Recent trends reveal a high rate of turnover in chief administrative officers (CAOs) of state highway and transportation agencies. New CAOs must step in and manage vast organizations with numerous functions and organizational units. To do this effectively, a new CAO, and in particular one from outside the organization or even outside the transportation industry, must know how well the agency is currently performing as a whole and within each unit. Agency-performance information is also a powerful analytical tool for experienced CAOs in tracking their own performance over time and, perhaps, for generally comparing their state to others.
Under this project, a compendium of performance measures and indicators to assist state highway and transportation departments and their CAOs in evaluating and continuously improving the operational performance of their agencies was developed. In addition to the compendium, commentary on the use of performance measures and indicators is provided and directed primarily to CAOs and other top managers.
Research is complete, and the final report has been published as NCHRP Report 357, "Measuring State Transportation Program Performance." A supplemental report titled, "Exploring Methodologies for Comparing State Highway Performance," is also included in the NCHRP report. This follow-on study was requested by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials as a result of interest in a published ranking of the overall performance of state departments of transportation. The purpose of the study was to comment on the practice of comparative evaluations and to explore the feasibility of making valid comparisons.