Changing the Starting Point: Reinventing the Procurement Approach

The path to engaging technologically based, mobility providers at a transit agency can be a challenging one. Procurement efforts traditionally seek to define the solution and then procure that specific solution — but this approach can severely limit the innovation process and block out creative methods with the potential to deliver even greater success.

TransPro recently collaborated with a client partner on an exciting mobility initiative. After years of operating low productivity fixed route bus service, the agency engaged TransPro in a network redesign focused on deriving two chief outcomes: maximize taxpayer value and improve customer experience.

Rather starting with a solution in mind, TransPro helped the client define the outcomes and customer experience they expect a mobility provider to offer. And while our recommendation was received warmly, there was tremendous interest in understanding “how” the concept would work.

TransPro’s approach to procuring innovation goes a bit outside of the norm:

  • Using customer experience to define the outcome
  • Procure outcomes, not solutions
  • Know your parameters: compliance, safety, budget, performance, compatibility
  • What’s the problem we’re trying to solve?

What was the result, in this case? Our analysis of the agency’s data helped our team see an opportunity for this community to retain over 93% of its ridership while eliminating 20% of its operating cost. Using a portion of those savings, the agency developed a subsidized demand-response solution designed to improve mobility, speed and convenience in markets where fixed-route transit no longer made financial sense. In other words, we helped innovate mobility solutions that increased the agency’s value to its community — all starting by reframing the initial question.

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