[Guest Contributor] Kristen Z., Transportation Planner – Do You Suffer From TIP Amendment Anxiety?

HI, I’m Kristen Z., and I have TIP Amendment Anxiety. Yep, you read that right, I have (self-diagnosed) TIP Amendment Anxiety.

[2 Minute Read]

HI, I’m Kristen Z., and I have TIP Amendment Anxiety.  Yep, you read that right, I have (self-diagnosed) TIP Amendment Anxiety.

Can I get an AMEN here?? If I’ve gauged my audience right, you too are a professional Transportation Planner at an MPO and you may be thinking,

“Geez, Kristen, one of your responsibilities is to administer the TIP.  What’s your problem?  What’s the big deal?”

I know, I know…you may also be thinking that even though TIP Amendments are super tedious and time-consuming, the importance of doing them right ensures that programmed projects stay on schedule. Greater good…I get it.  

But…I know you can feel my pain and dread as my phone rings with another call from a “Last Minute Larry” because he can’t get the MS Access database to open.  (Do you blame me for considering the roll to voicemail option as I wonder why the process cannot be more efficient?)

Ok, ok, you’re right, I know. It’s just that my TIP Amendment to-do list is so tedious:

  • Update the information in the last amendment MS Access database
  • Revise last amendment communications to reflect current information and files
  • Release targeted communications and instructions
  • Merge all new information back into master database
  • Run internal QA/QC macros
  • Run the final reports
  • Update the map in ArcGIS, and write the staff reports

This process works, it does.  The TIP is amended regularly with public comment periods alongside Board and committee consideration and action.  And with a sigh of relief, I wait for the next one.

Can you relate?

Would you like to find a way to streamline the TIP Amendment process so that your time (or your staff’s time) can be more effectively spent on other MPO responsibilities?

Would you like to find a tool to make the TIP Amendment process easier, more efficient, more accurate, and super user friendly for lead agencies, the public, and DOT and FHWA/FTA partners to access the project info in the TIP?

Do you have a hard time finding staff with advanced database skills to administer TIP Amendments?

I did! At the time, I found myself promoted to Planning Manager and did not have time to devote to the time-consuming TIP Amendment process anymore.  We decided to replace the tedious MS Access process with a Software as-a-Service (SaaS) solution because it would free up my time to focus on other responsibilities and, frankly, it was a cheaper option than spending my time or a co-worker’s time on the tedious TIP Adoption and Amendment process with MS Access.  

After a competitive RFP process, we chose EcoInteractive’s ProjectTracker SaaS tool for several reasons.

  • They specialized in this type of work, they weren’t just a database company trying to make a standard relational database “fit” the TIP process
  • They offered several bonus features we hadn’t even anticipated – a public on-line portal, mapping features, automatic emails to lead agency contacts, automated routine reports like Fiscal Constraint and Summary of Changes.
  • The public portal was an easy way for us to show TIP project information to our Board members and other stakeholders.
  • They were clearly experts in the overall TIP process, how it relates to the MTP and to the STIP

This last item was the biggest selling point for us. We had a small staff composed of several “new to MPOs” planners. We wanted to spend our time as efficiently as possible, focusing our time on the assignments that were most important to our Board.  EcoInteractive’s ProjectTracker SaaS tool allowed us to do just that because it allowed me to process TIP Amendments with ease and confidence.

See for yourself.  Request a 10-minute demo today at www.ecointeractive.com. No strings attached.

Now, if there was something EcoInteractive could do about that pesky federal regulator.  😊

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