The Federal Transit Administration is a public administration company within the United States Department of Transport responsible for maintaining transport systems within the country. The agency provides technical and financial assistance to public transit systems. The federal government uses the agency to provide financial assistance needed to develop new transit systems and maintain existing ones. The agency oversees provision of loans and grants to local transit providers. Guarantees and borrowers are then responsible for managing their transport systems in accordance with federal regulations. Public transit systems include buses, commuter rails, light rails, subways, ferries, trolleys, and people movers. As the government directly funds this agency, it is a Direct Administration Public Organization.
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The agency has its main offices in Washington D.C. Administrator, an appointee of the United States President, heads the agency, and is its highest-ranking official. Deputy Administrator and Executive Director assist the Administrator in running the agency. The three form the first tier of management in the agency. Below these three are Associate Administrators, Chief Counsel, Director of Civil Rights, and Regional Administrators. These form the second tier of management in the agency. Regional Administrators reside in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Cambridge, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Seattle, Lakewood, and San Francisco. Each of Associate Administrators has at least several offices below him/her. Those offices form the lowest third tier of management at the Federal Transit Administration.
The organizational structure of Federal Transit Administration is more horizontal than vertical. Before giving the reason for this conclusion, it is vital to make a distinction between two types of organizational structures.
Organizational structure refers to the arrangement of employees and administrators in an organization. Vertical organizational structure refers to a structure having many levels of management with a long chain of command that runs from top to bottom of an organization. Rarely do levels exceed eight; any further increase will lead to a diminishing span of control and increasing disadvantages of having such system. This system is suitable for small companies. Organizations have recently been shifting to horizontal organizational structure that has fewer levels of management and fewer supervisors. These structures have better communication than vertical structures.
From the foregoing description, the FTA has a horizontal organizational structure because it has only three levels of management described above as first, second, and third tiers of management. The second tier of management is the most extended having 18 offices, all below the first tier comprising of Administrator, Deputy Administrator, and Executive Director.
A look at the organizational structure points out that there is a clear division of labor at the Federal Transit Agency. There are 20 offices in the third tier of management with each office having a separate role to play in running of the agency. Having an office for engineering and another office for technology best highlights the division of labor. This is because two offices have a close relation; both of them are in the technology world. Having 18 departments, each having its own head at the second tier, is further proof that clear separation of duties exists within the agency. On top of this, the first tier has three offices, something rarely heard in public organizations. Probably Administrator is responsible for external correspondence while Deputy Administrator and Executive Director oversee the daily running of the agency. The organization is also, without a doubt, highly efficient mainly because of the division of labor. In conclusion, it should be mentioned that there is proper management at the FTA.
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