ITE Journal - May 2021 - 16

RESOURCES  |  inside ite

Best Practices in Selecting Transportation
Consultants - An ITE Informational Report
By Gene Chartier, P.Eng. (F), Paradigm
Transportation Solutions Limited

Learn More
The Consultants Council will deliver
a webinar on May 11, 2021, at
2:00 p.m. EDT titled Best Practices
in Selecting Transportation
Consultants - Perspectives from
the Public and Private Sectors
to provide additional insights
on the informational guide.
To register, visit bit.ly/
ITEConsultantsWebinar.
An ITE Informational Report | April 2021

Best Practices in Selecting
Transportation Consultants

Public agencies require external services
and advice from time to time when their
own staff are either unavailable or lack the
required skills or expertise. Most agencies
meet this need by hiring a consultant to
undertake the specific project or task.
Selecting the best-suited and most
qualified consultant improves the likelihood
of delivering a useful, high-quality product
on time and within budget. This choice is
one the agency must make not only with
a clear and complete understanding and
knowledge of the project requirements, but
also through the application of an effective
consultant selection process.
With this objective in mind, the ITE Public
Agency and Consultants Councils have
recently completed an informational report,
Best Practices in Selecting Transportation Consultants. The report focuses on the selection
of consultants in the disciplines traditionally described as transportation or traffic
engineering and transportation planning
performing work for local governments (i.e.,
towns, cities, counties). Objectives of the
report include:
*	 Providing information on the use of
consulting services, including explaining how and when agencies retain
transportation consultants, the steps
involved in developing and administering an effective consultant selection
process, and how the consultant
prepares its response; and
*	 Describing the principles and different
methods of selecting a transportation
consultant, highlighting the long-term
benefits of using a Qualifications-Based
Selection (QBS) process.

The Consultant
Selection Challenge
Best Practices in Selecting Transportation
Consultants explains the inherent difficulties
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presented by the consultant selection process. From the agency's perspective, typical
challenges include:
*	 Understanding Project Complexity:
The agency may not fully appreciate
the level of effort and type of resources
required by the consultant and its own
staff to carry out the assignment.
*	 Setting a Reasonable Scope
Matched to Budget: Developing a
project scope that clearly specifies the
expected outcomes and aligns with
available financing can prove challenging if the agency is not familiar with
the work.
*	 Determining the Preferred Consultant Selection Methodology:
A range of different methods exist,
each with distinct advantages and
disadvantages.
*	 Coordinating with Procurement
Staff: Although responsible for the
process, procurement staff may not
fully understand or appreciate the
technical nuances of the project or
how certain elements will benefit the
agency.
*	 Choosing the Right Selection
Committee: Members need to have
pertinent technical expertise, a broad
understanding of the project, basic
knowledge of how consulting works,
and a clear grasp of the procurement
process requirements.
Consultants also encounter challenges
through the process including:
*	 Incurring Costs in Preparing the
Response: Better understanding cost
implications can help agencies appropriately align requirements and use
tools like interviews and shortlists more
strategically.
*	 Responding to Generic Scopes of
Work: Where possible, clearly defining


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ITE Journal - May 2021

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