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The National Academies

NCHRP 20-24(48) [Final]

Analysis and Benchmarking of State DOT Human Resource Activities
[ NCHRP 20-24 (Administration of Highway and Transportation Agencies) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $50,000
Research Agency: ERS Consulting
Principal Investigator: Ellin Reissner
Effective Date: 12/23/2005
Completion Date: 5/22/2007

Many state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies face recurring pressures to reduce staff, curtail recruitment, trim administrative costs, and outsource activities. At the same time, these agencies work to maintain high standards of service to transportation-system users, taxpayers, and their other stakeholders. The tensions created by these opposing forces have given rise to both managerial innovation and to needs for management tools that can help senior agency officials to determine when the agency's essential human resource (HR) capabilities are at risk.

The innovative strategies and tools agencies have devised to can be useful to other agencies facing similar pressures. Nor is the situation unique to DOTs; experience gained in the private sector and elsewhere in the public sector may be useful to transportation agency management. Yet there currently is no mechanism for sharing and comparison of HR best practice benchmarks for DOTs seeking to define the HR resources that are essential to the agency's core competence and to maintain that core competence when downsizing and outsourcing decisions must be made.

The objective of this project was to analyze and benchmark HR best practices for determining what are the essential core competencies an agency must maintain to fulfill its mission, how agencies have used HR actions to assure they have the capability to maintain these mission core competencies, and how agencies have responded to external pressures agency downsizing and service outsourcing within this context of maintaining core competencies.  The project entailed a review and analysis of published literature and a survey of current practices of state DOTs, other governmental agencies, and private organizations. A final project report was delivered to AASHTO.

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