In its handbook for agency executives, AASHTO suggests an assessment of performance measures should consider the following:
- Is the number of performance numbers reasonable? – An agency should retain performance measures addressing critical areas of importance that are maintainable with time. The Maryland and New Mexico DOTs have approximately 80 measures reviewed on a regular basis, but the Florida and Pennsylvania DOTs use approximately 15 to 20 measures to review strategic performance. Some agencies identify a small number (< 10) of KPIs selected from the pool of operational and tactical measures that best reflect an agency’s progress toward achieving its overall goals.
- Are the measures meaningful? – Some agencies choose only to use easily measured performance activities because the information is easy to obtain. However, other measures may do a better job of driving good decision making.
- Does the level of detail in data collection match the level of detail required to drive decisions? – Agencies should balance data availability with the analytic rigor used to make decisions. For instance, if pavement markings are replaced every year, it is not necessary to collect retro-reflectivity information annually. Similarly, collecting data on one lane of a two-lane highway may be enough for approximating the condition across the full width of the roadway.
- Do they support the right decisions? – The performance measures should drive decisions in support of strategic objectives. For example, a performance measure based on the amount of overtime incurred after a snow event is less effective than one able to monitor the number of hours until the roads are cleared.
- Are existing data sources reliable? – In most situations, existing data can provide the information needed for performance management, but it must be reliable and maintained regularly to be useful.
An assessment of performance measures can be important, since many organizations find that over time, the number of performance measures they are managing can become unwieldy.