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Concern over infrastructure quality led the Massachusetts Highway Department (MassHighway) to
develop the Massachusetts Quality Initiative (MQI), under which MassHighway affirmed that design
quality influences constructed projects. To promote future design quality, MassHighway engaged The
Engineering Center to identify specific design management practices that influence the quality of
highway and bridge construction. This research does that. It not only provides a model for measuring
highway design quality, but also some telling findings: we were able to quantify the potential cost of
poor design quality and unequivocally show which management practices positively (and negatively)
affect design quality. With these results, state agencies and their consultants have a sound basis for
making management decisions to effect higher quality infrastructure projects. Consequently, the public –
users of our nation’s roadways – will enjoy safer, more durable, and less costly highways and bridges.
Moreover, we believe these findings also can be used to improve the design quality of all other types of
This is the first of two reports written by Melvin Jones, PE and others at The Engineering Center, under contract to MassHighway.
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