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3 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND The size of the agency (so that small, medium, and large agencies would all be represented), Strategic planning is a management tool widely applied in the The comprehensiveness of the agency's process, and/or private, nonprofit, and public sectors. It is used to define an Innovative or noteworthy practices that the agencies used. organization's vision, mission, core values, challenges, and opportunities; establish long- and short-range goals; guide Strategic planning documents produced by these agencies business processes; and measure performance. It helps an were reviewed in detail, and follow-up telephone interviews organization create its future rather than just react to it. In or e-mail correspondence were used to obtain more in-depth addition, it helps to integrate an organization's various activ- information. ities and programs, and to better align the organization with its stakeholders. ORGANIZATION OF THE REPORT However, strategic planning by itself is not enough. Too many strategic plans have been ineffective or did not bring This synthesis is organized into five chapters. about desired changes because they were poorly executed. For this reason, the concept of strategic planning is being Chapter one describes the background and approach. replaced by the broader concept of "strategic management," a term that implies a continuing process of plan development, Chapter two reviews relevant literature on the subject of implementation, and evaluation. In addition, it suggests that strategic planning and management. It looks at the general strategic planning must be linked with other key business practice, but focuses particularly on literature that pertains to processes and not just be conducted as a separate planning the public sector and to public transportation. exercise. For example, when strategic planning is linked with stakeholder interests, budgeting, service deployment, and per- Chapter three discusses the two surveys that were con- formance measurement it can be a very powerful method for ducted as part of the study--a random survey to determine the the effective strategic management of an organization. prevalence of strategic planning in transit agencies and a more The purpose of this project was to examine the practice of detailed survey of selected agencies designed to provide spe- strategic planning and management in the transit industry. cific information on the nature of strategic planning as it is How is it being used and to what extent? What forms does it practiced. The methodology used in the surveys is described. take? How effective has it been? What benefits has it pro- duced? Are there any related research or training needs? Chapter four describes the five case studies: Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA), Dallas Area Rapid Tran- sit (DART), Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transporta- TECHNICAL APPROACH tion Authority (LACMTA), MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit), and Transit Authority of River City (TARC) The project involved a review of the relevant literature on the (Louisville, Kentucky). subject, both in general and as related to public transportation. Surveys were conducted of two separate groups of transit agencies. The first was a short random survey of one transit Chapter five discusses the conclusions reached in the agency in each state and the District of Columbia to determine study. In addition, suggestions are made with regard to addi- how widespread is the use of strategic planning. Thirty-eight tional study and training needed. agencies responded. The second was a detailed survey of selected agencies that were considered likely to be engaged in A list of the responding agencies and the questionnaires strategic planning. The purpose of the second survey was to used in the two surveys are included as Appendices A through examine in detail specific strategic planning and management D. In addition, a TRB web address is provided in Appendix practices. Twenty-four agencies responded to this survey. E, which will link to the cover page, table of contents, and/or introductory section or summary of the strategic plans of 11 Five of the agencies from the second survey were selected transit agencies. This material will not be part of the pub- as case studies based on lished report.