Streets Improvement Projects - Bureau of Transportation has made significant progress on improving the assessment of neighborhood impact

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This is a two-year follow-up on our 2018 report, "Streets Improvement Projects: Bureau of Transportation has an inclusive planning process, but should improve assessment of neighborhood impact."

The Portland Bureau of Transportation designs and constructs projects to improve streets for pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles. We audited two projects in 2018 to assess the Bureau’s planning and evaluation process. We found the Bureau met expectations for the planning phase, but its evaluation of project effectiveness needed improvement.

The Transportation Bureau had made progress with project evaluation when we checked the status of the recommendations one year after the audit. Progress continued in 2020 with the completion of a project checklist to ensure project goals are met and development of a performance management framework, but work is ongoing.

Recommendation Status: In Process

2018 Recommendation

Develop and fund a consistent evaluation process that includes livability and neighborhood impact assessments.

2020 Auditor’s Status Update: Recommendation in process

Transportation completed a Project Development Checklist for capital projects to provide consistent steps for ensuring goals are met through each stage of a project. The checklist includes standard transportation measures and qualitative measures of neighborhood impact.

Transportation is also developing a Performance Management Framework to guide new measure development and provide a consistent approach to annual project evaluation, performance data gathering, and data analysis. The framework outlines a number of areas to measure, including economic and livability indicators. When this framework is finalized and applied, we will consider this recommendation implemented.

Transportation’s plan to develop a methodology for anticipating and evaluating racial equity and displacement impacts of transportation projects stalled because of COVID-19 restrictions on hiring. Staff continue to work on defining thresholds for when the City should include community stabilization and anti-displacement strategies in transportation project delivery.

Recommendation Status: In Process

2018 Recommendation

Use the results from project evaluations to inform the City’s future transportation plans and priorities.

2020 Auditor’s Status Update: Recommendation in process

The City’s Transportation System Plan guides overall investment priorities. Projects included in the plan are scored against criteria, such as climate impact, economic benefits, equity, and neighborhood access. The Bureau plans to update the scoring methodology in the next Transportation System Plan to include the measures and findings resulting from the project evaluation and community stabilization work described above. Work on that plan is scheduled for Fiscal Year 2021-22.

In the interim, Transportation continues to work on project scoring methodologies and incorporate them into ongoing funding decisions, including the allocation of Transportation System Development Charge funds, the application of regional infrastructure grants, and the development of the second Fixing Our Streets project list.

View the original 2018 audit report and our 1-year follow up report.

Visit our online dashboard to track the status of recommendations from other reports


Alexandra D. Fercak

Performance Auditor II