The Pennsylvania DOT recently unveiled a report from its Dismantling Systemic Racism and Inequities Working Group that details recommendations to establish anti-racist principles at the core of the work done by the DOT. Collecting input from the community, staff, leadership, and other DOTs, the report lays out strategies to balance the PennDOT workforce, invest in disadvantaged communities, reduce disparity in contracting, engage with communities of color, and increase diversity on advisory boards and commissions.
Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Transportation wants more diversity in decision making; more equal concern for people walking, biking and driving; and more early communication with communities about PennDOT projects. These were the themes of an interview with Leslie Richards published last month in Governing.
PennDOT’s IdeaLink 20/20 employee engagement tool, launched in 2011, complements the agency’s long-standing approach of imbedding innovation in the agency. PennDOT has approached the effort of employee engagement with the view that agency employees are knowledgeable about what actions could be taken to improve effectiveness. As an example of an effort to improve the agency’s internal environment it offers tools and lessons on improvement from which other agencies can learn.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently announced it will reassume its authority to regulate billboards along National Highway System (NHS) routes in Philadelphia. PennDOT, which had allowed the City of Philadelphia to regulate billboards along NHS routes since 1974, was concerned that a lack of effective control of outdoor advertising along the routes as mandated by the Highway Beautification Act, would result in a 10 percent reduction in the amount of federal highway aid that the state receives.