Implications of State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) Participating in the One Call Process as an Underground Facility Operator

Grants and Contracts Details


The One Call process (e.g. 811) is a nationwide system that was established to minimize the chance of damaging underground utilities during construction projects. Operators of underground facilities are required to participate in the One Call process as member institutions. The system is free for users and is funded through fees assessed to operators of underground utilities. DOTs operate underground utilities as part of the transportation networks (e.g. traffic signal cables, roadway lighting, etc.). While the laws vary from state to state, in most states, Departments of Transportation are exempt from including their own underground utilities in the One Call network and do not have to pay the fees associated with One Call membership. Many states are considering removing the One Call exemption for DOTs. The objective of this research is to identify and document the impacts to DOTs due to the loss of exemptions and membership as a One-Call member (underground facility operator). This objective will be achieved through executing the following tasks: Task 1. Meet with the NCHRP project panel face-to-face to discuss the work plan, design of the survey to be conducted in Task 3 and other details of the project's technical scope, and significant opportunities for panel-member contributions to the research. Prepare a summary documenting the meeting and the decisions made. Task 2. Review pertinent Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) research, law, regulations, and approaches to DOTs requirements under the One-call laws. Categorize the pertinent criteria of DOTs' One-call requirements and exemptions including DOT responsibilities, Notification of excavation, Location Requirements, Enforcement, and Legal impacts Task 3. Conduct a survey of state DOTs to (a) identify DOTs' concerns with particular requirements under their One-call laws; (b) identify DOTs with valuable documentable risk/benefit experience as a member underground facility operator; (c) identify documentable costs of One-call requirements and (d) identify DOTs with documentable risk/benefit experience with regards to an exemption to notification excavation requirements for locating underground DOT facilities. Task 4. Prepare a case study research strategy or an alternative approach to (1) identify and evaluate the effective practices currently in select states as defined in Task 3, and (2) gather information from their respective One-call systems. Task 5. Identify and recommend state DOTs for detailed case studies. The state DOTs selected should be diverse by size and geography, and should represent a range of experience relative to One-call systems. Task 6. Estimate the costs and benefits of using the One-Call system using any state specific data available. Examples of costs include the funding of One-Call centers, locating facilities, and receiving notifications from One-Call centers. Benefits may include risk reduction in terms of damage reductions and improved jobsite safety. Task 7. Summarize the findings and conclusions of the case studies, in particular, present the key themes of each case study and the important insights which cross-cut the different experiences . Use appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods to explain differences among the case studies. Task 8. Prepare a report that presents different models of One-Call systems with various degrees of DOT involvement with regards to funding to one-call centers, locating facilities, receiving notification from one-call centers. The report should address: the legal issues that affect state DOTs funding to one-call centers, locating facilities, receiving notification from one-call centers and any verifiable impacts on damage prevention. Also, the report will include an executive summary that presents the key findings of the study.
Effective start/end date2/13/1711/30/18


  • National Academy of Sciences: $99,583.00


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