Campus Units

Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board






Alternative Contracting Methods (ACM) usage has grown to the point where the industry has sufficient experience to provide a definitive set of best practices to both promote consistency in the nation’s procurement system and to leverage the lessons learned by early ACM adopters. The barrier to achieving this goal is that there is no uniform agreement on the definition of what constitutes a best practice. This paper proposes both an objective definition and a framework for identifying and analyzing ACM practices that have been found to be effective by peer-reviewed research to determine if a given practice deserves to be termed as best practice. The framework is based on the series of indexes that are used to rank candidate practices in order of their importance and their effectiveness. The 24 ACM practices evaluated were identified from 6 National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis reports on ACM topics. The paper finds that only 4 of the 24 candidates meet the objective criteria to be termed a best practice. These were 1) Formalizing and institutionalizing agency ACM procedures, 2) Use of 2-step best-value award procedures, 3) Appointing an agency ACM champion, and 4) Offering stipends for unsuccessful competitors.


This is a manuscript of an article from Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2630 (2017): doi: 10.3141/2630-07. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

National Academy of Sciences



File Format


Published Version