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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A systems approach to improving policy compliance
by Deason, Kristin, Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2009, 166; 3344673
Abstract (Summary)

Most federal agencies face a myriad of laws, regulations, and executive orders with which they must comply. These requirements are so numerous, simply keeping up with what is required is often a challenge. As a result, many laws are not fully implemented, resulting in a failure to achieve the objectives they were designed to accomplish.

In some situations, there are multiple laws that conflict with each other, such that complying with one makes it difficult or impossible to comply with another. Such is the case with the federal fleet requirements in the Environmental Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992, EPAct 2005, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and other related provisions. This study used the specific case of federal fleet requirements as a test bed for demonstrating the use of a systems analytical approach to improving agencies’ compliance with conflicting laws and regulations. Specifically, the research investigated whether Multiple-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) methods could yield measurable benefits for federal agencies in terms of efficiency and effectiveness of developing strategies for complying with the current requirements for Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Alternative Fuel (AF) acquisition. To accomplish this, an expert panel of federal fleet managers was led through an MCDM process designed to identify the objectives they strive to achieve in developing fleet management strategies, and assign relative weights to each objective. These weights were then used as inputs to a linear program which generated optimized fleet management strategies for each panel member based on their weighted objectives, and on the characteristics of a fictitious agency used as an example. The expert panel was then surveyed to assess the effectiveness of this process and to compare the fleet management strategy generated through the MCDM method with one created using a simple linear programming method with a single objective.

The panelists agreed that the method demonstrated in this study was successful in that it helped them think about and quantify the tradeoffs they must make, and that it would allow them to develop fleet management strategies more quickly than their current method. Further, the panelists indicated a desire to utilize this method in the future with their agencies. Thus, this study demonstrates the benefits that can be realized by use of MCDM techniques in combination with linear programming to address the issue of conflicting requirements and resulting non-compliance that is seen in many areas of governmental policy today.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jefferson, Theresa L.
Commitee: Duffey, Michael R., Eisner, Howard, Stankosky, Michael A., Yuzugullu, Elvin
School: The George Washington University
Department: Engineering Mgt and Systems Engineering
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 70/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Transportation planning, Systems science
Keywords: Alternative fuel vehicles, Alternative fuels, Energy policy, Federal fleets, Multicriteria decision making, Policy compliance, Transportation
Publication Number: 3344673
ISBN: 978-1-109-03212-3
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