Consider dividing a large ITS project into manageable task orders.

A Colorado DOT experience in deploying a large multi-jurisdictional ITS project

Colorado,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

The Colorado DOT (CDOT) found on past projects that using the traditional format of one large cost-plus-fixed-fee project provided less flexibility and control over the contractors, so for the I-25 TSIP they chose to use a task order approach. Project scopes of work, estimates, and schedules were developed for each task order. CDOT would activate each of the 30 task orders by providing the system integrator with written notice to proceed.

CDOT experienced several advantages by dividing the I-25 TSIP into multiple, more manageable task orders. This approach enabled CDOT to:
  • Manage labor and direct expenses more efficiently on a task basis. Because each task was broken out separately, it was easier for the CDOT management team to identify areas incurring a potential over-run, as well as areas not incurring sufficient labor to meet schedules. Due to the size and complexity of this project, the task order system was deemed superior in tracking and controlling costs.
  • Identify scheduling issues sooner. Because schedules were reported bi-weekly, it was easier for the CDOT management team to identify areas encountering schedule difficulties. The task order system was deemed superior in identifying critical scheduling issues as they arose.
  • Assign multiple task order managers to better subdivide management responsibilities. Because CDOT assigned a number of task order managers to the project, it had more "eyes and ears" available to actively monitor progress of the work across multiple task areas.
  • Create a modular structure to the deployment. For the Colorado Revised Model Deployment Initiative (RMDI), the project that preceded the I-25 TSIP, the system integrator was tasked to deliver a single large deployment at once. This approach ultimately led to major disagreement and controversy between the two parties. The modular nature of ITS delivery, created by the I-25 TSIP task order system, allowed the work to be better organized and helped ensure delivery and acceptance of the required product on budget.

This lesson suggests that the correct mechanism to deploy a large multi-jurisdictional ITS project is not necessarily the traditional approach of one large cost-plus-fixed-fee project. CDOT had several goals for the region including increased mobility and safety, improved productivity, and enhanced inter-modal connectivity and inter-jurisdictional coordination throughout the region. Project deployment that is on time and on budget is essential to meeting these goals. Breaking the project down into smaller task orders proved to be a very successful contracting method. When a contract is difficult to manage, the impacts on schedule and costs can be significant. Breaking a large contract into manageable tasks improves the ability to manage the project's schedule and budget, creating an environment for a successful project deployment.

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I-25 Truck Safety Improvements Project Local Evaluation Report

Author: Stephen Sabinash

Published By: Colorado Department of Transportation

Source Date: 12/29/2004

EDL Number: 14121

Other Reference Number: FHWA-JPO-05-039

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/4113

Other Lessons From this Source

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Steven Sabinash, P.E.
Centennial Engineering, Inc.

Agency Contact(s):

Frank Kinder, P.E.
Colorado DOT ITS Branch

Lesson Analyst:

Cheryl Lowrance


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Lesson of the Month for January, 2006 !

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Lesson ID: 2005-00104