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Practical Solutions: Practical Decision Making

What is practical decision making?

WSDOT is making agency investment and operating decisions based on balancing transportation, community, economic and land use needs within legal and budgetary constraints. We do this by assuring (click through the tabs to discover):


Practical Solutions is understood

How do we measure that Practical Solutions is understood?

WSDOT is identifying internal and external communication and outreach needs to achieve a common understanding of Practical Solutions and how to implement it.

With Practical Solutions, decision making focuses on the maximum benefit to the system, rather than the maximum benefit to an individual activity or project. The goal is to allow more needs to be addressed system wide by reducing spending on lesser priority items on each project. The expectation is that decision making, at both the project and activity level, will be sustainable and cost effective, in support of our economy, environment, and communities.

Image of Practical Decision Making Core Principles A key step in the adoption of Practical Solutions as a way of doing business is to make sure internal and external stakeholders understand the concept. To that end, WSDOT leadership is working to create a common understanding, beginning with training and outreach to our employees. You can read more about Practical Solutions training by clicking on the talent development tile of our dashboard or by following this link (Workforce development: Talent development)

Another way WSDOT is ensuring Practical Solutions is understood is through the development of a Practical Solutions implementation plan that addresses internal and external stakeholder needs, including strategies for outreach and engagement.

We survey employees annually. In 2020, 77% of employees responded positively to the statement “I understand our strategic plan goals of Inclusion, Workforce Development and Practical Solutions.


Progress     Target    
2020
77%  Arrow to right  Target under development Baseline

How will we select a target?

WSDOT has established a baseline through the employee survey by identifying the percentage of employees who understand the strategic plan goals. We will continue to engage employees through trainings, outreach and communication. Throughout the engagement efforts, we will examine whether these strategies increase the overall understanding of Practical Solutions and the other goal areas.

More about Practical Solutions being understood

Why is practical decision making a priority?

Practical decision making is an important element of Practical Solutions as WSDOT begins to shift thinking from how we address a potential solution to why we address it. The discussions may be difficult, but the answers will provide the most benefit to the system. Practical Solutions is a performance-based approach to transportation decision making. This data-driven approach uses tools and performance measures to seek lower-cost approaches and efficiencies in operating highways; ferries; transit and rail; to reduce travel demand to save money and to reduce the need for building costly new infrastructure expansion.

How are we doing?

WSDOT, like other state departments of transportation, is increasingly challenged with delivering system performance, mobility and safety, within finite resources. WSDOT is one of a handful of state departments of transportation incorporating Practical Solutions as a way of doing business (the others are Pennsylvania, Missouri, Oregon, Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado, California and Hawaii). The effort is so fundamental to WSDOT that Practical Solutions has become one of the three goals of our strategic plan.

In 2018, WSDOT established definitions and strategies around the strategic goal areas. Part of this work included employee engagement efforts to increase awareness and understanding of the agency’s strategic direction. The 2020 employee engagement survey indicated that 77% of respondents understand the agency’s strategic plan goals, up from 69% in 2019 and 63% in 2018.

What are we working on?

WSDOT is delivering Practical Solutions implementation through a plan that addresses internal and external stakeholder needs, including strategies for outreach and engagement. Agency efforts are underway this winter and spring to further the understanding of Practical Solutions among employees, bringing a Practical Solutions “road show” to the agency’s six regions, its Urban Mobility and Access Organization, Ferries and more.

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Decisions are driven to the lowest level

How do we measure decisions are driven to the lowest level?

WSDOT is driving decisions to the lowest possible level of the organization through policies and guidance, thereby empowering employees to honor stakeholder commitments. WSDOT is achieving this through the development of a decision making process. Our goal is give individuals the latitude to adjust their decision making process within the scope of overarching policies and guidance by January 2019.


Progress    
Decision making process defined –
check back in January 2019.
Under Development status icon
Under development

More about decisions driven to the lowest level

Why is practical decision making a priority?

Practical decision making is an important element of Practical Solutions as WSDOT begins to shift thinking from how we address a potential solution to why we address it. The discussions may be difficult, but the answers will provide the most benefit to the system. Practical Solutions is a performance-based approach to transportation decision making. This data-driven approach uses tools and performance measures to seek lower cost approaches and efficiencies in operating highways, ferries, transit and rail, to reduce travel demand to save money and to reduce the need for building costly new infrastructure expansion.

How are we doing?

WSDOT, like other state departments of transportation, is increasingly challenged with delivering system performance, mobility and safety, within finite resources. WSDOT is one of a handful of state departments of transportation incorporating Practical Solutions as a way of doing business (the others are Pennsylvania, Missouri, Oregon, Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado, California and Hawaii). This effort is so fundamental to WSDOT that Practical Solutions has become one of the three goals of our strategic plan.

What are we working on?

WSDOT is creating a decision making process that gives individuals the latitude to adjust their decision making process within the scope of overarching policies and guidance by January 2019.

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Supported partners and balanced discussions

How do we measure supported partners and balanced discussions?

WSDOT aims to use performance metrics that recognize stakeholder needs and strives to provide balanced solutions.


Progress    
WSDOT supports our partners and fosters discussions that
balance local, regional and statewide needs.
Under Development status icon
Under development

WSDOT works with partners statewide to align our plans around the six Legislative transportation policy goals of economic vitality, preservation, safety, mobility, environment and stewardship.

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Why are supported partners and balanced discussions a priority?

WSDOT advocates for statewide priorities while being supportive of regional perspectives. We are balancing the agency’s commitment to state of good repair, safety and environmental stewardship while supporting partners as they respond to growth and pursue prosperity. Partnerships are an important part of the equation when it comes to Practical Solutions and practical decision making. WSDOT is working with Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPOs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), both of which are voluntary associations of local governments and include members like cities, counties, tribes, ports, transportation service providers, private employers and others. Such partnerships help the agency prioritize needs and assess strategies to meet those needs.

How are we doing?

With our partners, we have formed a Plan Alignment Work Group (PAWG) as a forum to dig deeper into shared planning issues. This is an example of an effort where partners can learn from each other’s experiences; it fosters balanced discussions.

What are we working on?

PAWG has met four times in 2018, formed a charter and collaboratively developed a work plan. The group has outlined planning efforts through 2021 and is examining how policy goals translate into performance outcomes, identifying performance gaps, considering which strategies will perform best and what solutions should be funded. These efforts could lead to alignment of plans in the next 12 to 18 months.

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