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Rerouting the Future: Foundational Progress at TRB 2020

As transportation agencies around the country prepare to build foundations for the future, the challenges of tomorrow require us to challenge what’s accepted today.

Transportation Research Board (TRB) is embarking on its centennial and preparing to hold its 99th annual meeting themed A Century of Progress: Foundation for the Future. At Jacobs, we challenge what’s accepted and expected in order to shape the future so that it’s better for all.

As part of building foundations for the future, transportation agencies around the world are continually challenged to achieve opposing strategic objectives and performance outcomes as they invest limited resources. They're faced with many demands  – balancing benefits that serve all users with equity and optimizing investments, while minimizing risk.

“Clients approach us often to help them develop performance-based solutions for their complex problems. Typically, the solutions must satisfy multiple, competing objectives, while being influenced by several challenging external factors and must address the concerns of many stakeholders,” explains Jacobs’ Global Technology Leader for Performance Management and Policy Mara Campbell.

In these situations, Jacobs applies structured decision methods aided by our proprietary Multi-Objective Decision Analysis (MODA) tool to develop solutions in a logical, progression based on the foundations of decision analysis with best practice applications.

Applying our process and MODA tool provides benefits, including:

  • Clarity and insight for decision makers about the best path forward.
  • Stakeholder and decision maker input at appropriate times to build consensus.
  • Cost savings by focusing analysis and data on the problem at hand and incorporating project “right sizing”.
  • A refined resource allocation and prioritization process for enhanced decision making.

Mara works with state departments of transportation in the U.S. and agencies around the world to build solid foundations for the future. One example is how she worked with the Nevada DOT (NDOT) to support the creation of the One Nevada Transportation Plan (ONTP) which equips NDOT and its partners with the strategic direction and actions to meet Nevada’s current and future transportation needs.

The ONTP is built on a foundation of six critical goal areas that encompass issues and opportunities and reflect the priorities of Nevada’s public and transportation partners. Strategies for achieving each goal is part of ONTP. 

“Our proprietary MODA tool enables NDOT the ability to move forward with project prioritization and investment tradeoffs at the Long-Range; Mid-Range and STIP planning levels,” notes Mara. Focusing on four key steps – project screening, investment allocations and performance tradeoffs, project prioritization and funding prioritization, Mara and her team created a comprehensive data-driven, outcome-based, transparent process to identify and prioritize NDOT’s future projects. Mara has also helped other DOTs such as Maryland, Oregon, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Hawaii and Missouri.

According to NDOT Assistant Chief, Multi-Modal and Program Development Kevin Verre, “Jacobs was strategic in determining NDOT’s needs for our long-range transportation plan. The team established critical benchmarks within the process to ensure progressive success in the development of a multi-tiered cultural shift in long range planning that touched all facets of our department.”

Sharing Knowledge at TRB
Along with Mara, several Jacobs leaders will be speaking on a variety of topics that impact transportation at TRB in Washington D.C. from January 12-16, 2020. Jacobs’ employees sharing insights through presentations, posters and more, include:

  • Workshop: Are You All Really Paddling in the Same Direction: Creating Effective Alignment and Performance Management  – Mara Campbell.
  • Workshop: Commuter Rail 101 - A Primer for Startups – David Nelson.
  • Workshop: Use of Safety Performance in Day-to-Day Transportation Decision Making – Kim Kolody Silverman and John Nitzel.
  • Environmental Analysis in Transportation Committee - Potential Economic Effects of Highway Expansion in Iowa: 2-Lane to 4-Lane Case Study – Dan Smith and Fatuma Yusuf.
  • Poster: Managed Lane and Congestion Pricing Showcase (Part 2) – Srikanth Panguluri.
  • Lectern: Innovations in Rail Transit System Structures – Ebadollah Honavar.
  • Poster: Agility in Transportation Agencies Through Effective Performance Management – Mara Campbell.
  • Poster: Census Transportation Planning Products 2012–2016 - New Data Analyses and Uses - Analyzing Toll Road Impact on Demographics, Equity and Accessibility: A Case Study using 2012-2016 CTPP Data – Yong Zhao.
  • Lectern: Let’s Connect the Dots - Linking Management Practices to Respond to Complex New Challenges – Craig Omundsen.
  • Poster: Case Studies in Performance-Based Analysis of Geometric Design - Supporting North Dakota's Vision Zero Plan with a Data-Driven Programmatic Assessment Tool – Tariq Shihadah.
  • Lectern: Transformative Developments in Commuter Rail Planning – Thomas Hickey.
  • Poster: Highway Safety Performance Research - Highway Safety Manual Calibration: Variance of the Calibration Factor and the Sample Size – Mahdi Rajabi.
  • Lectern: Digital Asset or Digital Liability – Brian Burkhard.
  • Lectern: Measuring Performance Across Transportation Modes – Similarities, Differences and Synergies – Mara Campbell.
  • Lectern: International Approaches to Aviation Environmental Regulation – Hazel Peace.
  • Lectern: Fifty Years of the National Environmental Policy Act: Is the Clock Ticking? – Buddy Desai.
  • Poster: Freeway and Interchange Safety Performance Analysis Case Studies from Indiana and Arizona – John Nitzel.
  • Poster: Operational Effects Medley – Mohammad Amin.
  • Workshop: Impacts Connected and Automated Vehicles Could Have on Geometrics – Rich Coakley.
  • Lectern: FHWA and Environmental Justice in Transportation – Charlie Webb.
  • Lectern: Promoting Your Research: Success Stories from Academia, State DOTs, and Journals Mara Campbell.
  • Award: D. Grant Mickle Award (Operations and Preservation) for Operating Performance of Diverging Diamond Interchanges Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Volume 2673, Issue 12 – Sung Jun Park.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Jacobs is helping transportation agencies around the world prepare for the future, visit our booth at TRB 2020 or

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