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Chapter 7: Implementation Plan

For 2 weeks in July and August 2009, a scan team from the United States visited international transportation agencies with mature performance management systems to study how these organizations demonstrate accountability to elected officials and the public. In addition, the team examined how the agencies use goal-setting and performance measures to manage, explain, deliver, and adjust their transportation budgets and internal activities. The specific elements that the scan sought to examine in detail were the following:

The scan team members identified a large number of important implementation items that they recommend be pursued in the United States. These efforts fall into two general categories of outreach and research. Outreach efforts will disseminate the scan findings and help put the identified best practices into use in the United States. Research efforts will translate some aspects of the international best practices into useful American context.

Outreach Efforts

1. Brief Congressional Staff on Findings from the Performance Management Scan

U.S. congressional committee staff and their counterparts in State legislatures will play key roles in advising elected officials on performance management. It is important that they understand requirements for effective implementation of performance management, lessons learned by lead States and other countries, potential ways to phase in implementation of performance-based programs, and benefits that can be realized from performance management. One briefing was conducted for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee staff. One was scheduled for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and a larger briefing will be scheduled after the report is published. Briefings will also be made to key members of Congress as requested.

AASHTO and FHWA will conduct these briefings as needed.

BENEFIT: Congressional staff will have the latest information and experience from the scan as they make legislative decisions during the next reauthorization of funding for transportation programs.

2. Conduct CEO Workshop

The team conducted a State DOT chief executive officers workshop at the 2009 AASHTO annual meeting to build consensus for the need for performance management and discuss characteristics of good performance management systems, how they can be used throughout the organization, and how organizations can get started in performance management. Material developed for this workshop will be used to conduct additional workshops geared to managers in charge of implementing and using performance management systems in different parts of the organization. A workshop was conducted at the February 2010 AASHTO Washington legislative briefing. Presentations were posted on the Web site of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Performance Management.

Providing information to both State DOT chief executives and those directly implementing performance management systems will be beneficial in promoting the concepts and ideas learned from the scan. AASHTO members will conduct the CEO workshop at no cost. Costs for additional workshops will vary according to scope and audience.

BENEFIT: DOT leaders in charge of developing and implementing performance measures will have the latest information and be able to share practical experiences.

3. Present Scan Findings, Recommendations, and Next Steps to Key Stakeholder Groups

There is widespread interest in the scan findings. Scan team members will make presentations at events across the country where performance management is on the agenda. Examples include meetings of TRB, AASHTO, U.S. DOT, and organizations such as the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO), American Public Transportation Association, American Public Works Association (APWA), and National Association of County Engineers.

Scan team members presented the scan findings at the Asset Management Conference in Portland, OR, in October 2009 and the TRB annual meeting in Washington, DC, in January 2010 and are scheduled to speak at the APWA annual meeting in August 2010.

BENEFIT: Stakeholders will have the latest information and experience from the scan as they consider adopting or expanding their performance management efforts.

4. Develop Illustrative Ways to Present Performance Information

The AASHTO Standing Committee on Performance Management has a Comparative Performance Measures Task Force that is working with States to identify and report performance metrics in key areas such as safety and pavement condition that would allow comparisons across States. FHWA and AASHTO are working to identify ways to map performance data to allow senior officials to quickly see patterns of performance across the country.

There is significant variation in how States and MPOs measure asset condition, congestion, reliability of operations, safety, greenhouse gases, freight, the economy, and other aspects of transportation system performance. Some research is underway to synthesize current practice, but further research will be needed as the United States moves to greater use of performance management and States increasingly want to compare their performance with that of other States using common metrics. Comparative measurement efforts have been completed for project time and cost, pavement smoothness, and roadway fatalities. Work to assess common measures for bridge condition, reliability, and freight and economic growth remains to be done. AASHTO will work with the Standing Committee on Performance Management to consider pursuing a project to provide best practices on mapping performance information. Recently approved NCHRP Projects 20-24(37)F and G will support this effort.

BENEFIT: DOT leaders in charge of developing and implementing performance measures will have the latest information and be able to share practical experiences.

5. Develop a Performance Management Web Site

Develop, pilot test, and maintain a performance management Web site (or system) to collect key performance data, using data from the comparative performance measures effort described in the fourth implementation item as a starting point. Several existing Web sites contain information and data on performance measurement, but no single site (or system) has the ability to collect and share performance measures and data from States and MPOs across key performance areas.

Recently approved NCHRP Project 20-24(37)F provides funding for development of the specifications for a performance management Web site.

BENEFIT: Key findings from the scan will be integrated into the Web site to reach the widest possible audience. Additional links will be posted to sites such as the TRB Performance Measurement Committee Web site.

6. Conduct Peer Reviews on Performance Management

Develop and conduct peer reviews (informal consultations) to help States examine their existing performance management programs and identify gaps, best practices, and opportunities for enhancements. These would be conducted either by a management consultant in partnership with other agencies or on a peer-to-peer basis. The focus would be to facilitate a noncompetitive and nonthreatening forum that allows for frank discussions and sharing of expertise and best practices.

FHWA, AASHTO, and AMPO should collaborate to offer these peer exchanges. They could be pursued voluntarily among States and MPOs or through a federally supported peer exchange program.

BENEFIT: States will gain valuable experience by sharing among themselves the lessons learned from various performance measurement programs.

Research Efforts

7. Evaluate Comparative Safety, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Efforts

Fund a study of how safety and greenhouse gas emission performance metrics are developed in European and Nordic countries and by Austroads. All three groups use international associations to help them develop performance metrics. In Europe, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development conducts research and benchmarking among European countries in a variety of transportation areas, and the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (now the International Transport Forum) set broad goals for safety and greenhouse gas emissions. These European efforts are through a Brussels-based European governance body, the European Union Road Federation, and through individual country highway agencies, monitored by the Conference of European Directors of Roads in Paris. Similar comparative analysis efforts are underway among Scandinavian countries that participate in the Nordic Road Association. Likewise, Australian states and territories and New Zealand all cooperate with their AASHTO-like transportation association, Austroads, to develop a set of comparative performance measures. The study would focus on how these three cooperative organizations approach comparative measures on safety and greenhouse gas emissions, two high-profile emerging areas of measurement.

An online data repository is needed to store performance data that States can use to benchmark their performance against other States. Austroads has done considerable work in this area that could be used as a model. The AASHTO Standing Committee on Performance Management has compiled an inventory of performance measures collected in each State. Any insights that Australia might share will be part of this followup study.

BENEFIT: The United States will gain from the experience of other countries on this important topic and use that knowledge in setting expected U.S. performance measures. Governance in the United States under a Federal system is comparable to the models used in the European Union and Australia.

8. Synthesize Best Practices in Benefit-Cost Analysis

The United Kingdom uses benefit-cost analysis and the value-for-money concept not only for project appraisal, but also at the program level to assess appropriate targets in different performance areas to assure that those targets are consistent with value for money. Benefit-cost analysis is also used in Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand. For benefit-cost analysis to complement performance-based management in improving transportation decisionmaking, guidance on its use should be updated to reflect applicable best practices from around the world, including quantification of such social costs as noise, air, and congestion. If appropriate, this guidance should also include value-for-money concepts used in the United Kingdom and other countries. Consideration should be given to updating the AASHTO user benefit-cost guide for evaluating multimodal projects. Most major MPOs conduct benefit-cost analyses for project prioritization for long-range plans and the Transportation Improvement Program. Guidance must be offered to MPOs for project and program evaluation also. The Austroads guides may be relevant to this effort.

AASHTO, U.S. DOT, and NCHRP should cooperate, using existing and new contract resources, to produce a synthesis of best practices in benefit-cost and value-for-money analysis, especially as they apply to performance management and multimodal surface transportation tradeoffs. The synthesis also should update existing guidance on benefit-cost analysis.

BENEFIT: FHWA and States will be able to establish protocols for determining cost-benefit of various initiatives.

9. Develop Case Study Report on the Use of British Public Service Agreements

In many areas of negotiated performance, service agreements are commonly used. In a service agreement, two or more parties can negotiate the cost, level of service, division of responsibilities, and monitoring processes desired for ongoing transactions. In Great Britain, Public Service Agreements are used to define roles and responsibilities for activities in support of 30 broad national goals. The Department for Transport has the lead in a Public Service Agreement to "deliver reliable and efficient transport networks that support economic growth," but it also has specific responsibilities in several other Public Service Agreements related to community development, access to health and educational services, and climate change. The Public Service Agreement concept has potential in the United States. It could formalize roles and responsibilities of different Federal agencies for broad goals such as public safety, livable communities, and environmental sustainability. Public Service Agreements also could allow different levels of governments—such as FHWA and State DOTs—to negotiate performance targets and strategies necessary to satisfy a Federal performance management system. FHWA now uses Stewardship Agreements with States, but they lack the performance target detail common in the British Public Service Agreements.

AASHTO and FHWA could collaborate to produce a brief case study of how Public Service Agreements are used in Great Britain and their applicability in the U.S. transportation sector.

BENEFIT: Federal, State, and local officials can consider whether the model used in the United Kingdom has applicability to their agencies.

10. Develop Research and Development Performance Management Roadmap

NCHRP has approved a project, NCHRP 20-24-(75), to lay out a multiyear research agenda. The roadmap could include projects such as the following:

Document Australian risk management practices. The use of risk management as another tool for making investment tradeoffs and demonstrating value for money appeared to be highly refined in Australia, particularly in New South Wales. It would be useful and informative to produce a short paper that better describes the use of risk management techniques for project-level alternatives analyses and cross-asset prioritization to better understand its applicability for the United States. AASHTO bridge management software is now being enhanced to include a risk module.

AASHTO, FHWA, and NCHRP could cooperate to fund a brief paper on the use and applicability of risk management.

BENEFIT: FHWA, DOT, and other transportation decisionmakers will better understand risk management methodologies.

Develop guidance for measuring sustainability and livability. The pursuit of sustainable and livable communities is a high public priority. How to define, measure, and achieve the goals of sustainability and livability are open to debate. These areas are less mature in the transportation planning and development process than are more traditional issues such as infrastructure condition or congestion levels.

It would be important for FHWA, AASHTO, and NCHRP to collaborate to develop guidance and technical assistance in defining metrics and possible targets in these nontraditional and/or difficult-to-measure areas. Best practices in communicating performance information to key stakeholders should be examined, as well. This includes process techniques such as town hall meetings, the Web, and mass media, as well as content and format approaches.

BENEFIT: States and FHWA will have a common methodology to define, measure, and achieve sustainability and livability performance measures.

Create a performance management leadership module. The scan team found many examples of management strategies that used performance measures to achieve improved performance. The team found that successful practitioners did not merely publish performance metrics, but used those metrics to track ongoing performance, hold managers accountable, and alter organizational performance to achieve higher results. Some strategies, tactics, and techniques international practitioners used included the following:

AASHTO, FHWA, and NCHRP could collaborate to produce a brief study on the management tactics that complement and enhance the utility of performance metrics.

BENEFIT: State, Federal, and local officials can benefit from the performance management tactics used by their overseas counterparts.

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Page last modified on November 7, 2014
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