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What Can Be Done to Better Align Public and Private Freight Interests 23 Having qualified staff that understands the private sector decision-making process will facil- itate interaction with the private sector. Improve Communication and Education Communication and education are keys to success, and steps that improve them are fundamen- tal to achieving better results. The objective is to reach the point where there are engaged and edu- cated senior leaders in both sectors that understand the other sector and maintain relationships with managers in that other sector. Public sector agencies can lead by example in the following ways: 1. Develop Focused Staff Expertise. Assign professional staff, experienced in understanding freight dynamics and in the associated private and public relationships to dedicated freight- oriented positions. Agencies that can develop or hire freight industry specialists will be bet- ter able to be effective in addressing freight-related issues. 2. Nurture Freight Advisory Groups. Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and state and regional agencies can organize and sponsor Freight Advisory Councils consisting of freight transportation providers, transportation intermediaries, and shippers, who can provide feed- back and perspective on impacts and consequences of public sector actions. 3. Invest in Leadership Exchanges. Executives and managers from MPOs and state and regional agencies can exchange jobs with individuals in the private transportation sector to gain an appreciation for and a perspective on private freight decision makers. While organizing tem- porary exchanges formally between public agencies and companies is difficult, informal exchanges (by hiring individuals at different stages of their careers with experience in the other sector) can achieve some of the same benefits. 4. Joint Task Forces. Formal joint task forces can be established between companies and gov- ernment agencies where executives and managers from companies can have significant impact on MPOs and state and regional agency decisions with respect to the freight system. Whether these groups are called goods movement or freight task forces, they need to be given real power of input in public decision making. Benchmarking Progress Benchmarking is an established management practice applicable to improving the outcomes of public and private sector freight decision-making facilitation efforts. Use of benchmarking as an approach to measuring the performance of policies, programs, and projects can lead to quick redirection and reprioritization of efforts to best achieve desired results. Commonly, this requires information on results achieved by one agency in comparison with results achieved by similar agencies elsewhere or results achieved from parallel efforts within the same agency. The objective is to be able to make changes or set priorities so that an optimal combination of effort is reached over time. Those efforts that are underperforming are either modified or resources are redirected toward those that are working better. Circumstances are unique to each agency and there are no set standards that can guarantee success everywhere. Each agency can thus tailor its set of benchmarking metrics to its needs and projects. PublicPrivate Task Teams Develop Project Milestones In the 1990s, the federal government commenced an extensive effort to introduce and expand systemic performance measurement for its programs. Use of performance measurement will support attempts to apply more private sector approaches to the implementation of public sec-