Panel Paper: Fostering Innovation In An Intergovernmental Transportation Planning Governance Network Through Multi-Criteria Analysis

Friday, November 9, 2012 : 8:00 AM
Schaefer (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Christopher Koliba, University of Vermont

Building the capacity to experiment with different ways of making decisions concerning the allocation of resources to provide public goods and services is vital to fostering innovation across a complex governance network. Drawing on a comprehensive case study of one state’s efforts to bring about greater transparency within its transportation planning processes, the authors demonstrate how a new decision-making tool designed to prioritize transportation projects resulted in certain project funding patterns.  Within complex governance networks the involvement of many actors representing a variety of jurisdictions and wielding different kinds and levels of financial, human, political, and knowledge capital adds additional layers of complexity to the innovation process.  Guided by the literature addressing innovation within public sector organizations and complex governance networks, the authors describe stakeholder motivation behind the need for innovation and the decision-making tool itself.   To ascertain if the decision-making tool has yielded the intended innovative outputs, the authors employ a Gini-coefficient analysis to determine the extent to which greater equity in the transportation funding was evident.  As these results show, the implementation of a comprehensive multi-criteria decision analysis process by the state failed to bring about substantive improvements in the equity of the distribution of financial resources to projects equitable distributed across towns within a regional, county jurisdiction.  The authors lay out factors that can explain these results and anticipate some ways that the decision tool may be used to foster greater innovation in project selection for this and other states.