CONTACT: Eric Young, SFCTA; 415-306-4509, firstname.lastname@example.org
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority has released its “Transportation Capital Projects Delivery Study,” commissioned by Chair Rafael Mandelman and prior Vice-Chair Aaron Peskin to examine ways to improve delivery of large scale, complex transportation projects in San Francisco.
The study is based on information gathered from previous studies, workshops, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews with senior management and experts, and city department surveys.
Key findings include the need to:
- Streamline the city department decision making processes by focusing on timely decision-making and improved communication across departments. This includes establishing clear roles and responsibilities across departments to actualize a “One City” project delivery objective.
- Develop consistent project management procedures, standards and practices across departments. This pairs with empowering project managers and giving them the resources to perform their work effectively, while holding them accountable for project delivery.
- Provide additional training for project managers and expand access to state-of-the-art project management tools and software to improve tracking of project scope, schedule, and budget.
- Accelerate hiring of needed project staff and streamline procurement of consultants.
- Improve collaborative risk identification and management processes.
Throughout the study, Transportation Authority staff worked with a group of senior and executive management from city departments who continue to meet to identify reforms and resources needed to advance the study’s recommendations.
The study’s recommendations focus on continued process refinement to improve transportation project delivery. Specific recommendations include:
- Establish a Capital Project Management Office: Create a CPMO led by a Director of Transportation Project Delivery reporting to the City Administrator's Office, and supported by department leadership, with assistance from independent subject matter experts. The office would be a venue for decision-making and a resource for mega projects, providing project management guidelines and reviews for quality and consistency at major project development milestones such as Planning, Environmental clearance, 35%, 65%, 100% design, Right of Way Certification, and tracking of key milestones through Construction.
- Strengthen the Construction Cost Estimating processes: Invest in construction cost estimating expertise to perform detailed constructability reviews and detailed cost estimates beginning early in the design and pre-construction phase.
- Invest in enhanced Right of Way Certification and Utility Investigation Programs: Increase utility identification services (potholing, radar detection and other industry best practices) to inform project designs and risk registers.
- Expand Collaborative Interdepartmental Risk Review and Management: Support additional investment in cross department risk analysis during the planning, programming, design and construction phases. Expand staff knowledge of risk planning and mitigation across all engineering and project delivery disciplines.
- Facilitate Structured Collaborative Partnering: Encourage interdepartmental team building using structured partnering throughout the life of the project.
“As we implement our Prop L transportation sales tax program and seek to leverage historic levels of federal and state infrastructure funding, it is mission-critical that we improve our city’s project delivery capability,” said Transportation Authority Chair Rafael Mandelman, who also serves as Vice Chair of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority. The TJPA is delivering The Portal, a $6.9 billion underground rail extension of Caltrain and California High Speed Rail tracks to the underground station at Salesforce Transit Center, in downtown San Francisco.
At the request of the Transportation Authority, through its Peer Review of the Downtown Rail Extension project in 2019, the TJPA has utilized a six-agency integrated project management team to help deliver that mega-project, to bolster capacity, improve coordination and manage risk. Thus far, the multi-agency partnership has yielded good results, with the project team on track to seek major federal grants in summer 2023.
Board of Supervisors President and Transportation Authority member Aaron Peskin, said: “This study shows that with focused attention, resources and accountability, paired with process innovation and collaboration among city departments, we can achieve more effective project delivery of city and regional transportation projects that San Francisco needs and deserves.”
Transportation Authority staff presented the study to the Transportation Authority Board during its meeting on July 25, 2023.
In collaboration with the Transportation Authority and Chair Mandelman, the Mayor has directed the City Administrator’s Office to convene capital construction departments, including the Airport, Municipal Transportation Agency, Port, Public Utilities Commission, Public Works, and Recreation and Park to build upon these and other issues with the city’s capital project delivery process, looking at all types of construction projects, and recommend actionable next steps for implementation to the Mayor.
The study webpage can be found at sfcta.org/project-delivery.
About the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (sfcta.org)
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority’s mission is to make travel safer, healthier, and easier for all. We plan, fund, and deliver local and regional projects to improve travel choices for residents, commuters, and visitors throughout the city. The Transportation Authority Board consists of the 11 members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who act as Transportation Authority Board Members. Board Member Rafael Mandelman is Chair of the Board. Tilly Chang is the Transportation Authority’s Executive Director.