Course Policies and Syllabus



Dr. C. Michael Walton, P.E., ECJ 6.3, 471-1414, cmwalton@mail.utexas.edu

office hours:  by appointment



Monday/Wednesday, 11:00-12:30 PM



As a component of governmental reform, the delivery of transportation programs and services are undergoing dramatic changes worldwide.  There are new models attempting to separate transportation policy and management from the service delivery functions.  This course will concentrate on the issues of transport policy and the emerging models for delivering programs and services such as outsourcing, privatization, state owned enterprises, and financing of transport systems.


Course objectives:

1)   Introduce students to the evolving concepts of transportation agency organization, management, and delivery of transportation programs, products and services.


2)      Examine the experiences of government reform and the benefits/costs associated with change.


3)   A special focus on direct user fees (i.e., tolls) and use of ITS technologies will be a significant component for the course.



The course will use a case study approach to examine the scale of experiments tried or being tried by state and local transportation agencies in the USA as well as experiences abroad.  Documents and experiences by the World Bank, U.S.DOT, Federal Highway Administration, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and others will provide a basis for the course.


Topic Outline

1.0       Introduction

            1.1   Transportation Agency Organization and Management

            1.2   Role of Government (all levels)

            1.3   Institutional Arrangements

            1.4   Forces of Change:  Governmental Reform

            1.5   Guiding Principles

            1.6   Course:  Objectives, Scope and Process

2.0       Governmental organization, interrelationships and responsibilities and role of the private sector in the delivery, operation and maintenance of highway transportation facilities

            2.1       Division of responsibilities among public jurisdictions and the role of the private sector

            2.2       Levels of government, organizational structure, and respective roles (including interrelationships with other modes and the degree to which policy and implementation are centralize vs decentralized, national vs local)

                        2.2.1    Challenges faced in defining (redefining) respective roles among formal-informal, public-private, public-public

                        2.2.2    Primary mechanism used to transcend local vs national perspective

                        2.2.3    Oversight structure(s) for regional and federal levels (intermodal or by mode)

            2.3       Program delivery at each level

                        2.3.1    Coordination (e.g., public-public, public-private, academic)

                        2.3.2    Shifts in past five years.  Next five years?  What has caused or will cause the shift?

                        2.3.3    Real benefits of competitiveness may not be realized until the competitive culture has time to "shake out" and mature.  In other services the benefits of competitiveness are achieved early.  Identify and explore examples and patterns.

                        2.3.4    Define the basic project delivery mechanism.  Changes in past five years and future trends.

                        2.3.5    Does the basic project delivery mechanism vary between modes?

                        2.3.6    Effectiveness of the various delivery systems

            2.3.7    Examine quality management systems

            2.4       Assignment of responsibility

                        2.4.1    Legislative, administrative or other mandate

                        2.4.2    Changes in past five years.  Trends for the next five years.

                        2.4.3    Variation at different levels of government

                        2.4.4    Allocation of benefits and risks

                        2.4.5    Variation of roles at different project stages and time

                        2.4.6    Variation among modes

                        2.4.7    Competition among public and private for same project

                        2.4.8    Delivery of transportation facilities includes toll facilities and traffic control centers

                        2.4.9    Successful mechanisms

            2.5       Financing by activity, e.g., construction, maintenance, etc. including toll roads

                        2.5.1    Changes in the methods for financing facilities and services.  e.g., past five years and trends for the next five years.

                        2.5.2    Methods used to finance transportation at the different levels of  government

                        2.5.3    Financing methods different for different modes

                        2.5.4    Type of procurement mechanism for engineering services (cost vs qualification based).  Future changes to nurture public/private partnerships.

                        2.5.5    Case studies of related concessions and tollroad trends in the US.

            2.6       Intermodal and multimodal relationships (primary focus on highway program and highway transportation relationships with other modes)

                        2.6.1    Structure and relationship at each level

                        2.6.2    Level at which planning occurs and modal decisions are made and by whom

                        2.6.3    Intermodal policies and issues

                        2.6.4    Changes in intermodal approaches to planning, programming and financing

            2.7       Extent to which traditional responsibilities and activities are outsourced

                        2.7.1    The success of these practices

                        2.7.2    Lessons learned

                        2.7.3    Determination of fees/budgets

                        2.7.4    Audits

                        2.7.5    Calculation of real costs to end users

            2.8       Public input and customer involvement

                        2.8.1    Approaches

                        2.8.2    Lessons learned

                        2.8.3    Involvement of road user associations

                        2.8.4    Consultation processes with road users

                        2.8.5    Role of other transportation related professional associations in setting policy or formulating standards

            2.9       Changes in training and recruitment of transportation professionals

            2.10     Responsibility for basic long-term transportation research—funding and focus


3.0       The use of performance measures and performance target to allocate resources and enhance the delivery of programs and products.

            3.1       Definition

                        3.1.1    How are they used and for how long?

                        3.1.2    To what purpose (e.g., priority setting)?

                        3.1.3    How are they developed?

                        3.1.4    How are they measured and by whom?

                        3.1.5    Are they required and if so by whom (e.g., external authority)?

                        3.1.6    Changes over time

                        3.1.7    Experiences with customer satisfaction or enhanced creditability

                        3.1.8    Experience with data collection, quality, value, etc.

            3.2       Trends in creating new targets

            3.3       Customer satisfaction

                        3.3.1    Public and private services

                        3.3.2    Measurement

                        3.3.3    Experiences with “customer satisfaction” creating a change (organizationally or in the way business is done) in any aspect of work activity

                        3.3.4    Products and services dropped or added based on customer market research

                        3.3.5    The focus on customer outcomes implies more collaboration and interdependence needed among providers.  However, competition can work against that collaboration.  Review experiences.

            3.4       Reporting procedures, frequency, format and distribution of report documents


4.0       Innovative approaches for developing and implementing highway transportation products and services

            4.1       Innovative practices performed

            4.2       Non-traditional methods or procedures to increased productivity and efficiency

            4.3       The concept of a “virtual” transportation organization


5.0       Other related topics


Grading Policy

The course will consist of lectures, class discussion, literature searches and reports, research assignments, oral reports and guest lecturers.  The student will be evaluated according to the following guidelines:


Written assignments            30%

Oral presentations               30%

Class participation               10%

Final exam/term project      30%



Drop Policy

Policies of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, of the Cockrell School of Engineering, and of the Graduate School regarding dropping courses and the final date to drop courses will be followed.


Important Dates

Presentations, reports and other assignments to be determined by the class and instructor.

Last Class Day—

Final Examination/Term Project Presentation—


Course Evaluation

The approved UT course/instructor evaluation form will be used.



The University of Texas at Austin, General Information:  Grades – Letter grades are used to record the instructor’s evaluation of students’ performance in a course.  For graduate courses, the following grades are used:  A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, and F.  To receive credit for a course, an undergraduate student must earn a grade of at least D-.  To include a course in the Program of Work for a graduate degree, a graduate student must earn a grade of at least C. 


The University of Texas at Austin, The Graduate Catalog:  Letter Grades – Courses in which the student earned a grade of at least a C while registered in the Graduate School may be included in the Program of Work.


The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.   For more information, contact the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259 (voice) or 232-2937 (video phone) or http://www.utexas.edu/diversity/ddce/ssd.