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Draft Report

Procuring, Managing, and Evaluating the Performance of Contracted TMC Services

allows an agency to expand the size of its workforce without necessarily having to add full-time personnel to staff.

Maintain Flexibility or Manage Variations in Department Workloads

Outsourcing also allows shift personnel and resources to meet varying workload demands.  As workload demands ebb and flow, many agencies find it easier, quicker, and more cost-effective to hire contract services than to add staff – especially when the tasks are temporary or have to be accomplished in a relatively short time frame.   

Access Specialized Skills or Equipment

Another common reason for outsourcing is to access specialized skills or equipment not readily available to a public agency.  As computer and communications technologies continue to evolve, the complexity of the technologies and systems in the both the field and in the TMC are increasing.  Furthermore, the need to integrate more complex and diverse systems make outsourcing an attractive option for expanding functionality in TMCs.  

Increase Speed of Completion or Meet Specific Timeframes

Sometimes special situations occur that require agencies to outsource unique functions or activities.  Natural catastrophes such as floods, hurricanes, or winter storms may create a need to immediately mobilize forces and resources to execute repairs.  In other cases, an upcoming major special event (e.g., political convention, summit, or sporting event) may force an agency to accelerate its time schedule for deploying field equipment or adding new functionality to a TMC.  In these situations, outsourcing is one mechanism agencies have used to increase the speed at which new services and functionality can be added to their TMCs.

Meet Federal or State Legislative Mandates, Legal Requirements, or Policy Initiatives

In some situations, agencies are motivated to pursue outsourcing as a result of either federal or state legislative mandates or through internal agency policy initiatives and directives.  While day-to-day operations of TMCs by contracted services has never been mandated, traveler information dissemination services are becoming more privatized as additional private traffic reporting agencies begin to provide real-time information.

Obtain Cost Savings

According to a recent GAO survey, cost savings is rarely cited by agencies as a major contributor in deciding whether to contract out services.  In fact, the majority of the states surveyed listed cost savings as “of little importance” or “of no importance” in their decisions to contract out ongoing operations activities (note: ongoing operations include activities such as

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