Component A

Organization and Culture

Implementation Steps

A. 1 Leadership Team Support

This section will help an agency build leadership support for transportation performance management and communicate to leaders their roles and the benefits of TPM.

  1. Evaluate how new agency processes have been implemented previously
  2. Develop TPM pitch
  3. Clarify role of senior and executive management

“Strong leadership from a DOT’s chief executive or senior management is almost always a defining factor in the success of any DOT’s performance management initiative… agency leaders must set the tone.”

Source: NCHRP 660, TPM: Insight from Practitioners

Step A.1.1 Evaluate how new agency processes have been implemented previously

To improve the chances of positive reception by leadership, it is important to approach them with a clear plan and support for why transportation performance management is necessary for the organization to be successful. A good way to do this is to consider how new initiatives and processes have been implemented in the past and adopt techniques that were successful to implement transportation performance management processes. Conversely, past failures in implementation can give staff an idea of techniques to avoid.

In surveying past successes and failures, the agency can begin to assess its readiness to accept future change. Readiness assessments can target the organization or enterprise, the work unit, the individual, the sponsor capacity, and even existing tools and processes. By asking the following questions, it can even address the magnitude of the change and its potential impact on the organization:12

  • How big is this change?
  • How many people are affected?
  • Is it a gradual or radical change?

While the most appropriate techniques will vary by agency, some ideas include:

Identify and enlist champions/sponsors with access to leadership: Accessing leadership is sometimes difficult so it is important to identify champions who already have access to leadership who are willing to sponsor transportation performance management initiatives. While these champions are often one or two levels removed from the highest levels of leadership, they are experienced at moving and gathering support for new initiatives within the organization.

Opportunistically communicate about TPM: Competition for time with leadership can be intense. Therefore, when reasonable, use other meetings with leadership to make the case for TPM. Transportation performance management can bring benefits to all aspects of the agency so it may make sense to continually relate back to these benefits in seemingly unrelated requests. Make the connection to between current issues and how TPM could address them.

Use Federal or state compliance as support: Federal and state requirements often include provisions for performance measurement, reporting, or other TPM activities. Leadership must comply with these requirements; use the requirements as opportunities to communicate the benefits of a broader TPM practice to obtain support.

Demonstrate benefit over cost: Break down the costs and benefits expected from transportation performance management to show monetary savings, improved performance results, or other benefits that will outweigh costs associated with implementation and transition.

Prepare for leadership change: Elections occur frequently and often result in shifts of political leadership, which affect agency leadership and priorities. Agencies must prepare for this because it will happen. By preparing, staff documents standard operating procedures that transition TPM activities into standard practices. These documented standard operating procedures can then be used to brief new leadership and staff, thus institutionalizing TPM practices within the organization’s business processes.

“We live in a world of constant change. Many times that change is driven by political turnover. Elections can bring in a new Governor who in turn changes transportation agency leadership. When you get new leadership in, it’s like you are starting the performance management cycle all over again.”

Source: Christos Xenophontos, RiDOT


Utah Transit Authority (UTA): Highlighting Past Successes

Staff at UTA has found that championing past success is a proven tool for building support for transportation performance management processes. Often staff is undertaking transportation performance management practices in small ways but does not realize it or call it by that name. These practices often lead to positive results, which can then be used to make the connection to why those results occurred, i.e., because TPM practices were employed.

UTA, through examination of its transit vehicle crash data, found that new operators and right-side clearance in downtown construction zones resulted in a large number of crashes. To improve results, the agency addressed these problems by instituting new training procedures. Staff was then able to make the connection between the data collected, the adjustments made, and the improvement that resulted. UTA used this example to further promote TPM within the agency. When leadership realizes that TPM is already being practiced and it is producing results, they are more likely to embrace TPM.

RiDOT: Celebrate Early Wins to Promote TPM

When the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RiDOT) first began to integrate transportation performance management processes, the agency was able to celebrate a major milestone: a member of the executive leadership team requested a quarterly performance report to use in a new meeting to review performance trends. In the meetings, the executive used the performance report to discuss with managers ways to use the results to improve. This was a clear demonstration of support by leadership. As a result, the managers understood the wealth of information available to them because it was included in the report. By celebrating this early win of executive support, RiDOT was able to make clear to staff that leadership saw the benefits of connecting performance information to daily activities.

Figure A-4: RiDOT Performance Report

Source: RiDOT13

Images of RiDOT performance data reporting, including graph showing percent square feet of structrually deficient bridges on the NHS compared to the target of 10%.

Linkages to Other TPM Components

Step A.1.2 Develop TPM pitch

Once the change agents, leaders, and sponsors for TPM have helped determined readiness for the new initiative, the benefits of implementation, and the potential barriers to success, they must develop a communication plan or “TPM Pitch.”

A common trap for change leaders at any level of the organization is the belief that their work is complete once they have delivered a compelling argument for change. Rather, the job has only started. Not only must their argument or message be repeated consistently and clearly to those impacted, but the feedback must be openly accepted and managed. Prosci offers three key components to an effective change communication pitch/plan:14

  • The audience
  • What is communicated
  • When it is communicated

The pitch should be tailored to each audience based on its area of responsibility and the performance challenges faced within that area of responsibility. This is a great way to make the direct benefits clear to the organization and demonstrate how transportation performance management processes can lead to improved results within each leader’s area of responsibility. It is advantageous to identify champions among the leadership who will promote the idea to other leaders. If no champion exists, focus the pitch on leaders who seem open to new ideas and develop them into champions.

Keep the pitch short and focused on the most important elements of transportation performance management and the resulting benefits to the individual you are targeting. These are often called elevator pitches because they should take no more time than an elevator ride.

  • Make the case for the most critical and doable processes/integration:
    • Some changes should be implemented together to achieve the full benefits of the change; consider connections across strategic changes to take full advantage.
    • Which change will provide the greatest benefit for the least amount of resources?
  • Prioritize what is most likely to be supported by the individual or leadership as a whole:
    • Who are the opinion leaders among the executive team?
    • Consider who will be directly involved with implementing the change—they must be supportive and willing to commit resources.15

Even after initial TPM processes have been implemented, staff will likely need support to encourage wider adoption. Make leadership aware of successes that can be traced back to transportation performance management processes to promote further progress.

Sometimes leadership will support the idea of transportation performance management but be unable to provide resources to actually implement changes. Be persistent and persuasive, and work to implement reforms using existing resources.

“Our first attempt to implement 4 or 5 years ago didn’t succeed because the information wasn’t perceived as valuable by the decision makers and therefore nobody paid any attention to it even though there was a good structure in place. This time we are determined to change TPM from a management exercise to the way TxDOT does business.”

Source: Tonia Norman, TxDOT


FHWA: Talking Points for FHWA Leadership

When the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) began to roll out its strategy for implementing transportation performance management, they provided a set of talking points to senior leadership to champion the message and pitch TPM to FHWA’s partner agencies. Below is an excerpt taken from those talking points:16

The FHWA Role:

  • “Stewardship Heavy – Oversight Light”: Our emphasis should be on providing effective stewardship and not focused on the “stick” we can wield through compliance oversight. We should be engaged in helping our partners through this evolution, making sure they understand what the rulemaking requires and how to implement and accomplish this. It will require much collaboration and learning, both by our partners and by FHWA.
  • Success = 100 Percent Compliance: We will build on our successful experience with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in working hard with our partners on the front end. While this will not be a rubber stamp process, our goal is for all our partners to be able to fully comply.

How We Get There:

  • States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are Our Partners: We need to understand where they are regarding transportation performance management, what their capabilities are, and how what is being proposed is different from what State DOTs and MPOs are doing today. Divisions play a key role, with assistance from Headquarters and the resource center.
  • Deliver in a Consistent Manner: Communication and coordination between the divisions and Headquarters is critical. FHWA must bring transportation performance management together as a whole, not just safety performance or infrastructure performance or system performance. The MAP-21 performance elements are cross cutting and pulled together through a collaborative planning and programming process. Communication within FHWA across disciplines and units will be critical to our success in implementation.
  • Get a Seat at the Table at the Local Level: Divisions should strive to be a partner at the table to work with our partners as they make good, results-oriented, investment decisions that will maximize the return of the public investment in our transportation system. This is a prime opportunity for FHWA to bring technological and programmatic leadership to the discussion as the State DOTs and MPOs work through the decisions they must make. We need to build our strength so that they look to us as a resource and as a partner. We will be a broker of knowledge.

Top Five Implementation Opportunities:

Optimizing Investments of Public Funds

  • Transportation funding is limited, so we must maximize the return on the investment of the public dollars entrusted to transportation agencies and planning organizations.
  • Better decisions, made with the overall system performance in mind, will result in the best “mix” of investments that will collectively maximize the performance gains of the system.

Improving Consistency Across the Country

  • Many states already are involved in decision-making transportation performance management today. Consistency in terminology, standards, and metrics will result in an easier transfer of knowledge so that we can hold an effective national conversation on transportation performance and develop valuable national performance reports.
    We will strive for measures that can be implemented and that are meaningful rather than the lowest common denominator. The easiest measure is not necessarily the best.

Increasing Coordination of Decision-Makers

  • State DOTs, MPOs, transit agencies, local governments, and others all share in the responsibility to support national performance needs through their local decision-making.
  • The planning process, a tool that already exists, is a key part of successful coordination. We will build on what is already working there.

Increasing Our Understanding of What Works

  • This is a critical role for FHWA: What investment strategies are useful in achieving the targets set and the desired outcomes?
  • While we have some knowledge today though our existing data tools, the transportation performance management process provides us with an opportunity to develop that knowledge base even further with our partners.

Communicating Federal Investment Returns

  • Without a common set of metrics and national reporting, we are challenged today in being able to effectively report on the outcomes of transportation investments and the impact of the $40B annual Federal investment on our nation’s highways.
  • The story we need to tell is not only what we are able to do but also what we are unable to do with existing resource constraints. This will inform discussions on future authorizations and Federal funding levels.
Linkages to Other TPM Components

Step A.1.3 Clarify role of senior and executive management

While developing the communication pitch/plan can be accomplished by the change management team’s agents and leads, executives play a critical sponsor role in times of change. The supervisor of a work group can, in fact, have the greatest influence over his or her subordinates’ approach to change. The change management team must therefore also develop a plan for sponsor activities so that executive management can effectively carry out these plans. Research shows that sponsorship is the most important success factor in change management.17

Staff should be prepared to help define what senior management and leadership should do to promote transportation performance management. Without specifics concerning what is expected from them, many on the leadership team will not commit to a change agenda.18 Effective sponsorship may involve the following activities:

  • Active and visible participation in the implementation of TPM
  • Demonstrated leadership support at agency meetings and presentations to key audiences19
  • Strong coordination among other leaders to help ensure message consistency among employees
  • Consistent and regular use of performance information and language, including impactful graphics that clearly demonstrate performance
  • Incorporation of performance data and reports within presentations on other topics20
  • Alignment of resources including funding and staffing to best support TPM implementation21

“You have to connect the technical side to internal management practices and concerns of elected officials.”

Source: Monique de los Rios-Urban, Maricopa Association of Governments


Utah DOT: Leadership’s Role

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has successfully implemented many aspects of transportation performance management. Implementation was a byproduct of the UDOT Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP), which included a roadmap for integrating programs, tracking performance data, and organizing and making such data accessible.

Implementation included identifying high-level risks to certain assets, developing a framework around those risks to improve the economy of a specific asset, and then setting a prioritized funding structure. However, full implementation of the TPM procedures will not be complete until UDOT has reached the end of its first five-year period within its overarching TAMP. Because risks may not be immediately identifiable, using a five-year period to monitor the performance of roads and pavement will better allow UDOT to make informed funding decisions with regard to risk.22

UDOT credits its success in part to leadership support including the following:23

  • Executive level leadership articulated a strategic direction. Management set goals and targets aligned with the strategic direction.
  • Leadership at all levels laid a cultural foundation by demonstrating a clear vision for the agency.
  • TPM has been integrated into decision making by all managers.
  • Past DOT leadership has encouraged a culture where employees fully understood strategic goals and had the flexibility to innovate to pursue the goals.

Figure A-5: Utah DOT Logo

Source: Utah DOT24

Utah DOT: Keeping Utah Moving. Utah Department of Transportation logo.

Michigan DOT: Building Political Support

A key role or activity of senior executives is the alignment of resources, including funding and staffing, to best support TPM implementation. Michigan state legislators have strict term limits, which means elected officials are often new and not familiar with the needs of the DOT. To educate them about the major backlog of projects and the need for increased funding to complete them, the CEO and his staff meet with each new legislator and make presentations at town hall meetings statewide. Agency staff also built a simplified funding model that allows the CEO to quickly show the impact of a legislator’s ideas and funding levels on system performance. All of these efforts have been effective at moving the dialogue with legislators from whether the state’s transportation system needs more funding to how much more it needs and where to find the money. As an interim solution, the legislature invested $350 M in general fund revenue, an unprecedented amount.25

Linkages to Other TPM Components

A.2 Roles and Responsibilities

The steps in this section focus on identifying and making changes to the agency’s organizational structure to better support transportation performance management and to ensure TPM practices are sustainable.

  1. Assess current organizational structure
  2. Define and document TPM roles and responsibilities
  3. Identify and implement changes to organizational structure

“Organizational change is really about communicating new expectations for how work should be done and holding people accountable for implementing those new expectations. Change only occurs when the people who are responsible for executing the day-to-day processes actually implement new procedures.”

Source: NCHRP 798, The Role of Planning in a 21st Century State DOT—Supporting Strategic Decisionmaking

Step A.2.1 Assess current organizational structure

Transportation performance management will be most successful if the organizational structure of the agency is conducive, and it is likely that changes will need to be made to better align with new roles and responsibilities required by transportation performance management processes. Many agencies operate within departmental and modal silos, which limit the chances for transportation performance management to take hold, or spread from within the confines of a silo. Making progress toward strategic goals is easier when information is shared and strategies are coordinated to capitalize on efficiencies and take advantage of synergy between projects. It’s also easier when the organization understands the importance of broader organizational change rather than merely individual change.

Organizational change management identifies the groups and people who will need to initiate, embrace, or simply accept TPM. It also clarifies in what ways those groups will need to change. Organizational change management helps to ensure that impacted employees receive the support they need to change successfully. Successful implementation of TPM can be achieved even if all performance targets are not. Accepting a new practice of target setting for project delivery, for example, may signify a significant shift toward transportation performance management even if the actual project delivery target is not initially achieved.

Organizational change management, therefore, is complementary to instilling TPM. The TPM leads ensure the initiative is properly tailored for and delivered to the organization while change agents and leads enable TPM to be effectively embraced, adopted, and used.

The first step in making these changes is assessing the agency’s current organizational structure:

  • Does the current organizational structure support a transportation performance management framework?
  • Does staff have the ability to use performance data in their daily activities? Often, these data are only accessible by finance office staff.
  • Do they have the capacity to integrate transportation performance management activities into their existing workload, or will new staff be needed?

North Carolina Department of Transportation

The DOT underwent a wholesale assessment by McKinsey and Company to determine how to function more like a private company in terms of efficiency and performance. This process was supported by management, the Governor, and the Legislature. The assessment included town hall meetings with and surveys of employees. One category of findings included issues with organizational elements, and organizational silos were specifically called out: key processes such as project delivery were too siloed, and lacked the units needed to support others such as intermodal and strategic planning. The assessment also found that operational processes lacked metrics-based management that cascaded to all levels of staff.26

To address these issues and others, the DOT developed five initiatives to implement improvements:

  • Strategic direction
  • Planning and prioritization
  • Program and project delivery
  • Human resource management
  • Performance and accountability

Figure A-6: North Carolina DOT Logo

Source: North Carolina DOT27

State of North Carolina Department of Transportation. Logo.

These initiatives were completed in order; identifying a strategic direction involved crafting vision and mission statements and developing strategic goals. In the second initiative, the DOT created a strategic planning office to ensure investments were data-driven. The office has developed a method for scoring and prioritizing projects. Other improvements include a streamlined hiring process and implementation of mentoring programs to retain high-performing employees. Additionally, the agency reduced data sets from 1000 to 400 in two years, partly by integrating data that applied to more than one business unit.

Results of the initiatives include improved:

  • Employee performance ratings: 75-80% now meeting expectations.
  • Project delivery: delivering 75% of programmed projects as of 2012.
  • Asset condition: in 2012, 66.2% of bridges were in good condition, and the average highway feature condition score was 89.7 (target was 84).

Lessons learned include:

  • Don’t move too quickly. Major change is stressful and employees need time to adapt.
  • Building relationships across divisions and tying success to employee performance were critical to making staff feel valued.
  • Encourage employee feedback. NCDOT amended performance evaluations based on employee feedback.28
Linkages to Other TPM Components

Step A.2.2 Define and document TPM roles and responsibilities

Staff should define what roles and responsibilities will be necessary for transportation performance management processes and clearly document them. This should include not only those required for completion of transportation performance management activities, but also those required for initial creation and integration of TPM processes as well as ongoing support to ensure sustainability and long-term staying power.

Agency approaches to organizational structures vary. Some create standalone transportation performance management offices with dedicated staff that work with other staff throughout the organization. Others use a matrix structure, where a transportation performance management staff member is located within departments or offices and works closely with staff there but also with other transportation performance management staff in other work groups. Yet another approach is to integrate transportation performance management activities across existing staff, though possibly with adjusted relationships.29 Some agencies find that the more individuals are involved in TPM, the more ownership they have, which produces positive results.

Documentation of these roles and responsibilities will ensure the agency can reevaluate changes at intervals, as transportation performance management matures. It will also assist staff in identifying what changes to make in step A.2.3, by comparing to the assessment of the existing organizational structure completed in step A.2.1.


Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO)

HRTPO has set up a schedule to clearly identify which employees are responsible for which activities. The image below shows a part of this work schedule, which includes project tasks on the left, cycle (annual, quarterly, etc.), which employee serves as principal, and which employees assist. The final columns are a schedule of work by quarter and the month in which all work on the particular project should be completed.

HRTPO leadership sought to simplify agency work by clearly documenting it for staff to see, which also enables collaboration and coordination. Leadership meets with principals each Monday to discuss work to be done that week and to review progress; in turn, principals meet with their staff. Accountability for results is maintained through this weekly set of meetings. Principals are typically planners or engineers and lead teams for public involvement, congestion management, development of the LRTP, programming, and others.

The schedule is linked to the Unified Planning Work Program30 that further documents tasks to be completed and how transportation performance management is woven into these tasks.

Figure A-7: HRTPO Unified Planning Work Program Schedule

Source: Unified Planning Works Program31

Screenshot of Unified Planning Work Program matrix.

Missouri DOT Tracker

The Tracker report is a much-lauded performance reporting product that also serves as documentation of transportation performance management responsibilities within the agency. The report includes a significant number of performance measures and each one is clearly linked to particular employees called Result Drivers and Measurement Drivers. This is a simple way to document important responsibilities for performance data collection and reporting, as well as accountability for results.

Figure A-8: Missouri DOT Tracker

Source: MoDOT32

Image of Missouri Tracker page with callout showing Result Driver: Eileen Rackers, State Traffic and HIghway Safety Engineer. Measurement Driver: Julie Stotlemeyer, Traffic Liaison Engineer.

Linkages to Other TPM Components

Step A.2.3 Identify and implement changes to organizational structure

Using the assessment of the current organizational structure and the documented roles and responsibilities needed for transportation performance management, identify changes to make and implement them. A critical aspect of this process is communicating changes to staff who will be impacted. They will be concerned about increases in workload, changes in their activities, and their job security.

Leadership should clearly communicate:

  • What is changing
  • Why it’s changing
  • What it means for the individual, including expectations, responsibilities, and benefits
  • What impact it will have on performance, the agency, and outcomes
  • What things will look like when the dust has settled

There will be resistance among some staff simply because many have been doing things one way for a long time and adapting to change will take time and effort. Others will resist because they see an increase in work or cannot see the importance of the change or fear a loss of control of data or a process.33 Leadership should try to address these concerns in a reasonable way, while also making clear that changes will come regardless. However, leadership has a responsibility to listen to concerns of staff to ensure that changes are reasonable. Early adopters within work groups can be highlighted to encourage others during this time of culture shift.

Consider the following changes:

  • Improve coordination for short-, mid-, and long-range planning and decision-making by facilitating discussions among DOT offices and divisions
  • Work to remove silos by facilitating a holistic performance-based planning approach that coordinates asset management, operational improvements, targeted construction improvements, and funding for all modes
  • Identify duplicative efforts in data collection and analysis that can be consolidated to save limited funding and staff resources.34 Consider giving all employees direct access to performance data.35

Planning for skills transfer and training should follow soon after the establishment of TPM processes (see subcomponent A.4). The agency should also periodically refine roles and responsibilities as transportation performance management processes are improved or as new processes and noteworthy practices are developed.

“Sometimes the job requires you to be an amateur psychologist.”

Source: David King, GM, Triangle Transit


Georgia DOT: Instituting Changes

The Georgia DOT’s transportation performance management office created a public dashboard that included measures and targets. Because this was a new product and a new way of doing things at the agency, there was a need to educate staff on transportation performance management terminology and practices. Weekly meetings were held to discuss measure and target pairs one by one; this method ensured that staff understood the changes that were taking place. With weekly meetings complete, the transportation performance management office was able to then hold group meetings with program offices to sort 40 overall agency measures into 14 global measures that drive decision-making and funding allocations.

Figure A-9: Georgia DOT Dashboard

Source: GDOT Performance Dashboard36

Number of fatalities annually on Georgia's roadways. Description: To assist in achieving AASHTO's goal of reducing fatalities by 1000 per year, Georgia set its goal of reducing fatalities by 41 per year. 1432 fatalities in Year 2015. Strategic objective: reduce the number of fatalities by 41 each year.

Utah DOT: Cross-Department Collaboration

The Asset Management Steering Committee at the Utah Department of Transportation shows how the organizational structure of an agency can be less rigid, promoting inter-division coordination and improving results. Committee members meet bimonthly and are responsible for setting the direction of UDOT’s asset management programs, including approval of safety, capacity, and preservation funding. Where before staff worked on related tasks independently within silos, this new structure has broken down some of the silos within the organization, reduced duplicative efforts, and aligned project spending with agency goals.

The committee is chaired by the DOT’s deputy director; voting members report directly to the deputy and include all four region directors, the engineer for operations, and the directors of programming and planning. Division managers are nonvoting members.

Committee responsibilities also include review of the program, division performance targets, measures, and objectives and recommendation of funding levels to the state’s Transportation Commission, which is responsible for approving funding. Performance data are used to prioritize projects across divisions.37

Maricopa Association of Governments: Addressing Resistance

MAG wanted to take transportation performance management practices further by developing and using evaluative tools to prioritize investments in the region. Instead of developing these tools at the executive level or purchasing a tool from a vendor, the agency encouraged offices to create their own. While some staff were still resistant, this decentralized and semi-autonomous development built buy-in and did help to reduce resistance to this transportation performance management process. After some time using the evaluative tools, staff now hesitates to allocate funding without using them. Leadership is very supportive of the current situation because offices are working well together, with a common understanding that all projects will be subject to the prioritization tools. This has been a significant cultural shift at MAG and demonstrates how important it is to understand what concerns may arise and to have a plan to address those concerns.

Linkages to Other TPM Components

A.3 Training and Workforce Capacity

Employees must have the skills required to undertake transportation performance management activities. The agency should identify what skills should be included in training programs to ensure staff has the support needed to succeed in integrating transportation performance management processes into their activities.

  1. Identify gaps in employee skillsets
  2. Design, conduct, and refine training program
  3. Build agency-wide support for TPM

“When I come back to the office from a training or peer exchange, I’m a different person because I’ve learned something new. My immediate focus is on how to apply what I have learned to making our system even better. There is always room for improvement.”

Source: Camelia Ravanbakht, Hampton Roads TPO

Step A.3.1 Identify gaps in employee skillsets

Because transportation performance management processes are new, they will require skills that staff may not have. The agency should undertake an assessment of what skills currently exist among staff, and separately identify what skills will be needed for transportation performance management, based on agency goals as defined in the Strategic Direction (Component 01). These assessments will enable the agency to determine what skills will need to be developed.

Once gaps in TPM skills and knowledge are identified, an agency must determine which gaps to close and how to close them. Prioritizing can be accomplished by first determining which skills are most instrumental in fulfilling the agency’s strategic direction or mission. A transportation agency that places mobility above all other agency goals, for example, must not employ only traffic engineers. It will need to understand how to measure and communicate mobility within and outside the organization. To do this, employees will need skills in researching traffic data and patterns, in projecting demographic trends and user needs, and in analyzing and explaining concepts such as indexes for travel time, buffer time, and planning time.

Some of these skills may exist within the organization, yet are underutilized. The tasks they support may need to be added to job descriptions to underscore their importance to staff. Some staff may possess these skills but do not regularly use them because their day-to-day activities do not require them. An organization may have to search for the right individuals with the right skills and knowledge to excel in TPM.

When needed skills cannot be tapped from the existing workforce, the organization must search for them, often re-writing job descriptions as positions become vacant.

Practitioners have identified the following skills, characteristics, and conditions as supportive of TPM:

  • Multimodal understanding
  • Multidisciplinary background
  • Creative
  • Consensus-oriented
  • Technologically savvy
  • Data analysis, especially seeing the larger picture
  • Translate data for legislators, executives
  • Willing to continually learn
  • Social media
  • GIS
  • Graphics/design
  • Communication to variety of audiences including nontechnical
  • Mix of engineers, planners, etc.
  • Customer-service oriented
  • Willing to learn by doing
  • Meeting facilitation skills
  • Ability to work across silos
  • Data management, especially for quality

Whether altering the job responsibilities of existing staff or hiring staff from outside the organization to perform new tasks, the organization will need to communicate to the current workforce the rationale for this change. Individual change management requires that leaders of the organization understand how people successfully deal with change. Change agents and change leaders can assist individuals in making a successful transition either into a new TPM responsibility or in working with new staff assigned this responsibility. And whether teaching a new skill to a current staff member or hiring that skill from outside the organization, leadership must understand how to best to convey the “change” message to each individual. Not all individuals receive the message the same way. Some will be very supportive and eager to participate. Some will become defensive, and even plot to reduce the probability of success. Often the most difficult part of the change agent or change leader’s assignment is to make changes “stick” in an individual’s work, especially when that individual has a long history with the organization and the organization had not previously embraced TPM. As Prosci notes, “individual change management draws on disciplines like psychology and neuroscience to apply actionable frameworks to individual change.”38

It is important that management provides the necessary support for skill development on an ongoing basis and if possible, for additional staff to fill roles as needed to support transportation performance management processes. This step should feed into subcomponent A.2 to help identify changes to the organizational structure discovered through the gap analysis.


NCDOT Assessment

As outlined in step A.2.1, the North Carolina DOT (NCDOT) underwent an agency-wide assessment by McKinsey and Company to identify ways to improve business processes. Along with the organizational issues already discussed, the assessment highlighted the DOT’s failure to sufficiently recruit and retain talent critical to the operation of the agency. In addition, leadership was not effectively driving employee performance or developing top managers’ skillsets.39

Many of these problems were a derivative of poor communication among management. NCDOT took this information and used it to make sweeping changes throughout the department that provided positive results. These changes enabled NCDOT to better address immediate needs, in addition to less immediate priorities, using data-driven methodology. This data-driven approach consolidated information so management could access vital information, in one place, to develop policies that were accessible to the entirety of the NCDOT management team.40

Figure A-10: North Carolina DOT Logo

Source: North Carolina DOT41

State of North Carolina Department of Transportation. Logo.

Ohio DOT:

Instead of assuming that all employees will stay in their current positions as new TPM processes are introduced, the Ohio DOT (ODOT) encouraged flexibility among its staff to move into positions that better match their skillset. This approach reduces the resources necessary to train staff for new processes by allowing those who already have the needed skills to fill the position. While this may cause additional organizational shifts that are difficult to accommodate amidst so much other change, it should be considered. Over the past decade, ODOT employees have moved to new functions and overall agency hiring requirements have been strengthened to ensure that new hires fit the needs of the agency as it furthers its TPM program.42

Linkages to Other TPM Components

Step A.3.2 Design, conduct, and refine training program

Once needed skills are identified, a training program should be developed to close gaps in employee skillsets. This is critical to strengthening capabilities of the agency in achieving strategic goals. Training should be ongoing, and be improved each round using feedback from employees. All training materials and feedback should be clearly documented to ensure that the effort is streamlined in future cycles and can provide the most skill improvement for the least cost to the agency. Additionally, training should be revised based on new developments and innovations in TPM, as well as lessons learned through agency experience.

A proactive training program is hugely beneficial to reducing resistance to change among staff. Employees will easily become frustrated with their work if they lack the skills to do it; preventing this situation through proper and proactive training will produce better results.

Training can include:

  • Seminars on transportation performance management
  • Attendance at conferences
  • Participation in peer exchanges

Training can also be opportunistic. If the agency has a transportation performance management role that needs to be filled temporarily, use that opportunity to train the person who will fill that position. Once they return to their regular position, they will see things from a transportation performance management perspective, promoting adoption in a new area of the agency. Staff appreciates variety and will likely enjoy the change in routine for a short time.


RiDOT Performance Management Training Course

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RiDOT) created a TPM training course for employees. Development of the course began after staff participated in a FHWA peer exchange on transportation performance management. The agency partnered with a professor at the University of Rhode Island Transportation Center to create the one-and-a-half day course that included a welcome given by the RiDOT Director, an overview of TPM in general and in particular in Rhode Island, the Federal perspective on TPM provided by a national FHWA representative, and a series of breakout sessions to engage staff in TPM activities. By including a broad array of representatives, it was made clear to staff that TPM is an important initiative that is endorsed nationally and at the highest level within the state organization. Activities related to alignment of goals, performance measure selection, and target setting. An exercise was included to develop employee skills relating to data, making clear that both statistics and interpretation are necessary to understand and use data to manage. The course also included a Moneyball analogy, referencing how transportation performance management in baseball led to major improvement for the Oakland Athletics despite a constrained budget. Putting TPM into a context staff could easily understand was a key part of the training course while activities were important to reinforce lessons and promote adoption of new practices, which has been successful as TPM practices continue to expand at RiDOT.

Linkages to Other TPM Components

Step A.3.3 Build agency-wide support for TPM

While champions and early adopters within the agency help in promoting transportation performance management early on, eventually TPM needs to be institutionalized within the culture and day-to-day business processes. It is critical that transportation performance management takes hold throughout the organization and among all staff to ensure new processes actually have an impact on the way things are done, and on results.

In stating that “[c]ulture is to humans what water is to fish,” Prosci explains that, “[t]he fish lives its entire life swimming through the water. The slightest variance in purity or temperature, and there would be a profound impact on the fish. We humans also live our lives moving through culture, which impacts us in thousands of tiny ways, and like the fish in water we are not always aware of what we are swimming through.”43

Prosci sequences organizational change management into three phases, each phase with separate actionable steps, as listed below:44

Phase I – Prepare for Change

  • Define your change management strategy
  • Prepare your change management team
  • Develop your sponsorship model

Phase II – Manage Change

  • Develop change management plans
  • Take action and implement plans

Phase III – Reinforce Change

  • Collect and analyze feedback
  • Diagnose gaps and manage resistance
  • Implement corrective actions and celebrate success

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) work has recognized that agencies can face challenges in building such support; these and some possible solutions are listed in the table below:45

Table A-4: Challenges and Solutions in Implementing TPM
Source: AASHTO46
Challenge Solution
Where staff is unionized, changes to the review process must be negotiated into a new labor agreement. Plan for negotiation and ensure union leaders and rank and file members are included in process from the beginning.
Risk of creating a penalty-based performance-based employee evaluation system. Ensure good communication throughout the process. Create advisory committee of staff when developing evaluations to gain credibility and buy-in, and adapt noteworthy practices from peer agencies. See step A.3.2.
With limited budgets, there may be no funding for bonuses that staff formerly received for exceptional performance. Develop other creative incentives, including programs that provide an extra day of administrative leave or a premium parking space, or division level events such as pizza parties and barbeques.

“Every time you have someone new come into the organization you have to convince them of the value of TPM.”

Source: Daniela Bremmer, Washington State DOT


Washington State DOT: Coloring Contest

WSDOT held a coloring contest in conjunction with take your daughter/son to work day. Employees’ children could draw a picture that represented the agency and a group within the agency selected a winning drawing to be featured on the cover of its quarterly performance reporting publication, The Gray Notebook. Drawings considered honorable mentions were featured inside the report along with the winning artist and their parent. Staff and even the Secretary of Transportation were very engaged and excited about the contest and, while seemingly small, it brought people together with a feeling of community. This is an important “soft” aspect of transportation performance management; good morale and a feeling of “we’re all in this together” are critical elements of a successful transportation performance management practice. The contest also helped to highlight The Gray Notebook among employees, which reinforced the agency’s emphasis on TPM.47

Caltrans: Goal Teams

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is involving different staff in developing measures, strategies, and data sources to promote culture change within the organization. Leadership has put together goal teams that are co-led by district directors and program-level staff. Some teams have external partners, and executive involvement varies considerably across the teams; leadership has provided the teams with a lot of autonomy. By decentralizing these particular aspects of TPM, Caltrans leadership has sought to promote TPM throughout various parts of the agency, many of which would not have been closely involved with selecting measures or evaluating data sources. This is an innovative way to help employees embrace performance measures and management. Because of relative success in developing measures, the agency has recommended continued use of goal teams in the future.

TxDOT: Peer Evaluations

The Strategic Planning Office at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) sought to spread TPM practices and improve agency results by initiating a peer evaluation program. District staff scores other districts on pavement condition using a consistent set of criteria. Through this initiative, district staff essentially participates in mini peer exchanges as they try to evaluate how other districts conduct business. By understanding how their practices impact performance, the evaluating staff can bring lessons back to their own district to improve results.

Utah Transit Authority (UTA): Lean Team

Budget constraints from the recession coupled with major expansion of UTA light rail, commuter rail, and streetcar service led UTA to adopt Lean principles and practices in 2012 to preserve transit service through operational efficiencies. Without these new practices, frequency and hours of service would have been reduced. As a result, service has been maintained and even increased in 2014 and 2015.

The Lean Team is a group of staff willing to go above and beyond to support transportation performance management that will improve operational efficiencies. Members include managers and supervisors from Operations, Maintenance, and Maintenance of Way and analysts, planners, and staff from other departments such as Customer Service.

The Team has advanced TPM at UTA by:

  • Developing and delivering training modules to explain Lean concepts and tools to all Operations supervisors and managers using UTA-specific examples
  • Presenting Lean project case studies to all managers at UTA
  • Facilitating a variety of continuous improvement projects at the request of Operations and other departments

Key results include:

  • Installing transmission software on all buses 2007 and newer to regulate acceleration and improve miles per gallon
  • Placing operator restroom trailers at key end-of-line locations to increase operator comfort and eliminate costly mid-route layovers for restroom breaks
  • Improving miles per service interruption by placing mechanics at key end-of-line locations and keeping buses in service until they reach the end of line if possible
  • Major cleaning and reorganizing of maintenance shops, leading to reductions in duplicate part orders and wasted time looking for parts (20% reduction in parts cost per mile)
  • Improved ratio of paid time to platform time and decreased number of split shifts by 47% through restructured employee shifts
  • Supplier analysis to determine most cost-effective material suppliers, saving $19K per engine
  • New web-based analytics platform combining multiple data sources into one unified report

While some time is provided during work hours for Lean Team training, much of the learning group members complete occurs on their own time; however, these individuals receive a lot of attention from leadership and other staff. Their role in helping other divisions within the agency improve their business processes is critical in promoting culture change at UTA. Lean Champions are ambassadors, spreading TPM from parts of the agency where it is successful and mature to others where it is just getting started. Often Lean Champions are promoted before other staff, not because it is required, but because they have gained an understanding of TPM and of various parts of the agency. The program has successfully expanded TPM practices while training staff in needed skills.

Victoria Transport Policy Institute: Developing Support for Innovation

In “Change Management: Developing Support for Innovation,” the Victoria Transport Policy Institute notes:

Change Management refers to activities that support organizational innovation and reform….It recognizes that organizations often have inertia that must be overcome to create more efficient, responsive and resilient organizations. Special effort is often required to overcome the normal inertia of people and organizations to new approaches and practices, even if they are significantly better overall in the long run. This inertia reflects path dependency, the tendency of existing systems to perpetuate themselves…due to the high costs of changing equipment and people’s habits.

The Institute recommends these noteworthy practices for shifting to Transportation Demand Management (TDM):

  • Work to create a climate that values innovation and supports appropriate risk taking.
  • Establish a vision with clear goals, objectives and performance indicators (Transport Planning). This vision provides a reference for describing to stakeholders why change must occur and evaluating progress. Establish a long-range plan, which identifies how individual policy and program reforms support overall goals.
  • Develop a team to support change. No single person can implement change alone.
  • Communicate a sense of urgency. Most stakeholders will consider change uncomfortable and risky. Without a sense of urgency people tend to avoid change. To motivate change it is necessary to make existing conditions seem more dangerous than the proposed changes. Failure should be defined as continuing with the status quo.
  • Educate stakeholders about new policies and programs. Opposition often reflects misunderstandings.
  • Don’t be deterred by setbacks. An innovation often fails to be accepted the first time it is introduced, but succeeds with persistence. Do not abandon TDM if a proposal is rejected the first time it is introduced. Instead, continue to educate stakeholders of its value, address objections, and try again.
  • Accept risks. Change requires risk. Accept the change [sic] that a plan will not turn out as expected. Learn from the experience and try again.
  • Emphasize (but don’t exaggerate) benefits. TDM tends to provide multiple benefits, so let stakeholders know about all of them.
  • Emphasize different types of benefits to different interest groups. For example, to transportation professionals and businesses, emphasize the economic justifications for TDM, since it is often a cost effective way to address parking and traffic problems. To community groups, emphasize benefits to neighborhood environmental quality, and benefits to non-drivers. To designers and planners, emphasize increased flexibility and support for strategic development objectives.
  • Work with stakeholders to identify and address points of opposition.
  • Look for small victories. Small victories are the fuel that will keep your team energized for ongoing efforts. Find reasons to celebrate successes whenever you can. Use small victories to build team confidence and momentum.
  • Be willing to negotiate and compromise. For example, if there is opposition to priced parking on the grounds that this would impose an excessive financial burden on some lower-income people, offer a certain number of need-based discounts or exemptions.48
Linkages to Other TPM Components

A.4 Management Process Integration

By linking employee actions to the agency’s goals and objectives, the organization will be more highly focused on performance results as the driver of agency activities, integrating transportation performance management into day-to-day tasks.

  1. Incorporate performance discussions into regular management meetings
  2. Link employee actions to strategic direction
  3. Regularly set expectations for employees through measures and targets

“An organization that does not adequately communicate its strategic goals to employees on the front lines has failed to complete its mission. A strong performance management environment allows employees at every level to make choices, take actions, and measure results in accordance with defined strategic goals.”

Source: Carlos Braceras, Executive Director, Utah DOT

Step A.4.1 Incorporate performance discussions into regular management meetings

Throughout the steps taken to implement TPM at an agency, it should be clearly communicated that performance information is not intended as a way to punish employees; rather this information provides insight into why results are what they are and therefore how to adjust strategies to improve. This information is especially important to highlight in regular management meetings when TPM is just beginning to take shape at an agency.

As TPM matures, performance discussions should become an integral part of management meetings and managers should use performance language to frame discussions of how to improve. Start by using such language with executives, and it will cascade through the agency. Typically the “big picture” vision is provided by the agency’s CEO or another top-level executive while a more pragmatic operational focus on results, challenges, and specific measures is needed to turn the vision into a management framework and action plan. This happens at the division head level because they understand the unique needs and attributes of their area.49

Changing how performance is communicated to various levels of staff is important (see subcomponent 6.1 Internal Reporting and Communication) to make performance information meaningful. Front line workers need to know what is happening with their assets on a particular day and how that impacted customers. Avoid monthly trends and other high level information that does not resonate.


Maryland Transportation Authority

The MDTA is a modal administration within the Maryland Department of Transportation and is responsible for eight tolling facilities across the state. It also finances new revenue-producing transportation projects. All of its operations and projects are funded through toll revenue paid by users. The authority created a transportation performance management team with one member from each of the 10 Divisions, with members rotating every 18 months. The team was created to establish more regular internal transportation performance management discussions; the team meets monthly to monitor performance measures and targets included in MDTA’s Business Plan. One of the team’s responsibilities was to change the employee annual evaluation process to link personnel reviews to performance. Since 2008, the team has been reporting during quarterly meetings of MDTA’s Management Committee. By establishing a standalone group that could focus on transportation performance management, the authority was able to integrate transportation performance management in a step-wise manner. Once the team was well established, it took on a more important role by incorporating TPM discussions into regular MDTA meetings.50

TriMet: Portland, OR

TriMet, the transit agency for the Portland area, has embraced the use of performance data in management meetings. Managers hold monthly meetings with their staff to go over performance results and discuss why trends are occurring and what can be done to improve. The meetings are conversational rather than confrontational, which makes performance data and transportation performance management more attractive to employees who may be wary of it. Monthly meetings have made an impact within the organization and have enabled managers to zero in on areas where adjustments will make the most impact. Rather than being used to punish individual operators, performance data are being used to determine if routes as a whole need to be restructured because all operators are demonstrating low performance. If only individual operators are struggling, managers approach them seeking to provide support or training to help the operator improve.

Figure A-11: TriMet Performance Report

Source: Monthly Performance Report51

Excerpt pages from TriMet monthly performance report, including the cover page, tables of data, and graphs of data.

Linkages to Other TPM Components

Step A.4.2 Link employee actions to strategic direction

To drive progress toward strategic goals, employees must first know what the agency’s goals are, and then be able to link their daily activities to attaining targets and meeting goals and objectives. The goals and objectives contained within the Strategic Direction (Component 01) are the driving force behind all agency activities, from CEO to the front line. Employees must also maintain focus on targets (Component 02) to identify how their work can be adjusted to push progress toward attainment. By maintaining focus on the goals, objectives, and targets, the agency will continue to move in the desired direction and this will be reflected in performance results.

“All employees need to understand how what they do affects the traveling public. It’s not just filling a pothole, it’s creating a safer environment, a better quality and reliable drive for the traveling public.”

Source: Stacey Strittmatter, Texas DOT

Create a strong link to the strategic direction in internal communications to build internal buy-in and shift the organization’s culture toward transportation performance management. Remind employees of their involvement in developing goals to ensure that goals are not seen only as the leadership’s goals. Make it real for front line staff: how does repainting a bridge impact system users? By improving bridge condition, the employee is ensuring a safer trip for someone getting to a doctor’s appointment, or children being driven to school. Employees should understand how their activities impact others.

Connect short-term actions to long-term results.

Because of requirements initiated by MAP-21, the agency is already undertaking transportation performance management activities such as the Transportation Asset Management Plan. These serve as the foundation of TPM and further integration of transportation performance management processes can build from them.52 A formal linkage should only be created after employees have been educated about goals, objectives, measures and targets and they have been well established within the agency.53


WMATA Business Plans

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) created Business Plans to clearly link day-to-day activities of employees to the agency’s strategic direction. Their function is outlined in Figure A-12, below:

Figure A-12: WMATA Business Plans

Source: Link Day-to-Day Work to Strategic Goals Presentation54

Business plans: linkin gday to day work to strategic goals. What you do, strategic goals, business plans, benefits clearly connected.

Page one of the plans describes the responsibilities of the work group, provides an overview of activities undertaken by employees in that work group, and lists accomplishments of the group from the previous calendar year.

The following pages list performance measures by agency goal. For each measure, the plan includes:

Table A-5: Information Included within Business Plans
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Information Example
Performance target Five % below Previous CY
Key actions for employees to take Pilot test DAS lights, due to the high number of rear-end collisions where buses are being hit. Assess value of lights in reduction of such collisions.
The responsible office Safety
Timeframe Ongoing
Action owner Employee name
Dependencies within agency OMPS
Linkages to Other TPM Components

Step A.4.3 Regularly set expectations for employees through measures and targets

Once employees understand their roles and responsibilities (subcomponent A.2) and the expectation that daily activities should relate to strategic goals and targets (step A.3.2), managers should begin to hold them accountable by implementing performance-based employee evaluations. This will promote a sense of shared responsibility among staff.55 Running a pilot can be an effective way to establish such evaluations; starting with one division, or with senior managers will allow management to adjust and improve the evaluations before expanding to the agency as a whole.

However, there is some disagreement about linking employee evaluations to performance. It is difficult to do so for accounting staff and others who do not have roles directly related to transportation outputs and outcomes. It also can be seen as a punishment tool rather than a motivator. It may be better to implement such evaluations when the TPM program is more established; this will reduce initial resistance among staff and enable a smoother integration.

Providing recognition or rewards to employees who go above and beyond or demonstrate commitment to TPM practices can show that performance data will not be used to punish. By highlighting employees who are supportive, TPM will spread more quickly through the organization. Even more effective is external recognition; leadership and managers should put employee names forward when possible.

Alternatives to performance-based employee evaluations include:

  • Publicize comparative data across work groups or employees. This may be more acceptable to employees than performance-based evaluations, but can also be difficult to implement because of data comparison issues.56
  • Identify program directors as key performance indicator (KPI) owners, but keep this information unrecorded or at least unreported. This may instill ownership among program directors without the threat of punishment.

Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA)

SHA, a modal administration within the Maryland Department of Transportation, is piloting a program to link managers’ performance reviews to office/district business plans as well as individual performance targets. Office and district plans reflect the SHA Business Plan, which reflects MDOT priorities. The administration has changed its personnel assessment forms to incorporate transportation performance management; the assessment now has two parts: Leadership competencies (40 percent) and an annually updated Performance Plan (60 percent). Staff down to the mid-management level has reviews tied to performance data that focus on output measures. The reviews are designed to increase the prominence of the office/district business plans across the agency so every employee can see how performance measures are used as a management tool and identify how their work supports the goals of the organization.57

Long Beach Transit: Setting Expectations with Measures and Targets

Long Beach Transit (LBT) service includes bus and ferry routes covering 13 cities south of Los Angeles, CA. Annually, the agency sees 29 million boardings. As a way to more effectively use resources, LBT leadership has engaged with performance data to convert it into information that is usable for improving results. The agency’s Scoreboard helps staff analyze raw data to make informed decisions to drive performance. Combined with strategic goals, the Scoreboard serves as a roadmap for improving results on the organizational, department and individual level as seen in the image below. LBT uses performance measures and targets such as “reduce early departures by 10%” that link back to strategic goals through department and organizational goals, making clear expectations of individuals within the agency.

Figure A-13: Long Beach Transit Linkage Between Agency, Department, and Individual Goals

Source: Keeping Score for the Game our Customers Care About58

Keeping Score. LBT Strategic Priority: improve safety and service quality. Organizational goal: improve quality of service rating score annually. Department goal: improve bus on-time performance from 77.4% to 80%. Individual goal: reduce early departures by 10%.

This commitment to linking organizational mission to the day-to-day activities of staff is clear even before employees are hired. Job postings state how the responsibilities of a particular position contribute to the agency’s vision and mission. For example, a Part-Time Data Collector contributes to the agency mission to “provide transit services that enhance and improve the quality of life for residents” by collecting data that is used to plan new routes and schedules that better align with residents’ needs.59 By stating this information in the first line of a job posting, the agency is ensuring that potential employees understand that their role will be linked to agency goals. When LBT’s long-time CEO retired, the advertisement for the position included the following under duties and responsibilities of the position: “Translates and communicates the organization’s vision into concrete plans and measurable goals for staff.”60

Linkages to Other TPM Components