State DOT CEO Leadership Forum, Spring/Summer 2009
Robert Johns, Former Director, Center for Transportation Studies
In June 2000, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) sponsored a workshop for state DOT CEOs to provide a forum for peer-to-peer discussion of experience in managing internal and external change. Transportation Research Circular 501, Strategic Management Research Needs for State Departments of Transportation (December 2000), documented the activity.
Many CEOs who attended the workshop subsequently commented on the positive experience they had, being able to learn about national trends and exchange ideas with their peers on changes affecting and being initiated in their organizations. Consequently, NCHRP Project 20-24(29), CEO Leadership Forum, held a second workshop in May, 2003. Participants viewed this second activity very favorably as well. NCHRP Project 20-24(38), CEO Engagement Options, was initiated in 2004 to investigate institutionalizing the forum concept and other options for facilitating the exchange of ideas and information among state DOT CEOs. The consultant's report from that project included a suggestion that a leadership forum similar to those provided by the two workshops should be held annually. NCHRP Project 20-24(51), State DOT Leadership Forum 2006, was the first of what is now expected to be a recurring event. The current project entails another in this series of workshop forums, held in 2009.
Several recent NCHRP projects in the 20-24 series have developed guiding principles for establishing comparative performance measures and case-study examples of willing DOTs working together to establish such measures in key strategic management areas relevant to many DOTs. These measures are used for identifying best management practices and lessons learned that may then be shared among all agencies. In 2007, AASHTO's Performance Based Highway Program Task Force presented to the Congressionally-mandated National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission examples of performance management to indicate how state DOTs can refine current performance-based management approaches to support an effective nationwide program in preparation for the next transportation funding authorization. Performance-based program management was the topic focus of the 2009 DOT CEO Management Forum.
The objective of this research project was to plan, organize, and hold a DOT CEO Management Forum in 2009. The forum followed the model represented by forums held in 2000, 2003, and 2006; and encouraged discussion of performance-based program management. The staff at the Center for Transportation Studies coordinated the event planning, delivery, and dissemination of products for the 2009 forum.