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Transportation Decisionmaking: Information Tools for Tribal Governments

TRIBAL TRANSPORTATION BEST PRACTICES GUIDEBOOK

Prepared by:
FHWA Office of Planning

Valerie J. Southern
Transportation Consultant, LLC

Technical Communication Consultants, Inc.

Publication Number:
FHWA-HEP-10-005
December 2009

Disclaimer: This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Department of Transportation. Moreover, the United States Government does not endorse products or manufactures. Trademarks or manufacturers' names may appear herein only because they are considered essential to the objective of this document.

cover page collage

Table of Contents

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. BEST PRACTICES
  3. CASE STUDIES
  4. CHECKLIST
  5. TECHNICAL RESOURCES
  6. INVITATION
  7. APPENDIX A: Program Survey
  8. APPENDIX B: Acknowledgement

1. INTRODUCTION


The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides continuing educational and technical support to tribal governments nationwide. One noteworthy example is Transportation Decision-making: Information Tools for Tribal Government - a series of learning modules with guidance on Federal funding and steps for preparing the long-range transportation plan and transportation improvement program. 1

The Tribal Transportation Best Practices Guidebook launches a new FHWA series highlighting successful tribal transportation practices.

PURPOSE. This Tribal Transportation Best Practices Guidebook launches a new educational series which highlights, through research and case study, achievements in tribal transportation. The purpose of the first Guidebook is to showcase successful program management practices in tribal transportation and share this information with the larger transportation community.

METHODOLOGY. Preparing this Guidebook involved five steps.

Step 1 - Literature Review. An extensive search for publications covering the topic of tribal transportation program management was undertaken through a variety of conventional and on-line sources including the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Internet. This yielded a wide range of publications, articles and reports. 2

The most comprehensive publication found through the search was NCHRP Synthesis 366: Tribal Transportation Program - A Synthesis of Highway Practice released in 2007 by the Transportation Research Board. This document provides an inventory of thirty tribal transportation organizations from across the country. It describes each organization's composition, capacity and operations. As defined by its authors, the purpose of the NCHRP Synthesis 366 report is to:

"...provide information...in determining the state of tribal transportation programs, and the steps needed to assist tribes in developing the capacity to effectively perform transportation-related functions."

NCHRP Synthesis 366 was the primary source document used for selecting tribal transportation programs for this Guidebook.

Preparing the Guidebook involved:

Literature Review - review of publications focused on tribal transportation program management practices and techniques.

Candidate Selection - selection of successful tribal transportation programs based on program substance and location.

Invitation to Participate - outreach to the managers of the selected tribal transportation programs.

Interview and Survey - formal discussion and collection of data from the tribal transportation program managers.

Common Practices - synthesis of the management practices reported by the surveyed managers.

Step 2 - Selection. Thirteen tribal transportation programs were initially selected for study. Twelve were featured in Synthesis 366 and one in the 2006 FHWA publication, Tribal Seat Belt Initiative - Final Report. Two factors were considered when selecting the programs. First, the program's achievements in traditional transportation program areas were considered. These traditional areas are Finance, Inter-Governmental Relations, Technical Application, Safety and Public Transportation. Second, to ensure a broad geographical representation of tribal programs from across the country, the program's location was considered. Using these selection factors, the original thirteen were narrowed to six programs, located in the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho and Minnesota.

Step 3 - Invitation. The managers of the selected tribal transportation programs received letters from FHWA which explained the Guidebook project and invited their participation. Each letter included a twenty-three question program survey (shown in Appendix A). The survey was designed to obtain information on the tribal transportation program's purpose, history, services and funding sources. Information was also requested on how the program was administered and what it achieved.

Step 4 - Interview. Telephone interviews were conducted with each manager of the tribal transportation program. The discussion followed the sequence of questions in the program survey. Follow-up telephone interviews were conducted with outside Federal, State, regional, local and private sector officials involved in some way with the program. These interviews offered additional insight on how the programs were administered. In all, twenty-three interviews were conducted. They formed the basis of the case studies for this Guidebook.

When using this Guidebook, the tribal practitioner should routinely ask:
  • What are the goals of my tribal transportation program?
  • What am I trying to achieve?
  • What improvements are needed to increase my program's effectiveness?
  • When and where do I start - to reach my program goals?
Use the Guidebook
  • Are the Guidebook case study situations similar to my own program management experiences?
  • Which of the Guidebook best practices should I apply to improve my program?
  • Should I contact the case study program manager for more information?
After Guidebook Use
  • Who should I share and discuss my experiences with - my colleagues, my supervisor, Tribal Council, the reservation community?
  • Which publications in this Guidebook could I use to continue my professional development?
  • In what other ways should I apply the lessons of this Guidebook?

Step 5 - Identification of Best Practices. The information obtained from each tribal interview was analyzed and six case studies were developed. The most noteworthy program management practices used by the tribal managers were distilled from the case studies. These practices are considered learning tools which are shared in this Guidebook with other tribal transportation practitioners for application in their own programs.

RESULTS. From the case studies, the best practices in tribal transportation program management were identified as the following: Leadership, Problem Identification, Resource Allocation, Creative Problem Solving and Collaboration and Partnership. Each is discussed in detail, with examples, in Chapter 2 - Best Practices. These best practices were essential to the managers in the tribal case studies. They were the building blocks that moved their tribal transportation programs forward - to their intended goals.

HOW TO USE THIS GUIDEBOOK. This Guidebook is based on the real experiences of tribal program managers. Its lessons are intended for, and should be familiar to, anyone responsible for the daily management of a tribal transportation program. While the case study experiences may be familiar, too often the tribal transportation program may not reach its full potential because effective program management methods are not fully or methodically applied.

This Guidebook offers learning tools to help improve the effectiveness and application of tribal transportation program management methods. Its purpose is to:

  • Present effective program management methods that have been applied successfully by tribal transportation practitioners from across the country and
  • Serve as a helpful resource and reference document to other tribal transportation practitioners.

This Guidebook should serve as a reality check for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of an existing tribal transportation program. Moreover, it encourages the tribal practitioner to visualize and apply new management scenarios for his or her transportation program.

As a starting point, the tribal practitioner should ask the questions listed in the adjacent text box. These questions should be revisited periodically and especially when improvements or updates to an existing tribal transportation program are undertaken.

Guidebook Contents. Each chapter of this Tribal Transportation Best Practices Guidebook builds upon the previous chapter. A summary of contents is provided here.

Chapter 1 introduces the Guidebook and explains how and why it was prepared.

The Guidebook is designed for easy use and reference.

Chapter
1 - Introduction
2 - Best Practices
3 - Case Studies
4 - Check List
5 - Technical Resources
6 - Invitation

Chapter 2 describes the best transportation program management practices that were identified in the tribal case studies.

Chapter 3 presents the tribal case studies and their noteworthy transportation programs. A program contact is also provided for those wanting more information.

Chapter 4 is a check- list for applying the best practices outlined in the Guidebook. Users are encouraged to expand or modify the check-list based on their specific program issues and needs.

Chapter 5 is an annotated bibliography of publications relevant to the topic of tribal transportation program management.

Chapter 6 is an invitation to the tribal transportation community to participate in future FHWA case studies and guidebooks.

Appendix A contains the Program Survey that was used to collect program information for the tribal case studies.

Appendix B is an acknowledgement of the officials that participated in this research project.

Back to Table of Contents

2. BEST PRACTICES


A best practice may represent a technique or method that, through application, leads to a desired outcome. The term is frequently used when assessing positive outcomes from well-administered programs or projects. For this effort, case studies from four (4) Tribal Governments and one (1) Tribal Association were conducted to identify relevant best practices.

BEST PRACTICES. From the case studies, six (6) best practices were identified:

Leadership. All of the tribal transportation programs were guided by the vision and direction of a working group, a program director or both. Under their leadership, the program progressed from an initial concept to a successful strategy for achieving a specific transportation program goal or objective.

Problem Identification. All of the tribal transportation managers in the case studies focused on solving a clearly and concisely defined problem. By clearly defining the problem, they found it easier to identify the best program solution.

Resource Allocation. To achieve the tribal transportation program goal and objectives, the managers allocated an effective mix of staffing, funding and/or technical resources. This added value and support to the tribal transportation program.

Creative Problem Solving. The tribal managers in the case studies successfully stepped 'out of the box' in developing creative solutions to address their program needs and to solve problems.

Collaboration and Partnership. The tribal managers in the case studies reached outside of their tribal organizations to external agencies and officials for assistance and support. This enhanced the tribal program, supplied additional program resources and produced good will among the agencies. The collaboration built lasting and respectful agency relationships.

Communications. The tribal managers effectively communicated the purpose of their program to the audience that it served. Program information was conveyed at different levels and to different audiences - internally (within the tribal organization), to the external partner agencies and/or to the larger tribal community. Effective communications is a helpful tool in the management of a tribal transportation program.

Common Best Practices From the tribal transportation case studies, the common best practices were:

  • Leadership
  • Problem Identification
  • Resource Allocation
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Collaboration and Partnership
  • Communications

APPLICATION. Not surprisingly, each featured tribal organization applied the best practices, listed and described above, differently. This section explains how the best practices were applied and the specific circumstances involved in their application.

LEADERSHIP

All of the tribal transportation programs were guided by the vision and direction of a working group, a program director or both. Under their leadership, the program progressed from an initial concept to a successful strategy for achieving a specific transportation goal or objective.

In exercising Leadership, the tribal practitioner is encouraged to:

  • Identify and articulate the problem.
    • Openly review any deficiency in the tribal transportation program.
  • Envision a solution.
    • Document his or her findings and list possible solutions for addressing the deficiency.
    • 'Vision' and brainstorm with others within the tribal organization to identify possible solutions.
    • Achieve consensus on what should be done.
  • Follow through with the solution.
    • Design and execute the preferred program solution.
    • Advocate for the program solution. Follow it through from beginning to end (and beyond, if necessary).

Coeur d'Alene Tribe Case Study - New Bus Service. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe, located in northern Idaho, had no bus service for its members. This made it difficult for tribal members to access essential services such as employment, housing, medical and retail services.

  • Identify and articulate the problem. The initial effort to establish a reservation bus service was documented and championed by the Tribe's Grants Department.
  • Envision a solution. After defining the problem and need, the Grants Department consulted with Tribal Housing and the Tribal Casino Enterprise. They determined that the best solution was to prepare and submit a Federal transit grant application.
  • Follow-through. With the support of Tribal Council, together they submitted the Tribe's first transit application to the Idaho Transportation Department. After considerable delay, only a portion of the grant request was approved. Undeterred, the group envisioned a smaller bus system. With its initial grant, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe launched the first and ultimately most successful fixed route bus service in the history of northern Idaho.
Leadership
  • Identify and Articulate Problem
  • IEnvision a Solution
  • IFollow-Through

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Tribe Case Study - Self Governance. Leadership was also the key for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Tribe in Minnesota. The Tribe is one of the first in the nation to broker a Self-Governance agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) through U.S. Public Law 93-638. This work was accomplished through the involvement and vision of the Tribe's Roads Director.

  • Identify and articulate the problem. The Roads Director was aware of the Tribe's limited control and authority for scheduling and providing essential public works services on the reservation.
  • Envision a solution. The Roads Director believed self-governance was the best solution for moving the Tribe's public works agenda forward.
  • Follow-through. Aware of emerging opportunities in tribal self-governance on the national level, the Roads Director volunteered to assist in writing the technical and administrative provisions of the new BIA tribal self-governance program. His leadership and knowledge of the program and the Tribe's prompt (and successful) application for a BIA self-governance compact proved invaluable. With the self-governance compact in-place, the focus of the Roads Department changed. It assumed greater control and management over urgent and overdue reservation infrastructure projects. Acknowledging the improved services of its Roads Department, Tribal Council established a Self-Governance Coordinator position within tribal government and created the Red Lake Construction Company. The tribally owned company supports the Roads Department with expert construction services and equipment.

PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION

All of the tribal transportation managers in the case studies focused on solving a clearly and concisely defined problem. By clearly defining the problem, they found it easier to identify the best program solution.

In Problem Identification, the tribal practitioner is encouraged to:

  • Investigate the cause of the deficiency.
    • Identify the deficiency in program services.
    • Investigate the cause(s) and list possible solutions.
  • Conduct research on possible options.
    • Prepare a table or matrix listing cost, required resources, timing and expected results for each possible solution.
    • Select the preferred solution that best addresses the deficiency.
  • Create an Action Plan for executing the solution.
    • Request buy-in to the Action Plan from the tribal decision-makers.
    • Execute and monitor the Action Plan.

Hoopa Valley Tribe Case Study - Cost Accounting. The Hoopa Valley Tribe in California operates two for-profit transportation enterprises - an Aggregate Crushing Service and a Ready-Mix Plant.

  • Investigate cause of the deficiency. As these enterprises grew, it became more difficult to track their costs and profits. To determine the cause of this deficiency, the Road Department conducted an extensive internal review and consulted with Tribal Council and financial advisors. It was determined that a new accounting method was needed.
  • Conduct research on possible options. The Roads Director examined several options for overhauling the current accounting system. A new cost allocation method and a dual accounting system were designed for each transportation enterprise. These new programs followed strict Government and Business accounting practices and standards.
  • Create an action plan. The Hoopa Valley Tribe's new accounting program tracked and separated the costs and profits of each enterprise - making each accountable for its own equipment, personnel, operations and profitability. While equipment and personnel were still shared by both enterprises, their costs were coded separately to the enterprise that used them. These program changes enabled a transparency never before realized in assessing the fiscal health of the Aggregate Crushing and Ready-Mix enterprises.

Coeur d'Alene Tribe Case Study - Recreational Trail. After many years of coordination and planning, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe completed construction of its new 15- mile recreational trail. This improvement was not supported wholeheartedly by pockets of mostly non-tribal property owners who lived near the trail alignment. Some did not believe the Tribe held legal rights to the land.

Problem Identification
  • Investigate Cause of Deficiency
  • Conduct Research on Options
  • Create an Action Plan
  • Investigate the cause of the deficiency. Leaving the legal issue to another tribal process, the Tribe's new Recreational Trail Division investigated other possible causes of the complaints.
  • Conduct research on possible options. After learning late night noise and activity occurred on the trail near private homes, management discontinued 24-hour trail use and posted signs announcing closure at dusk.
  • Create an action plan. Management also created a website and published newsletters informing users and abutters near the trail of hours of operation and planned trail improvements and activities. These management actions alleviated the fears of the abutting property owners and curtailed some of the growing tensions associated with the new trail.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Case Study - Asset Management. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut came to the realization that it needed a better method to track, maintain and manage its growing inventory of public works assets.

  • Investigate the cause of the deficiency. The Tribe determined its paper files were cumbersome, outmoded and difficult to maintain. Moreover, the paper-driven system did not enable an efficient or comprehensive view of the Tribe's public works assets - how to manage and maintain them.
  • Conduct research on possible options. Through research and investigation, the Public Works Department determined off-the-shelf computer software would provide the best method for addressing the need for improved asset management. One program in particular contained management modules specific to the requirements of a public works operation. The selected software program has modules that:
    • Provide interactive data screens and electronic maps that capture the condition and location of public works assets such as roadway, culvert and drainage systems.
    • Calibrate equipment and vehicle repair and maintenance cycles ensuring these assets are maintained on a timely basis.
    • Assist in scheduling and prioritizing the assignments of public works crews.
  • Create an action plan. The selected software program enabled the Public Works Department to update and centralize its records and electronically transmit current information to other tribal departments for reporting and information sharing. Using computer technology as a program management tool, the new software alleviated all of the paper file management and control issues. It enabled the Tribe a comprehensive view of its public works assets and a state-of-the-art methodology for maintaining them.

RESOURCE ALLOCATION

To achieve their tribal transportation program goal and objectives, the managers allocated an effective mix of staffing, funding and/or technical resources. This added value and support to the tribal transportation program.

In Resource Allocation, the tribal practitioner is encouraged to:

  • Determine the need.
    • Document the program need or deficiency.
  • Assess available resources.
    • Assess the performance, capability and level of existing program resources.
  • Efficiently allocate available resources.
    • Develop a strategy to allocate or re-allocate existing resources (before assigning new ones).
    • Periodically assess the effectiveness of the program resource allocations to ensure they are being used to their full potential.
    • Communicate these findings to tribal decision makers.
    • Continually monitor the resources to ensure an appropriate mix and balance is maintained to meet identified needs.

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Case Study - Road Construction. The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Tribe in Minnesota had an urgent need to construct an 11-mile road through wilderness forest. The new road would provide direct access to a planned tribal housing development.

  • Determine the need. The Tribe's Roads Department had some but not all of the equipment and labor to complete the road project.
  • Assess available resources. Through investigation, management learned of Operation Walking Shield (OWS) - a California organization with strong U.S. military ties. One OWS objective is to match military training needs with community infrastructure projects. The Tribe submitted an application for assistance and was approved.
  • Efficiently allocate resources. The Roads Department was able to coordinate its program needs with OWS. The equipment and labor resources of each organization were allocated to meet job and task specifications. Together the agencies drafted a project schedule and, over a three year period, coordinated the work of one thousand (1,000) recruits from the Air Force Reserve, the Army Reserve, the Navy Sea Bees and the Minnesota National Guard. These resources were assigned to the project in two-week rotations.
    The Tribe's strategy of identifying resources and coordinating them with its own labor and equipment - well before the start of a complex project - enabled the successful completion of the 11-mile reservation road.

Hoopa Valley Tribe Case Study - Labor Management. The Hoopa Valley Tribe in California needed to maximize the labor resources of its for-profit transportation enterprises.

Resource Allocation
  • Determine Need
  • Assess Available Resources
  • Efficiently Allocate Resources
  • Determine need. As with any business, fluctuating contracting cycles were impacting labor costs and forcing decisions on when to hire or 'let go' enterprise workers.
  • Assess available resources. Most of the enterprise workers were members of the reservation community and readily available. All were capable of performing multiple tasks and functions when properly trained.
  • Efficiently allocate resources. Management initiated an employee cross-training program. Personnel assigned to one enterprise activity were given the option to train in another. For example, office administration personnel were able to train as construction flaggers. Road construction workers were given the opportunity to train as licensed Class A truck operators. Personnel assigned in planning, if interested, could also train and become certified in emergency response and incident management.
    These cross-training opportunities were eagerly accepted by labor. As a result, when seasonal work slowed in one enterprise area, cross-trained staff moved fluidly to another. This resulted in less employee lay-offs, higher morale and a better trained work force. It also met the objective of maximizing the labor resources within each transportation enterprise.

CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING

The tribal managers in the case studies successfully stepped 'out of the box' in developing creative solutions to address their program needs and to solve problems.

In Creative Problem Solving, the tribal practitioner is encouraged to:

  • Be creative and original.
    • Avoid cookie-cutting, duplicating or copying existing programs.
  • Investigate available options.
    • Consider all options for improving the tribal transportation program.
  • Design a solution that is responsive to the community's values, needs and expectations.
    • Communicate the preferred solution to the tribal decision makers and to the tribal community.
    • Test the solution and assess the outcome. Has the solution fully addressed the program problem or issue?
    • Apply the lessons learned from the test to the larger tribal transportation program.

Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona Case Study - Seat Belt Safety Campaign. Concerned by the high incidence of traffic related fatalities and injuries in Indian country, the FHWA Arizona Division contracted the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) to develop seat belt promotion campaigns.

Creative Problem Solving
  • Be Creative and Original
  • Investigate Available Options
  • Design to Community Values and Needs
  • Be creative and original. In preparing this work, the ITCA was reluctant to mimic main stream non-tribal efforts. It designed an original program just for the local tribal community.
  • Investigate available options. The ITCA first established tribal focus groups comprised of those most at-risk for vehicle injury and death (Indian males between 15 and 25 years of age). It queried the Indian males on why they did not wear safety belts and asked what would convince them to buckle up. The focus group participants stressed the need to communicate the benefits and urgency of seat belt use locally - using the voices of local tribal leaders and commonplace and trusted methods such as the tribal radio station and newsletter. The focus groups discouraged the use of costly or flashy techniques, such as hiring high profile sports figures to lead the campaigns.
  • Design to community values and needs. With program strategies influenced by the focus groups, ITCA recruited two Tribes interested in sponsoring seat belt safety campaigns on their reservations. Again reluctance to copy other models, ITCA hired a branding consultant to assist the Tribes in designing their own campaign messages, logos and artwork. This required some give and take - assuring the deliverables were effective and professional but also culture-appropriate; reflecting the values of each Tribe. With ITCA's creative use of the focus groups and the branding consultant, the two tribal seat belt campaigns (designed by the local communities) proved effective in reaching their intended audience.

Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona Case Study - Community Resources. Early on, it was acknowledged that the FHWA safety grants that subsidized the ITCA tribal seat belt safety campaigns were insufficient and would not cover all of the program costs.

  • Be creative and original. To overcome the funding shortfall, the ITCA and each participating Tribe established a Campaign Advisory Committee (CAC). They identified regional and local agencies that shared their values and goals for increasing traffic safety on tribal lands. They invited these agencies to serve on the CACs.
  • Investigate available options. Each CAC member was asked how much of their time and agency resources could be dedicated to the single purpose of implementing the tribal seat belt safety campaigns. Each agency responded differently with varying levels of in-kind, technical and financial support. Their resources, pooled together, provided more options for closing the funding gap.
  • Design to community values and needs. The CAC members represented the regional Indian Health Services, the regional Bureau of Indian Affairs and the local law enforcement, emergency medical, fire and rescue and air evacuation agencies. Through deft identification and recruitment of these community-based agencies - with similar commitments to traffic safety and accident prevention - the ITCA campaigns overcame the funding shortfall, developed strong community partnerships and accomplished much more than their limited Federal budget allowed.

COLLABORATION AND PARTNERSHIP

The tribal managers in the case studies reached outside of their tribal organizations to external agencies and officials for assistance and support. This enhanced the tribal program, supplied additional program resources and produced good will among the agencies. The collaboration built lasting and respectful agency relationships.

In Collaboration and Partnership, the tribal practitioner is encouraged to:

  • Determine program deficiencies.
    • Review the program deficiencies that are preventing the desired program results. This may include too little funding, limited technical resources, insufficient personnel or inadequate staff training.
  • Identify partners with similar program objectives.
    • Identify partners such as public sector or private sector agencies and associations.
    • Communicate an interest to collaborate with these agencies. Explain what will be needed from them to supplement your program resources.
  • Share resources to achieve a common goal.
    • With your partners, design a resource sharing program. Include performance measures to ensure the program meets each partner's objectives.
    • Put the partnership agreement in writing and ask each partner to sign it.
    • With your partners, execute and monitor the resource-sharing process and its results.
  • Build on the experience.
    • Find other opportunities to partner with these agencies and continue an on-going dialogue and relationship.
    • Work with these agencies to strengthen and build a trust relationship.

Coeur d'Alene Tribe Case Study - Coalition Building. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe's bus system (CityLink) began modestly with one fixed route traveling up and down the reservation. Today the system serves the reservation and most of the urban and rural areas of northern Idaho. CityLink ridership grew from 18,700 to 306,000 in its first three years. The system's rapid expansion is the direct result of partnership and collaboration.

  • Determine program deficiencies. Shortly after receiving its first transit grant, the Tribe collaborated with Kootenai County which also lacked a fixed route bus service. The absence of County bus service hampered tribal member access to locations off the reservation.
  • Identify partners with similar program objectives. With the common objective of increasing rural and urban mobility, a "Coalition of the Willing" was formed representing the Tribe, the County and eventually the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) with support from the Panhandle Area Council and the Idaho Department of Transportation.
  • Share resources to achieve a common goal. The partnership pooled and leveraged its FTA Section 5307, 5310 and 5311 grants - achieving a higher use of the grants than if they were retained separately by each agency.
  • Build on the experience. The "Coalition of the Willing" partnership continues to this day. In 2008, CityLink's agency grants and the tribal local match totaled $1,538,000.

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Tribe - State DOT Partnership. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MinnDOT), working with the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Tribe is a pleasure and a joy. The compliment is attributed to the Tribe's professionalism and willingness to share tribal resources and data.

Collaboration - Partnership
  • Determine Program Deficiencies
  • Identify Partners with Similar Program Objectives
  • Share Resources to Achieve a Common Goal
  • Build on the Experience
  • Determine program deficiencies. The Red Lake-Chippewa Roads Department required technical and funding support from the regional MinnDOT office to accomplish several of its reservation infrastructure projects. In turn, MinnDOT needed the Tribe's extensive local knowledge and technical resources to complete State transportation projects on roadways that traversed the reservation.
  • Identify partners with similar program objectives. With the common goal of accomplishing their public works programs as efficiently as possible, MinnDOT and the Red Lake Band-Chippewa Roads Department agreed to work together.
  • Share resources to achieve a common goal. The Tribe's fisheries department shares fish spawning data with MinnDOT in advance of the design and construction of State bridges on the reservation. Moreover, the information shared by the Tribe's archeologist accelerates MinnDOT's road improvements on the reservation and often shortens the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) review process.
  • Build on the experience. This government-to-government collaboration has worked so well, the Tribe and MinnDOT have embarked on a joint bridge and dam project on the reservation. With an impaired State bridge and damaged tribal dam nearby, they have agreed to pool their resources and improve both facilities simultaneously. They are sharing project survey and boring data, project schedules and time lines, and collaborating closely in the joint environmental review process. The partnership has strengthened over time and enhanced the public works programs of both governments.

COMMUNICATIONS

The tribal managers effectively communicated the purpose of the tribal transportation program to the audience that it served. Program information was conveyed at different levels and to different audiences - internally (within the tribal organization), to the external partner agencies and/or to the larger tribal community. Effective communications is a helpful tool in the management of a tribal transportation program.

In Communications, the tribal practitioner is encouraged to:

  • Target Audience.
    • Identify and target your audience.
    • Use a reliable and commonplace method to convey the program information. This may be a memorandum, executive summary, tribal website or website link, tribal flyer, tribal radio station or community newspaper.
  • Design a concise message.
    • Design your message to those directly served by the tribal transportation program.
    • Request feedback on your communications method from the program users.
  • Develop a Reliable Mechanism to Convey Information.
    • Modify the communications method or message based on the feedback you receive.

Coeur d'Alene Tribe Case Study - Website and Brochure. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe in northern Idaho needed to communicate the services of its expanded CityLink bus system to current and future users.

  • Target Audience. The service area for CityLink included the reservation community and the urban and rural areas within northern Idaho.
  • Design a concise message. According to the Tribe, the mission of its fare-free CityLink service "is both simple and profound: meet the transportation needs of workers, students, elderly and the general public."
  • Develop Reliable Mechanism to Convey Information. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe created a web site to communicate this message. The website welcomes users, displays bus route schedules and explains the CityLink services. The site is easy to access and easy to understand.

Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona Case Study - Campaign Symbols. Like the adage "a picture is worth a thousand words," the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) wanted its tribal seat belt safety campaign message to be understood and embraced at first glance.

Communications
  • Target Audience
  • Design a Concise Message.
  • Develop Reliable Mechanism to Convey Information
  • Target Audience. The ITCA designed tribal seat belt safety campaigns for the residents of two local tribal communities.
  • Design a concise message. ITCA encouraged the two tribal communities to design their own campaign messages, logos and artwork. ITCA hired a branding consultant to assist them. Once completed, the campaign messages and artwork were culture-appropriate, reflected the local language and conveyed a compelling safety message.
  • Develop a Reliable Mechanism to Convey Information. During the seat belt safety campaign festivities and programs, the community-designed logos and art work were widely distributed and displayed on commonplace items throughout the tribal communities - on banners, cups and t-shirts. They engendered excitement and interest within the communities. Most important - the local residents identified with the seatbelt safety message embedded in the artwork.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Case Study - Staff Training. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut has adopted a new asset management program called Infrastructure 2000.

  • Target Audience. Critical to the success of the software program is its acceptance and proper use by the managers, supervisors and staff within the Tribe's Public Works Department. Without training on how to use the software, the program would not operate properly and expectations for Infrastructure 2000 would not be realized.
  • Design a Concise Message. To ensure the new software was understood and properly used, Public Works management established repetitive cycles of mandatory staff training and re-training for all users of the system. The message was communicated to the public works labor force that the new software was in-place and training would be required.
  • Develop Reliable Mechanism to Convey Information. The staff training represented a communications tool designed for users of the new program. It instructed on the benefits of the software and explained the necessary protocols and steps for imputing data and work activities. Without this in-house communications and training, Infrastructure 2000 would not operate as intended and would eventually fail. These routine and mandatory training sessions are conducted by the Public Works Department throughout the year.

Back to Table of Contents

3. CASE STUDIES


This chapter summarizes the tribal case studies that were conducted for this Tribal Transportation Best Practices Guidebook. For each case study, there is an overview and summary of the featured tribal transportation program. The successful results of the tribal transportation programs are also listed. Program contacts are provided for those wanting more information.

Coeur d'Alene Tribe - Transit System
Coeur d'Alene Tribe - Recreational Trail
Hoopa Valley Tribe - For-Profit Transportation Enterprises
Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. - Seat Belt Safety
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation - Asset Management
Red Lake Band of Chippewa - Self Governance and Intergovernmental Relations

TRIBAL TRANSPORTATION BEST PRACTICE

COEUR D'ALENE TRIBE - TRANSIT SYSTEM


Side view of Coeur d'Alene Tribe mini-bus, which offers affordable mobility and access for tribe and community members.
The Coeur d' Alene Tribe's CityLink bus system represents a unique compact between the Tribe, Kootenai County, the Kootenai MPO, the Panhandle Area Council and the Idaho Transportation Department. Together, they creatively pool and administer Federal, State and tribal grants and local match to support the system. Before CityLink, there were no regional fixed route bus services in northern Idaho. The effort represents the only tribal and county shared transit system in the United States. All of the partners express satisfaction and pride in their ability to work together in achieving this common goal.

The fare-free bus service is operated and maintained by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, which serves as a third-party provider. There are five routes linking urban and rural job centers. The system also links educational, medical and retail services. CityLink's geographic coverage and ridership have expanded and increased exponentially in three years. It was created through the vision and determination of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, which inspired the other agencies to join what is now known as the "Coalition of the Willing." In 2009, CityLink received a FTA award for Success in Enhancing Ridership. The award recognizes ridership gains and the transferability of ridership initiatives to other transit agencies.

Best Practice Results:
Another side view of Coeur d'Alene Tribe mini-bus, which offers affordable mobility and access for tribe and community members
  • Affordable mobility and access for tribal members and the community-at-large.
  • Creative funding partnership and collaboration.
  • Continued system growth and expansion.
Program Contacts:
  • Robert Spaulding, Grants Management Officer and Alan Eirls, Transit Manager; Coeur d'Alene Tribe, 850 A Street, P.O. Box 408, Plummer, Idaho 83851. (208) 686-6309.
  • Steven O'Neal, Grants and Contracts Office, Idaho Transportation Department, P.O. Box 7129, Boise, Idaho 83707. (800) 527-7985.
  • John Austin, Panhandle Area Council, 11100 N. Airport Drive, Hayden, Idaho 83835. (208) 772-0584 x3020.

COEUR D'ALENE TRIBE - RECREATIONAL TRAIL


Small map depicting Coeur d'Alene Tribe recreational trail, owned and independently managed by tribal government.

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes was created through a lengthy legal process involving the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Idaho and the Union Pacific Railroad. Originally, the alignment was an abandoned rail right-of-way needing clean-up and a permanent cap over contaminated soils.

Today, the paved 73-mile corridor is a revered recreational treasure traversing tribal and state lands and attracting visitors from throughout the United States. The Tribe's 15-mile trail section runs through its pristine Lake Region and ties seamlessly to the state-managed section. A separate division within tribal government provides day-to-day oversight and management of the trail.

The success of the trail is due to the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's environmental and resource management practices, effective program communications techniques and its ability to work productively with its program partners and the community-at-large.

Best Practice Results:
Photo taken from paved Coeur d'Alene Tribe recreational trail, showing a partial lake view.
  • Popular regional recreational trail owned and independently managed by tribal government.
  • Separate division within tribal government to manage trail asset.
  • Respectful partnership between the Tribe, the State and Union Pacific.
Program Contacts:
  • Jason Brown, Recreational Management Program, Coeur d'Alene Tribe, 850 A Street, P.O. Box 408, Plummer, Idaho 83851. (208) 686-1118.
  • David White, State of Idaho Parks and Recreation, 2885 Kathleen Avenue, #1, Coeur D'Alene, Idaho 83815. (208) 769-1511.

HOOPA VALLEY TRIBE - FOR-PROFIT TRANSPORTATION ENTERPRISES


Photo of Hoopa Valley Tribe front-end loader

One goal for the Hoopa Valley Tribe in California is for each of its for-profit transportation enterprises to stand on its own in terms of good management and profitability. As a best practice, a portion of the profits from the Aggregate Crushing Plant and Ready Mix Plant are "recycled" back to the tribal community. Each enterprise generates its own work and revenue by bidding on and performing contracts for the State, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and private developers. Labor, administration and equipment are shared between the enterprises, where practicable, and are paid for by the enterprise that utilizes them. Most of the enterprise workers are tribal members.

As a best practice, the enterprise workers are cross-trained to perform a variety of functions across enterprises. This is in sharp contrast to most private operations that retain workers in fixed functions or release the workers when the construction cycle slows. Another best practice is the Hoopa Valley Tribe's creation of a dual accounting system to track the costs and profits of each enterprise operation. The dual accounting system is structured to meet, if not exceed, Government and Business accounting practices and standards. The accounting system ensures transparency and assists in assessing the fiscal health of each for-profit business enterprise.

Best Practice Results:
  • Successful for-profit business enterprises (Aggregate Crushing Plant and Ready Mix Plant) managed by a tribal roads department.
  • Efficient labor management and accounting practices.
  • Profits recycled back to the tribal community.
Program Contacts:
  • Warren Tamerius, Roads Department, Hoopa Valley Tribe, P.O. Box 1348, Hoopa, California 95546. (530) 625-4017.
  • Kanu Patel, Pacific Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, California 95825. (916) 078-6033.

INTER-TRIBAL COUNCIL OF ARIZONA, INC. - SEAT BELT SAFETY


Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona. Culturally-appropriate seatbelt campaign logo that states Buckle Up for Life.

The Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) provides planning support to nineteen tribal governments. In 2000, with FHWA safety grants, ITCA initiated a program to reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities and injuries on tribal lands. The Tribal Occupant Protection Campaign and Seatbelt Initiative is a best practice. It enabled two Arizona tribes to produce their own seat belt safety campaigns.

Before starting the campaigns, ITCA conducted focus groups with at-risk tribal males to determine why they did not use seatbelts. The campaigns were based on the opinions expressed in the focus groups. Culture-appropriate campaign logos and graphics were designed by the participating Tribes with consultation from a branding consultant hired by ITCA. Each Tribe was supported by a Campaign Advisory Committee (CAC) representing a rich mix of agencies, ranging from Indian Health Services to local police, fire and rescue services. The in-kind and financial support from the CAC members supplemented the FHWA safety grants.

Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona. Seatbelt campaign ad targeted to males that states Seatbelts. Just wear em.

While the participating Tribes have requested program data not be released, there is evidence that seat belt monitoring and use have increased on their reservations and seat belt-related fatalities have decreased. This best practice is a program model for other tribal governments nationwide. However, according to ITCA, more federal safety funds - targeted exclusively for Indian traffic safety - will be needed for other tribal safety programs to reach their highest potential.

Best Practice Results:
  • Culture-appropriate seatbelt safety campaigns designed by participating Tribes.
  • Creative involvement of at-risk population and strong support from community-based agencies.
  • More seat belt monitoring and use and less seat belt related deaths.
Program Contacts:
  • Esther Corbett, Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., 2214 North Central Avenue, Suite 100, Phoenix, Arizona 85004. (602) 258-4822.
  • Jennifer Brown, Safety Program Office, FHWA Arizona Division, 4000 North Central Avenue, Suite 1500, Phoenix, Arizona 85012. (602) 382-8961.

MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT TRIBAL NATION - ASSET MANAGEMENT


Infrastructure 2000, transportation asset software - sample visual map showing the location of roadway, culvert and drainage systems.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut maintains Infrastructure 2000 software to assist with transportation asset management.3 This successful application of state-of-the-art technology is a tribal best practice.

Through interactive data screens and management modules, Infrastructure 2000 tracks traffic volumes, equipment, services, and labor functions. It also tracks mowing, litter removal, snowplowing, landscaping and roadway maintenance and construction schedules. The life cycles of the Tribe's equipment and vehicles are also tracked and calibrated to ensure they are replaced or maintained when required. Infrastructure 2000 enables visual maps showing the location of roadway, culvert and drainage systems. Its records are centralized within the Public Works Department and transmitted electronically to other tribal departments for seamless information sharing. There is routine and mandatory staff training on the software to ensure proper use.

Sample Infrastructure 2000 software screen - explains that the software records and reports traffic counts and volumes, signage, and volume (history) and records inventory and condition data on sidewalks, handicap ramps, landscape trees/features.
Best Practice Results:
  • Successful application of state-of-the-art asset management technology.
  • Efficient tracking, monitoring and mapping of tribal public works assets.
  • Improved program management and information sharing.
Program Contacts:
  • Todd Clement, Public Works Department, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, 103 Pequot Trail, P.O. Box 3201, Mashantucket, Connecticut 06338. (860) 396- 6747.
  • Gordon Daring, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., 54 Tuttle Place, Middletown, Connecticut 06457. (860) 632-1500.


RED LAKE BAND OF CHIPPEWA - SELF GOVERNANCE AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS


Red Lake Band Chippewa Red Lake Construction Company backhoe digging a ditch.

As a best practice, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Tribe in Minnesota has established an independent and successful Roads Department through its self-governance compact. The Tribe has also mastered the art of building inter-governmental relationships. Both initiatives have assisted in meeting the Tribe's transportation challenges. Each is briefly described here.

A) Self Governance Compact, In 1995, the Tribe was one of the first in the nation to establish a BIA Self-Governance Compact through U.S Public Law 93-638. In 1999, it participated in a Department of Interior self-governance pilot project for the Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) program. Since that time, the Tribe has established a Self Governance Coordinator position and created the Red Lake Construction Company which undertakes most of its infrastructure construction projects.

B) Intergovernmental Relations. The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Tribe has also enlisted the support of non-tribal agencies to assist with its infrastructure construction and public works. This includes productive partnerships and resource sharing with the Corps of Engineers, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Operation Walking Shield. With Operation Walking Shield, the tribe constructed a new 11-mile reservation road through forested terrain to a planned tribal housing site. Over a three year period, the project involved the resources and labor of one-thousand recruits from the Air Force Reserve, the Army Reserve, the Navy Sea Bees and the Minnesota National Guard.

While the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Road Department exercises control and independence when performing its public works and construction, several of its projects would not have been possible without the Tribe's skillful collaboration and resource-sharing with outside agencies.

Photo of land surveyor with siteline level on tripod, standing next to an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
Best Practice Results:
  • Independently governed tribal roads department and construction company.
  • Strong outreach and partnership with State, Federal, military and private agencies.
  • Successful execution of complex infrastructure and public works improvements through self-governance.
Program Contacts:
  • Lisa Spears, Red Lake Band of Chippewa, Self Governance Coordinator, P.O. Box 550, Highway 1 East, Red Lake, Minnesota 56671. (218) 679-3361 x1407.
  • Dr. John Castillo, Walking Shield Inc., 22622 Lambert Street, Suite 303, Lake Forest, California 92630. (949) 639-0472.
  • William Pirkl, Minnesota Department of Transportation, District 2, 3920 Highway 2 West, Bemidji, Minnesota 56601. (218) 755-6561.

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4. CHECKLIST


This chapter provides a check list for the tribal transportation practitioner. The checklist is designed as a framework that tribal transportation planners may use as a starting point to improve their programs or to address specific program challenges or issues. The tribal practitioner is encouraged to use this check list to:

  • Identify his or her tribal transportation program challenges.
  • Conduct a quick diagnostic review of the tribal transportation program.
  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the tribal transportation program
  • Identify, visualize and apply new management approaches and techniques to the tribal transportation program.

This check list can be expanded or modified based on the specific circumstances and needs of the tribal transportation program. For example, all of the implementation steps listed under the program themes were not used in each individual tribal case study. In some cases, the program managers used judgment in determining which steps to take. Additionally, the program themes may be interchangeable. A tribal transportation program may require a strong infusion of leadership or resources or, possibly, a combination of several of the other management themes featured in this Guidebook; such as increased partnerships or improved communications. As with any program, tribal transportation program needs will vary in scope and complexity. The tribal practitioner is encouraged to use judgment in determining whether all, some or more of the management methods listed here will be needed when pursuing a specific program strategy. The themes and implementation steps listed below are starting points.

Leadership

a Identify and articulate the problem.
  • Openly review any deficiency in the tribal transportation program.
a Envision a solution.
  • Document findings and list possible solutions for addressing the deficiency.
  • 'Vision' and brainstorm with others within the tribal organization to identify possible solutions.
  • Achieve consensus on what should be done.
a Follow through.
  • Design and execute the preferred program solution.
  • Advocate for the program solution. Follow it through from beginning to end (and beyond, if necessary).

Problem Identification

a Investigate the cause of the deficiency.
  • Identify the deficiency in program services.
  • Investigate the cause(s) and list possible solutions.
a Conduct research on possible options.
  • Prepare a table or matrix listing cost, required resources, timing and expected results for each solution.
  • Select the preferred solution that best addresses the deficiency.
a Develop an Action Plan for executing the solution.
  • Request buy-in to the Action Plan from the tribal decision-makers.
  • Execute and monitor the Action Plan.

Resource Allocation

a Determine the need.
  • Document the program need or deficiency.
a Assess all available resources.
  • Assess the performance, capability and level of existing program resources.
a Efficiently allocate available resources to meet the need.
  • Develop a strategy to allocate or re-allocate the existing resources (before assigning new ones).
  • Periodically assess the effectiveness of the resource allocations to ensure the appropriate resources are being used to their full potential.
  • Communicate these findings to tribal decision makers.
  • Continually monitor the program resource to ensure an appropriate mix and balance is maintained to meet the identified program needs.

Creative Problem Solving

a Be creative and original.
  • Avoid cookie-cutting, duplicating or copying existing programs.
a Investigate available options.
  • Consider all options for improving the tribal transportation program.
a Design a solution that is responsive to the community's values, needs and expectations.
  • Communicate the preferred solution to the tribal decision makers and to the tribal community.
  • Test the solution and assess the outcome. Has the solution fully addressed the program problem or issue?
  • Apply the lessons learned from the test to the larger tribal transportation program.

Collaboration and Partnership

a Determine the program deficiencies.
  • Review the deficiencies that are preventing the desired program results. This may include too little funding, limited technical resources, insufficient personnel or inadequate staff training.
a Identify partners with similar program objectives.
  • Identify partners such as public sector or private sector agencies and associations.
  • Communicate an interest to collaborate with these agencies. Explain what will be needed from them to supplement your program resources.
a Share resources to achieve a common goal.
  • With your partners, design a resource sharing program. Include performance measures to ensure the program meets each partner's objectives.
  • Put the partnership agreement in writing and ask each partner to sign it.
  • With your partners, execute and monitor the resource-sharing process and its results.
a Build on the experience.
  • Find other opportunities to partner with these agencies and continue on an-going dialogue and relationship.
  • Work with these agencies to strengthen and build a trust relationship.

Communications

a Target Audience.
  • Identify and target your audience.
  • Use a reliable and commonplace method to convey the program information. This may be a memorandum, executive summary, tribal website or website link, tribal flyer, tribal radio station or community newspaper.
a Design a Concise Message.
  • Design your message to those directly served by the tribal transportation program.
  • Request feedback on your communications method from the program users.
a Develop Reliable Mechanism to Convey Information.
  • Modify the communications method or message based on the feedback you receive.

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5. TECHNICAL RESOURCES


This chapter provides an annotated bibliography of publications relevant to the topic of tribal transportation program management. It features USDOT Federal Highway Administration, Transportation Research Board and other related publications.

USDOT - FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION

Asset Management

Transportation Planning and Asset Management, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Asset Management, 2008: A discussion on the benefits of applying transportation asset management during the planning process. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/asstmgmt/tpamb.cfm

Asset Manager Primer, USDOT, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Asset Management, 1999: This primer was developed to answer the question, "What is asset management" There is discussion on the concept and its application. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/asstmgmt/amprimer.pdf

Report 545 - Analytical Tools for Asset Management, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 2005: This report examines two transportation asset management tools - AssetManager NT and AssetManager PT - designed to help state departments of transportation and other transportation agencies identify, evaluate and recommend investment decisions for managing infrastructure assets. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_545.pdf

Historic Preservation

Improving the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Process Through Enhanced Tribal Capacity: This document describes the Council on Environmental Quality's creation of an Interagency Tribal NEPA Capacity Work Group. The objective is to make the NEPA process efficient and timely.

FHWA Historic Preservation and Archaeology Program, Tribal Issues: This document provides information on tribal consultation and coordination, provides examples of streamlining initiatives and offers links to other resources related to Tribes and historic preservation.

Tribal Consultation and Cultural Resources Assessment - Environmental Justice Case Studies: This case study describes a project confronted with the discovery of protected historical resources. It demonstrates how agencies can work together and, at the same time, comply with their respective mandates.

Section 106 FAQ's on Tribal Consultation: This document addresses frequently asked questions on the Section 106 process.

Partnership and Collaboration

Arizona: Building Technical Capacity for Improved Tribal Consultation and Communication (or PDF, 81KB): This document describes successful communications between the Arizona Department of Transportation, several tribal governments and the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.

Bangor Area, Maine: Technical Assistance and Coordination between a Tribe and MPO (or PDF, 384KB): This document describes participation by the Penobscot Indian Nation in the policy and planning committees of the Bangor Area Comprehensive Transportation System.

North Central New Mexico: Development of a Regional Transit District (or PDF, 102KB): The North Central Regional Transit District is a regional transit planning organization designed with five Indian pueblos and non-tribal governments.

San Diego, California: A Tribal Consortium Enhances Tribal/State Coordination Efforts (or PDF, 189KB): The Reservation Transportation Authority (RTA) is a unique consortium of 24 tribes that has worked effectively with Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments.

South Dakota: State/Tribal Planning Coordination Meetings Achieve Results (or PDF, 176KB): Annual meetings are held by South Dakota Department of Transportation and tribes to coordinate the STIP with the IRR TIP and to discuss tribal transportation needs.

Thurston County, Washington: Partnership between Tribes and an MPO (or PDF, 157KB): This document describes the participation of the Nisqually Indian Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation in the Thurston Regional Planning Council planning process.

Real Estate

Acquisition of Easements over Native American Lands For Transportation Project: This document describes research conducted by the FHWA Office of Real Estate Services on obtaining right-of-way easements over Tribal or allotted lands. It identifies best practices.

Safety

Tribal Highway Safety Improvement Program Model: This is a model program with guidelines for identifying hazardous highway locations, sections, and elements; and developing and prioritizing projects.

Transportation Planning

Tribal Transportation Planning Capacity Building: This program is designed to help decision makers and transportation officials plan tribal transportation services.

A Citizen's Guide to Transportation Decision-Making: The FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration developed this guide for public understanding on how transportation decisions are made at the local, state and national level.

Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) Program, Transportation Planning Procedures and Guidelines: This document explains the transportation planning process under the IRR Program.

Final Rule on Indian Reservation Roads Program: The final rule on the IRR Program became effective October 1, 2004. This rule establishes the policies and procedures that govern the program.

Final Rule on Indian Reservation Roads Program Subject Index: Subject index for IRR Program regulations.

Transportation Decision Making Information Tools for Tribal Governments: Developing A Long Range Transportation Plan Summary - FHWA-HEP-05-052 (or PDF, 31KB): An executive summary of publication FHWA-HEP-05-053.

Transportation Decision Making Information Tools for Tribal Governments: Developing A Long Range Transportation Plan Module - FHWA-HEP-05-053 (or PDF, 278KB): This module provides guidance on developing a Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) with examples of noteworthy tribal practices.

Transportation Decision Making Information Tools for Tribal Governments: Developing the Tribal Transportation Improvement Program Module - FHWA-HEP-08-003 (or PDF, 319KB): This module offers definitions and legal references for each of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) documents (TTIP, IRRTIP, Metropolitan TIP, and STIP); presents an overview on how the TTIP is developed; and identifies stakeholders and their related processes.

Transportation Decision Making Information Tools for Tribal Governments: Tribal Transportation Funding Resources - FHWA-HEP-08-006 (or PDF, 1.68 MB): This module identifies federal funding opportunities for tribal transportation planning. Thirty-six programs are described with eligibility criteria for each.

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD

Synthesis 366 - Tribal Transportation Program - A Synthesis of Highway Practice, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 2007: Documentation on the political and institutional structures of tribes and how transportation programs function within them. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_syn_366.pdf

Report 545 - Analytical Tools for Asset Management, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 2005: This report examines two transportation asset management tools - AssetManager NT and AssetManager PT - designed to help state departments of transportation and other transportation agencies identify, evaluate and recommend investment decisions for managing infrastructure assets. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_545.pdf

Conference on Transportation Improvements - Experiences Among Tribal, Local, State and Federal Governments, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Transportation Research Circular #D-C039, Transportation Research Board, 2002.

OTHER RESOURCES

American Indian Transportation: Issues and Successful Models - Technical Assistance Brief No. 14, National Transit Resource Center, Community Transportation Association of America, Washington, DC, 1999.

American Indian Transportation: Issues and Successful Models, Brief No. 28, National Transit Resource Center, Community Transportation Association of America, Washington, DC, 2006.

Government to Government Transportation Accord, Minnesota Department of Transportation, FHWA - Minnesota Division, Minnesota.

Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., White Paper, Governor's Traffic Safety Advisory Council. www.gtsac.org/GTSAC/Studies_Reports/White_Papers/PDF/ITCA.pdf

Navajo Transit System, 2008. www.navajotransit.com

Program for Local Governments - Tribal Affairs, Wisconsin Department of Transportation. http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/localgov/aid/tribal-affairs.htm.

The Denali Commission Awards Kawerak, Inc. with 2007 Best Practice Award, Denali Commission, Anchorage Alaska, 2007.

Tribal Transportation Current Practices, Community Transportation Association of America. http://web1.ctaa.org/webmodules/webarticles/anmviewer.asp?a=96&print=yes

Tribal Transportation: Barriers and Solutions, Brief #5, 2002, Research and Training Center on Disabilities in Rural Communities, Rural Institute, University of Montana. http://rtc.ruralinstitute.umt.ed

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6. INVITATION


This chapter is an open invitation to the national tribal transportation community to participate in the development of future FHWA tribal transportation Guidebook projects. FHWA is seeking input on future topics to feature in its Guidebooks - topics that provide the best benefit to the tribal transportation practitioner. FHWA is also seeking examples of exemplary tribal transportation practices and programs that can be show cased and shared as case studies.

Readers of this Guidebook are encouraged to complete and submit the brief form below.
Thank you in advance for your participation in this new educational series!

Your Name: Your Telephone #:
Your E-Mail Address:
Your Organization:
List your suggestions for future Tribal Transportation Guidebook topics in order of priority:
Guidebook Topic Why Is the Topic Important to the Tribal Transportation Community?
List your suggestions for future Tribal Transportation Guidebook case studies:
Tribal Transportation Program Why should the Program be studied?
Please send your suggestions to: Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Office of Planning, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Room E72-125, Washington, DC 20590
Telephone: (202) 366-0106 E-Mail: kenneth.petty@dot.gov

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7. APPENDIX A: PROGRAM SURVEY

This program survey was used to collect information on the tribal transportation programs featured in the Tribal Transportation Best Practices Guidebook.

Tribal Transportation Best Practices Survey

Your participation in this U.S. Department of Transportation research project is very much appreciated. Our objective is to begin the necessary and important work of documenting the best transportation practices of Tribal Governments and sharing this information with other tribal and transportation officials and agencies. The results of this research will represent a learning tool and an aid to practitioners in their work. It also will help to identify methods for achieving effective tribal transportation planning and program management.

I. Introduction

a) Date: b) Tribe Name:
c) Tribe Address:
d) Interviewee Name / Title:
e) Interviewee Involvement w/ Program - # of Years:
f) Telephone # / E-Mail:

II. Program Information

a) Name of Program:
b) Purpose of Program:
c) When Started: d) How Started (History):
e) How Authorized, i.e. Tribal Ordinance, State DOT-Tribal Agreement:
f) How Funded:
Funding Year Funding Level Funding Source
g) Description of Service:
Program Year Number Served How Served
Tribal Non-Tribal
h) How Program Service(s) Communicated:

III. Program Management and Support

a) # of Program Staff:
Staff Title # Function How Funded # of Years
b) Program Support and Oversight (Within Tribal Government):
c) Program Support and Oversight (Outside Tribal Government):
Outside Agency ContactśTitle Phone # Level of Involvement

IV. Program Performance and Monitoring

a) Best / Promising Program Features (Why):
b) Disappointing/Unsatisfactory Program Features (Why):
c) Program Monitoring Process:
d) Future Program Goals/Objectives:

V. Other Comments.

Please provide to the Researcher documents that will aid in the understanding of the history, development, funding and management of the program. Electronic photographs, maps, graphics and/or brochures depicting program services will also be helpful to this research effort.

Thank you for your time and participation.
It is appreciated!

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8. APPENDIX B: ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Participants in the tribal case studies and this Guidebook project are listed here with appreciation.

Coeur d'Alene Tribe Case Studies

  • Robert Spaulding, Administrator, Grant Management Office, Coeur d'Alene Tribe
  • Alan Eirls, General Manager, CityLink
  • John Austin, Economic Development Specialist, Panhandle Area Council
  • Elizabeth Sier, Transportation Specialist, Federal Transit Administration
  • Steven O'Neal, Grants / Contracts Officer, Idaho Transportation Department
  • Jason Brown, Recreation Program Manager, Coeur d'Alene Tribe
  • Tony Chavez, Subcontractor, Union Pacific Railroad
  • David White, Regional Director, Idaho Parks and Recreation

Hoopa Valley Tribe Case Study

  • Warren Tamerius, Transportation Planner, Roads Department, Hoopa Valley Tribe
  • Gary Redenius, Roads Director, Hoopa Valley Tribe
  • Kanu Patel, Roads Engineer, BIA Pacific Regional Office

Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona Case Study

  • Esther Corbett, Transportation Project Coordinator, ITCA
  • Jennifer Brown, Safety Program Manager, FHWA Arizona Division
  • La Retta Lehan, Program Manager, Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety
  • Robert Maxwell, Regional Planner, BIA Western Office

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Case Study

  • Todd Clement, Operations Analyst, Mashantucket Pequot Public Works
  • Nelson Mars, Public Works Director, Mashantucket Pequot
  • Jamie Romanoff, Grants / Contracts Officer, Mashantucket Pequot
  • Gordon Daring, Senior Project Manager, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Tribe Case Study

  • Lisa Spears, Self Governance Coordinator, Red Lake Band of Chippewa
  • William Pirkl, Design Engineer, Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • James Garrigan, President, Northern Engineering and Consulting, Inc.
  • Gary Doll, Project Coordinator, Walking Shield, Inc.
  • Dr. John Castillo, Executive Director, Walking Shield, Inc.

Guidebook Project Review Team

  • Kenneth N. Petty, II - Federal Highway Administration, Office of Planning
  • Theresa Hutchins - Federal Highway Administration, Office of Planning
  • Kyle Kitchel - Federal Highway Administration, Office of Program Development
  • Lorrie Lau - Federal Highway Administration, Office of Planning

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Reference

1. The Transportation Decision-Making Series modules are available on the FHWA Tribal Planning web site at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/tribaltrans/.

2. Most of the documents reviewed in the literature search are listed in Chapter 5 - Technical Resources.

3. Infrastructure 2000 software is no longer available for purchase. The reader may contact the Tribe directly for more information or review the other asset management programs listed in Section 5 - Technical Resources.

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For more information contact Theresa Hutchins at FHWA (360-753-9402).
Updated October 1, 2012
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