In 1999, the Hawaii State Legislature passed Act 100, requiring all departments and agencies to identify their goals, objectives, and policies, and to provide a basis for determining priorities and allocating limited public funds and human resources. While providing the public and the legislature with essential information needed to justify funding, this added an additional reporting requirement for all organizations in state government. Most organizations put together a process to produce a static, end-of-year report that fulfills the minimum requirements of Act 100.
Beginning in calendar year 2020, the Department of Transportation, Highways Division, partnered with Guidehouse to improve upon their Act 100 Report. Rather than providing the State Legislature and the public with a static report for the year gone by, as had been done in years past, the Highways Administration, sought to deliver a dynamic report that would use the latest data to highlight work being completed throughout the year. Their objective was to maximize transparency with the division’s external stakeholders and provide the public with a more real-time view of work. It would be a live report that would be launched on January 1 and updated regularly throughout the calendar year. The vision was for any person in the world to be able to come to a webpage and walk away with an understanding of how HDOT Highways is leveraging public funds to improve the lives of the residents and visitors of the State of Hawaii.
Guidehouse was able to support HDOT in planning and implementing the key steps, processes, and technical infrastructure necessary to enable the successful release of this annual report. We demonstrated our ability to deploy a highly adaptable approach, which will enable any organization to produce robust, sophisticated reporting initiatives.
HDOT Highways has been producing this online report since 2020 and all current and past versions of the report can be viewed on the Act 100 Report Portal.
Why the Need for Transparency?
It is the job of public sector agencies to use funding they receive to provide a range of services for their citizens and/or maintain critical infrastructure for their citizens. In today’s world, there is a heightened need and demand for transparency and accountability to prove to constituents that public funds are being spent responsibly, that decisions are made in the interest of the citizens and that there is hard data and evidence supporting the decisions made.
With this Act 100 effort, HDOT Highways has become a leader in the State of Hawaii in the areas of transparency and accountability.
Guidehouse’s Approach to Assembling the Annual Report
Guidehouse takes a two-phase approach to producing an organization’s annual report: Phase 1 was to define the goals and objectives, and Phase 2 was to implement and configure the data based on objectives set in Phase 1.
Phase 1: Defining Goals, Objectives, and Measures
In supporting HDOT in setting up their annual report, Guidehouse took a three-tiered approach for Phase 1. The top layer was the organizational goals, to answer two questions: (1) Why does this organization exist? (2) What is our department/division’s mandate from the taxpayers of the State of Hawaii? Collectively, the HDOT Highways Division determined that their six organizational goals were: (1) Improve Safety; (2) Foster System Preservation; (3) Improve System Efficiency; (4) Achieve Multi-Modal Integration; (5) Encourage Economic Vitality; and (6) Improve Resiliency of the Highways System.
The second tier was to define what specific objectives fell under each goal. What specifically goes into improving safety? The two objectives HDOT chose to focus on under the Improve Safety goal was (1) Reduce fatalities and serious Injuries on Hawaii’s highways and bridges and (2) Reduce fatalities and serious injuries of non-motorized modes of transportation (bicycle, pedestrian, etc.). At HDOT Highways, each of the six goals had objectives associated with them that allowed the organization to ensure that all operations are conducted with a focus on achieving one or more of the six strategic goals of the organization.
The third tier was the measurement, where we asked the question, “How can we leverage the organization’s data to track our performance against our stated objectives?” More specifically:
This tier entailed mapping out specific people and source systems that data will flow from into the reporting platform. All process maps and data-flow diagrams were mapped out prior to any building of the webpages and visualizations. These data-flow diagrams helped identify who was responsible for what, when data was to be refreshed, and what dependencies existed between data sources used for reporting.
Phase 2: Implementation
As a large, public-sector organization, the division had multiple levels of data maturity — some business units stored data in an Oracle or SQL database, while others used spreadsheets. These diverse data “warehouses” complicated the reporting because the source varied.
At HDOT Highways, there were some measures that proved to be simple to set up and track. The organization already had several data systems that were updated daily with metrics, like the number of fatalities that occurred on the Highways System. However, reporting the progress of installing the countermeasures was essential to showing the public what kind of investments HDOT was making to prevent fatalities and serious injuries. We were able to establish a data workflow where project managers from each district (Kauai, Hawai’i, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai) who could enter the number of countermeasures installed throughout the year. It was important to discuss and agree on a cadence in which the data would be refreshed. Understandably, HDOT wanted their project managers spending most of their time delivering quality projects to the citizens of Hawaii, and not on data entry. Guidehouse designed an entry system that was user-friendly for project managers. The end result was a data input system that refreshed monthly and tracked on a public website for anybody to access. Similar exercises were done to produce several measures for each of HDOT’s Six Strategic Goals. The full report is available here.
Since 2020, HDOT Highways has been producing an electronic version of their Act 100 Report, leading by example in the State of Hawaii in the areas of transparency and data-driven decision-making. Today, anyone can explore the Act 100 Report and evaluate the performance of HDOT Highways in the following key areas:
The reason this effort has been a success is two-fold: Commitment and Leadership. The result is a more open, transparent agency that is incentivized to make decisions based on data, and not gut feelings or hunches. The public has a clear window into understanding how the agency is spending public funds and how that work is directly improving their lives in the State of Hawaii. Guidehouse is honored to have assisted HDOT Highways on this effort as they have become industry leaders in data transparency and annual reporting.
This case study was contributed by Dan Bianculli.
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