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Transforming ODOT: Guest Column from Director Matt Garrett
As we strive to meet the expectations of the Oregon Transportation Commission and Governor Kitzhaber to become an agency that integrates policy and investment strategies across all modes of transportation, it is time for ODOT to take another step forward. 

ODOT has long delivered multimodal services through our divisions. In the past, however, our modes were within their own silos in the agency’s divisions.  The challenge in front of us now, as we work to provide transportation options, is to create an organization that can speak with a holistic transportation voice and provide the transportation solutions that continue to move our state forward.
Our other challenge is to continue to consolidate the organization to live within our available funding and to have the resources for our top priorities. I want to challenge our current way of delivering services so that can meet both our multimodal and rightsizing expectations.
To do this, I am setting a new vision for the organization. It is one that is organized around transportation functions rather than transportation modes. I envision the functions fitting into the following major areas:
To further multimodal integration, ODOT’s modal divisions will be merged into a planning and programming division and an operating division that delivers projects; ODOT’s regions will become fully multimodal.
  • Policy, Planning and Programming – Provide policy development and program management functions for all functions and areas. Serve as contact for key national and statewide policy stakeholders.
  • Operations – Deliver transportation projects, maintain and operate ODOT’s system, and serve as key contact with local stakeholders, ACTs, and Regional Solution Teams to ensure that transportation systems are locally integrated.
  • Motor Carrier – Continue to regulate the motor carrier industry. 
  • DMV – Continue being the everyday face of the department to citizens, while preparing for new ways of doing business in the future.
  • Central Services – Provide support functions for the enterprise and ensure we are aligned with other state agencies and functions.
The first step in ODOT’s evolution will bring focus on the operations, policy, and planning disciplines. The majority of the work ahead will be development of the Operations Division and the Policy, Planning and Program Division. Many of the basic pieces are in place with the various planning and programming functions, as well as the basic foundation in the regions. However, much work is ahead of us to integrate the various program management functions, to make the transition to Transportation Regions and to design a decision making structure between the two divisions that will allow all voices to be heard.
Jerri Bohard, head of ODOT’s Transportation Development Division, and Paul Mather, who leads the Highway Division, will lead a process over the next one to two years that will develop and implement these new divisions. Some of the first steps will be:

  • Create the expectations of the Transportation Regions.
  • Develop an organization structure that supports and integrates planning and program management functions.
  • Create a decision making process that incorporates voices from both divisions and leads us to decisions that support all transportation, not any single mode.
  • Provide avenues for external stakeholders to have a voice in our policy development and project delivery processes.
  • Identify regulatory functions that may be better consolidated within Motor Carrier.
I recognize that change can be challenging, especially in the midst of all the issues ODOT faces. I also realize that one of the major limitations of being a multimodal organization is the episodic nature of funding for rail and transit.  I assure you that I will continue to work to find additional and sustainable funding for a multimodal transportation system. I also commit to giving every mode a voice as we move through the development of this new organization.
This is an exciting challenge and leadership opportunity. Oregon has been a national leader in transportation for a long time. This will be yet another example of that pioneering Oregon spirit.