Communicating the Importance of Establishing Performance Targets

Status: Active    
Potential Funding Sources: AASHTO Committee Research / NCHRP 20-24    
Timeframe: Year 1
Research Period: 18 months
Funding Estimate: $150,000
Potential Sponsors:


Performance management (PM) is of growing importance to help transportation agencies deliver greater value for the resources available, and to communicate what will be delivered, with transparency and accountability.
• Communicating performance measures, targets, and results is an essential ingredient to a successful PM program.
• Publishing targets will become more common forcing agencies to deal with challenging situations (e.g., declining targets)

Research Objectives

This project should identify and document current leading state DOT practices in communicating performance targets. The project should develop materials such as text/graphics displays that present guidance for DOTs to address communications challenges including:
• Complex target-setting methodologies,
• Declining performance targets,
• Divergence between states’ targets,
• Impact of investment tradeoffs on targets
The effort should address target-setting with respect to MAP-21 requirements. Addressing target-setting outside the scope of MAP-21 requirements may also be valuable but is of secondary importance.

Proposed Research

1. Review literature and practice
a. Build catalogue of candidate practices
2. Create framework for Assessing Target-Setting Practices
a. Develop criteria for evaluating practices
b. Develop standard format for presenting successful practices
3. Gather lessons-learned from review of successful practices
4. Draft guidance for DOTs on communicating performance targets
a. Draft report and “executive” presentation materials
5. Webinar to present research results
6. Final report

Potential Benefits

Increasingly, DOTs are challenged to effectively communicate performance information. This project will provide guidance and useful tools to reduce the burden on DOTs associated with communicating performance targets. In addition, the guidance and tools will help DOTs to produce more effective communications products.

Related Research

A small number of closely-related research efforts addressing communications and performance management are currently underway or have been recently completed. This effort should be coordinated with the following active projects
• NCHRP Project 20-24(93)B(02): Successful Practices in Communicating Performance Management
• NCHRP Project 20-24(93)B(01): Improving Public Communication Influence and Effectiveness Through Better Understanding of Transportation Users’ Expectations and Language – Public Outreach
This effort should build upon the work of :
• NCHRP Report 666: Target-Setting Methods and Data Management to Support Performance-Based Resource Allocation by Transportation Agencies
• NCHRP Report 742: Communicating the Value of Preservation
• NCHRP 20-24(62): Making the Case for Transportation Investment and Revenue