Tag Archives: strategic direction

UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras Featured in New AASHTO Video

AASHTO occasionally posts a video they call the “2 Minute Update”, featuring transportation leaders from different state DOTs across the country. This month’s video profiles UDOT’s Executive Director Carlos Braceras. Carlos explains his vision for UDOT and discusses our emphasis on integrated transportation and the importance of educating new engineers. AASHTO distributes the video to reporters nationwide, and a few have already filed stories, including this one from CE News.


A Vision for the Future

Carlos Braceras, UDOT Executive Director

Carlos Braceras, UDOT Executive Director

Carlos is a man with a vision. A vision to make a difference.

It may sound simple, but it’s true. Over the past several weeks, he and his leadership team crafted a shared Vision Statement for the Department’s future that will help us enhance communities, improve the environment, and cultivate a stronger economy.

But this vision has actually been in the making for months…starting with ideas rolling around in Carlos’ head and jotted down as quick notes on his phone as new thoughts came to him. Let’s back up even further. This really all started when John Njord retired.

Choosing a new Executive Director for UDOT was a very high priority for Governor Herbert. It required Carlos to evaluate why he wanted the position and what he would do if he was successful. He said it took several months of thinking about the department and where we could make improvements.

“This was pretty tough because of the excellent work already going on in our organization,” Carlos said. But he wanted to find ways to better align with the Governor’s goals and broaden the areas in which we focus.

So this is where Carlos’ vision was born. He says he felt UDOT’s four strategic goals were taking us in the right direction, but there were other areas we could give priority to…leading him to determine our new “emphasis areas.” These emphasis areas are a combination of how we do our jobs and how we can improve our organization. They are:

  • Integrated Transportation
  • Collaboration
  • Education
  • Transparency
  • Quality
  • Operational Excellence

Carlos also says he took a lot of time to think about what UDOT’s core values are, values that we as employees all live by, but have never officially been put in writing.

“A lot of times in our business, decisions are easy to make,” Carlos said. “We can look in a manual or go online and get a direct answer. But most of the time the questions are much more difficult and there is no easy answer. That is where I expect our great employees to look to our core values to provide guidance. Think about these as the traits you would like the public to think about when they think about UDOT.”

For five months, every time Carlos heard a characteristic he thought represented UDOT, he wrote it down. In the end he had quite a long list, but he narrowed it down to only the most important values he would like our department to exemplify; innovation, trustworthiness, dedication, passion, public responsiveness, and fiscal responsibility. Carlos says, “These are the traits that I hope will guide us when we’re making difficult decisions.”

So back to the job interview. More than 60 people applied for the position of UDOT’s Executive Director. A screening and interview process narrowed the field to Carlos and two others. In an interview with Governor Herbert, Lt. Governor Bell, and the Governor’s staff, Carlos was asked two key questions.

When he was asked “what is your vision for the department?” he was prepared and happy he had thought about this very thing for several months. When he was asked “why do you want the job?” he was also quick to respond saying, “Because the work we do at UDOT makes a difference to all Utahns. We save lives, we improve the economy, and we make everyone’s lives better. I love Utah and I want to make a difference.”

Carlos says he is extremely grateful he now has the opportunity to work towards making a difference in his new role as Executive Director. When I asked him where he saw the department in ten years, he admitted his vision might change.

“Today I am confident we’re heading in the right direction, but tomorrow we have to be prepared to ask the question ‘is there more we can be doing in order to keep Utah’s transportation system the envy of the country?’”

Carlos says he knows with the dedication of our incredible employees, we will be able to make his vision a reality. He says, “I continue to be amazed by the passion all of you bring to your jobs. You don’t think of it as your job, but your mission to improve the quality of life in this great state.”

Carlos looks forward to having one-on-one discussion with employees about his new vision over the next several months. In the meantime, you can see what all the buzz is about. A downloadable PDF of the complete Vision plan is available below.

Carlos Vision

A Vision for UDOT’s Future

In the last two decades, UDOT has emerged as a national leader in transportation innovation.  In the coming years, UDOT intends to carry on that legacy, while continuing to adapt, adjust and improve. UDOT will continue to strive toward its Final Four Strategic Goals while embracing four new Guiding Principles to ensure the right work is being done in the right way.

Final Four Strategic Goals
Where we are going

Over the years, UDOT has laid out and refined the Strategic Goals that will continue to drive every UDOT project and serve as a standard by which to measure success. They are:

Preserve Infrastructure
UDOT is preserving Utah’s existing transportation infrastructure. The state’s multibillion dollar investment in roads, bridges and other assets must be maintained for future generations.

Optimize Mobility
UDOT works to optimize traffic mobility through a number of measures, including adding capacity, innovative design, managed lanes, TravelWise and signal coordination.

Zero Fatalities
UDOT remains committed to safety, and the goal to consistently improve safety on Utah’s roads can be summed up in two words: zero fatalities.

Strengthen the Economy
This goal recognizes UDOT’s role in creating and managing a transportation system that enables economic growth and empowers prosperity.

Guiding Principles
How we will get there

Just as important as where we are going is how we get there. UDOT must do the right work in the right way, and we will reevaluate how projects and programs are managed to reflect the following principles:

Integrated Transportation
UDOT will actively consider how to best meet the needs of trucks, bikes, pedestrians and mass transit when studying transportation solutions and ensure those solutions are applied to the most appropriate facilities. We will strive to provide Utahns with balanced transportation options while planning for future travel demand.

Local Collaboration
UDOT will team with local and regional entities to create transportation solutions that help them achieve success and meet local needs.

UDOT will support STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) courses in Utah colleges and high schools. We will promote the safety of Utah students through the Zero Fatalities and School Neighborhood Access Plans (SNAP) programs.

UDOT will strive to be the most transparent DOT in the country. Utahns will be able to track where their tax dollars go, understand how they are used and see the outcomes.  We will be honest and forthcoming in how and why decisions are made.

The final destination

As we accomplish our Strategic Goals supported by Guiding Principles, UDOT is helping to enhance communities, improve the environment and cultivate a stronger economy.

For example, optimizing mobility through increased transportation options, like bike lanes, improves air quality, supports commerce through reduced traffic congestion and results in improved quality of life. All of the Goals and Principles work hand-in-hand to continue to make Utah one of the best places to live and work.