Restructuring of the District of Columbia Department of Public Works' Division of Transportation

GAO-01-347R: Published: Mar 16, 2001. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 2001.

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To handle staffing shortages and rising workloads, states and other engineering and construction organizations have been relying more on contractors do work that was previously done in-house. This trend is reflected in two state highway departments that GAO visited. Both Arizona and South Carolina were relying extensively on consulting engineers to handle large parts of their workloads. Two recent studies also identified ways in which organizations acquiring design and construction services have dealt with staffing shortages and increased workloads. These include team building, partnering, and involving all stakeholders in the early stages of a project's development and in design review activities throughout the project. The acting Director of the District of Columbia's Department of Public Works, Division of Transportation (DDOT) has started to reorganize the Department to improve performance. Specifically, he plans to increase the use of contractors to supplement DDOT's staff and has established cooperative relationships with other governmental agencies by adopting strategies and best practices that others have found to be effective. The Director also plans to reorganize staff into four project teams that will have all the disciplines necessary to be responsible and accountable for assigned projects from beginning to end. Because the reorganization is just beginning, it is too early to tell whether it will be successful. However, both Arizona and South Carolina have used these approaches to improve their situations.

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