P3 Evidence Project


For general inquiries, the P3 Center can be contacted at: p3policy@gmu.edu

Dr. Gifford, Center Director, can be contacted at: jgifford@gmu.edu

Phone: 703-993-2275
Fax: 703-993-8215

The P3 Evidence Project (the Project) is an initiative of the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy at George Mason University to bring together academia and the public and private sectors to build and collect evidence for evaluating the efficacy of the P3 approach.

The objective of the Project is to assemble and evaluate the evidence about U.S. experience with the P3 approach. The primary focus is highway and transit projects that are already selected as U.S. P3 projects, using examples from state and regional programs.  Without a thorough examination of the evidence, acceptance of the P3 approach will continue to be limited. Moreover, this examination must recognize the range of different objectives that project sponsors pursue.

The Project explores the research in three steps:

1) Identify and classify target P3 projects for case study examination, chiefly U.S. surface transportation projects developed between 2002 and 2015 with construction contracts and long-term engagements provide the greatest latitude for private engagement and innovation (DBFOM, DBFM, and DBOM) post-2003.  Special attention is paid to P3 projects with availability payments and concession P3s risking developer equity.

2) Develop and examine a case study evidence database through document review and participant interviews.

3) Assess outcomes based on evidence gathered through interviews and document review.

Six initial case studies formed Phase I of this analysis, with three additional cases analyzed for Phase II.  Case selection for Phase III is pending additional support of the project.

Based on the current study cases, public-sector P3 objectives have primarily targeted cost reductions for the public sector and/or faster project completion times compared to traditional procurement, ultimately generating substantial improvements. In addition, public agencies effectively engaged P3 delivery approaches to:

  1. Increase access to private sector expertise and innovation.
  2. Accelerate project delivery.
  3. Improve cost and schedule certainty.
  4. Manage project risks.
  5. Promote broader transit and development opportunities.

The research thus far also suggests that the public sector can improve P3 outcomes by:

  1. Providing comparative metrics for traditionally procured and P3-delivered projects.
  2. Providing citizen-friendly project information.
  3. Promoting intergovernmental knowledge exchange.

Phase I Report
Phase 2 Report

Publication: Bolaños, Lisardo, Morghan Transue, Porter Wheeler, and Jonathan Gifford. “US Surface Transportation Public–Private Partnerships: Objectives and Evidence—Extended Findings.” Transportation Research Record (2019): 0361198119858280