Leveraging Agency Capabilities

While engagement and collaboration among stakeholders is vital, a crucial but sometimes overlooked element of successful projects is cross-departmental collaboration within an agency. Organizations are commonly divided into departments to rationally address a range of responsibilities. But a corridor-wide ICM project deals broadly with a spectrum of:

  • Activities (research, planning, administration, communications, systems development, operations, maintenance)
  • Transportation needs (mobility, efficiency, safety, sustainability)
  • Constituencies (government agencies, cities, system operators, first responders, travelers)   

These areas often transcend traditional organization divisions. By drawing on relevant capabilities across departments, an agency can mobilize and focus all the resources at its disposal—expertise, experience, contacts, working relationships, funding opportunities—that might otherwise go unused. This could save time and effort, avoid duplicating work, and increase an agency's impact on the project. It is, in effect, a force multiplier for the organization.

Working across divisions can, in some instances, represent a significant departure from an agency's standard practice. But recognizing common interests and sharing information can be an important step in augmenting an agency's effectiveness and could be instrumental in helping achieve the organization's objectives. At the Caltrans District level, for example, the responsibilities for planning, operations, ramp metering, signal control, maintenance, and all other functions of effective traffic management must be cooperatively engaged for the ICM project to succeed.