New RTAP Manager Succession Planning

New RTAP Managers often begin with little guidance about how to maintain and expand the current program, while making sure that they and their subrecipients remain in federal compliance. This is a list of suggested steps to take to more quickly understand the State RTAP program’s current state, and where to go from there.

  1. Inventory the documentation left by the previous State RTAP Manager. What systems and programs did they have in place? Find out from colleagues in the State DOT what the former State RTAP Manager did. 
  2. Is there an RTAP advisory board already in place? Have a meeting with them to find out the state of the program, future goals, and as a general introduction. 
  3. If there is no advisory board, call or visit a sample of subrecipients to find out their thoughts on the RTAP program and what they are hoping for in the future. 
  4. Discuss priorities with other colleagues in the State DOT, RTAP advisory board and/or committee, and consult the annual work plan. Reach out to other State DOT Managers to see what their experiences have been, lessons learned, etc.
  5. If parts of the program are outsourced, the RTAP Manager should go over the contract(s) with the contractor(s) to make sure all parties understand what they are responsible for.
  6. Read the RTAP section of the 5311 Program Circular.
  7. Check in with the finance team in the department to understand the RTAP allotments and current status of funds in case there is a situation anyone needs to address quickly. 
  8. Get in touch with subrecipients, either through email, phone, or a hard-copy letter.
  9. Visit subrecipients as much as possible to get to know them—this is the number one best practice cited by many RTAP managers.
  10. Perform a survey of all subrecipients electronically to collect preliminary information from them, if this has not been done before.
  11. Contact another State RTAP manager, get in touch with National RTAP to connect with a peer, or use the National RTAP State RTAP Managers' Forum. New RTAP Managers can reach out to a network of RTAP managers for tips, pointers, resources, and opportunities to coordinate efforts.
  12. Visit nationalrtap.org, especially the State RTAP Programs section.
  13. Use National RTAP resources and web apps to enhance outreach in the State RTAP program.
  14. Sign up for National RTAP’s weekly newsletter - eNews.
  15. Participate in National RTAP State RTAP Manager Peer Roundtables, which are held twice a year.
  16. Use the National RTAP Directory of Trainers as a resource to find trainers and topics.
  17. The National RTAP Calendar of Events can provide information on events that State RTAP programs are hosting as a resource to others. State RTAP Managers should also review the calendar regularly to provide information to your subrecipients of upcoming events.

National RTAP is a great resource that State RTAP Managers should not only be aware of but also be knowledgeable about and encourage subrecipients to become involved with for training and technical assistance.  All new State RTAP Managers receive a National RTAP Welcome Kit with information about National RTAP, and a one-to-one virtual tour of the National RTAP website.

Having a new State RTAP Manager at the helm is often a good opportunity to create or revamp existing programs and services.  Here are some suggestions for approaches:

  • Scholarships: Create a scholarship policy and let subrecipients know scholarships are available.  See the Scholarship Programs section of this toolkit for further information.
  • Trainings:
    • Survey subrecipients to find out what trainings they need or want.
    • Review findings from subrecipient site visits to determine if there is a statewide need for certain areas.
    • Talk with other RTAP Managers to see what trainings they are seeing a greater demand for.
    • Decide how training will be offered - is the training better suited for online or in-person?
    • Find out who may already be offering it and see if there is an opportunity to collaborate or leverage existing training.
    • Many product vendors have training resources available to subrecipients.  For example, vendors of bus lifts often provide free online videos on their website and/or on platforms such as YouTube that can be shared with transit agencies. 
    • See the Training section of this toolkit for further information.
  • Conferences and Roadeos: Consider working with an established organization, like the State Transit Association, to make the process easier and less time-consuming.  See the Conferences and Roadeos section of this toolkit for further information.


Updated April 21, 2021