The Role of Corporate Objectives in Decisions in the Local Transport Planning Process

The Role of Corporate Objectives in Decisions in the Local Transport Planning Process


I Macbriar, QV Associates, UK


Most organisations have 'mission statements' nowadays. Do these often-vague statements help with decision-making about routes, frequencies and fares?


Management fashion nowadays is for organisations to have mission statements. These statements are usually vague expressions. They are always in favour of the apocryphal motherhood and apple pie ? but very rarely help with practical decision-making.

In the context of local public transport, an example of such a decision is the choice between providing a wide network, but with a low frequency of service on each route, or concentrating high-frequency services on a few corridors.

There is a similar trade-off concerning fares and/or financial support from public funds ? is it better to have a high frequency service that is expensive either in terms of fares or subsidy (or both), or a cheaper alternative of lower quality?

A well-defined set of corporate objectives should guide this kind of decision-making, in both the private and the public sectors.

Moreover, such a well-defined set of corporate objectives should clarify the separate roles of politicians (in setting the objectives) and professionals (in using them for planning purposes. They should also be able to handle any devolution of planning decisions from public sector bodies to private sector management companies.

The paper will review a range of mission statements and objectives, drawn from both public and private sector organisations. It will examine the logical consequences that follow from the various objectives as far as shorter-term decision-making is concerned. It will also identify both good and bad approaches to this matter, and suggest sensible approaches.

The text above was rejected as an abstract on the grounds that it only contains 236 words - so this sentence has been added (unnecessarily, in the author's humble opinion).


Association for European Transport