The National Academies

NCHRP 20-24(037)K [Completed]

Measuring Performance among State DOTs: Sharing Good Practices -- Serious Crash Injury

  Project Data
Funds: $75,000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Lorrie J. Laing
Effective Date: 4/3/2012
Completion Date: 11/1/2013

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 federal legislation may apply such principles in national transportation funding programs, holding states accountable for progress toward goals of national importance like 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 several areas in which national performance goals might be established and specific performance measures adopted. Studies under the NCHRP 20-24(37) series are intended to (a) help establish consensus regarding specific measures that states use to measure and mange performance and (b) provide a “proof of concept” demonstration of using performance measurement to identify good management practices. These studies have assembled data provided by a large number of states, reviewed the data to ensure “apples to apples” comparisons, and compared performance among participating states. The comparisons are made by the research team and results presented in ways that maintain DOT anonymity. Identities of agencies found to represent superior performance are revealed with those agencies’ permission. Researchers interviewed personnel in these agencies to document what practices accounted for better performance. 
In many cases, consensus has not yet been reached among practitioners regarding precise definitions and methods for measuring and reporting performance. In these cases, the NCHRP 20-24(37) research is undertakes to lay a foundation and provide direction for continuing work to produce practical and effective performance measures.
NHTSA and the Governors Highway Safety Association recently developed a series of safety performance measures that include use of fatalities and serious non-fatal injuries. AASHTO has identified serious non-fatal injuries as a specific measure that must be further developed and refined to become a useful management tool.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) facilitates the Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES). State CODES programs conduct a probabilistic matching of statewide health records with crash reports. However, only a limited number of states are participating in this system, and the technical process is complex. Efforts to connect police reports with any further medical outcome or cost data can be technically difficult, and in many states, may encounter organizational and other barriers.  A practical, accurate measure of crash-injury severity and method for its collection based on a medical assessment are needed. The results of this projects will be considered for input into NCHRP 17-57 Development of a Comprehensive Approach for Serious Traffic Crash Injury Measurement and Reporting Systems

The objectives of this project were to (a) review and assess states’ current practices for quantifying serious injuries from motor vehicle crashes, (b) describe issues to be addressed in adapting CODES or other available databases to provide a basis for comparative analysis of DOT performance regarding serious crash injuries and safety management, and (c) describe feasible options for addressing these issues and assess their relative merits. 
Research is complete, and the final report has been forwarded to AASHTO.


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