Sustainability has become a key component in transportation planning at all levels of government, but until now few tools were available to help planners develop meaningful ways to measure the effectiveness of these efforts.
A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies, created by Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) researchers and published this week by the Transportation Research Board (TRB), offers state departments of transportation and other transportation agencies a series of practical, easy-to-use tools to continuously integrate sustainability into current agency performance measurement programs. The guidebook is now available from the TRB website, https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/166313.aspx.
Performance measurement has evolved over the decades into an effective way to quantify goals and objectives and to communicate progress toward meeting these goals. But developing these measures is often complicated.
“Working with performance measures can be a daunting task due to the large number of possible measures, extensive data required and the complexity involved in making these calculations,” noted study co-author Joe Zietsman, head of the Environment and Air Quality Division at TTI.
“Transportation planners must measure the sustainability of their networks, systems, facilities, projects and activities at the appropriate stages, scales and time frames of each,” Zietsman said. “The guidebook provides a practical approach to identifying and applying sustainability-related performance measures, including those that may already be integrated into agency business practices.”
“This guidebook should be of immediate use to those who are familiar with their own agency’s performance measurement program but need to provide useful information to agency leadership on how effectively their organization is meeting sustainability goals,” said Lori L. Sundstrom, a senior program officer with TRB.
The guidebook incorporates real-world examples from departments of transportation (DOTs) and private industry in both the United States and Europe.
“The examples included illustrate how sustainability can be successfully added to an agency’s existing performance measurement system,” Ms. Sundstrom noted. It describes the underlying principles of sustainability as it relates to transportation and includes possible goals that can be used to address these principles.
Sustainability is discussed in the context of many primary DOT goals such as safety, reducing congestion, preserving system assets, enhancing economic opportunity and improving air quality.
“The guidebook provides a wealth of information and resources for DOTs to use to understand the concept of sustainability and apply performance measures for their sustainable transportation goals,” Zietsman said.