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10 STRATEGIC PLANNING AND ORGANIZATION NEW PARADIGMS IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION DEVELOPMENT In the late 1990s, a group of transit industry leaders gathered One of the strengths of strategic management is that it recog- under the aegis of the TCRP. The reason for this gathering nizes that strategic planning by itself often does little to was a shared concern that unless fundamental changes were change an organization's direction, because it does not deal made, the future of the transit industry was in jeopardy, with the significant structural, political, and behavioral forces owing to the significant changes taking place in the world that tend to resist change. This point is made in two articles and the inability of the transit industry to adapt to them (e.g., that argue for the blending or "marriage" of strategic planning fundamental social and economic changes in this country, an and management and "Organization Development" (15, 16). emerging global economy, and the increasing significance of rapid advances in information technology). Organization development (OD) seeks to develop and implement planned change strategies aimed at improving an In 1997, a "future search conference" was organized by organization's effectiveness. It uses many tools or techniques TCRP and the Eno Foundation to explore this issue. The con- to ensure that an organization has the internal capability to ference included approximately 80 individuals representing effectively achieve its goals and objectives. These include transit managers, riders, drivers, labor leaders, political lead- such activities as goal setting, leadership development, team ers, community residents and other important public trans- building, employee feedback surveys, education and train- portation stakeholders. The effort led to a TCRP project that ing, organizational design, process consultation, coaching and in 2003 culminated in a report that described emerging "new counseling, and development of appropriate reward and recog- paradigms" that might affect the industry and that outlined a nition programs. number of suggested responses (17). Many of the responses are such that strategic planning and management would be a In "For Successful Strategic Change: Blend OD Practices key tool for developing and implementing them. with Strategic Management" (15, p. 43), Buller suggests that OD tools can be helpful in the following phases of a typical The report points out that the transit industry has not strategic planning process: changed its basic business model for more than 40 years. It also notes that although in recent years transit ridership has Assessing and developing the organization's readiness reached post-World War II highs, its market share of trips for change, remains quite small. Moreover, increasing levels of automo- Facilitating the strategic planning process, bile traffic are far outpacing the capacity of the street and Helping with strategy implementation, and highway system, thus leading to severe congestion and grid- Developing leadership skills. lock in many areas. A similar point is made by Eadie and Steinbacher in The project studied transportation in three key arenas else- "Strategic Agenda Management: A Marriage of Organiza- where in transportation industries in search of lessons, or tional Development and Strategic Planning"; that is, that tra- new models, for transit. ditional strategic planning too often results in "unimple- mentable strategies" (16, p. 424). In this article, the authors 1. The "logistics revolution" in intermodal freight. describe a case study of a large and complex public-sector 2. The rise of airline "alliances." organization in Ohio. They argue that strategic management 3. New models for organizing and managing transit in can be one of the tools in the larger strategy of OD. More Europe. specifically they describe a concept of "strategic agenda management." In the freight arena, companies are finding ways to inte- grate their operations to better serve the door-to-door needs Strategic agenda management basically involves the "col- of their customers, encourage customer loyalty, and increase lective management of a strategic agenda, which changes as efficiency. This involves use of a logistics manager, who an organization's problems and opportunities change." The coordinates the movement of items from start to finish, and authors state that "effective strategic agenda management the use of powerful information technologies that allow uni- requires intensive, continuous, and collective involvement of fied dispatching and tracking. Airlines have followed a very senior management," and that a strategic agenda must be similar strategy, forming alliances with other carriers so that highly selective if it is not to overtax the organization's abil- passengers can book trips through a single airline and so that ity to manage strategic issues (16, p. 425). the quality of service can be better tracked. Information tech- nology again plays a key role. The important point is that strategic planning and man- agement must pay close attention to not only the development Much the same is occurring in European transit. For exam- of strategic initiatives but also to the organization's capabil- ple, even though there are a variety of operators that provide ity to implement the initiatives. OD tools can be an important service in metropolitan London, London Transport has been resource for developing or enhancing this capability. empowered to set broad policy on fares, service coverage, and

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11 service quality. It tracks efficiency and quality from the cus- assets are being used. This concept should be a central focus tomer's viewpoint. More recently, organizational changes are of the strategic planning efforts of transportation agencies. being made that give multimodal responsibility (buses, taxis, rail systems, ferries, and traffic control) to a new agency-- One of the new paradigm project reports includes as an Transport for London. appendix a guide that organizations can use for managing the change process (18). This includes strategies for The report goes on to identify four key elements of "the emerging paradigm": Recognizing the need for change, Leading and planning change, 1. Emphasis on monitoring service quality and customer Making change happen, and satisfaction across the entire network is replacing the Institutionalizing new approaches. previous emphasis on the operation of a particular agency's vehicles and facilities. Most of the strategies described would be excellent com- 2. New collaborative relationships or alliances are replac- ponents of an effective strategic planning and management ing independent agency operations and head-to-head process. competition. 3. Traditional assets such as vehicles, passenger terminals, The final report points out that transit agencies cannot do and maintenance facilities are being jointly managed. this alone, and that public policy decisions and public invest- 4. State-of-the-art information technology is being used ment must be coordinated in other key areas such as land use to better manage operations, evaluate service quality, strategies, other public infrastructure investments (water, sew- and provide customer information. ers, parking facilities, etc.), environmental measures (clean air and energy conservation), and other public policies such as tax A key theme of the emerging paradigm is that of "mobil- incentives and economic development strategies. Because ity management," the function of meeting the door-to-door transit agencies have little or no control over these areas, they travel needs of the customer no matter whose transportation must work indirectly to encourage such coordination.