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70 SE is essential for successfully deploying technology sys- proaches than have been used in the past. Although this tems. Until the U.S. transit industry fully embraces these study places far greater emphasis on some state-of-the-art important planning and design techniques, technology and essential practices than has been done in the past, some performance will remain far below its potential. Transit of the practices recommended here have been identified can follow the examples provided by other industries that previously. In order for the findings of this study to have utilize EAP and SE and draw analogies to the transit busi- their intended impact--stimulating significant improve- ness as they strive for success. Utilizing these techniques ments in transit technology implementation--an enhanced will require more funding than is usually required for approach to dissemination is required. Recommendations technology deployment, so efforts to obtain funding for for dissemination are described in Section 4.2. technology will need to be more innovative. 4. An agency must realistically assess its capability to make a 4.2 Disseminating Study Findings technology deployment fully successful. The decision to pursue technology deployment should take into considera- A three-pronged model is recommended for the dissemi- tion whether the aforementioned prerequisites--those nation of the findings of this study. The three prongs of the important pre-existing conditions, attributes, and capabil- dissemination/follow-up model are the following: ities that are necessary for an agency to effectively apply the 1. Conduct traditional TCRP knowledge transfer; practices recommended in this report--are in place. Too 2. Incorporate several new or enhanced knowledge transfer many times, external factors, such as politics and board of methods; and directors' interests, have forced an agency to rush into a 3. Carry out, in parallel, several additional activities that project without having the appropriate prerequisites focus on impacting transit policy rather than knowledge and resources. An agency must be realistic about what it transfer per se. can and cannot do regarding technology planning, de- sign, procurement, deployment, and ongoing operation Each of the three prongs of the dissemination/follow-up and maintenance. If an agency determines that its internal model are described below. capabilities are lacking, it can make meaningful progress by first establishing its "basic skills" for successful tech- 4.2.1 Traditional TCRP Knowledge Transfer nology implementation. 5. Emerging technologies have the potential to help address The first prong of the dissemination model, traditional the important issues that are facing transit in the next 10 TCRP knowledge transfer, is useful and appropriate, but will to 20 years. These important issues include the needs of an need to be supplemented with other dissemination methods aging society and rising fuel prices. However, agencies will and activities to fully meet the challenges identified by this need to understand the effects of new technologies on their study. Traditional TCRP knowledge transfer activities include organizations before planning how they will address future the following: issues. Technologies do not generate benefits unless an Publish this report as well as brochures, fact sheets, pam- agency integrates the technology into its operations and phlets, or similar material with condensed versions of the makes necessary changes to the organization to fully em- study results. brace and utilize the technology. This study revealed that Incorporate the findings of this report into existing train- many agencies that have adopted technology systems ex- ing courses and develop new courses, if necessary, to ad- pend available resources on maintaining, updating, and dress all the needs identified in this study (e.g., SE, EAP integrating those systems and lack the resources necessary and Change Management). to systematically scan emerging technologies. Thus, dis- Present the results of this report at conferences and meet- semination of information regarding new technologies, ings, including the TRB Annual Meeting; the ITS America specifically regarding the benefits that can be derived from Annual Conference; and several APTA meetings and con- deploying them, will be a necessity and must be done in a ferences, including the Annual Meeting, the Bus and Para- way that minimizes agency research efforts. Finally, given transit Conference, the Bus Rapid Transit Conference, the the great potential of emerging technologies, it is vital that Transit Board Members Seminar and Board Support Em- the transit industry strive to better anticipate and more ployee Development Workshop, the TransITECH Confer- quickly adopt these technologies. In focusing on agencies' ence, and the Transit CEOs Seminar (formerly General many challenges with current technologies, the signifi- Managers Seminar). cance of emerging technologies cannot be ignored. Incorporate the findings of this report into other planned 6. Adoption of the recommendations of this study is depend- workshops and forums and consider new workshops or ent on more aggressive and effective dissemination ap- forums dedicated to the findings of this report.

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71 4.2.2 New/Enhanced Knowledge Transfer transit, (2) high visibility among peers, (3) success and inno- vation with technology, and (4) appreciation of the challenges The second prong of the strategy for dissemination of results faced by less successful agencies and the different circum- and other follow-up actions in part represents enhancements stances of agencies and the effects of these differing circum- or refinements in the way some traditional activities are carried stances on technology implementation. In addition to being out (see Section 4.2.1), and in part will represent new activities viewed as highly credible and authoritative by the target audi- incorporating new methods. The overall objective of this ence of transit agency CEOs and GMs, the messenger must be second prong is to take steps to enhance the penetration and articulate and persuasive and must strongly believe in the mes- ultimate value of the study findings among the practitioner sage and have a personal zeal for communicating it. In short, community. This objective responds to two major challenges. the messenger must be an "evangelist"--a trusted, capable, The first challenge is that most practitioners face an enor- and highly motivated insider. mously crowded and somewhat chaotic information environ- The mechanisms for dissemination of the study findings will ment and are, essentially, in "information overload." With be unique and responsive insofar as they utilize the most recent tools like the Internet, the rapid proliferation of industry and technologies and forums as well as emerging ones. Candidate topic-specific subscription e-mail newsletters, and the new technologies include subscription e-mails, RSS feeds, web sem- RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, the problem for most inars, video conferencing, e-Zines, podcasts, and wiki-enabled practitioners is no longer an absence of information per se, Internet collaboration. (A wiki is "a type of Web site that allows but inadequate time to scan it, identify what's useful, and then the visitors themselves to easily add, remove, and otherwise remember they have it. Simply publishing a report and mak- edit and change some available content, sometimes without ing a few conference presentations may have been a sufficient the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation way to disseminate findings 10 years ago, but a different strat- makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative authoring."127) egy is needed now. One of the most promising mechanisms that should be uti- The other challenge is that past attempts to address many of lized to disseminate and encourage adoption of the findings of the same problems this study addresses have been inadequate, this report is the Applied Transit Technology Center that is in despite making good information available to the transit com- development and being championed by the UTA. The devel- munity. As elaborated in the discussion of prerequisites, a opment of The Applied Transit Technology Center (described main reason for that prior failure is that the recommended practices aren't easy to put into practice for most agencies. in more detail in Section 2.3) is based on the recognition that Agencies with organizational climates that do not fully sup- agencies need to pool their efforts to address technology chal- port technology investment are not places where an IT, plan- lenges, and the Center features activities and approaches con- ning, or operations manager can simply start using EAP and sistent with the findings of this study. The Center's theme of SE techniques. Likewise, agencies that are profoundly resource- agencies helping each other under the direction of their CEOs challenged simply cannot afford to use many of those costly or GMs is entirely consistent with the assertion here that best practices even when the up-front investment is returned the "messenger" must come from within the ranks of transit many times over. agency leaders. Also, the Center proposes a whole host of The way that these challenges must be addressed is to more knowledge and technology transfer mechanisms of the type effectively target and craft the dissemination of study find- that are needed to effectively communicate the results of this ings. Effective dissemination of study findings entails using study, including new publications, online materials, forums, the 3 Ms: the right (uniquely responsive and therefore effec- workshops, roundtables, and web seminars. The Center's in- tive) message, messenger, and mechanisms. tention to have a strong online component dovetails nicely The message will be unique and responsive if it stresses that with the notion of creating a specialized, "one-stop-shop" (1) agencies must understand and utilize techniques like SE web portal devoted to transit technology best practices and re- in a truly meaningful way (not in a superficial way simply to sources that was suggested at the transit leader focus group comply with the FTA Policy); (2) agencies must develop the convened for this study. necessary prerequisites before implementing the practices, and (3) "the prerequisite problem" has been recognized and 4.2.3 Parallel, Additional Activities efforts are being made (e.g. 3rd prong) to address it. in the Political/Policy Arena The messenger will be unique and responsive insofar as he or she will be drawn from the ranks of transit agency leadership, The third prong of the dissemination/follow-up model fo- past or present, will possess all of the qualities necessary to get cuses exclusively on follow-up actions. The first two prongs the attention of fellow CEOs and GMs, and most importantly, of the strategy are expected to be effective in disseminating will be seen as credible and authoritative. The messenger's credibility will derive from (1) many years of experience in 127 Wikipedia, Nov. 2006,

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72 findings and encouraging their adoption (especially if pur- 3. Technology cannot be effectively exploited by transit sued in partnership with entities like the UTA Applied Tran- agencies without the proper support and resources. The sit Technology Center). However, the actions described in nature of this support should be carefully aligned with the first two prongs of the dissemination/follow-up model each agency's needs. Deployment funding will be most are not likely, in and of themselves, to solve "the prerequisite effective when it is restricted to those agencies with demon- problem" faced by so many agencies. Solutions to that prob- strated prerequisites and a commitment to EAP, change lem must be pursued through political and policy-making management, ROI analysis, SE, and post-deployment eval- channels. The objective of activities in the political, policy- uation. For agencies lacking the prerequisites and commit- making arena is to help make the case to U.S. DOT leadership ments to change management, post-deployment evaluation, and elected officials that and the other proven and needed techniques, resources pro- vided in the form of technical assistance to help establish the 1. In order to play its role in meeting the current transporta- prerequisites and the other commitments will be the most tion challenges that will intensify in the future, transit will useful. have to improve. 2. Effective utilization of technology is a primary means of Activities in this third prong could be undertaken by FTA improving transit. in partnership with transit industry associations like APTA.