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20 CHAPTER FOUR CASE STUDIES OVERVIEW prehensive "Leadership System and Strategic Alignment Process" that involves board policy and direction, man- Five transit agencies were selected for case studies. Selection agement action plans and performance measurements, criteria included whether the agency has a comprehensive and individual performance plans for management and process or one that is noteworthy in some way, whether it is employees. believed to be a beneficial process for the agency, and whether As with Dallas, Los Angeles has developed a very com- the agency has been relatively effective at implementing the prehensive process for driving its strategic plan down- plan. In addition, the size of the agency was considered so that ward from its vision and mission through management small, medium, and large agencies would all be represented. and into individual performance appraisals. It also uses a sophisticated "Leadership Model," which is used to The five agencies selected were: "cascade and communicate" the strategic plan agency- wide. This has included use of a video presentation by 1. Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) (small) the CEO that was made available for use at all-hands (www.theride.org). meetings used to discuss the plan. 2. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) (large) (www. In New York, strategic planning is required by state dart.org). law. The regional transit agency for the New York City 3. LACMTA (large) (www.mta.net). region, the MTA, then prescribes certain overall goals 4. MTA New York City Transit (large) (www.mta.nyc. and performance indicators to be used by each of its ny.us/nyct/index.html). subsidiary agencies. The subsidiary agencies (e.g., MTA/ 5. Transit Authority of River City (Louisville, KY) NYC Transit) then annually develop their own strate- (medium) (www.ridetarc.org). gies and targets for each indicator. The case study agencies share a number of common fea- tures that serve to make their strategic planning process effec- ANN ARBOR TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY tive. For example, all of them use a very collaborative and par- Agency Description ticipative process, often involving teams of employees. Team building is therefore an important ingredient in their strategic AATA serves the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti urbanized areas planning efforts. Most of the agencies involve not just internal and portions of Ypsilanti, Pittsfield, and Superior townships in management and staff but key external stakeholders as well. Michigan. Fixed routes in Ann Arbor are within one-quarter Most of the agencies also regularly use management and/or mile of 95% of all residences, and paratransit services are board retreats as part of the process. All of them in some way provided within three-quarters of a mile of all AATA routes. link their strategic plan to their budgeting and capital pro- AATA also operates an interurban express bus service gramming processes. In addition, all of the agencies incorpo- between Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter. The population of rate performance measures and regular progress reporting. the service area is approximately 190,000 (1990 census). There were also a number of particularly noteworthy or The agency operates approximately 60 regular buses on distinctive features used by some agencies. 25 routes. It also operates 5 paratransit vehicles, and an addi- tional 30 are operated by contractors. Riders make 4.4 mil- Two agencies, DART (Dallas) and LACMTA (Los lion unlinked passenger trips on the system each year, with a Angeles), use a "balanced scorecard" approach. This is total operating expense of $19.4 million. an approach used by many private-sector companies (described earlier in the literature review) (4). Dallas has adopted a very global strategic plan that has Strategic Plan Document been reduced to 1 page. The heart of its strategic planning process is instead its annual business plan, which is based AATA's strategic plan, Destination 2010, was adopted in on the strategic plan. Dallas has also developed a com- 1999 and contains the following key elements:

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21 Mission, vision, and values; A description of the planning process, who was involved, and the Strategic Issues Model that was used in its development; A description and analysis of the agency's internal and external environments; A discussion of future challenges; and A plan for the future--"where, who, and what" (where service will be provided, who will be served, and what products or services will be offered). Plan Development The AATA Board initiated the strategic plan in 1998 in response to the challenges that were anticipated over the next 10 years. What ensued was a collaborative effort involving FIGURE 1 AATA strategic issues model [Source: the board, management, staff, outside consultants, and exter- AATA Strategic Plan--Destination 2010 (October nal stakeholders. A core team of representatives from all lev- 1999)]. els of the agency was used to oversee the process. In addition to the core team, a number of other teams were formed to assist with the effort as described here: helping employees balance the various elements of the model Leadership alignment--to initiate dialogue and build and understanding their interrelationships. consensus throughout the organization so that everyone would be working toward the same goals. The strategic plan was adopted in October 1999 after Research--to identify and analyze key demographic, approximately a 1-year effort. It covers a 10-year period and development, traffic, legal, political and fiscal trends is updated annually. Retreats are used to flesh out annual and issues. goals and objectives that are based on the plan. Quarterly Strategic issues and opportunities--to design and coor- reports are then used to track the progress of the annual goals dinate strategies for involving the workforce in the plan- and objectives. ning effort. Communications--to keep everyone informed about the The CEO believes that the strategic plan has been strategic planning process. "extremely useful" (a rating of 5 on a scale of 1 to 5) in terms Internal culture--to ensure that organizational values of making it easier to get the board to agree to the annual were expressed in the AATA mission and in its internal goals and objectives, and in giving the entire agency a sense activities. of direction. More than 40 individuals were involved in the internal process including board members, senior management, and Plan Implementation union and nonunion staff. In addition, a special Stakeholder The chief executive officer also believes that AATA has been Council Design Team was created to identify and involve "extremely effective" (a rating of 5) at implementing strate- important external stakeholders with an interest in public gic plan recommendations. Annual goals and objectives with transit. Four facilitated sessions were held, with a total of 45 quarterly reviews and presentations to the board are used to stakeholders participating. ensure that the plan moves from paper to implementation. Also, the planning process is linked to other key organiza- Integral to AATA's strategic plan was the development of tional processes such as budgeting, capital programming, ser- a Strategic Issues Model. This conceptual planning frame- vice planning, and performance measurement. As with sev- work is shown in Figure 1. eral other transit agencies, the board's evaluation of the CEO is based on the progress of the strategic plan. The purpose of the model was to illustrate how AATA's core issues (who, what, and where) are surrounded by its core values, and how these in turn are affected by the agency's Significant Benefits various constraints and opportunities. All employees were trained in the use of this model, which was used both in the Among the important benefits cited from the strategic plan- development of the plan and in subsequent implementation ning process were better budgeting, workforce unity, and efforts. The CEO believes that the model was very useful in community buy-in.