Benchmarking is the process of identifying best practices in a particular organization or industry and using measures to track performance against an organizational or industry level of quality or excellence. Benchmarks have various purposes. They can be used to measure progress within a particular organization or to compare performance among similar or competing organizations. At airports, benchmarks have frequently been used to measure financial and operational performance. Recently they have also been used to relate levels and types of commercial services with customer satisfaction. Five recognized basics of benchmarking are (1) deciding what and how to measure performance, (2) identifying and analyzing key performance metrics, (3) determining peers for performance comparisons, (4) refining performance goals, and (5) monitoring progress and communicating results to decision makers. Benchmarking is most valuable when used as a catalyst to increase performance to that of leading organizations, which have similar demographic, economic, or operational characteristics. For airports, such peer comparisons can help place performance into perspective and improve the understanding of airport performance. ACRP research is addressing the development and implementation of a performance measurement system for airports. ACRP Project 01-06, "Developing an Airport Performance-Measurement System," is producing a practical, user-friendly guidebook that will (1) assist airport management in understanding the practical benefits of a performance-measurement system, (2) identify methods to help airports discern how well they are meeting their customer and stakeholder expectations, (3) guide the development and implementation of the most appropriate performance-measurement system, and (4) provide examples of key performance indicators and how to incorporate them into a system. ACRP Project 01-09, "Airport Performance Indicators," is a compendium of many of the performance metrics that airports can use to measure their economic, operational, and service performance. The compendium of metrics is intended to complement the guidebook described above. This compendium will contain an extensive list of airport performance indicators, categorized by airport functional type. Also identified is a subset of “key” and “core” performance indicators within each category. The manual will present and define each indicator, suggest methods for collecting relevant data for each indicator, and, generally, support the implementation of an airport’s performance-measurement system as described in ACRP Project 01-06. Research is needed to develop the means for airports to input performance data into a central database so certain standardized performance metrics can be calculated. Then, airports need a tool to assist them in differentiating among similar airports and selecting a group of peer organizations for each type of performance metric. Finally, the industry would be well served by an application to extract airport performance metrics and compare one airport with other peer organizations over time. A web-based application would be ideal for this purpose.
The objectives of this research are twofold. The first objective is to design, build, and implement a secure, expandable, database-driven web application that allows the hierarchical entry and extraction of airport operational, financial, and other data for meaningful performance comparison purposes with a pre-determined and customizable peer group over time. The second objective is to maintain the database-driven web application for 1 year and assist with transferring the application to a permanent host. The web application should (a) offer a single data-entry point; (b) assist users in determining and selecting airport peer organizations for various performance comparisons; and (c) provide pre-formatted reports, including report forms required by FAA, ACI-NA, and others.
STATUS: The research team submitted a final report, and research is complete.