NCHRP Project 20-24(37) activities are undertaken generally to support development of a commonly accepted set of measures state departments of transportation (DOTs) would use to assess system and agency performance; a single common data standard for each measure; a simple and reliable data submission process; and a basis for identifying, validating, and sharing best management practices that support high performance. Studies of specific aspects of performance entail comparison of data provided by several states and documentation of practices underlying best performance among participating states.
Projects in the 20-24(37) series have been well received by the DOT community and others, demonstrating that benchmarks and comparisons among agencies can provide useful management insights and tools for senior agency leaders. Many of these leaders are adopting performance-based management principles in their own agencies and anticipate that such principles will be reflected increasingly in in federal transportation funding programs, holding states accountable for progress toward goals of national importance such as safety improvement and infrastructure preservation.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) established the Standing Committee on Performance Management (SCOPM) to provide DOTs and others the expertise and resources to support performance-based management and to create a results-driven environment to maximize the performance of both transportation systems and organizations. SCOPM has defined primary areas in which national performance goals might be established and specific performance measures adopted to assess and monitor our progress toward achieving common goals. Within each goal area, SCOPM is working to identfy specific measures that states can use in making management decisions. While individual state and local agencies may adopt their own targets, objectives, or minimum-acceptable levels of performance—as well as additional performance measures—having a uniformly-defined, consistently-reported, and generally-accepted core set of measures will facilitate sharing of effective management practices and accountability in management reporting. Research is needed to develop these measures.
The objectives of this research were to (1) recommend precise definitions for selected performance measures identified as potentially feasible and practical for early deployment nationwide, (2) recommend methodology and standards for collection and use of data to support reporting of performance using these measures for at least a state’s National Highway System (NHS) roads, (3) articulate the issues to be resolved to enable nationwide deployment of these initial performance measures and suggest a deployment plan, and (4) consider how usable measures may be developed to address all nationally-important aspects of performance. The research team considered data collection and data quality control for nationally-deployed performance measures, performance calculation, and methods for performance target-setting across all goal areas, and how DOTs may use these measures to implement performance measurement and management. The final report, available by clicking here (9 MB PDF), is intended to be a resource for AASHTO committees and staff working to implement comprehensive performance-based managment of transportation-system programs.