Component B

External Collaboration and Coordination

This chapter provides assistance to transportation agencies with the External Collaboration and Coordination component of Transportation Performance Management (TPM).It discusses where the component occurs within the TPM Framework, describes how it interrelates with the other nine components, presents definitions for associated terminology, provides links to regulatory resources, and includes an action plan exercise. Key implementation steps are the focus of the chapter. Guidebook users should take the TPM Capability Maturity Self-Assessment as a starting point for enhancing TPM activities. It is important to note that federal regulations for external collaboration and coordination may differ from what is included in this chapter.

External Collaboration and Coordination refers to established processes to collaborate and coordinate with agency partners and stakeholders on planning/visioning, target setting, programming, data sharing, and reporting. External collaboration allows agencies to leverage partner resources and capabilities, as well as increase understanding of how activities impact and are impacted by external factors.

The TPM Framework showing ten components with Component B External Collaboration and Coordination called out. Subcomponents are B.1 Planning and Programming and B.2 Monitoring and Reporting.

Introduction to External Collaboration and Coordination

The implementation steps in this component will assist an agency in establishing processes to collaborate and coordinate with partner agencies and the public to establish goals, objectives, and performance measures (Component 01); set targets (Component 02); develop planning documents (Component 03); and program projects (Component 04). This chapter also addresses collaboration for data sharing (Component C and Component D), monitoring (Component 05) and reporting (Component 06).

As defined in Table B-2, collaboration and coordination are different, but related:

  • Collaboration: Efforts to organize people or groups to enable them to work together effectively.
  • Coordination: To work with another person or group in order to accomplish a task.

While these two terms are closely related, they are defined separately to ensure clarity. Collaboration refers to how people or groups across stakeholders are engaged, such as through working groups. Coordination is the work itself, but can also refer to activities seeking to define and develop collaborative efforts.

Collaboration with external partners and stakeholders offers opportunities. A transportation agency may be able to coordinate data collection or reporting to more efficiently use resources. There may be opportunities to track multiple goals with a single measure or to create new measures that will be used by multiple agencies to track a goal that was previously unquantifiable.

Because transportation agency results are impacted by influencing factors such as economic growth, and in turn affect areas such as public and environmental health, coordination with stakeholders that focus in such areas can provide transportation agency staff greater understanding of these relationships. Understanding these complex interactions will enable agencies to set more accurate targets, better reflect regional priorities in planning documents, and more strategically program projects to achieve desired outcomes. For more information, refer to step 2.1.3, Identify influencing factors and assess risk (internal and external) in Component 02, Target Setting.

Collaboration with the public through scenario planning can also assist agencies in setting relevant goals and ensuring resource allocation will make progress toward those goals. Understanding what the public desires will be important as the agency reports performance results so that communication is tailored and provides the proper context for reports to be understood by the general public. Lawmakers are an additional external group who should be consulted to ensure that funding levels and performance outcomes are aligned. Elected officials should have a realistic understanding of what is achievable within current and projected funding environments. As with the public, understanding this group’s desires and expectations will assist in later reporting.

External collaboration and coordination will be most successful when agency staff:

  • Provide leadership to reward collaboration and set expectations for coordination
  • Continually look for opportunities to collaborate and improve coordination
  • Build on existing collaboration practices

Most importantly, agencies should seek to build on existing collaboration and coordination. Many requirements concerning external coordination and collaboration exist and agencies have been undertaking these activities; staff should look for ways to further leverage these existing collaboration efforts. For example, regulations require the use of a documented public participation process through development of the long-range transportation plan. Because agencies are already fulfilling this requirement, additional engagement can easily build from the relationships established through this process.1

Subcomponents and Implementation Steps

Figure B-1: Subcomponents for External Collaboration and Coordination

Source: Federal Highway Administration

External Collaboration and Coordination component with subcomponents Planning and Programming and Monitoring and Reporting.

The definition for External Collaboration and Coordination is: established processes to collaborate and coordinate with agency partners and stakeholders on planning/visioning, target setting, programming, data sharing, and reporting. External collaboration allows agencies to leverage partner resources and capabilities, as well as increase understanding of how activities impact and are impacted by external factors. The component is comprised of two subcomponents (Figure B-1):

  • Planning and Programming: Coordinating and collaborating with external agency partners to establish goals, objectives, performance measures, and targets and to program projects to achieve established performance targets.
  • Monitoring and Reporting: Coordinating and collaborating with external agency partners on performance monitoring and reporting.

Collaboration and coordination during planning and programming processes begins as the agency defines its strategic direction (Component 01) by establishing goals, objectives, and measures. These elements should be integrated across partner agencies and performance-based plans and the LRTP to form a cohesive regional strategic direction. Achieving performance targets that have been agreed upon through coordination among agencies will require fewer resources if programming decisions are also coordinated. Completing particular projects together can prevent duplicative effort.

Collaboration and coordination for monitoring and reporting processes produces benefits from data sharing among agencies. Consistent measures across agencies reduce the collective costs of monitoring and reporting. Likewise, agencies can coordinate reporting efforts by releasing combined reports, such as Washington State DOT’s Corridor Capacity Report that includes both transit and road network performance data to provide a holistic perspective on corridor mobility.2 This will align data collection timelines and more fully link partner agency processes that will produce further efficiencies.

The implementation steps in Table B 1 will assist an agency in collaborating more effectively with external partners and stakeholders. Additional information concerning external collaboration and coordination can be found throughout the other Components of this guidebook, including:

Table B-1: External Collaboration and Coordination Implementation Steps
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Planning and Programming Monitoring and Reporting
1. Engage with external stakeholders to establish goals, objectives, and measures 1. Implement data sharing protocols
2. Collaboratively establish targets 2. Review and discuss content of reports to ensure consistent messaging
3. Develop and implement strategies in a collaborative manner 3. Formalize process for monitoring and reporting

Clarifying Terminology

Table B-2 presents the definitions for the external collaboration and coordination terms used in this Guidebook. A full list of common TPM terminology and definitions is included in Appendix C: Glossary.

Table B-2: External Collaboration and Coordination: Defining Common TPM Terminology
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Common Terms Definition Example
Collaboration Efforts to organize people or groups to enable them to work together effectively. Establishment of a target setting working group to set common targets in a bi-state urbanized area.
Coordination To work with another person or group in order to accomplish a task. Undertaking work to set common targets.
Customer Users of an agency’s services. For a transit agency, riders of buses, light rail, and other transit modes. For a DOT, drivers, walkers, bicyclists, and others.
Goal A broad statement of a desired end conditions or outcome; a unique piece of the agency’s vision. A safe transportation system.
Monitoring The identification and diagnosis of performance systems and programs. Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation (FAST), a real-time traffic condition dashboard that enables detailed analysis on request.
Objective A specific, measurable statement that supports achievement of a goal. Reduce the number of motor vehicle fatalities.
Outcome Results or impacts of a particular activity, most of interest to system users. Focus of subcomponent 5.1 System Level Monitoring and Adjustment. Transit travel time reliability, fatality rate, percent of assets within useful life.
Output Quantity of activity delivered through a project or program. Focus of subcomponent 5.2 Program/Project Level Monitoring and Adjustment. Miles of pavement repaved, miles of new guardrail put into place, the number of bridges rehabilitated, the number of new buses purchased.
Partner An organization involved in administering transportation programs and policies, whether directly or indirectly. Involvement includes, but is not limited to, target setting, planning, programming, monitoring, and reporting. Transportation agencies, emergency personnel, chambers of commerce, local government.
Performance Measure Performance measures are based on a metric that is used to track progress toward goals, objectives, and achievement of established targets. They should be manageable, sustainable, and based on collaboration with partners. Measures provide an effective basis for evaluating strategies for performance improvement. Transit passenger trips per revenue hour.
Reporting Summary documentation of performance trends for either internal or external audiences. WSDOT Gray Notebook.
Stakeholder Person or group affected by, or who believe themselves to be affected by, a transportation agency’s activities. This includes, but is not limited to, customers and partners. In developing the long-range transportation plan, agencies must engage the general public and representatives of system users such as bicyclists, freight shippers, and public transportation riders.
Transportation Performance Management A strategic approach that uses system information to make investment and policy decisions to achieve performance goals. Determining what results are to be pursued and using information from past performance levels and forecasted conditions to guide investments.

Relationship to TPM Components

The ten TPM components are interconnected and often interdependent. Subcomponents for External Collaboration and Coordination are closely intertwined with other components: subcomponent B.1 relates to Component 01: Strategic Direction, Component 02: Target Setting, Component 03: Performance-Based Planning, and Component 04: Performance-Based Programming. Subcomponent B.2 relates to Component 05: Monitoring and Adjustment and Component 06: Reporting and Communication. Table B-3 highlights these relationships.

Table B-3: External Collaboration and Coordination Relationship to TPM Components
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Component Summary Definition Relationship to External Collaboration and Coordination
01. Strategic Direction The establishment of an agency’s focus through well-defined goals/objectives and a set of aligned performance measures. Goals should be supportive across agencies to ensure agency activities are aligned while shared measures maximize efficiency in data collection and monitoring efforts.
02. Target Setting The use of baseline data, information on possible strategies, resource constraints and forecasting tools to collaboratively set targets. Collaboration in target setting ensures targets reflect influencing factors as understood by partners./td>
03. Performance-Based Planning Use of a strategic direction to drive development and documentation of agency strategies and priorities in the long-range transportation plan and other plans. With coordinated goals and measures across partners and reflective of public priorities, planning documents will also be aligned to promote synergistic progress toward goals./td>
04. Performance-Based Programming Allocation of resources to projects to achieve strategic goals, objectives and performance targets. Clear linkages established between investments made and their expected performance outputs and outcomes. With agencies allocating resources in a coordinated manner, strategic goals are more likely to be achieved. Regional priorities reflected in strategic goals will be reflected in activities undertaken by partner agencies.
05. Monitoring and Adjustment Processes to monitor and assess actions taken and outcomes achieved. Establishes a feedback loop to adjust programming, planning, and benchmarking/target setting decisions. Provides key insight into the efficacy of investments. Shared monitoring can significantly improve TPM efficiency by eliminating the need for duplicative data collection and management systems across agencies. Coordinated systems support cross-agency discussions regarding strategy adjustments.
06. Reporting and Communication Products, techniques, and processes to communicate performance information to different audiences for maximum impact. Partners can increase public understanding of TPM results and processes by maintaining consistent messaging, as well as reduce resources required for reporting.
A. TPM Organization and Culture Institutionalization of a TPM culture within the organization, as evidenced by leadership support, employee buy-in, and embedded organizational structures and processes that support TPM. As external collaboration becomes part of the agency’s culture, future coordination activities will become streamlined. A supportive culture in turn promotes more robust collaboration in subsequent iterations of TPM processes.
C. Data Management Established processes to ensure data quality and accessibility, and to maximize efficiency of data acquisition and integration for transportation performance management. Data collection efficiencies gained through external collaboration can reduce resource use or enable expanded measurement capabilities.
D. Data Usability and Analysis Existence of useful and valuable data sets and analysis capabilities, provided in usable, convenient forms to support TPM. Coordination for data analysis is a primary area of focus for external collaboration, especially during target setting and monitoring.

Regulatory Resources

This Guidebook is intended to assist agencies with implementing transportation performance management in a general sense, and not to provide guidance on compliance and fulfillment of Federal regulations. However, it is important to consider legislative requirements and regulations when using the Guidebook. In many cases, use of this Guidebook will bring an agency in alignment with Federal requirements; however, the following sources should be considered the authority on such requirements:

Federal Highway Administration

Federal Transit Administration