Philadelphia Streets Department 2.0: Helping a Traditional Municipal Agency to Meet the Challenges of a New Age

Client: City of Philadelphia Streets Department
Faculty: Kei Hayashi, Steven Jacobs
Team: Drew Goldsman, Ruben Hoyos, Lena Mik, Nick Shears
Year: 2012
The Philadelphia Streets Department (PSD) oversees and maintains many of the city’s vital infrastructure and services, including its streets, street lighting, sanitation, snow removal, traffic control, and bridges. The PSD’s Deputy Commissioner of Transportation requested a Capstone team to evaluate the Department in order to identify opportunities for pursuing innovative management and program initiatives. The team’s strategy consisted of a combination of research methods. The first was to evaluate the agency based on organizational structure, budget size and allocation, and service provision. To do this, the team interviewed current and former employees, as well as relevant PSD partners. These interviews helped inform the second part of the research, which was a comparative analysis of peer transportation agencies. Through an in-depth survey of these peer agencies regarding personnel, infrastructure, and budgets as well as phone interviews with staff, the team was able to provide a comparative context to help inform its final recommendations to PSD. In addition, the Capstone team identified innovative practices and initiatives from municipal agencies nationwide that it saw as providing valuable lessons for Philadelphia. Based on this internal review and analysis of external practices, the team prepared recommendations for strategically directing and developing the Department over the next five years. The report's recommendations will provide an important framework for PSD to use as it evolves and renews itself to meet the changing needs of the 21st Century city.