Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering

First Advisor

Keith Molenaar

Second Advisor

Matthew Hallowell

Third Advisor

Amy Javernick-Will


In an effort to increase performance, transparency, resource allocation, and decision-making, United States (U.S.) state departments of transportation (DOTs) are developing and implementing formal enterprise risk management (ERM) programs. To explore ERM performance and help agencies advance their ERM programs, this research investigates and documents the following aspects of DOTs with formal ERM programs: strategic goals and corresponding risks; risk measures; risk controls; and processes in place to identify risks, establish measures, and develop controls. This thesis presents the results of a multi-method research approach that included surveys, interviews, and case study investigations. Surveys were administered to all 52 DOTs, with responses received from 44/52 (85%). Organization-wide ERM implementation was identified at nine agencies and follow-up interviews were conducted with eight of the nine DOTs that indicated formal ERM programs. Additional case study investigations were conducted on six of these interviewed DOTs. This paper presents the synthesized results of four of the six case studies that had documented strategic risks managed through an ERM program. Principal findings include the strategic risk categories and specific strategic risks managed by formal ERM programs, the assessments of these risks, and controls in place to assist the DOTs' efforts to achieve their mission and strategic goals. Accompanying these findings are the corresponding processes used in the different stages of the investigated risk identification, assessment, and management strategies. The results are intended to serve as a reference tool for DOT executives and senior management as they develop and implement ERM at their own agencies and also to advance the state of knowledge in the transportation research community.