builder constructs and maintains the work zones, the owner/agency operates the work zones.


  • Owner/agency requires the design-builder to have regular MOT task force meetings and prepare a TMP that includes a detailed approach to the development of TCPs and methods of handling traffic on the project.
  • Agency's design-build staff reviews, accepts, and monitors the TMP.
  • Allows flexibility with some of the allowed lane restrictions through MOT variance process.
  • One of owner/agency's best practices is to adhere to the State and Federal guidelines and policies along with regular monitoring and inspection of work zones.
  • Owner/agency has established goals and measures (e.g., queues, delay time) for work zone performance.
  • Owner/agency considers work zone impacts in the preliminary design phase.


  • Owner/agency includes provisions in the RFP for the design-builder to collect and/or analyze safety data (e.g., accident reporting) to monitor and manage work zone impacts.
  • Owner/agency has included in the RFP of some projects the types of impacts assessment the design-builder is required to perform to assess the likely impacts to traffic and facilities from the construction. In many cases, however, the owner/agency has already performed an initial impacts assessment and included closure windows to reflect that assessment.
  • Owner/agency uses standard plans for traffic control/management to ensure motorist and worker safety during work zone operations.
  • Owner/agency has a TMP related clause/note about reporting work zone incidents in its RFP.
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