Assessing scope and managing risk in the highway project development process

Tiendung Le, Carlos H. Caldas, G. Edward Gibson, Michael Thole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The project development process is a critical component of highway projects. Decisions made during this phase have a significant impact on the final project outcomes. This paper describes a research project that studied this process and subsequently developed a method to help the highway project team improve the project development process. This method does so by proactively identifying risk sources based on the analysis of the project scope. This method uses a comprehensive list of scope elements with descriptions and a mechanism to evaluate quantitatively the scope elements' level of definition. Assessing the level of definition of each scope element and of the project as a whole allows the project team to determine the potential level of risk to which the project is exposed. The project team can then develop risk mitigation plans to respond to the potential high risk elements. The proposed method was tested on real completed and ongoing projects undertaken by experienced professionals. The method was well received by the subject matter experts, and a number of benefits were observed, including the use as an integrated checklist, a mechanism for monitoring the project development progress, as well as a means for improving communication and promoting alignment within the project team.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)900-910
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 28 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Construction management
  • Planning, highway and road construction
  • Risk management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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