Changing the Starting Point: Reinventing the Procurement Approach

Changing the Starting Point: Reinventing the Procurement Approach
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Changing the Starting Point: Reinventing the Procurement Approach
By Ehren Bingaman, TransPro Principal

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:

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.