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Design-Build Push Button Contract Significantly Reduces the Time It Takes to Implement Safety Improvements – Florida

Original publication: N/A

Publication Year: 2013

Describe the roadway safety situation or state before the new practice was implemented. What was the safety issue, problem, or gap?

In the past, Florida DOT (FDOT) has used its traditional Work Program Process to deliver safety improvements using FHWA safety funds; this brought concepts to construction within a 3 to 5 year time frame.

flowchart that shows how the Design-Build Push Button Project was selected as a candidate project

FDOT District 7 (D7; offices located in Tampa) decided that some ‘simple or low cost’ safety concepts did not need to go through the full work program process and could be expedited. In an attempt to reduce the time frame from concept to construction and to simplify the process for safety improvements, Florida DOT District 7 worked with the FHWA Florida Division and developed a push button framework using Federal safety funds. Ultimately, the push button framework allowed the District to reduce the time it takes to deliver simple or low cost safety improvement from 3-5 years to 3-9 months.

By expediting the delivery of safety improvements, FDOT is also able to reduce the number of crashes that could have occurred while the concept is being developed, helping FDOT to achieve the FHWA Every Day Counts (EDC) goal. Furthermore, by achieving a crash reduction within a few months, as opposed to years, the project's Net Present Value (NPV) is increased due to the time, value, money. NPV is the methodology that FDOT uses to select and prioritize safety engineering projects.

What were the key challenges that needed to be addressed before the new practice could be implemented?

The key challenges surrounded developing a framework that allowed FDOT to:

  • Meet Federal guidelines to obtain the approval of funds.
  • Meet internal requirements related to scheduling, coordination, QA/QC, etc.
  • Eliminate internal barriers that had stove-piped the work in order to create a streamlined schedule.

Describe the new practice.

  1. D7 put into place a design-build push button contract, which was approved by the FHWA Florida Division & FHWA Headquarters.
  2. D7 identifies a need for a simple or low cost safety improvement.
  3. D7 generates a task cost estimate using pre-approved contract pay items and corresponding unit prices.
  4. D7 submits the cost estimate along with the task's scope of services and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) categorical exclusion certification to the FHWA Florida Division for approval through the Federal Financial Management Information System (FMIS).
  5. The FHWA Florida Division reviews the task for eligibility criteria, and if eligible, approves it through FMIS.
  6. D7 encumbers Federal safety funds and issues a notice to proceed for the task work order.
  7. The design-build team delivers a constructed concept within 3-9 months (depending on difficulty and work load)

List the key accomplishments that resulted from the new practice. Include the roadway safety improvements.

  • Much faster delivery/construction of ‘simple or low cost’ safety improvements. Safety improvements delivered through this contract include the installation of:
    • High emphasis crosswalks
    • Bicycle lanes
    • Pavement markings, wet weather audible marking
    • Concrete medians
    • Overhead sign structures
    • Turn lanes or offset left turn lanes
    • Pedestrian safety treatment - Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons (RRFBs)
    • New traffic signal installations
    • High friction surface treatments
  • Multiple roads benefited from this contract, in total, the first design-build push button contract had 55 projects for the 24-month contract period.

What technical and/or institutional changes resulted from the new practice?

  • Buy-in from FDOT and FHWA management for the need to create this innovative contract
  • Approval from FHWA to allow Federal-funded safety projects to be implemented at the District level using this design-build push button contract format
  • Contract process changes for FDOT design-build contract to accommodate this innovative approach
  • Creation of statewide design-build push button contract task team

What benefits were realized as a result of the practice?

  • Reduced the time it takes to implement a safety improvement; at the same time, reduced the potential for fatalities and serious injuries during the shortened implementation period
  • Reduced overall costs of the project application process by reducing the turnover rate
  • Ensured compliance with Federal guidelines on all submitted project proposals
  • Promoted use of these low-cost safety improvements
two photographs of a double yellow painted line on a roadway: photo on left shows only paint on pavement; photo on right shows rumble strip elements in the yellow-painted pavement

Installation of rumble stripes, a safety improvement in District 7 (before and after)

two photographs of a road before and after installation of overhead signage

Improved overhead signage, a safety improvement in District 7 (before and after)

two photographs of a pedestrian crosswalk, before and after improvements: the before photo on the left shows two parallel white lines painted across the road; the after photo on the right shows thick, evenly-spaced white lines perpendicular to, and between, the two white lines crossing the road

Upgraded pedestrian crosswalk, a safety improvement in District 7 (before and after)

photograph of FDOT District 7's Design-Build Push Button Contract manual

FDOT District 7's Design-Build Push Button Contract manual

For more information:

  • >FDOT’s Design Build Push Button (DBPB) page, including a video about FDOT District Seven’s DBPB projects.


Ping (Peter) Hsu, P.E.
FDOT, D7 Assistant District Traffic Operations Engineer (Safety)
(813) 975-6251

Publication Year: 2013

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