Performance Measurement Toolbox
"What gets measured gets managed." This often-repeated maxim recognizes that performance measurement can focus the attention of decision-makers, practitioners, and the public. By focusing attention on the operating performance of the transportation system, performance measures are an important mechanism for increasing awareness of management and operations (M&O) approaches within the planning process. Performance measures provide a means to link a transportation agency's perspective with the experience of those who use the transportation system.
Performance measurement involves the act of developing specific transportation system performance criteria and tracking those measures. Performance measures have many functions. They can be used to:
- Frame what attributes of the transportation system are most important;
- Provide information on current conditions;
- Evaluate the success of implemented and on-going projects;
- Provide a metric for communicating with decisionmakers and the public about past, current, and expected future conditions; and
- Serve as criteria for investment decisions in the transportation planning process.
Getting Started: Building a Performance Measurement Program
It takes a concerted effort to establish and implement a comprehensive set of performance measures. The following points can help an agency take initial or additional steps toward a performance measurement program.
Create an MPO Committee that Addresses Performance Measurement
The process of developing and implementing performance measures requires a commitment of time and resources. One way to acknowledge this reality from the outset is to plan for a sustained group of practitioners devoted to the complex tasks of selecting measures, identifying data source and tools, and deciding the best frequency of analysis and distribution of performance findings.
Borrow from Other Regions
Many agencies have substantial experience in annual performance reporting that include management and operations considerations.
Discuss What Measures Are Ideal and Use Them to Motivate Data and Tool Development
Given the rapid evolution of automated travel data collection technology, it is helpful to discuss performance measures beyond those that are supported current capabilities. As one element of a performance measurement effort, transportation agencies within a region may jointly wish to define the most appropriate measures and associated data needs.
Build Performance Measurement into Traveler Information Programs
A number of regions have developed systems to provide the public with real-time information on the condition of the transportation system (e.g., location and severity of delays, location and status of accidents, status of the transit network, weather-related traffic problems, disruptions from special events).
Develop a Regular Performance Report
Many transportation agencies are reporting transportation performance measures on a regular basis. Even a very simple report providing one or two performance measures can have a positive effect in broadening the discussion over investment priorities.
Involve Managers with Day-to-Day Responsibility for Operations in the Process of Developing Performance Measures
Agencies responsible for major investment decisions often take the lead in developing performance measures. However, it is critical that this process involve practitioners who are concerned primarily with day-to-day operation of the transportation system.
- Statewide Opportunities for Integrating Operations, Safety and Multimodal Planning: A Reference Manual (HTML, PDF 1.8MB) - This publication is a reference manual designed to provide "how to" information to assist transportation professionals in taking actions to integrate these activities. It identifies and describes opportunities at various levels of decisionmaking - statewide, regional, corridor, and project - and the benefits of these approaches. It also highlights overarching themes such as the important role of multidisciplinary teams; data collection, sharing, and analysis; and broad use of performance measures within each of these levels. Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-028, May 2010.
- 2005 Urban Mobility Report - This report uses data from federal, state, and local agencies to develop estimates of congestion and mobility within an urban area.
- Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: An Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach – A Guidebook (HTML, PDF 977KB) - This guidebook presents an approach for integrating management and operations (M&O) strategies into the metropolitan transportation planning process that is designed to maximize the performance of the existing and planned transportation system. Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-026, February 2010.
- Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: The Building Blocks of a Model Transportation Plan Incorporating Operations - A Desk Reference (HTML, PDF 2.1MB) - This publication is a resource designed to enable transportation planners and their planning partners to build a transportation plan that includes operations objectives, performance measures, and strategies that are relevant to their region, that reflect the community's values and constraints, and that move the region in a direction of improved mobility and safety. Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-027, April 2010.
- Identification of Operation Assets - This document provides an informational foundation for operations asset management. Identifying the operations assets will establish a base line from which analytical capabilities; and data, information, and performance measure needs can be identified. The information will also help characterize aspects of operations asset management. Publication No. FHWA-HOP-05-056.
- Integrated Corridor Traffic Management, Final Evaluation Report (PDF 1.22MB) - This report summarizes the recommendations, conclusions, best practices, and lessons learned based on findings derived from an Integrated Corridor Traffic Management evaluation in Minnesota. EDL No. 12863.
- Performance-Based Measures in Transit Fund Allocation - This report (TCRP Synthesis 56) examines the extent to which traditional measures of transit performance, such as internal measures of economic efficiency, service effectiveness, and productivity, are used in allocating funds to transit.
- Performance Measures of Operational Effectiveness for Highway Segments and Systems Operations Performance Measures - This report (NCHRP Synthesis 311) examines the use of performance measures for the monitoring and operational management of highway segments and systems.
- Performance Measures to Improve Transportation Systems: Summary of the Second National Conference - This report (TRB Conference Proceedings 36) contains the proceedings from a conference held on August 22–24, 2004, in Irvine, California. The purpose of the conference was to explore the implementation and use of performance measures and to discuss how to monitor the impact of performance measures on the delivery and quality of transportation services. The proceedings include summaries of presentations made in each conference session and of resource papers. These summaries highlight a variety of agencies' experiences with the set of performance measures and identify research that could improve the set of performance measures. The resource papers prepared for the conference are also included in the proceedings.
- Planning Analysis Tools for Operations/ITS Evaluation: Gap Study - A study has been recently undertaken to better understand the analysis tools that are available for evaluating ITS and operations projects and strategies in the transportation planning process. This study was undertaken to better understand the needs for analyzing operations/ITS projects in the planning process, the current capabilities, and the "gaps" in the capabilities of the tools that are currently available. The results of the "GAP Analysis" are summarized in the following technical memorandums:
- Planning and Operations Fall 2005 Analysis Tool User Survey Initial Results (PPT 133KB, DOC 57KB) - A survey of the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) was recently conducted by the FHWA to determine the types of tools being used to analyze operations and ITS projects and strategies in the transportation planning process.
- The State of Transportation: Findings from the Transportation Research Board's 2004 Field Visit Program - This report summarizes information gleaned from the TRB staff visits program during 2004. The summary also includes boxed reports on three areas of emphasis: performance measures, succession planning, and national parks and public lands.
- The Use of Operations Objectives and Performance Measures in Private and Public Organizations (HTML, PDF 82KB) - This paper examines lessons and insights from private companies and public organizations that may apply to agencies in the United States working to advance transportation planning for operations using a strategic approach. Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-029, February 2010.
- Travel Time Reliability: Making It There On Time, All The Time - Travel time reliability is an increasing concern of travelers, shippers, and businesses. Recent advances in data collection mean that travel time reliability can now be quantified. This report provides guidance in answering questions such as: What is travel time reliability? Why is travel time reliability important? What measures are used to quantify travel time reliability? What are the steps for developing travel time reliability measures? Are there case studies illustrating steps to calculate reliability measures? Who is using reliability measures?
- VDOT CEDAR GIS Application - Virginia DOT's Comprehensive Environmental Data and Reporting (CEDAR) system. Virginia DOT has integrated GIS into its planning process. CEDAR is used to catalogue transportation and natural resource data for use in transportation geospatial applications.
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