Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 2


ISSN 0364-345X

Director of Public Transit
Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, NY

The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis


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.


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
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

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Richard J. Leary, Toronto Transit Commission
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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
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Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 11
Passenger Transport December 2019 Vol 77 No 24 - 12