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Draft Report

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

A drill-down into how these goals are being met will identify TMC operational capabilities and defined actual versus desired returns on investment.  This work forms the foundation of the details that describe how TMC functions will be carried out.

For example, an important component of incident response is time availability.  Most transportation agency personnel typically work during weekday office hours.  Some operations personnel may be available with on-call status for nights, weekends, holidays, and special events such as emergencies, but this is more the exception than the rule.  Most agency staff work Monday through Friday only.  Incidents, however, occur at all times, regardless of staff availability.  Transportation agencies have an opportunity to consider whether to model themselves after emergency responders, who are available at all times and have related operations, or to follow a reduced services model using some type of hybrid staff approach if non-office-hour response capability is desired.  This hybrid could involve designation of off-hour personnel or transfer of response services to another incident response agency.  The transportation agency should begin with an evaluation of 24-hour operations to define personnel and resource needs for optimal TMC service coverage.  Then, based on how the agency wishes to meet its incident response goals, it can identify solutions to supplement its systems and staff in whatever response availability scenario is selected.  Numbers and skill levels of personnel as well as supporting resources and equipment can be determined for numerous combinations of work week, holidays, weekends, nights, and special events.  These data can then be compared with available staff, equipment, and other resources, and the difference can be evaluated with solutions such as outsourcing for how to address the shortfalls.

Provision of TMC services requires a major financial commitment, whether the operations are outsourced or run in-house, because the personnel and infrastructure deployment, operations, and maintenance costs must be considered essentially in perpetuity.  The agency must therefore consider its performance expectations, or what return on investment (ROI) it desires.  A public agency does not typically consider profit, so its ROI can compare the dollars invested in TMC services compared with the benefits of the services provided.   One level of achievement is possible within existing conditions; anything to supplement the baseline services must be justified, funded, and implemented in order to reach a greater ROI.  Again, the agency must look to its general and specific goals to determine whether it can go beyond baseline TMC services and then make the determination of whether to do so with its own or outsourced resources.

Finally, within the context of TMC service assessment, any consideration for outsourced personnel or resources must be made in a way to supplement rather than duplicate existing conditions.  Agencies typically outsource more in the operations area, particularly in ITS.  ITS and its associated functions in the TMC require specialized skill sets that may not readily be found in-house to the degree needed.  Outsourcing can then provide a flexible means to obtain these specialty skills and build upon existing core transportation operations functions and assets.

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