Business Center

Managing Change in Standardized Lanes

By Mary Nordini, Process Improvement Intern
June 11, 2019

Having taken CDOT’s 3-day Change Management course, Lisa Steisfeld knew when she was tasked to develop a new document called Managed Lane Guidelines, that the process wouldn’t be quick and easy. She couldn’t just block off some time to write the standards of practice, determining how and when a decision was made, and push them out to CDOT staff and other stakeholders. Instead, she needed to consider the project as a whole, identifying problem areas in order to find a successful solution in making these managed lane decisions. On the technical end, what exactly are managed lanes and how do these differ from “express lanes?” She communicated with various CDOT staff members to determine what are managed lane strategies.

Standardized Lanes

Enlightened with the knowledge that she needed to consider the people side of the change as well as the technical side, Streisfeld began the process of meeting with the Stakeholders and having 2-way conversations about what issues and pain points they faced when making decisions to include a managed lane in their planning, design, and construction documents. She knew those being impacted would want to know the ‘why’ behind the need for the guidelines, so she shared this information with them to build awareness and desire. By communicating early with the stakeholders, Streisfeld was able to gain insight into their perspective on what would provide value to planners and engineers in developing standard guidelines. It took a little convincing, but Streisfeld was able to articulate how this project would benefit everyone, removing uncertainties and simplifying the process behind the implementation of managed lanes. These meetings enabled her to provide awareness of the project and begin to create desire through the conversations on the benefits this project would provide to the stakeholders.

Once the guides were drafted, they went through multiple vetting processes with stakeholders to increase the level of acceptance and understanding that standardized managed lanes provided. Streisfeld met with the Statewide Traffic Engineers, Planners, PE IIIs, and various Regions. A major concern stemmed from the applicability of standard guides to each project. A second question was who makes decisions and when should these be determined. As they worked through the guidelines, Streisfeld ensured a certain degree of flexibility so the managed lane type could be customized to each corridor based upon the region’s needs. She also added a tool to help determine roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders. A decision matrix was created to evaluate the criteria of the corridor and determine the managed lane type, and provide starting performance metrics for monitoring. All the involved groups were able to contribute and vet the guidelines, establishing investment in the desired solutions.

After approval, the guidelines were then brought to every region through training, so all impacted parties would have the knowledge and ability to implement these new practices. This also included a method to document to when the decision to install or to not implement managed lanes on a corridor is made and the reasons why the decision was made. There is a lot of information to go over, but the training walks through the consideration of different managed lane types, using the matrix and performance measures, corridor evaluation process and opens the conversation for feedback. Since publication, the physical guides have provided reference and reinforcement on managed lanes, and the training is maintained and updated as necessary.

Thanks to Streisfeld’s training and experience with change management, her approach to the project enabled the biggest voice of resistance to become the biggest advocate for the standardized managed lane guidelines. Overall the guidelines have been successful, easing the documentation of decision-making and then the future implementation of managed lanes that can still be tailored to each corridor and project. She promotes the attendance of a change management course as you get to gain beneficial training that will contribute to project success while working alongside other employees and executives.

Want to learn more about Change Management at CDOT?
Check out our improvement efforts at the Office of Process Improvement’s website! Or, for CDOT employees, stop by the Change Hub on our Intranet!