Knowledge Management Community Provides Insights on ACB Framework & Guidance
- Critical Transportation Agency Outcomes and Societal Trends
- Knowledge Management as an Agency Strategy to Address Capability Gaps
- ACB Knowledge Management Guidance Needs
- Conclusion and Next Steps
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Committee on Knowledge Management (KM) provided insights on the Agency Capability Building (ACB) framework and guidance at the December 19, 2023 Knowledge Café. Their insights provide valuable input for enhancing the ACB Portal resource base for building agency capabilities to respond to critical transportation issues. The portal is available to state departments of transportation (DOTs).
1. Critical Transportation Agency Outcomes and Societal Trends
Transportation agencies often focus strategic direction on one or more critical outcomes. The KM community ranked safety paramount, followed by efficiency, effectiveness, mobility, and economic development. Other potential focus topics included resilience, climate change, and societal goals.
A host of external, social, economic, and technological trends exist that will directly affect the ability of transportation agencies to carry out their missions, including:
- Artificial intelligence and predictive learning
- Climate change
- Budget and revenue evolution
- Mobility options
- Emerging technologies
- Income inequality
- Safety culture
In response to current trends, some agencies are focusing on educational, training, and research activities to understand and address gaps. Others are aligning their strategic goals and mobilizing their organizations through initiatives and pilots to prepare for workforce challenges, resilience and accessibility needs, data gaps, and emerging technologies. Response strategies include the development of policies, governance and team structures, diversification and evolution of skills, and collaboration with private sector providers.
2. Knowledge Management as an Agency Strategy to Address Capability Gaps
Attendees provided input on how their agencies incorporate KM into resource challenge responses. These include:
- Existing and exit knowledge interviews
- Communities of Practice
- Increasing awareness of knowledge as an asset
- Removing organizational boundaries
- Standard operating procedures and other documentation
- Central repositories
- Data management/findability initiatives
- IT platforms
- Best practice sharing
- Transition and success planning
- Extended career options for overlap and knowledge transfer
- Knowledge portals
- Knowledge capture and transfer
Attendee polling showed the most popular default KM strategies used by transportation agencies for strengthening and building capabilities are knowledge capture and transfer. The top strategies were followed by mentoring, social and learning communities, learning organizations, knowledge audits, and expertise directories.
AASHTO KM participants indicated the most critical parts of the KM cycle to develop over the next two to four years are: capturing and codifying knowledge; collaboration and mentoring; using and applying knowledge; and learning.
KM members also identified common roadblocks when trying to implement KM strategies. This included: finding time; generational issues; organizational silos; lack of expertise; lack of human resources; staff resistance; lack of KM expertise; and perceived value.
The choice of KM strategies is influenced by several factors, including time, money, leadership priorities, human resources, organizational and cultural issues, knowledge management capabilities, technology tools, and ease of use.
Participants indicated their agencies use various prioritization methods, such as steering committees, strategic goals, research, designated liaisons, communities of practice, executive teams, and incremental efforts. Methodology could also be based on critical, trendy, or perceived needs.
3. ACB Knowledge Management Guidance Needs
AASHTO KM Committee members provided input on possible informational and guidance options and responded positively to various media options. They identified the following options, in order of preference, for what would be most helpful when creating a plan to develop or enhance capabilities through KM:
- Events such as peer exchanges or workshops
- Written guidance, articles, and job aids
- Participating in pilots
- Written or video case studies and testimonial videos
- Online information such as blogs or micro-learning
- Other media options
Several members of the group invited the research team to speak at upcoming meetings and webinars.
4. Conclusion and Next Steps
The KM community’s insights during the implementation phase of this project will strengthen the resource base and help agencies respond to a rapidly changing environment by identifying, creating, capturing, and sharing relevant intellectual assets needed to advance transportation agency objectives.
The project team will continue to keep interested stakeholders informed about the project’s progress. Next week, we will gather feedback from important stakeholder groups during the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting. We will share the results of our research findings during a lectern session focused on addressing workforce development challenges and solutions. We are also contacting transportation agencies individually to understand their capability challenges and opportunities. This will help us to plan virtual peer exchanges this spring and the workshop later this year.