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How Cities Can Solve Transportation Problems and Deliver Better Service

Transportation projects often get delayed because of unclear structures and procedures within city agencies. A new report examines how the right mix of structure, people and processes can achieve success. Governing By Jared Brey Jan. 24, 2023 Does it take your city 10 years and untold millions of dollars to design and install a few miles of bike lanes, only to find, as the paint is still drying, that the water department says it’s time to dig up the street and replace the mains? You might have a structural problem. That’s the premise behind a new report from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) that examines the structural and procedural practices that make some local transportation agencies more effective than others. Structured for Success builds on research that NACTO conducted as part of a previous effort, called Green Light for Great Streets. In the new report, the group defines several typologies of organizational structures, from “transportation-focused” to “transportation-diffuse.” Those typologies help illuminate various challenges in cities that consolidate all transportation-related activities under one department versus those that have people working on transportation issues spread throughout multiple departments. A key finding of the research is that, “For an agency to deliver on its priorities, it needs someone to champion them at the highest levels of decision-making.”

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