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23 area, the five questions receiving the lowest mean score in the and from the program of SO&M applications--such as incident TIM SA are in this section" (U.S. Department of Transporta- management or road weather information. tion, FHWA, 2009a). The research in this report does include determination The interviews with state DOTs and other transportation of the common aspects of the programs and technical and managers conducted as part of this project and anecdotal business processes of the states that have more effective oper- sources indicated that the barriers are substantially institu- ations but only to the extent that those processes identify tional and are related to the embedded civil engineering the needed institutional architecture. For example, an effec- culture in transportation agencies; limited understanding of tive incident management program requires an interrelated outside stakeholders and decision-makers; state DOT leader- sequence of planning, systems engineering, resource allocation, ship with other priorities; organization and staffing oriented procurement, project development and implementation, to project development and maintenance; funding commit- procedural coordination, and so forth. All these processes, in ments; and unaligned partners. turn, depend on key elements of a supportive institutional setting--leadership, legal authorization, organized responsi- bilities, staff capabilities, available resources, and working The Importance of partnerships. This report focuses on the institutional impli- Institutional Architecture cations; it does not provide program or process guidance. There has been considerable speculation about the slow pace of Institutional architecture encompasses more than just mainstreaming SO&M as a formal, state transportation agency agency organization. It includes leadership, staffing, resources, core program, especially given its low cost and effectiveness. partnerships, and the prevailing culture. Culture, in partic- ular, is a key element of institutional architecture as it refers Even though the concepts and technologies are increasingly to the values, assumptions, and priorities of the agency, well understood, there remains a substantial gap between best agency staff and leadership, the expectations of users, and practice and average practice within and among states. The the policy environment. It is the pervasive legacy culture of slow uptake on this potential by transportation agencies is, transportation agencies that is least susceptible to management therefore, not a result of lack of technical understanding-- and it is the slowest component of institutional architecture or from an absence of available best practice models. It is to change. increasingly clear that the current modest focus on SO&M is It is the premise of this project to capitalize on the full substantially a product of the conventional legacy context of potential of SO&M, which is substantially dependent on the many transportation agencies today--a civil engineering level of support provided by theses institutional features. culture and an inherited organization structured for con- struction and maintenance--the existing capital programs' claims on scarce resources and difficulties in forging the Basic Hypothesis necessary partnerships with outside entities. These factors of the Report of culture, leadership, priorities, organization and staffing, As indicated, the business process characteristics needed for resources, and relationships constitute the institutional setting an effective SO&M program are substantially different from for change in the existing transportation agencies--both state those associated with the traditional transportation agency DOTs and other major highway entities. capital programs. It is a reasonable assumption that these The term "institutional architecture" has been applied to characteristic processes make special institutional demands the overall configuration of these elements in a transportation on leadership, organization, staffing, resources, and relation- entity context. However, until institutional architecture is ships. These demands might be different from those around defined and analyzed by its components and until the dynamics which transportation agency conventions and configurations of, and relationships among, those components are clarified, have formed, especially if the needed business processes are it cannot become the subject for useful discussion or manage- to be mainstreamed within the agency's normal activities on ment. A major focus of this project, therefore, is to define and a continuing basis. describe institutional architecture, so that it can be subject to To develop a more structured understanding of these change management. relationships, this research was conducted in three parts: In this project, institutional architecture focuses on the substantial nontechnical features that describe whether, · Identification of the apparently more effective transportation how, and with whom an agency pursues SO&M. It is there- agency programs via known program characteristics; fore important to distinguish institutional architecture from · Determination of the technical and business process fea- technical and business processes (such as planning/program- tures that are needed to support program effectiveness ming, systems development, and performance measurement) (through interview and secondary materials); and