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Performance Measurement

"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:

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.


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