6.1 HT: Selecting a Method for Setting Effective Performance Targets


Selecting a Method for Setting Effective Performance Targets

Performance management is now an integral part of managing a transportation network. Agencies recognize the importance of selecting effective performance measures and have established processes to monitor system performance regularly to support outreach efforts both internally and externally. One of the challenges to performance management has been setting performance targets from both the technical and policy perspectives. NCHRP Project 23-07 sought to develop and disseminate a guidebook on target setting using the national performance measures for safety, infrastructure condition, and system performance (e.g.travel time reliability, freight reliability, and congestion) to test the recommended methods.

The final report (NCHRP Research Report 1035, Guide to Effective Methods of Setting Transportation Performance Targets) provides guidance on four target setting methods for safety, five methods each for pavement and bridge infrastructure condition, six methods for reliability, and six methods for traffic congestion.

  1. Using infrastructure condition to illustrate the considerations involved in setting performance targets, the following factors are considered:

    • If the agency does not have confidence in its data to support condition projections, the “targeted change” method may be considered.
    • If an agency has an effective method of forecasting changes in asset performance over time, a “time-series” trend may be used.
    • With a pavement or bridge management system that can evaluate changes in condition under different funding scenarios a “time-series trend plus future funding” approach may be used. This approach may be based on the models included in the pavement or bridge management systems.
    • A more advanced version of the prior approach is to use the management system to forecast conditions for multiple funding scenarios and treatment strategies. This is likely the most sophisticated of the target-setting methods for pavement and bridge conditions.

  2. The steps involved in target setting generally included the following:

    1. Convene stakeholders, including asset managers, planners, program managers, and DOT executives. External participants, such as members from an MPO, may also be included.
    2. Identify the long-term goal so that short-term targets can be established.
    3. Calculate target year performance and evaluate whether the target can be met.
    4. Adjust results if needed until the targeted performance can be met.