Strategic planning for a sustainable transportation system: a swot-based framework for assessment and implementation guidance for transportation agencies

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Barrella, Elise M.
Amekudzi-Kennedy, Adjo A.
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Based on a national survey of State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), it was determined that such agencies are engaged in a variety of activities to address sustainability issues associated with transportation planning, design, and operations. However, state DOTs in general do not have sufficient policies or practices in place to evaluate and prioritize investment options that will promote sustainable development. For this research, a mixed-methods research design employing an expert panel and case studies of individual State DOTs was used to develop, test, and evaluate the value of a strategic planning tool that can help DOTs evolve more sustainable practices and be used to monitor progress over time. A self-assessment tool was designed to guides agencies through (1) identifying internal strengths and weaknesses (or gaps) in their planning frameworks and organizational structure and culture, (2) characterizing features of the external environment as opportunities or threats, (3) prioritizing areas for strategy development, and (4) developing strategies that link the internal and external environments. The tool was tested by seven state DOTs who completed the assessment and provided feedback on the content, format, and process. Based on evaluation of the assessment responses and feedback received from these state agencies, recommendations are made for improving the tool and for future applications. The main contribution of this research is a methodology for transportation agencies to develop or refine their organizational frameworks to be more oriented toward sustainability, which could lead to transportation infrastructure investments that can be better maintained and operated over their service life, reduce environmental impacts and fossil fuel dependence, promote economic development, and meet the needs of growing and changing populations more effectively.
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