Importance of Communication for TAM Programs / Vermont Agency of Transportation
Formal and informal communication can travel both upwards and downwards within an organization. Those responsible for TAM at VTrans proactively manage communication where it is practical to do so. When seeking to inform or influence senior leadership, VTrans’ TAM program conveys not only the opportunities and impacts of funding decisions to decision-makers, but also provides context to foster informed choices. The TAM program builds support for the implementation, and elected officials and top management benefit from better context when TAM communication focuses on:
- Understanding current and future performance and how it affects state strategic priorities – How does asset performance influence agency objectives? For example, reducing the amount of bridges with an NBI rating of 1-3 needs to be related back to how freight movement, and economic indicators, can be improved.
- The impact of decisions – What will be achieved with additional/reduced funding or reduced restrictions on expenditure? With the use of life-cycle analysis and reporting of investment strategies, the TAM program can communicate the financial impact of different decision-making.
- The benefit of TAM – Report progress and how program successes are made relevant and advance agency objectives. These benefits are best articulated in terms that are understood by all throughout the organization, e.g. journey time savings/ reliability, and dollars saved. Communication about benefits also can confirm the benefit/implementation of previous decisions, and increase awareness of the success of “we did what we said we would”.
- Continual Improvement – What VTrans’ next TAM improvement will be and the benefit this will provide. Communication like this shows that the TAM program is heading in the right direction rather than continually being told to investigate/consider changes that may distract from strategic pursuits.
VTrans focuses on communication that reinforces confidence in TAM decision-making, to bolster stakeholder belief that the additional dollar invested will be spent in the right place at the right time. The agency also hired a communications consultant to help them develop engaging graphics to communicate critical and complex asset management principles into common, “every-day” storylines and language, transforming their AM approach and their TAMP into a product message that is easy to understand and digest.
Read more in the chapter: 3.2.3 Communication