Department of Transportation

Problem Screening

Executive Summary

The Problem Screening (PS) phase is the beginning of the evaluation process for any potential capital project. The purpose is to obtain information from relevant management systems, determine if the area of concern is being addressed by existing projects/programs, and to untimely make a recommendation to the Capital Program Committees regarding advancement to Concept Development.


The major objective of the PS Phase is to effectively, efficiently, and consistently screen apparent transportation problems in agreement with the NJDOT’s 10 Year Statewide Capital Investment Strategy (SCIS) and project prioritization criteria. This objective is expected to produce selective proposals that are consistent with the SCIS performance related goals, objectives and investment targets for potential advancement while conforming to State and Federal requirements.


The PS Phase is federally funded as this work is related to the development of the state highway, transit and local Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

Key Stakeholders

The NJDOT Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are asked during Problem Statement Reviews and for Management System scores.

Some typical Project Stakeholders include, but are not limited to, the following:

Internal Stakeholders (SME):
  • NJDOT Management System owners.
  • Bureau of Structural Engineering
  • Bureau of Traffic Engineering
  • Pavement and Drainage Management
  • Bureau of Transportation Data and Safety
  • Bureau of Commuter and Mobility Strategies (Bicycle and Pedestrian Unit)
  • Bureau of Systems Planning
  • Bureau of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Solutions
  • Division of Capital Investment Planning and Development
External Stakeholders:
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
  • Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO)
  • State Office of Smart Growth
  • New Jersey State Police
  • Residents and Business Owners
  • Business and Community Groups
  • Elected Officials and Local Representatives
  • Commuters
  • Local Police Departments
Phase Initiation

To initiate the PS Phase, the following activities should be completed:

  • Problem Statement identification
Problem Statements
  • Problem statements are generated from internal and external sources. Internal problem statements are generated from the department’s management systems. Each individual management system analyzes their data and identifies problems that need to be addressed and categorize it according to priority level.
  • External problem statements are generated by the department’s Office of Community Relations. The problems are provided by external stakeholders.
Major Tasks

The major tasks associated with the PS Phase are summarized below.

  • Perform a Problem Statement Review.  This is a three step process. The CIPD staff:
    • reviews the Problem Statement for possible duplication of an existing project;
    • identifies whether correcting the potential transportation deficiency outlined in the Problem Statement is in general conformity to NJDOT’s Capital Investment Planning and Development goals and objectives; and
    • identifies and documents any known risk in risk register

    The outcome of a Problem Statement Review can be:
    • assignment to the Division of Operations as a maintenance work order;
    • request for disposition by CPSC;
    • assignment to external agency; or
    • placed on hold or withdraw.

    These outcomes are decided on by the CIPD Division, and take into account the availability of funding. If a withdraw occurs, the Problem Statement is returned to the files and kept by the CIPD Division for possible future reference or review. It is the responsibility of the CIPD Division to record the outcome of this process.

  • Obtain approval to advance.The CIPD Division places the Problem Statement and recommendation on the CPSC agenda for discussion and recommendation to the CPC. The Screening Committee, chaired by the Director of CIPD, will evaluate the recommendations and make a determination and recommendation for actions by the CPC.  The CPC, chaired by the NJDOT Deputy Commissioner, will make a determination including the project scope as well as the process path to be followed.

    When applicable, the CPC can recommend that a Problem Statement be withdrawn or recycled to the Problem Statement file, maintained by the CIPD Division and be kept as a resource for potentially re-identifying Problem Statements for future consideration in the Study and Development Program.


The major products for the PS Phase may include:

  • Problem Statement validation, subject to screening and funding that can move into the Study and Development (S&D) Program as proposals for Concept Development
  • Proposed Project, subject to funding
  • Senior Management decision that further advancement is not warranted and that the decision is documented and the case is closed
  • Problem Statement Priority Rankings
  • Problem Statement Tracking Database
  • Problem Statement Status Reports
  • Problem Statement Review Documentation
Phase Closing

The following items must be completed to leave the PS Phase:

  • Problem Statement Review
  • Initiation of quick fixes under a maintenance work order conducted by the Division of Operations, if applicable
  • CPC Approval to advance to a proposed project, to withdraw or place in a future Study and Development Program

No Problem Statement is permitted to go forward to Concept Development until final approval is given by the CPC and a funding source is identified by the CIPD Division. Exceptions are Problem Statements that are pursued as NJDOT maintenance projects which fall within the limited scope of work that can be completed through a maintenance work order and funded by a maintenance line item.

Some files are in Portable Document Format (PDF) and will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (available at our Adobe Access Page).

Flow Charts

Last updated date: October 24, 2023 11:28 AM