Transportation Modernization Initiative
The Transportation Cabinet began significant work in June 2020 to shape the future of Transportation in Oklahoma. Through Governor Stitt’s transformation initiative, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission have been provided with the opportunity to reimagine how we collectively operate in order to meet the transportation needs of the state for the long term and lay the foundation for Oklahoma to be a top 10 state in transportation service delivery. The organizational initiative that we have undertaken is new and it’s exciting. And yet, as with any change, we recognize organizational transformation and modernization can also lead to uncertainty about our work and role.
We have been focused on the need for purposeful changes in our organization to help us be more efficient, collaborative and responsive in executing our mission. Our goal was to review the ODOT, OTA and OAC organizational structure and associated responsibilities and develop recommendations for opportunities to minimize duplication of effort and to merge like functions where it makes sense.
We also looked to eliminate unnecessary practices and functions and add new ones if needed, increase efficiencies or the effectiveness of project and program delivery and create a shared services organizational structure for the agencies for the future. As part of the process we engaged an independent third party organizational consultant, Guidehouse, to help us move forward in preparation for the next phase of change.
Over the last year, the Guidehouse team has met with ODOT, OTA, and OAC staff and leadership to support this approach to organizational modernization. During this phase of the modernization initiative, over 900 documents were reviewed, 78 recommendation workshops and 4 executive briefings were held, as well as a review of 6 peer DOTs for leading practices to help structure the future state.
The Current State Assessment is provided for viewing. This document is a highly detailed analysis of our Transportation Cabinet agencies’ operations that was compiled with the help and support of our employees at every level of our organizations. It is indeed a deep dive into our current operations. You can find overview points located in the forward contained in the report. It must be emphasized that this assessment is not characterized as criticism of existing operations, but represents the framework that was used to begin discussions and effort to refresh the Cabinet agencies and identify opportunities for focused improvement.
The Draft Final Recommendations Report is provided as well for viewing. The report represents the culmination of the year-long engagement with our consultant, Guidehouse, and is predicated on the recognized need to understand the current state of transportation agency operations, the identification of opportunities to leverage and share resources and the quest for an optimized, future Transportation Cabinet framework that can be implemented over time. Several key considerations need to be take into consideration:
1. The Transportation Cabinet upper management has reviewed and fully supports the recommendations, while understanding that some will require significant time, efforts and additional approvals.
2. The team fully and completely recognizes that some of the recommendations may require Commission and Board consideration, both Gubernatorial and Legislative support and even potential statutory change. We do not take these considerations lightly and will engage accordingly as we move recommendations from DRAFT into full implementation.
3. Even with the recommendations for the blending of areas, units and functions of the agencies, the unique identities, authorities and responsibilities of the ODOT and OAC Commission(s) and the OTA Board are acknowledged and understood.
4. The implementation of recommendations will develop and progress at a comfortable pace, with some concepts moving forward immediately, like Cabinet level strategic communications and audit functions. Other concepts are far more difficult and will potentially stay as DRAFT, taking years to properly consider, plan, execute and complete, such as carefully vetting District boundary definitions or consolidating other operations and/or facilities.
5. No Transportation Cabinet employee will lose their job or endure a reduction in pay as a result of Transportation Modernization. However, we may require employees to accept different roles, duty assignments or modified responsibilities in some instances.
We would like to thank Guidehouse and all of the Transportation Cabinet employees who have contributed insight, ideas, feedback and information.