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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
Date:
January/February 2017
Issue No:
Vol. 80 No. 4
Publication Number:
FHWA-HRT-17-002
Table of Contents

Innovation Corner

Q&A: The New Office of Innovative Program Delivery

by Tony Furst

In 2016, the Federal Highway Administration began retooling the Office of Innovative Program Delivery (OIPD) to expand the agency’s ability to advance innovation in the transportation community. This expansion involved the restructuring of four individual centers focusing on innovative finance, acceleration of innovation, local-aid support, and transportation workforce development. Following this overview of the new OIPD and its four centers, future issues of this column in Public Roads will focus in turn on each of the individual centers.

What’s new about the Office of Innovative Program Delivery? FHWA is committed to facilitating a thriving culture of innovation across the transportation community by expanding the integration of new technologies and practices. The change in OIPD demonstrates that commitment. Originally focused on innovative finance, OIPD now advances innovation across a broader range of crosscutting functions. Combining these functions in one office improves the focus and increases the visibility of FHWA’s efforts to provide leadership on innovation and thus influence change.

"FHWA is committed to facilitating a thriving culture of innovation across the transportation community."

How has the focus on innovative finance changed? The Center for Innovative Finance Support retains OIPD’s original mission, with its focus on the Federal-Aid Highway Program. Using tools such as Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEEs), State Infrastructure Banks, and tolling and public-private partnerships, this center provides the expertise to deliver complex and costly infrastructure projects. The center also acts as FHWA’s liaison with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Build America Bureau, which streamlines the use of Federal credit assistance across USDOT and coordinates technical assistance for projects receiving bureau support.

Has the Center for Accelerating Innovation changed? The Center for Accelerating Innovation will continue to lead its highly successful partnership with the States to deploy innovative technologies and practices rapidly into transportation operations through the Every Day Counts initiative. This center will remain FHWA’s focal point for advancing new technologies and practices. It will work across FHWA, through its advanced market readiness program and with the recently completed nationwide network of State Transportation Innovation Councils. In short, the Center for Accelerating Innovation will identify, develop, and implement innovations to improve the transportation system.

 

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Visit the OIPD Web site to learn about the innovative programs and services offered by the four centers and how to access them.

 

How does the Center for Local-Aid Support fit into the picture? Agencies at all levels of government are striving to meet customer demands for a safe, reliable transportation system in an era of constrained budgets. The Center for Local-Aid Support works with the local, tribal, and Federal land management agencies to understand their needs and then provide training and assistance on innovative technologies and practices through the national network of Local and Tribal Technical Assistance Program centers and the Coordinated Technology Implementation Program (CTIP, the Federal lands component).

What does the Center for Transportation Workforce Development do? This center will invigorate new and established stakeholder relationships to collaboratively encourage and promote a workforce that can meet the Nation’s transportation needs. From elementary school to advanced schooling, this center will propose, explore, and act on approaches to meet the education and training needs of professionals and practitioners in the highway construction and operation industries. Working with the transportation community, the center will identify needed skills and develop innovative solutions to close gaps and ensure a qualified workforce.

By bringing together four centers that advance innovation, FHWA has created a convenient, central source for State transportation departments and local and tribal agencies seeking information and assistance on implementing the latest highway construction technologies and processes. To learn more, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovativeprograms.

 

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Tony Furst is FHWA’s chief innovation officer and head of the Office of Innovative Program Delivery.