Strengthening Transportation Policy Development and Implementation

CED-82-102: Published: Sep 9, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1982.

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Oliver W. Krueger
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GAO conducted a study to determine whether a system for policy development and implementation could benefit the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Incoming Secretaries of Transportation have not found a system in place for formulating and implementing Department-wide long-term policy. Although a unit exists with the responsibility to develop such policy, it has often been bypassed in favor of other offices headed by persons who are personally close to the Secretary, or the unit has concentrated on quick response analyses. In an environment of frequent top-level turnover, a system for formulating and implementing long-term policy can promote continuity and long-range policy development and implementation. A staff to develop such a system should be insulated from having to react to day-to-day concerns and immediate issues. A Department-wide development and implementation system should: (1) focus on a few issues of highest priority to the Secretary; (2) identify objectives which DOT should be achieving for those issues; (3) analyze alternative programs and determine which mix of programs DOT should support to achieve the objectives; (4) prepare plans to implement objectives at the program level for Secretarial approval; and (5) monitor how DOT carries out adopted plans.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOT believes that other measures that it has already implemented are better. Therefore, DOT will not implement the recommendation; no further followup is warranted.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should assure that attention will be provided to long-term policy development and implementation Department-wide in implementing the Management Objectives System. In addition, he should make certain that the staff that perform this mission direct their attention to addressing long-term rather than day-to-day concerns.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation


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