PEV Action Tool
A framework developed by public policy researchers and practitioners called the “public value triangle” informed the development of the PEV Action Tool. This framework deals with two problems that public managers face. First, constantly shifting political contexts and priorities make it difficult for public managers to create consistent policies over the long term, or even to define the public mandate guiding the agency’s planning and actions. Second, as public problems become increasingly complex, public sector management requires creating flexible, innovative policies that can keep pace with technological and societal change. As such, the strategic triangle applies insights to the public sector from the private sector’s need to weather fickle, complex, and constantly evolving market conditions.
This framework is particularly relevant to state DOT work on PEVs because of the rapidly changing political and market contexts around PEVs. For example, charging infrastructure must account for differing charging standards and the possibility of building assets that may later become unused as technology changes. The strategic triangle attempts to include these complexities by looking at conditions external to the agency.
The role of a public manager working on PEVs, ultimately, is to create public value. In the case of PEVs, the user should be able to identify the reasons why PEVs benefit the public through a public value proposition. Specifically, the public manager must conceive of ways in which PEVs fit into the mission or charter of the DOT. Additionally, the manager must also know whether external stakeholders agree with his conception of the public value proposition of PEVs, and whether the DOT has the operational capabilities to realize this proposition, as reflected in the two-way arrows.
|Figure 1: Public Value Triangle|
A convincing public value proposition for why DOTs should act on PEVs bolsters external legitimacy and support of the DOT’s actions. Knowledge, acceptance, and action on the PEV public value proposition by a wider net of stakeholders (e.g., the governor, other agencies, other DOT offices, the legislature, nonprofits, and the public) enhance a DOT’s operational capabilities for PEVs. For example, new laws may give DOTs authorization to work on PEVs.
If key stakeholders disagree with the state DOT’s conception of the PEV public value proposition, then the public manager must either shift the public value proposition or convince key stakeholders otherwise. The importance of gaining external legitimacy and support is reflected in practice by intergovernmental partnerships, collaborative organizations, informing and advising legislative bodies, and educating members of the public. For example, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities  is a partnership between the U.S. DOT, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that leverages resources to implement projects a single agency may be unable to carry out alone. By coordinating with EPA and HUD, the DOT is able to implement a more holistic vision of transportation planning, which enhances the public value of projects.
Finally, the ability for DOTs to successfully choose and carry out PEV actions – its internal capabilities – affects public value creation and the support of the wider net of stakeholders. For example, poorly managed projects, misguided objectives, or inefficient operations damage the public value proposition for why DOTs should work on PEVs. Legitimacy and support is also affected by a DOT’s internal operational capabilities through, for example, guidance and information given to legislators on draft bills pertaining to PEVs. In sum, the public value of a DOT’s work on PEVs, its internal ability to carry out that work, and how key stakeholders view such work all interact with each other. Because of these feedback processes, a public manager ideally touches on all three components of the strategic triangle.