Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 2

C O M M E N TA R Y
BY THOMAS GEORGE, P.E.

ISSN 0364-345X

Director of Public Transit
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, NY

The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis

VOLUME 77, NUMBER 24
ESTABLISHED 1943

Measuring and Communicating
Performance, for the Benefit of All
The use of performance measures and benchmarking is critical for informing
public transit agencies on how best to martial finite resources to serve
our communities now and evolve to meet future needs. Comprehensive
measurement and evaluation of our performance in relation to our customers'
experiences and satisfaction can help inform the decision-making process on
services and capital investments.

D

IVERSIFICATION OF DEMANDS ON AGENCIES
requires a balanced scorecard approach to navigate how we invest to sustain and enhance ridership and our communities. Public transit agencies
are faced with ever-divergent demands on resources and
expertise that push us to the very limits of our comfort zone.
The days of focusing simply on bus and rail maintenance
and operations are rapidly being replaced by the evolving
expectations of society and our customer base for diverse
services, information and payment methods. These expectations require us to expand our capabilities and network
of service providers and continually review our allocation of
resources and capabilities. This, in turn, creates a need for
specific tools to both inform our decisions and educate our
constituents, including agency boards, elected officials, the
media and our riders.
The requirement for tools that can accurately measure
and benchmark, coupled with a desire to increase transparency, is leading to increased engagement between public
transit agencies and benchmarking groups to increase the
value of the data we generate-agencies have historically
been challenged with data collection and management.
Being a data-driven organization is not easy, and a
desire to benchmark with peers increases the challenge of
developing comparable data. Most public transit agencies
measure on-time performance and miles between service
interruptions, which is a great tool to assess trends. In order
to gain additional value from our data, we need to see how
we are doing relative to our peers. This requires common
definitions and approaches to data collection and reporting. By identifying our relative performance, it allows us to
collaborate and identify best practices to further advance
our individual performance and that of our industry as a
whole. With ever increasing demands on our resources, it is
imperative that we leverage that data to the greatest benefit
possible.
Investing in new technology is one of our primary methods for delivering improved services and programs. But
the very same technology that is answering many of our
most difficult challenges also requires significant growth in
resource allocation. The investment in technology professionals, hardware, software, support contracts and the
evolving security landscape continues to put pressure on
our ability to maintain core services. Investment in technology has become one of our core service offerings, whether
it is improvements in efficiency and operations or the latest
apps for paying fares or obtaining information on service
and disruptions. And the need continues to rise.

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By identifying our relative
performance, it allows us to
collaborate and identify best
practices to further advance
our individual performance
and that of the public transit
industry as a whole.

Through measuring and benchmarking our performance,
we can specifically identify the return on investment relative
to these evolving technology solutions. Through customer
satisfaction, we can establish what products are being used
by our riders and the value they place on those products
relative to the overall service we provide. Advanced platforms for providing real-time, accurate information about
our services includes not only whether we deliver services
on time, but also what alternatives are available to riders
and the integration of our services into an expanding menu
of supplemental transportation modes.
The challenges in advancing benchmarking processes
and partnerships is considerable, and it requires a focus
from the top of the organization down. Without leadership
and investment, the best intentions are just that. There are
many public transit providers across the globe that have
embraced benchmarking, and there are plenty of advocates. Practice and engagement are being adopted, but
there is still a need for more opportunities for participation.
It takes diligence, confidentiality and the desire for continued improvement, but the value is being demonstrated
every day.
As public transit agencies, we want to expand investment
and provide the latest and greatest products and services
to our communities, but to flourish it is imperative that we
ascertain and communicate to our stakeholders the value
they are receiving.
The way public transit agencies deliver mobility and communicate with customers now and in the future will be key
to our success and relevance. By using a balanced scorecard to measure our performance, while working to continually identify and advance best practices, we will be poised
for the future. Through the benchmarking process with like
providers, we can justify our strategies and resource allocations with confidence and share our experiences for greater
benefit.

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"Commentary" features authoritative points of view from various sources on timely and pressing issues affecting public transportation. Statements and
opinions expressed in Passenger Transport are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of APTA. APTA would like to hear from you.
If you are interested in submitting an original, thought-leader Commentary for consideration, please contact Senior Managing Editor David A. Riddy at
driddy@apta.com.

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PASSENGER TRANSPORT

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news and information about public transportation and
to serve as the voice of the public transportation industry.
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APTA Officers

Nuria I. Fernandez, Chair
Jeffrey A. Nelson, Vice Chair
Freddie C. Fuller II, Secretary-Treasurer
David M. Stackrow Sr., Immediate Past Chair

Executive Committee Members

Dorval R. Carter Jr., Chicago Transit Authority
Francis "Buddy" Coleman, Clever Devices Ltd.
David A. Genova, Regional Transportation District
Michael Goldman, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Huelon A. Harrison, Legacy Resource Group
Carol Herrera, Foothill Transit Executive Board
Kevin J. Holzendorf, Jacksonville Transportation Authority
Board of Directors
Karen H. King, Golden Empire Transit District
Michele Wong Krause, Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Jeanne Krieg, Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority
Thomas C. Lambert, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
Adelee Marie Le Grand, Regional Transit Authority of New Orleans
Richard J. Leary, Toronto Transit Commission
Henry Li, Sacramento Regional Transit District
Raymond J. Melleady, USSC Group
Brad Miller, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
Allan Pollock, Salem-Keizer Transit
Leanne P. Redden, Regional Transportation Authority
William T. Thomsen, Urban Engineers
Matthew O. Tucker, North County Transit District
Thomas Waldron, HDR

President and CEO
Paul P. Skoutelas

Pamela L. Boswell, Vice President-Workforce Development and
Educational Services
David Carol, Chief Operating Officer
Linda C. Ford, General Counsel
Christina Garneski, Vice President-Meetings and Membership
Services
Arthur Guzzetti, Vice President-Mobility Initiatives
and Public Policy
Kym L. Hill, Vice President-Executive Office & Corporate Secretary
Jeff Hiott, Vice President-Technical Services and Innovation
Shelley Taggart Kee, Vice President-Human Resources &
Administration
Ward W. McCarragher, Vice President-Government Affairs and
Advocacy
Petra Mollet, Vice President-Strategic and International Programs
Rosemary Sheridan, Vice President-Communications
and Marketing


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Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24

Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 1
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 2
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 3
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 4
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 5
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 6
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 7
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 8
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 9
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 10
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 11
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 12
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