The National Academies

NCHRP 20-118 [Final]

Benchmarking and Comparative Measurement for Effective Performance Management by Transportation Agencies

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Research Agency: High Street Consulting Group
Principal Investigator: Joe Crosett
Effective Date: 3/8/2017
Completion Date: 9/9/2018

Transportation system performance is a multidimensional concept, encompassing such diverse areas as safety, infrastructure condition, traffic congestion, air pollution emissions, and more. Systems performance is the concern of a diverse set of agencies that operate at all levels of government; with varied spans of responsibilities across transportation modes; and within the context of specific laws, regulations, and public priorities of the geographic and political regions where they operate. These agencies increasingly are pressed to report statistics publicly on performance of the systems for which they are responsible, but there are few commonly accepted definitions, criteria, or standards for how system performance is to be measured. However, work by NCHRP and others has demonstrated that comparisons of consistently measured performance across agencies and systems can be a valuable management tool. Benchmarking—comparison of one’s performance with that of peers—has been successfully applied in many fields as a tool for assessing system performance, communicating about system performance with a broad stakeholder audience, and supporting performance management. Using benchmarking entails selecting peers that may appropriately be compared, comparing appropriate aspects of their performance (both outcomes and significant management practices), and using the comparisons to assist in identifying what are and how to achieve desirable levels of performance.
The objectives of this project were to (a) develop practical guidance on how transportation agencies can undertake and use benchmarking to inform and improve transportation performance management practices and (b) demonstrate examples applying of good performance benchmarking practice, including specific applications for non-motorized transportation and for environmental aspects of system performance. The research products were a guidebook on use of benchmarking and comparative performance measurement for effective performance management and a tool to support agencies participation in information sharing to facilitate benchmarking and comparative performance measurement.  The guidebook, published as NCHRP Research Report 902: Benchmarking and Comparative Measurement for Effective Performance Management by Transportation Agencies, is available for download by clicking here.  The performance benchmarking tool is available on the AASHTO TPM Portal web site.

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