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Structured for Success

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Building the capacity to transform city streets.

Structured for Success is NACTO’s effort to assess and optimize the processes city governments use to plan, design, and build transportation systems. Through partnerships across our member city network, NACTO identifies organizational structures and procedures that agencies can adopt to more consistently deliver high-quality projects. The goal: to help cities build the capacity to make transformative change on their streets.

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Aligning Internal Conditions to Help Agencies Achieve their Goals

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Organizational conditions—agency structure, internal processes, and transportation’s positioning within a city government—can support or hinder an agency’s ability to consistently deliver high-quality transportation projects.

Published in December 2022, our report Structured for Success is a starting place for transportation-minded decision-makers and advisors who want to improve project delivery in their cities. This report provides a framework to explore where transportation sits within city governments, the strengths and limitations of different configurations, and a roadmap for taking the steps necessary to make meaningful process changes.

Structured for Success synthesizes the approaches of dozens of transportation professionals who manage and shape city streets across North America. It connects research on organizational design with detailed interviews with 16 leading transportation practitioners, and survey responses from staff in 33 NACTO member cities. Structured for Success also builds upon NACTO’s previous work, including the Green Light For Great Streets initiative.

Read the report. >

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Projects to Programs

NACTO’s “Projects to Programs” initiative is designed to help cities make the shift from project-by-project delivery to a programmatic framework for transformative change. A holistic programs approach allows cities to achieve increased efficiency, consistency, and impact for communities. Because city governments often operate with limited resources, this change can help agencies develop greater capacity to make streets safer.

Through in-depth workshops and trainings with city staff as well as direct project support, NACTO and our partners at Delivery Associates have developed tools cities can use to assess agency conditions, structure work plans and create the conditions for continued success:


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Green Light for Great Streets: the Agency Accelerator Project

Read Green Light for Great Streets.

Between June 2017 and June 2018, NACTO explored structural challenges transportation agencies face when working to improve safety and livability on their streets. Through this project, NACTO uncovered patterns and opportunities that cities often use to get more done, faster.

In Phase I, NACTO conducted a comprehensive assessment of the responsibilities, capabilities, and resources of transportation departments across the U.S. During Phase II, NACTO incorporated findings from these assessments during in-depth “Agency Accelerator” work in San Jose and Pittsburgh, helping each city work through some of the structural challenges impacting their project delivery chain.

As a result of this project, NACTO found that there are clear markers of success within agencies that are most effective at delivering projects:

  1. Defined and clear processes for implementation, and well-informed staff
  2. Recurring or guaranteed funding sources
  3. Project pipelines built around standardized designs that allow cities to expedite work
  4. A strategic use of consultants to bolster efforts or train on unusual skills
  5. A clear vision, strong political will, and defined metrics for success

Read the report online. >

Read it as a pdf. >