Equipment Acquisition and Management: Challenges and Solutions – Synthesis Report
Over the last several years, members of the No Boundaries Transportation Maintenance Innovations pooled fund study have discussed the impacts of the maintenance equipment cost and supply chain challenges that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, even as many pandemic-related impacts have receded, members report that equipment-related challenges persist.
This No Boundaries synthesis, Equipment Acquisition and Management: Challenges and Solutions looks beyond pandemic-related impacts to examine systemic, sustained challenges related to equipment acquisition and management. Using a national survey of state departments of transportation (DOTs), this synthesis sought to:
- Assess the current state of equipment cost and supply chain challenges
- Identify the impact of these challenges
- Discover innovative solutions that can be adapted by other agencies
- Examine barriers to addressing supply chain issues and potential solutions
- Identify the incremental steps that can improve an agency’s response to these challenges
Survey responses were received from 26 states, including 13 No Boundaries member states. All but one of the 26 state DOTs participating in the survey reported struggling with acquiring or managing equipment. While not a statistical sampling of all state transportation departments, these findings provide useful insight for agencies seeking to mitigate ongoing equipment acquisition and management challenges.
Responses to Staffing Shortages – Synthesis Report
State transportation agencies are struggling to fill maintenance staff vacancies and retain the skilled employees necessary to keep the roads clear and safe. Staffing shortages have generally been an issue for several years—and for some agencies, considerably longer.
No Boundaries Synthesis: Responses to Staffing Shortages documents an effort by No Boundaries to gather data and anecdotal evidence from pooled fund members that describe the current maintenance staffing environment and highlight the practices member agencies are using to attract and retain maintenance staff.
- Surveys of No Boundaries members and their human resources colleagues sought information about the changes and trends in maintenance staffing levels and the ability of state transportation agencies to attract and retain well-trained maintenance staff.
- No Boundaries was also interested in agency responses to new federal commercial driver’s license requirements and information about the recruitment and retention practices agencies use to sustain, expand and diversify the applicant pool and retain workers.
- A limited literature search gathered information to supplement survey results.
In keeping with the No Boundaries mission to identify and share transportation maintenance innovations, this synthesis effort identified innovative practices to mitigate maintenance staffing shortages. “Point of Practice” callouts throughout the report further highlight noteworthy practices and innovative efforts.
State Innovation Programs – Synthesis and Lectern Session
Many state DOT innovations that save time, money and lives are a product of the initiative of front-line workers who see—and then act on—a better way of doing their jobs. No Boundaries led an effort to learn how states identify, reward, and implement such innovative technologies and practices.
A December 2018 report highlights the innovation programs of seven state DOTs: Innovation Programs: Inquiry of No Boundaries Member States
No Boundaries’ representatives and guests discussed this study during the Transportation Research Board annual meeting in January 2019 in Washington, D.C. The lectern session panel explored two state case studies in detail and shared the national perspective on innovation.
Lectern Session 1471: State DOT Innovation Programs: Identifying New Technologies and Practices from the Front Lines
Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at 10:15 a.m.
Complete presentation files are linked in the presentation titles below.
- Session introduction and overview
Pat Casey for Brian Hirt, CTC & Associates (No Boundaries program manager)
- Survey of state innovation programs – a nationwide snapshot
Diana Clonch, DW Clonch (No Boundaries subject matter expert)
- Case Study: Minnesota DOT’s maintenance innovation program
Mindy Heinkel, Minnesota Department of Transportation
- Case Study: Innovation partnerships in Connecticut
Donna Shea, Connecticut Transportation Institute
- Every Day Counts: Innovations at the federal level
Jeffrey Zaharewicz, Federal Highway Administration
TRB Papers on Maintenance
No Boundaries compiles listing of papers related to maintenance from each year’s Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. The paper compendiums below include titles, authors, paper numbers, and links to the full-text documents. Note: TRB requires a login to access full papers. If you are having trouble accessing the papers, check with your DOT or other transportation library.
- 2023 TRB Annual Meeting: Technical Sessions and Papers Related to Maintenance
- 2022 TRB Annual Meeting: Technical Sessions and Papers Related to Maintenance
- 2021 TRB Annual Meeting: Technical Sessions and Papers Related to Maintenance
- 2019 TRB Annual Meeting: Papers Related to Maintenance
- 2018 TRB Annual Meeting: Papers Related to Maintenance
- 2017 TRB Annual Meeting: Papers Related to Maintenance
- 2016 TRB Annual Meeting: Papers Related to Maintenance
No Boundaries Presentations
- AASHTO Maintenance Committee Presentation, PowerPoint, July 2023.
- 4th National SICOP-Maintenance Operations TWG Briefing Presentation, PowerPoint, June 2023.
- 3rd National SICOP-Maintenance Operations TWG Briefing Presentation, PowerPoint, June 2022.
- AASHTO Maintenance Committee Presentation, PDF, July 2018
- No Boundaries Two-Page Brochure, PDF, updated June 2019
Maintenance Management Survey Results
- Maintenance Management Systems, published October 2016