The Unified Dublin Transport Analytics Project

4761 words (19 pages) Essay

23rd Sep 2019 Transportation Reference this

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The Unified Dublin Transport Analytics Project

 

  1. Introduction

The research for transportation strategy and planning has always represented a crucial area of study for the urban planning field as well as for the business field considering the impact that this may have on the economic development of a nation (Wey, W.M. and Huang, J.Y., 2018).

Transport services represent an essential backbone for social and economic development, but they can also cause significant costs on society if they are not planned and developed sustainably.

Therefore, according to Susniene and Jurkauskas (2008), the growth and the development of urban mobility should aim to meet the needs of both citizens and businesses in order to have a positive impact on the environment, the society and the economy.

This project is collocated in this context and it is designed to identify and respond to business needs emerging from some flaws in the current Dublin transportation system.

Considering the recent population increase, National strategic policy on land use, settlement, economic development and sustainability has consistently identified Dublin transportation service a driver of national economic development. This is even more relevant in the context of the current economic growth and the capacity of Dublin City to adapt and develop its transportation service is crucial in order to maintain its growth in the coming years.

  1. Scope

The project of unified Dublin transport analytics aims to understand how the integration of Big Data, advanced technology, control technology, electronic sensing technology and data communication could have a significant impact and represent the development of the future direction of the traffic system.

The scope of integrating this form of ‘intelligent transportation system’ (Quin, L. et al., 2017) should eventually aim to contribute to a reduction of both traffic and costs through the unification of Dublin’s various ways of transport.

 

  1. Core Concepts and Business Analysis through Project Cycle

Before getting into a more detailed Business Analysis and the Project Cycle, it is recommended to outline the importance of the six core concepts in the business analysis: change, need, solution, stakeholders, value and context (IIBA, 2015).

Among the duties of the appointed business analyst for this project, the identification and the understanding of the problem and the potential impact of the proposed solution would represent crucial aspects (Hass, K.B., 2008).

Core concept

Core concept relating to the project

Change

The change proposed aims to improve Dublin transportation system through the unification of Dublin Bus, Luas, Dart and Irish Rail. As this change would have a significant impact on both customers and stakeholders, an accurate analysis and activities’ monitoring are required.

Need

Two main categories of needs can be defined at this stage: unification of the transportation services in Dublin and the subsequent cost reduction for the end users. These two needs consequentially lead to the assumption that traffic in Dublin would decrease because people would tend to use public transport.

These two categories of needs can be further broken down into points that would be classified as inputs for the project planning and that will have to be shared, evaluated and agreed by all the stakeholders.

Solution

In line with stakeholders’ requirements, solutions are reached through the achievement of KPIs and goals that are defined by the Business Analyst in the initial stages of the project design where inputs – Big Data for data gathering – and outputs – cost reduction for end users would lead to the following solutions:

  • Increasing sustainability and efficiency of Dublin’s transport infrastructure through greater alignment of land use
  • Optimising public investment through the improvement of infrastructure provision
  • Transport network and passengers’ expense reviews
  • Simplifying fares and ticketing and improvements of travel information
  • Making the public transport network more user friendly

Stakeholders

Stakeholders relating to this project have a strong interest and play a significant role in the change (Paul, Yeates and Cadle, 2010). Two categories of stakeholders have been identified: internal to the project and external.

Value

By meeting stakeholders’ requirements, this project would also have a significant impact on the economic, social and environmental spheres.

Context

A framework for business analysis assignments has to take into consideration the context within which the project is operated (Paul, Yeates and Cadle, 2010).

The mission in this context should be looked at in the bigger picture as a specific Strategy Vision of the Minister for Transport. The Strategy vision for the Greater Dublin Area in the upcoming years focuses on the provision of “a competitive, sustainable city-region with a good quality of life for all.” (National Transport Authority, 2012).

Once the Business needs, objectives and goals have been identified through the analysis of the core concepts applied to this project, it was also possible to identify opportunities by defining the nature of solutions.

At this stage, a Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) can be drafted. A BPMN is a standard process model/tool that provides a graphical path that specifies the stages of the business analysis process (Von Rosing, M., et al., 2015).

The process diagram below frames the dialogue in the context of the project life cycle and it consists of a sequential development approach.

Figure 1. Business Solution Life Cycle.  Hass, K.B. (2008)

The importance of this graphical representation of the various phases of the project is fundamental in relation to the stakeholders’ analysis. As previously mentioned, stakeholders are involved and are interested in the change proposed and therefore they are constantly involved in all the various phases of the project.

  1. Stakeholder Analysis: roles and responsibilities throughout the Project Cycle

4.1 Stakeholder list and roles

The business analysis literature affirms that stakeholder analyses are undoubtedly more important than ever due to the increasingly interconnected nature of the world (Bryson, J.M., 2004). The increasing importance of stakeholder analysis reflects a growing recognition on how the characteristics of each stakeholder would influence the entire decision-making process (Brugha, R. and Varvasovszky, Z., 2000). Therefore, failing in fulfilling stakeholders’ requirements and/or omitting to consider and address their concerns would clearly represent a flaw that could predictably lead to poor performance (Bryson, J.M., 2004).

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Therefore, consideration of potential risks and what solutions might work are actually part of the project, and taking stakeholders into account is a crucial aspect of problem solving within the Business Solution Life Cycle and the Requirements Life Cycle – as shown in Figure 1.

Before understanding what the stakeholders’ responsibilities are and how these vary depending on the project phase, it is fundamental to obtain a list of external and internal stakeholders with a brief description of their generic roles. The table below will help in this first stage of the stakeholder analysis.

External Stakeholders

Role

Internal Stakeholders

Role

End User

Utilising the product/service

Transport Consultant/

Domain SME

Acting as Subject Matter Expert

Building contractors and other suppliers

Building railway lines, stations, roads etc.

Project Manager

Liaising with all the BA representing all external stakeholders and ensuring that deadlines are met.

National Transport Authority (NTA)

Providing approval of different phases of the work; they would also be responsible for ensuring the optimisation of the urban logistics activities through the provision of up to date policies that matches with planning.

Head of Project

Ensuring that the project gets to closure with an appropriate solution that will meet the stakeholders’ needs and requirements.

Drivers

Providing the actual service.

Project Sponsor

Managing public and private funding coming and providing additional funding for the project to be delivered.

Unions

Providing support on employees’ contracts Terms & Conditions.

Solution architect

Designing the IT solutions.

Government/

Dublin City Council

Providing parts of the funds for investments on the project; they are also interested in ensuring that Dublin remains a functional and attractive city for both residents and tourists as well as enhancing its economic activities.

Engineers

Pre-designing the IT and infrastructural solutions.

Town councils of commuter towns/

AA road watch

 

Providing data and insights regarding the impact of the integration of Dublin transports on people’s commutes.

Data analyst

Analysing large quantities of data relating to commuters, peak times, fares etc. on which business decisions are made in relation to the integration of Dublin transports.

Bicycle rental operators

Providing data and insights regarding the impact of the integration of Dublin transports on the usage of bicycle rental service.

Marketing and Social Media Consultant

Designing and analysing:

Advertisement on social media;

Data gathering through page views, likes, shares etc.;

Volumes of tickets purchased online.

Emergency services and H&S executives

Ensuring that H&S measures are applied as per Irish legislation.

Data regulator body

Ensuring that data gathering is compliant to the EU legislation (i.e. GDPR).

 

4.2 Stakeholder responsibilities: RACI matrix

Once a list of stakeholders and their respective roles have been identified, the literature in Business Analysis (IIBA, 2015; Batabyal, K. et al., 2017) suggests that a RACI matrix can be defined.

The RACI matrix consists of a schema of stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities and it is utilised to ensure that all the stakeholders involved in the project development are aware of their respective ownerships (Batabyal, K. et al., 2017).

Following on a list of activities reported in the RACI matrix in Figure 2., according to Cadle et al. (2010) it is possible to notice that each stakeholder can be:

-          Responsible (“R”): role that is responsible for the execution of one or more activities.

-          Accountable (“A”): role that is ultimately accountable for signing off in relation to a decision regarding one or more activities.

-          Consulted (“C”): role that may or must be asked to provide input and support for a specific activity or for a decision before it reaches its conclusion.

-          Informed (“I”): stakeholder may or must be notified of the completion or of the output of a decision or activity.

Figure 2. RACI matrix for Unified Dublin Transport Analytics Project

 

From the figure above, it can be observed that the responsibilities of the various stakeholders would differ based on the stage where the project is at.

4.3 Power Interest Matrix: analysis of actors’ constellation

After stakeholders have been identified along with their responsibilities within the management life cycle of the project, it is fundamental to determine what is their potential impact on the project. In this instance, the Power/Interest Matrix can represent a useful two-dimensional table utilised to classify and prioritise stakeholders based on how interested stakeholders in achieving the project objectives and whether or not they have power to influence the achievement of these objectives (Johnson et al., 2005).

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Figure 3 shows the Power/Interest Matrix specifically related to the stakeholders involved in this project. Stakeholders categorised in quadrant 2 would have the highest salience and therefore a prioritised form of attention is required as well as a specific focus in terms of stakeholder engagement activities. Due to the fact that they play key roles in the project, it is crucial to monitor and manage them closely.

A similar attention is required for stakeholders in quadrant 4 and focus on whether their level of salience fluctuates is crucial in order to have a clear understanding of a potential resultant impact on the project.

An engagement strategy for stakeholders in group 4 would be keeping them informed all the time in order to ensure that they are satisfied.

Considerably less focus would be applied to stakeholders in quadrant 1 and 3 as they have lower levels of power and interest than stakeholders in quadrant 2 and 4.

Interest

High

1

Suppliers, Drivers, Unions, Nearby town councils/AA, Bicycle rental operators

2

Sponsor, Head of Project, Domain SME, Solution Architect/Data Analyst/Marketing Consultant

Low

3

End Users

4

NTA, DCC, H&S, Data Regulator

Low

High

 

Power

Figure 3. Power/Interest Matrix

To conclude, the categorisation of the stakeholders within the power-interest-matrix allows the project management function to obtain a better understanding on how the communication should be tailored and how relationships between stakeholders can impact the project objectives (Demir, S.T. et al., 2015).

4.4 Stakeholder Engagement Approach and Management

Recent research (Desai, V.M., 2018) theorise that companies and organisations would now all search for external collaborations with various stakeholders in order to achieve goals that they would not achieve otherwise. This means that companies are no longer able to decide whether to engage with stakeholders or not, but the decision is now focused on how to successfully engage with them in order to maximise results. According to Freeman (1984 in Matuleviciene, M. and Straviskiene, J., 2015), the importance of engaging with stakeholders is based on the crucial notion that stakeholders represent a group of personas that can affect or be affected by the objectives achieved by the organisation. However, other stronger arguments were made by Bryson (2004) who affirmed that unless stakeholders hold the power to have an impact on the future of the organisation, then they cannot be considered stakeholders.

In the context of this project on the unification of Dublin transportation, it would be reasonable to consider that stakeholders can be impacted and can have a significance impact on the outputs of the project at the same time. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, it should be taken into consideration that their responsibilities – and therefore their impact – can fluctuate and vary based on the stage of the life cycle of the project itself (Ali, M.A., 2017).

For this reason, maintaining an active listening and an open communication with the stakeholders represent the key elements that would have to be constant throughout various phases of the relationship such as planning, understanding, trust building, consultation and monitoring – as shown in picture below.

Figure 3: Jeffery, N. (2009)

Moreover, it is crucial to constantly update and keep in mind the previously mentioned Power/Interest Matrix in order to be able to focus on how the relationships with stakeholders should be managed effectively (Demir, S.T. et al., 2015). While stakeholders that are classified with high power end low interest should be kept satisfied, those with low interest and low power should only be monitored but with minimum effort. Finally, those stakeholders with low power and high interest in a project should be kept informed and the high power, high interest stakeholders should be closely monitored and informed.

The advantages of having this sort of engagement plan mainly allow to understand where the power is located and this would guide in making effective project decisions. In summary, it is fundamental that the right communication approach is taken based on the stakeholder analysis (IIBA, 2015).

Collaboration and communication would therefore represent the foundations of the relationships with all stakeholders throughout the phases of this project. According to Fassin (2012), collaboration not only promotes a shared effort, but it also represents the main way to enhance a free flow of information, concerns, ideas and innovations that would result in a clearer picture of what the desired outcomes would be.

In this scenario, different consultation processes would ensure that collaboration and a two-way communication are always encouraged with all the stakeholders and that would add value to the project throughout its life cycle.

For projects like this one where there are both and environmental and a social impacts, consultation would not be concluded in a single session, but a series of consultations would be planned in order to create opportunities of clarifying and discuss about factors that would likely impact the stakeholders or that would be impacted based on stakeholders’ interest (high or low). These consultations would also represent an opportunity to learn about stakeholders’ concerns in order to prevent and reduce risk as well as to investigate potential mitigating measures.

At the same time, for stakeholders, the consultation process is an opportunity to get information as well as to educate those people working on the unification of Dublin transport project about the local context within which the project takes place.

In the context of this project, two main forms of consultations are planned: consultations for Metro North and consultation sessions for the Bus connect programme.

Regarding the Metro North, stakeholders will be involved in consultation sessions regarding this initiative and the inputs analysed will focus on:

  • Significance of all impacts (permanent and temporary) and their magnitude
  • Timeline of railway completion
  • Types of services provided
  • Frequency of train service based on the analysis of Big Data
  • Cost analysis

In relation to the Bus connect programme, consultations will be focusing on:

  • How the network is going to be redesigned
  • Completion timeline of new bus routes
  • Costs analysis and fare calculations
  • Advantages and disadvantages of the new network
  • Reorganisation of bus timetables based on peak times/rush hours backed up with analysis of Big Data

 

Conclusions

To conclude, an analysis of needs and change have been provided through the application of core concepts to the project regarding the unification of Dublin transport. Needs and change as main concepts in business analysis led to the analysis of stakeholders and to the definition of their responsibilities which would change throughout the advancement of the project’s life cycle. For this reason, RACI and influence/interest matrices have been created in order to have more clarity regarding the potential stakeholders’ interests and impacts.

Finally, communication and collaboration with stakeholders have been identified as key elements for engaging with stakeholders in order to enhance the success of this project.

 

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