Noland, R.B., Klein, N.J., and Puniello, O.D., Weiner, M.D., (2017). “An Evaluation of Transit Procurement Training.” Evaluation and Program Planning. 61: 1-7.
We evaluated a training course called “Orientation to Transit Procurement”, designed and conducted by the National Transit Institute. This course is designed to provide Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grantees an overview of regulations and best practices related to the procurement process. Our objective in conducting the evaluation was to understand how transit agency staff made changes in procurement practices in response to the course training. The evaluation was mixed mode: an Internet survey followed by in-depth interviews with a small group of respondents. Survey respondents were also provided with an open-ended question providing us with additional context for our evaluation. Results show that the training is substantially successful at meeting the goal of improving procurement practices at transit agencies; indeed, most respondents report making changes at their agencies as the proximate result of the training. This was at odds with our exploration of knowledge of procurement topics, as most respondents gave inaccurate answers on multiple-choice “knowledge questions”. This may have been due to question structure or, more likely, the nature of online surveys. Suitable training on the procurement of information technology was also a main concern. The lack of training in this area is indicative of the broader challenge facing public transit agencies in how to incorporate new forms of technology into their existing practices and bureaucratic structures.