Thursday, March 14, 2013

PennDOT does first-rate performance management report – Will it help raise money?

More and more state DOTs are doing serious performance management programs and using them as the basis for reporting to their legislatures and publics.  The latest is from PennDOT, which has done a first-rate job with its new “TransportationPerformance Report: Pennsylvania 2013.”
There are (it seems to me) three keys to doing a good performance management report: selecting the best metrics, doing great graphics, and being ruthlessly and transparently honest with the reader.  These are not easy to do – and PennDOT does them very well!  I particularly like the graphics, which are always tricky.
(BTW, the gold standard for performance management reporting is still Washington state DOT.  See their Grey Notebook.)
One of the great motivators for all performance management efforts is the desire to encourage confidence from the legislature and the public and, therefore, to encourage the flow of funding.  PennDOT’s report clearly documents what the needs are on the ground, what the agency is doing to meet those needs, and what resources they need to get on with the job.  Will it help them in the current funding debates in the legislature???  We can only hope.
There are some (in my opinion) important missing pieces in the 2013 report:
·      Land use and transportation – PennDOT has been a leader in this field but has nothing to show for it in the report.  What are they doing to advance the SmartTransportation Guidebook? (FYI, now 5 years old, done in conjunction with New Jersey DOT, I confess a paternal interest.)
·      Climate change and energy independence – Needs to be on the shortlist of critical issues.
·      Bike/ped issues – Some valuable safety metrics, but what is the agency doing to actively promote bike/ped transportation?
·      Transit – A lot of good information, but what is PennDOT doing to encourage mode shift and make transit available to more people?
·      PennDOT – It’s great to see the efforts the agency is making to be more efficient and to incorporate best practices in management and technology.  I’d also like to see what efforts are under way or contemplated in making the agency more multimodal, more responsive to 21st century challenges, more diverse (in all ways) in staff, and more collaborative and customer-oriented in culture.
Maybe in the 2014 report?

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