Institute News


Step Two of a Five Step Process to Addressing Transport Challenges

Published: 11/09/2018

Part 1 Strategy [1] - described the five steps in addressing transport challenges (S.A.I.D.D.), and outlined
the first step, Strategy. In this article I will outline the second step, Analysis.
 ANALYSIS means identifying and describing the specific problem(s)
 being faced and getting an understanding of the underlying cause and
 effect relationships.
 In the article: _How can you avoid transport policy mistakes? [2]_ I
 discussed the key mistakes that transport professionals experience
 when solving complex challenges:
 * Problem-Solution Thinking - also see article _How to avoid
 problem-solution thinking [3] _
 * Forgetting key stakeholder perspectives
 * Ill-defined problem statement
 There are numerous analysis methodologies, including rationality,
 incrementalism and evidence-based. The _rational approach_ involves
 formulating the problem which leads you to ask a number of questions:
 * what is going on?
 * why did the issue arise?
 * who is affected by the issue?
 * how much time and money is appropriate to spend on solving the
 * what are the alternative solution options?
 * when is it appropriate to take action?
 To be able to assess potential solutions requires decision criteria to
 be established, considering practicality, acceptability, relevance and
 cost, along with other aspects.
 Transport is primarily a _derived demand_- a result of the movement of
 people and goods for economic and social purposes to satisfy a need.
 It is therefore important to understand the drivers of demand as this
 impacts future transport trends.
 Many factors affect transport including economic, social and
 demographic trends, legal and political issues.
 Careful definition and scoping of transport challenges is critical to
 A well defined problem statement has the following elements - the
 _undesired_situation, the future _desired_situation, the _gap_and in
 getting from one to the other, what is the _downside_.
 To illustrate, traffic congestion is an _undesired situation_and more
 reliable traffic flow is a _desired situation_, however as there are
 often competing interests by different actors, the _downside_means not
 everyone wins.
 See article: How can we tame the wicked traffic congestion problem?
 There are many tools available to analyse transport challenges, to
 suggest a few:
 * economic analysis, such as using benefit-cost analysis
 * social analysis, such as using multi-criteria analysis
 * environmental impact analysis
 My suggested tools are tried and tested approaches.
 PESTEL Analysis is a simple and widely used strategic tool to analyse
 macro factors, considering current and emerging Political, Economic,
 Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal challenges.
 This is a very useful tool that is readily understood and can assist
 in stakeholder and community workshops to move from the controversial
 present to a considered future.
 The second tool is SWOT Analysis. Again a simple and well used
 approach, but very powerful. _SWOT_stands for Strengths, Weaknesses,
 Opportunities and Threats.
 SWOT has a different focus to PESTEL Analysis, as its focus is the
 tactical level, so the two tools complement each other and should be
 used together. Again a useful tool to engage stakeholders.
 * carefully define and scope transport challenges
 * consider all key stakeholder interests in your particular
 * avoid problem-solution thinking
 * use a rational approach to solving transport challenges
 * utilise tools such as PESTEL and SWOT to analyse challenges
 _Click here to learn more about the TFi online course: Addressing
 Transport Challenges [5]_
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