USA: A landmark restructuring of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority was approved at a board meeting on July 24.

The ‘historic reorganisation’ is the first such effort since MTA was established in 1968. Developed internally with input from consultancy firm Alix Partners, the plans focus on centralising support functions and removing ‘silos’ from the different operating arms of the authority, which have retained largely separate identities since MTA’s inception. These include New York City Transit, which runs the Subway network and buses, plus commuter rail agencies Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road.

Under the reforms, each of these divisions will focus on day-to-day operations, reporting to a new Chief Operating Officer. ‘All other services would be merged in order to deliver improved service at lower costs’, MTA says. This would result in consolidation of more than 40 functional groups into six central departments.

This central organisation would be responsible for planning, development, and delivery of capital investment. Its objectives would include completing major projects faster and more efficiently, and enhancing competition in a historically constrained supplier market.

A central engineering function is to be set up, reporting to a new Chief Engineering Officer who would ‘set standards, ensuring quality and sustainability of infrastructure’. This would provide consistent standards and specifications and eliminate unnecessary complexity and duplication.

Leadership team

The reform programme also envisages a raft of executive appointments to ensure the restructuring is delivered. These include appointment of a group Chief Operating Officer, who would sit above the heads of each operating division, and a Chief Transformation Officer reporting directly to the board. The CTO would focus on ‘building cross-functional capabilities that ensure intended results from suppliers including on-time performance and accountability’. An Accessibility Officer reporting directly to the Chief Executive would be tasked with ‘accelerating the creation of a fully accessible transit system’.

MTA is aiming to deliver a significant proportion of the reforms by February 20, as well as focusing on completion of the remaining elements of the Subway Action Plan launched in summer 2017.

Network Rail Consulting is to ‘review work rules to understand comparisons among other major industry organisations’, while MTA plans to host a conference later this year with Cornell and Technion universities to ‘explore new technology for train navigation’ and expansion of MTA’s supply chain.

‘Now that the Board has approved these recommendations, the work of transforming the MTA into a world-class organisation that provides its customers with the service they deserve begins’, said MTA Chairman & CEO Patrick Foye. ‘It’s a new day at the MTA, our customers have demanded change, and we’re going to deliver it for the first time in nearly 50 years.’

‘This reorganisation builds upon the progress made and will transform every aspect of our service and deliver modern, fully accessible transit to riders’, added NYCT President Andy Byford.