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How Do I Use INVEST to Score an Operations and Maintenance Program?

This section describes the suggested process for scoring an agency's transportation operations and maintenance activities and utilizing INVEST as a sustainability resource.

Effectively using the OM module involves much more than answering a series of questions. The steps in this section outline a suggested approach for scoring an agency's transportation operations and maintenance program. The process includes reviewing the OM criteria to determine which are relevant, gathering information about your program, and then scoring your agency's program. INVEST should be seen as a resource to improve the incorporation of sustainability into transportation planning and programming. INVEST can be used as you begin to plan a program or to evaluate performance of an existing program.

The approach described is similar to the process followed during pilot testing with some modifications based on lessons learned. Note that to use the Score function of INVEST; the user must first login so their program information can be stored for future use and revision.

Suggested Approach for Using the Operations and Maintenance Module

Step 1: Explore INVEST Criteria and Web-based Tool

The agency should identify an appropriate transportation professional within the agency to conduct and lead the INVEST self-evaluation process (referred to here as the project manager). This project manager should orient him/herself with INVEST and navigate through the INVEST website to familiarize him/herself with the content and tool prior to beginning the evaluation. It may be helpful to create a test program in order to navigate the score tab and practice scoring; to do this enter sample data in the program registration fields. Once comfortable with the tool, the project manager should register the program to be evaluated.

Step 2: Find Relevant Criteria

Use the Browse tab to navigate through the criteria and find relevant criteria for the agency’s program. Each criterion contains a title, goal, point ranges, sustainability linkage (to the triple bottom line principles), brief description, scoring requirements, and scoring sources.

Initially, criteria should be evaluated to determine if they are applicable to the agency’s operations and maintenance program. The project manager should identify criteria that the agency may have incorporated into its program. It is not expected that one agency will meet all the sustainability criteria included in INVEST because the context of each program is unique and applying each criterion may not fit each agency's scope.

Step 3: Assemble a Cross-Discipline Scoring Team

Finding the relevant criteria in Step 2 will help the project manager begin Step 3. The project manager should now assemble a scoring team to conduct a scoring workshop. The team should be comprised of cross-discipline members who were actively involved in developing the agency’s operations and/or maintenance program; who are generally involved in the agency’s transportation operations and/or maintenance activities; and who are knowledgeable about the criteria identified in Step 2. The team members identified should be able to accomplish the following:

  1. Participate in a workshop discussion;
  2. Conduct the online web scoring;
  3. Summarize and record the team’s scoring interpretation and thought process; and
  4. Provide detailed knowledge of the agency’s transportation operations and maintenance programs as they relate to the OM module.

Additionally, participants in the pilot testing remarked that it may be useful to invite specific subject matter experts on the agency’s staff, as needed, to participate in the discussion and evaluation for some of the more complex criteria.

Step 4: Gather Information about your Program in Preparation for a Scoring Workshop

In preparation for the scoring workshop, each individual on the scoring team should review the INVEST website, become familiar with the criteria specific to their area of expertise, and collect the appropriate information for each criterion (often listed in the Scoring Sources section of the criteria write-ups). This can be achieved by developing a draft list of information needed for each criterion, assigning scoring team members to specific criteria, and collecting the relevant documentation materials. This will ensure that everything needed for scoring is available during the workshop.

After pulling the information together, the scoring team members should analyze the criteria they have been assigned and try to determine if the requirements have been met prior to the workshop. This preparation by each team member will allow the team to have a productive cross-discipline evaluation and discussion during the scoring workshop.

The scoring tool includes several functions that may be helpful in the process of gathering information about your program. These features include “Collaborate,” “Scoring Notes,” “Next Actions,” and “Upload Supporting Document(s).” These features can be accessed once you are logged into the tool. The location of these features and their suggested use is described below; a further description is available in the Scoring Tutorial:


The collaboration function allows multiple team members to utilize INVEST to evaluate one program. After creating the program on INVEST, the project manager can invite others to collaborate on the same program. To access the collaboration function, click on “My Workspace” on the top bar of the website or click on “Continue an Existing Project or Program” on the Score tab page. Either of these links will bring the project manager or user to a page with links to each of the programs or projects the user has registered (or is a collaborator to) on the INVEST website. To the right of each program or project listed are several options, one of which is collaboration. To set up the collaboration, click on “Collaborate” and then enter the name, e-mail address, desired permissions (edit or view), and then select “Add team member.”

Scoring features that will be useful include “Scoring Notes,” “Next Actions,” and “Upload Supporting Document(s).”

Within the scoring tool, on the right hand side of each Criterion Details page, are functions to aid the user before and during scoring. These functions are explained below:

  • The Scoring Notes function allows users to document how or why the program did or did not achieve points or explain the reasoning for selecting the score achieved. This is simply provided for the user’s convenience and for future reference as needed.
  • The Next Actions function allows users to make note of future tasks needed to achieve a criterion or to appropriately document the achievement of a criterion. This may be particular useful for an agency that is revising its program to make note of next actions required in the process of achieving a criterion.
  • The Upload Supporting Documents function allows the user to upload any supporting documents to justify the score selected for a criterion. It is provided for the convenience of the user and for future reference as needed.

Step 5: Conduct a Scoring Workshop

While conducting a workshop may seem unnecessary in order for a team to score a program, FHWA received positive feedback and praise during the pilot testing on the value of bringing a group together to discuss sustainability. Often the team knowledge surpassed that of the team members responsible for scoring criteria and additional information key to scoring and defining next steps was discussed during these workshops. In addition, while many criteria may not yet be achievable, such a workshop “starts the conversation” regarding incorporating sustainability into the agency’s transportation plans and programs and may facilitate the change necessary to incorporate these concepts into future revisions to program elements. In addition to scoring the agency’s transportation program, one of the intents of the workshop is to foster discussion and reflection of the agency’s transportation plans and programs through a “sustainability lens.”

The agenda for this workshop would likely be focused on stepping through the scoring for each of the criteria. For each criterion the INVEST tool will ask a question or series of questions to determine whether the program meets the intent of each criterion. Based on your responses, the system will provide your program a score. After scoring each criterion, the workshop agenda may include a discussion of the areas where the agency has the greatest opportunities to improve. As consensus is achieved on each criterion, it may be helpful to document, using the scoring functions discussed in Step 4, including why a criterion was scored a certain way (as well as any other relevant information or observations) to capture the rich discussion for future reference. This will facilitate future efforts to update the agency’s INVEST score and track its progress towards incorporating sustainability into its transportation plans and programs.

Another scoring feature that may be useful at this point is the “Snapshot” function. This function allows the user to save and print a “snapshot in time” of the scoring of the program. This snapshot will be saved for future reference and can be viewed or printed as a PDF. The snapshot will display all of the criteria, the score, scoring notes, next actions, and a list of uploaded supporting documents.


Next > What Does the Operations and Maintenance Score Mean?