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72 APPENDIX E Focus Group Summary Overview Attendees A focus group was held on Wednesday, August 27, 2008, The invitation was initially sent to about twenty members from 1:00-2:00 p.m. CDT. It was conducted via conference of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning (SCOP). call and the Internet. Its purpose was to gather reactions and Three states responded, and members of the research team ideas to elements of the business plan, to the tools that could followed up with others to obtain representation from five be developed to assist in the search for information, and to the states. Participants were: process for procuring and maintaining information resources. The session was facilitated by Gina Baas of the University of Alaska DOT: Jack Stickel, Transportation Data Services Minnesota and Frances Harrison, and Hyun-A Park of Spy Manager, Division of Program Development (Planning Pond Partners. Division), Generally, the participants liked the idea of TKNs and an Idaho DOT: Inez Hopkins, Roadway Data, Research, information portal, provided the resources were available to Librarian develop and maintain them as described in the slides. Some Michigan DOT: Debra Alfonso, Manager of Intermodal specific suggestions from the participants include: Services Section, Department of Planning, alfonsod@ May want to consider the public television/public radio Oregon DOT: Robert Maestre, Long-Range Planning Man- model of funding using advertising for contributing funds ager, to maintain the information portal. Virginia DOT: Ben Mannell, Assistant State Transporta- Rather than having a single topic leader to maintain topi- tion Planner, cal information, have a team of individuals to provide a more balanced and diverse view. Summary of Presentation All emphasized importance of the portal being compre- and Discussion hensive and up-to-date; it's critical for the business plan to address how that would happen. The focus group began with introductions by members of In terms of organizations' willingness and ability to share the research team and the participants, followed by a couple their own information, it would help to have an automated of ice-breaker questions. process of sharing; it's the "right" thing to do, but needs to Question #1 was: What is your greatest challenge in man- be easy, automated. Perhaps incentives need to be put into aging the information and resources needed to do your job? place to ensure that needed information is shared. Responses included: One participant suggested that the regional transportation knowledge networks could provide a good model for build- "There's too much [information]." ing information by taking advantage of connections with Staff spend too much time searching the Web. local and regional MPOs, agencies, etc. However, three Need for meet information needs related to staff turnover, regions are probably not enough. including business process documentation and training materials. A recording of the focus group is available online: https:// TRB Synthesis reports have been helpful in getting going (Length: 1 hour, 2 minutes). on new project areas.

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73 Question #2 was: How does your organization manage and Initial reactions from the group were: disseminate its own information and products? Responses were: Oregon DOT: Experts are really key to making this work. He recommended the book: "Wikinomics: How Mass Col- Virginia: VDOT manages internal information through laboration Changes Everything", by Don Tapscott and departmental policy memoranda; internal Web site; infor- Anthony D. Williams. This book shows how innovation mation memoranda; and team sites for specific projects, spreads by being broadcast to a larger panel. such as Bicycle and Pedestrian, Operations, Transporta- "Where's the advertising sidebar to support it?" Should tion Demand Management team sites. Also, monthly at least consider public television/public radio model of videoconferences held with regional offices to share infor- funding/advertising. Will be fairly expensive to keep up, mation. VDOT has a KM Center that they use fairly regu- probably $2-5 million per year. Professional and trans- larly. In terms of external information, many VDOT staff portation-related advertising may be a reasonable way to members participate on TRB panels, resulting in the shar- support it. ing of best practices. Idaho submits reports to TRB (for TRIS online) and OCLC; state library depository system. Responses to Structured Questions Alaska has elements of what VDOT and IDOT have, but 1. Which aspects of this would provide value to your wants to be further along. Alaska DOT is in the process of organization? developing a comprehensive data business plan, including Alaska: specific application at another state DOT, such knowledge management elements. as 511, road weather, transportation data, typically Oregon: Uses an Intranet, department-wide newsletters, buried in a department's Web site. Would be great to and division-wide newsletters, member of WTKN: dedi- have the pre-work done, with the links provided by cated transportation knowledge librarian within State subject. Library. One problem is that the regional offices need Michigan: needs assurance that it would be a compre- information from MPOs. hensive source; what kind of incentives can be put in Michigan disseminate policies and memos well; internal place to ensure that needed information is shared? newsletters. Challenges include keeping the flow of infor- Virginia: Portal idea a good one. How would it ensure mation going between, and managing historical informa- that it stays current and comprehensive? tion (anything that isn't the latest version). Oregon: Would be better to have national "topic teams" Then, a scenario was presented to the group: "You have instead of "topic leaders" this would ensure that you 1 /2 day to prepare testimony for your commissioner on this get a balanced perspective and would provide greater topic of the implications of mileage-based user fees for your credibility. Virginia: One search engine accessing multiple sources state. What would you do in this situation?" of info. Oregon: Call Jim Whitty, get a mini-team together at the 2. How would you use the portal if it were in place? Are there beginning, do a Web search: mileage-based user fees, with particular topic areas or types of information that you'd "implications or consequences or legislation," Make phone be most interested in seeing? calls, cut and paste. Revenue generation Idaho: Would use the State DOT search engine, TRB's Privatization TRIS Online, and the National Transportation Library's Climate change catalog. Devolution of responsibility of management of the road- Virginia: Also, get a handle on VMT in your state: TTP, way network Growth in VMT, TDM Models: impacts on average com- Transportation and Health mute lengths. Reauthorization and the potential for performance mea- Oregon: Also, think of how to search related fields: air sures and eligibility for federal quality, climate change, trucking, the politics of the issue. Multimodal tradeoffs 3. Would your organization be willing to share information The TKN vision and portal concept was presented, show- such as presentations or consultant studies that could be ing how the portal might be used to address the scenario, and of value to others? explaining the "behind the scenes" work needed to populate Michigan: Biggest challenge is time constraints infor- the information in the portal. mation would need to be organized and that takes time

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74 Virginia: would like one point of contact to funnel Virginia: Portal idea a good one. How would we ensure information to portal (most likely the VDOT Knowl- that it stays current and comprehensive? edge Management Center) Oregon: if process was easy & automated Final comments were: Virginia: suggested a pilot program to share illustrate the benefits of knowledge exchange, show tangible results Michigan: suggested the idea of regional knowledge net- 4. What questions do you have about how this would work? works as a feasible model, taking advantage of connections Michigan: needs assurance that it would be a compre- with local and regional MPOs, agencies, etc. hensive source; what kind of incentives can be put in Alaska: Important for the business plan to take into account place to ensure that needed information is shared? the ongoing maintenance and updating