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Tennessee Department of Transportation Aims to Improve Service While Saving Tax Dollars


Agency partners with Smart Growth America to analyze projects & processes

Tennessee Department of TransportationNashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has partnered with Smart Growth America to increase its efficiency and ensure the greatest possible return on Tennessee’s transportation investments.

As a result, TDOT has compiled a series of recommendations designed to pin down areas for improvement, prioritize projects and streamline processes.

“Transportation investments are invaluable to driving economic recovery and prosperity across Tennessee,” says TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “But as this report shows, we cannot be limited to old ways of doing business. We must enable and encourage more flexible, innovative and lower-cost solutions to the state’s transportation needs. Prioritizing and designing projects to add the most value for their cost is smart, common sense policy in a time of fiscal constraint, and all Tennesseans stand to benefit from an even more effective Department of Transportation.”

The analysis, Removing Barriers to Smarter Transportation Investments, revealed TDOT currently has nine times more projects in its work plan than it has funding. As a result, some beneficial projects currently run the risk of falling through the cracks, while the service intent of others might be equally fulfilled through a less expensive solution.

To counter this, TDOT is already in the process of developing more rigorous metrics for the measurement of broad project benefits and better prioritization of projects. The analysis also suggests that TDOT should audit its existing work program to eliminate projects that are no longer needed and right-size projects that can be improved.

“Scaling projects to available resources upfront and making sure that they are flexible and tailored to local needs will go a long way toward ensuring that Tennessee taxpayers get the best bang for their buck,” says Roger Millar, vice president of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute. “By emphasizing the importance of the planning, programming, environmental and design phases of the project development process, TDOT will deliver a higher quality of service at less cost.”

To download a full copy of Removing Barriers to Smarter Transportation Investments, visit

To learn more about Smart Growth America’s Technical Assistance and its capacity to help states and municipalities review and improve their economic, transportation, housing, land-use and environmental policies, visit

Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods.

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