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Enabling Activities Program Area

This area includes three categories of supporting, cross-cutting activity that enable and facilitate NRO in carrying out their mission, including pursuit of the strategies identified in the preceding ten program areas. These three areas include:

    Performance-based Management
    Standards Utilization
    Workforce development.

Each of these three areas is described and associated strategies are identified in the sections that follow.

Performance-based Management

This Strategic Plan provides many of the elements necessary for performance-based management, including a vision, mission, goals, objectives, and tracking measures for each objective. However, there are several very significant elements that are missing and which will take some considerable effort to implement. These elements are:

  • Setting specific performance targets for each tracking measure (e.g., “reduce the number of crashes by 25% over the next four years”), collecting the necessary data, and analyzing it to monitor progress toward attaining the targets.
  • Developing project-specific performance estimates and assessing the post-deployment performance of projects.
  • Using estimated project performance in annual programming decisions and utilizing historic project performance results when revising strategic objectives, tracking measures, and performance targets.

As NRO moves towards a more performance-oriented management framework, it will leverage the relationships with local universities in monitoring performance. As NRO moves forward with performance-based management, it will also be important, where feasible, to express the intended and actual (post-deployment) impact of operations investments in dollar terms.

The following strategies carry out NRO performance-related activities:

  1. Develop and Monitor Performance Targets
  2. Develop and Track Project-Specific Evaluation Measures
  3. Utilize Project Performance in Programming Decisions
  4. Develop Benefit-Cost Tools and Staff Skills
  5. ITS Decision Support Tool

Standards Utilization

The USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration ITS standards program website ( identifies the following motivations and benefits associated with the use of standards in operations:

  • Standards are open and non-proprietary and thereby help agencies avoid costly single-source procurements and locked-in maintenance relationships with vendors.
  • Standards support the deployment of interoperable systems, helping agencies link together different types of operations technologies and making system expansions easier to plan and implement.
  • Standards are being developed for many different types of technologies and their use is being supported by the USDOT through technical assistance programs, training, and deployment outreach and guidance.
  • Using ITS standards in project deployment is a key aspect of conformity with the Federal Highway Administration Rule on ITS Architecture and Standards.

The following strategies carry out NRO standards related activities:

  1. Utilize Appropriate Standards

Workforce Development

In an era of increasing opportunities, rapidly shifting political realities, technology improvements, and an aging workforce, recruiting and retaining a talented workforce is a strategic challenge. In addition to recruitment, workforce needs and planning are often relegated to the sidelines while agencies focus on their core missions. Typically, state departments of transportation have focused workforce development activities primarily on construction and maintenance activities. As the role of VDOT has expanded to include transportation systems management and operations, development and maintenance of a skilled and qualified operations workforce is critical. This area addresses the “people-side” of NRO and focuses on developing and retaining a motivated, talented, and diverse workforce with the capabilities necessary to carry out the strategies identified in the other program areas.

Guided by the federal, state-level and district-level efforts in this area, NRO is taking a proactive approach to workforce development by focusing on initiatives for recruitment, retention, staff development, change management, and succession planning. Most activities relating to workforce development are driven by district-level or statewide initiatives. However, as the NRO workforce becomes more specialized and technology-oriented, it is important to identify NRO-specific needs and strategies and reflect them in hiring and procurement practices to get the right people at the right time in the right places.

The following strategies carry out workforce development related activities:

  1. Technical Training Program
  2. Internship and Associates Programs
  3. NRO-wide Workforce Planning Exercise
  4. Project Management Training
  5. Survey NRO Employees
  6. Enhanced Safety Procedure Training
  7. Encourage SWAM businesses Participation in NRO Projects

Market Packages

Currently, there are no market packages in the regional architecture directly addressing this topic.

Disclaimer: This site is designed for transportation and other public agencies in the Northern Virginia region,
not for the general public's use. The official VDOT web site is located at