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OCR for page 66
66 public utility model represents a more radical (and not yet real- ment of a special-purpose entity, by definition, finesses much ized) change in the business model away from a public agency of the partnership alignment problem, some of which is sub- to an enterprise model. This approach may be approximated in sumed in an interagency agreement. Partnerships and new the context of regional private toll road operations. entities are also likely to be dependent on outsourcing and the Dedicated and sustained leadership is needed to introduce publicprivate partnerships involved, and permit resolution and maintain changes from the legacy context to any reconfig- of most partnership issues via contract. uration of roles or resources. Such changes are also dependent on unique circumstances (limited number of key players) and, The International Perspective to date, special external pressures, such as financial shortfalls, coordination problems, or major disruptions. In the review of alternative institutional models that might be relevant to the U.S. context, international comparisons were made among countries that share sufficient cultural similar- Organization and Staffing ities such that differences in other institutional elements can The establishment of a stand-alone, purpose-dedicated entity be revealing. provides staffing flexibility and some relief from civil service There is limited written material on institutional models constraints, and clarifies accountability for the chartered internationally. One of the key sources is the 2006 FHWA Scan SO&M functions. These models are, by definition, designed to of Active Traffic Management. The U.K. Highways Agency has substitute for state DOT staff and to acquire special capability recently completed an as-yet-unreleased scan of incident man- at a competitive cost. From a management and accountability agement experience in six countries: Holland, France, Australia, point of view, it is shifting the state DOT staff function from United States, Germany, and Sweden. This Investigation and concern with execution to a focus on outcomes and, at the Evaluation of Road Incident Management Approaches: Interna- same time, highlighting the need to identify core capacities. tional Initial Review Report was conducted in part by members of this project team and provides a useful up-to-date parallel to the FHWA scan. A comparison of the U.K. and U.S. scans Resource Allocation interestingly reveals a grass-is-greener phenomenon, with the Although the cost of SO&M as a proportion of overall state U.K. observers admiring the range of experimentation in the DOT budgets (exclusive of snow and ice control) is small, United States and the U.S. observer admiring the simpler rarely above 2%, SO&M expenditures are frequently seen as institutional structures with a national transportation agency, competing with well-established and justified maintenance single law enforcement entity, and apparently closer coordi- programs (and sometimes capital) for scarce resources--the nation among agencies from a single level of government out- challenge, in effect, being one of policy. In some instances, the side the United States. transition toward more outsourcing has been hampered by Given the availability of written material and direct contacts, legislative and stakeholder resistance to diversion of funds. the comparisons were focused on the United Kingdom and The first two alternative models monetize certain compo- Australia, with limited consideration of the Netherlands, nents of an SO&M program that may overcome staffing France, and Japan. Account must be taken for the fact that constraints and create a visible budget item. Outsourcing these countries are smaller (in population and size) and less programs are on annual or multiyear contracts, providing diverse than the United States and vary considerably in their different levels of stability. Competitively bid longer-term national and subnational government structures. For example, contracts permit the private entity to invest in more efficient it is difficult to compare the activities of the U.K. (national) service delivery. While this represents a degree of formaliza- Highways Agency or the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public tion of an SO&M program, it has also made these elements Works, and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) with a state vulnerable to budget cuts. A new operating entity is likely to DOT, although they bear similar types of responsibilities. involve a budget as a matter of agreement among the partic- The variations in institutional models in the United King- ipating entities, but is also subject to individual participant dom, Australia, and the Netherlands reflect a high national budget variation. A new utility like entity, by definition, has priority on traffic management. In particular, all three coun- its own source of funding (such as dedicated taxes or tolls). tries focus on reliability, reflecting a consensus of the relative leverage of managing NRC. This priority translates into some key differences from typical U.S. state DOT policy in terms of Partnerships these items: A key feature exhibited by the current, more mature state DOTs is the formalization of partnerships via memoranda, Explicit congestion management policy; joint training, and regular performance review. The develop- Clear divisional responsibility for operations;

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67 Formal planning and budgeting for operations; (NTIMC), which require a higher level of effort in reaching Specific professional specialty and training; agreement even on high-level principles alone. Use of operations-related performance criteria to measure The most striking example of the evolution of the U.K. agency functions; and Highways Agency over the last decade, regarding the delivery A high degree of outsourcing. of both operations and maintenance services, is outsourcing to private entities. The road network is divided into 14 oper- Australia and the Netherlands share the strong operations ational areas, with each area managed by a managing agent orientation of the United Kingdom, but geographic differ- contractor. England has also been divided into four traffic- ences lead to different models. In Australia, closer to the operations regions. The formal mission has developed a U.S. legacy model, traffic management is at the state and much stronger focus on reliability, safety, and information, regional (urban) level, but also exhibits strong transportation as evidenced by the aggressive implementation of active traf- law enforcement relationships and a strong focus on per- fic management schemes. This network operations focus has formance measurement. Unlike in the United Kingdom, led to a set of institutional changes in its support. The follow- operations are not a stand-alone division or budget. The ing organizations within the Highways Agency contribute to Netherlands, with its simpler institutional framework, has incident management: taken an even more aggressive step with active traffic man- agement and the introduction of GPS-based road pricing by The Traffic Officer Service represents an increase in the 2011. While the culture and institutional arrangements are Highways Agency's role in incident and emergency man- quite different in Japan, there is a similarity with the United agement, taking over nonlaw enforcement traffic manage- Kingdom and Netherlands in the consolidation of author- ment role from the police (including incident command in ity for operations in a single agency--the national police-- minor incidents). This service includes a fleet of patrol vehi- and in strong publicprivate partnerships, especially in the cles that operates in coordination with the regional control provision of traffic information. centers, supporting incident and emergency services, with Appendix A presents a comparison of the United States, highways and law enforcement personal colocated. United Kingdom, and Australia regarding planning, imple- The private sector and the regional managing agent con- mentation, operations, and maintenance of ITS and SO&M, tractors maintain a strategic network to meet service level insofar as they suggest relevant models. agreements. They play a key role in managing incidents by providing tactical incident management to the Traffic Offi- cer Service and asset repair required as a result of incidents. Reallocation of Roles The National Traffic Control Centre, National Incident Liai- A noticeable difference emerging in the international scans is son Officers, and the Highways Agency Information Line are the impact of (relative) institutional simplicity derived from the countrywide (similar to statewide) organizations that coor- major role played by the national government in nonfederal dinate among regions and major emergencies as necessary. countries. This eases the ability to develop a policy consensus and minimizes the jurisdictional fragmentation. In particular, This model represents a combination of focus on opera- this is visible in the differences between such countries' national tions in the transportation agency, a renegotiation of a more unified goals process (which involve various aspects of systems active role for the Highways Agency among the key players in operations and management, such as incident management, some of those highway operations, dedicated incident response making it easier for many countries to develop consensus) and function, and aggressive recourse to the most aggressive strat- the U.S. National Traffic Incident Management Coalition egy applications.