This manual helped to illustrate "what's in it" for agencies that choose to collaborate on transportation operations by highlighting the tangible benefits enjoyed by agencies participating in a collaborative activity. Additionally, it offers a framework for understanding the benefits of collaboration to the participating agencies. A collaborative benefit to an agency is an outcome of the collaborative effort that assists that agency in achieving its goals and objectives more efficiently and effectively. These benefits may impact the resources available to the agency for operations, the operations of the agency, and the outcomes the agency is striving for, such as increased mobility or customer service. Finally, a simple six-step process was outlined that will allow agencies to estimate the potential benefits to transportation operations collaboration.
In examining existing partnerships, the following common strategies and associated benefits were discovered:
"Follow the Money"—Collaborative Pursuit of Funding
- Agencies enjoy increased access to additional funding.
- Agencies often have a greater influence over how funding is spent in the region.
- Agencies experience both time and cost savings in the preparation of a funding application.
"Get Smart"—Sharing Expertise and Joint Learning
- Agencies advance their operational capabilities.
- Agencies retain their best employees by creating more stimulating working environments for their staff.
- Agencies avoid "re-inventing the wheel" which saves staff time and money.
"With One Voice"—Coordinating Communications and Giving a Consistent Message
- Agencies increase customer satisfaction and motorist response by providing consistent information and a single interface.
- Agencies often improve their outcomes in negotiations with vendors.
"On the Same Page"—Developing Common Procedures, Protocols, and Plans
- Agencies that collaborate to develop joint traffic plans are able to move traffic more efficiently in and out of the area.
- Agencies that develop collaborative plans for ITS/operations reduce duplicative efforts and ensure compatible systems.
- Agencies that have developed common operating standards benefit from optimized cross-jurisdictional operations such as signal timing and traveler information.
"Measuring Up"—Jointly Measuring Performance
- Performance measurement within a collaborative effort helps agencies to sustain funding for their efforts.
- Performance measuring enables agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of their collaborative efforts and make adjustments to reach their agency goals and objectives.
"You Ought to Know"—Sharing Transportation Information
- Agencies can better inform travelers and prepare their own facilities to lessen the impacts of congestion spilling over jurisdictional boundaries.
- Agencies save time in responding to incidents.
"Can You Hear Me Now?"—Developing Tools for Efficient Communications
- Agencies increase efficiency in assisting stranded motorists.
- Agencies more easily exchange information and assistance with partners in the field.
"Sharing the Wealth"—Sharing Resources
- Agencies save money and boost their operational capabilities.
- Agencies are enabled to create a better product than they could by working alone.
"Building Economies of Scale"—Consolidating Services
- Agencies benefit by reduced operating costs and enhanced services, and in the case of incident management, increased responder safety.
"All Together Now"—Performing Joint Operations
- Benefits realized by agencies include reduced staff time and operating costs, increased access to specialized equipment, improved effectiveness, and improved service to the traveling public.
The numerous benefits of collaboration cited by transportation and public safety professionals throughout this manual show that agencies find collaboration to be a highly effective and often a necessary approach to managing and operating the transportation network on a regional level. By working together, agencies save money, use their resources more efficiently, gain valuable knowledge, and avoid duplicating efforts. This enables them to provide a coordinated, seamless experience to the public through improved services such as traveler information, incident management, traffic signal operations, special event management, and transit management. Ultimately, the benefits of multi-agency collaboration extend beyond the agency to all in the form of reduced congestion, improved safety, and greater security.