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Working through COVID-19: PennDOT's Bureau of Innovations continues to maintain extensive survey operations

October 09, 2020 08:00 AM
By: Danielle Klinger-Grumbine

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​As a large state agency, PennDOT relies on innovation to meet its challenging mobility responsibilities. Our Bureau of Innovations (BOI) plays a critical role in that mission.

In spite of the COVID-19 reality of remote operations, the BOI has not missed a beat, especially in maintaining its extensive survey operations.

Management analyst John F. Romberger, Jr., who heads BOI surveys, notes that technology helps keep this important work moving quickly.

"Even from our homes, we work closely with PennDOT's Bureaus and Districts to capture input from both staff and partners as we develop innovations to enhance our functions," he said.

In the past year, BOI has administered more than 110 online surveys, involving the analysis of data from more than 137,000 respondents. These surveys have been both internally and externally focused.

Data from the surveys has been used to identify recommendations to better meet the needs of the public and our employees. Further, common themes have been identified that have enabled PennDOT to more closely look at improving internal operations and streamlining processes to gain efficiencies and better serve customers.

We've used recent surveys to...

  • Gather feedback from the public on driver safety, winter maintenance, littering, and construction
  • Collect judging evaluations, like the Innovations Challenge
  • Check employee engagement and morale
  • Gather input from planning partners, counties, and municipalities on emerging trends like autonomous vehicles, drones, and issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Identify best practices and training needs

In addition to conducting surveys, BOI provides analytical services to gain deeper insights from the survey responses. 

"Our surveys also allow us to gather fact-based and perception-based information from customers and stakeholders about topics, such as project or initiative progress, process or program evaluations," Romberger said. "Well-designed and executed surveys can be valuable aids in project planning, process and procedure evaluation and design, resource allocation decisions, and performance measurement."

Moreover, he added that surveys can be repeated over time to identify trends or shifts in customer and stakeholder viewpoints or evaluations, organizational outcomes, etc.

For more information about PennDOT's Bureau of Innovations, visit

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