First Advisor

Tugrul Daim

Date of Publication

Spring 6-6-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Technology Management


Engineering and Technology Management




Project managers -- Decision making, State transportation agencies -- United States, Project management -- Methodology, Performance -- Evaluation, Project management -- Evaluation



Physical Description

1 online resource (xix, 267 pages)


Time delays and cost overruns in construction projects are generally due to factors such as inappropriate planning, design errors, unexpected site conditions, inadvisable tools selection, change scope, weather conditions, lack of resources, and other project changes. Time delays and cost overruns are of concern to most project managers, owners, and governments. These elements of time and cost are two of the critical defects that impact the construction project delivery. These defects can lead to project failures and to various negative issues like increasing in disagreements among the project team, the contractor, suppliers, and the owner.

State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) in the U.S. continue to spend heavily on roads, highways, and bridges construction, as well as development, maintenance, and expansion. This continued financial commitment reflects decades of commitment to improve the transportation service for safer and better use by the general public. Despite the notable efforts from most of the states to develop the transportation infrastructure, budget restrictions and lack of funds are some of the major challenges faced by DOTs.

Highway and bridge infrastructure has a high potential growth in the U.S. construction market. Well-organized highway and bridge project investment decision-making becomes increasingly crucial in the transportation sector. In this research, transportation is specified to highway and bridge projects, and it focused on high-profile projects. These projects are defined as high-cost projects, and are associated with higher project delivery risk (typically $100 - $500 million).

All states are working with their state transportation plan, listing the projects based on each state priorities and population growth. Proper planning leads to the right decision regarding selecting the best alternative within budget, and it must reflect certain core principles, including a comprehensive analysis. To facilitate such a decision process, decision makers need a trusted decision model that considers all important options and impacts. By using a decision model, decision-making will not be subjectively influenced to favor one option or group. The decision model becomes the primary tool for selecting the best option, based on its structure levels, perspectives, sub-criteria, and experts’ input. Recently, there is an apparent need for a decision model to help DOTs evaluating their options. Effective project delivery assessment tools, techniques, or practices are strongly needed to improve transportation construction projects’ performance.

The research objective is to develop a comprehensive decision model that can be used by project managers and their teams to choose the most effective project assessment technique for measuring the success of performance and outcomes related to the delivery of transportation projects. This research was focused on the assessment techniques that are used in the development phase within the transportation project lifecycle phases.

To this end, the research identified and screened the innovative assessment tools and techniques of project delivery that the transportation and other industries have used by reviewing numerous academic literature and technical reports. Based on the review, value optimization elements such as cost, time, performance, risk, and resources were selected to be the primary evaluation criteria that lead to achieving the model objective. Also, the model sub-criteria were investigated and selected based on the literature review and direct discussion with some experts such as project managers, civil engineers, and value management consultants.

The outcome analysis of the results showed that in terms of objectives that performance efficiency was rated the highest importance with respect to the mission, while resources presented the lowest importance from an overall assessment point of view. The results showed that Alternative 4, the VE-RACRDAM technique, was ranked as the most important alternative among others followed by Alternative 5, while Alternative 2 was ranked the least important. A five scenarios analysis was applied to measure the sensitivity of the effects of changing the relative importance of the assessment criteria on alternatives’ rankings. Results showed that Alternative 4 was maintained as the most effective assessment technique among the other alternatives in the five scenarios.

In the end, experts were asked to validate the final research results, and they confirmed that the results were appropriate and valid. The validity of the decision model and findings of this research contribute new insights into the transportation construction industry as the case of state departments of transportation. Also, the experts agreed that this decision model is generalizable and could be used in other industries. Therefore, the model significantly contributes to the project management knowledge, and construction project development and delivery success.


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