AASHTO Journal, 25 October 2013
Performance management requirements, as outlined in the current surface transportation bill, MAP-21, were the topic of conversation during a town hall-style meeting at the 2013 AASHTO Annual Meeting in Denver on Sunday.
Audience members were encouraged to ask their questions regarding any performance measure implementation issues, with three moderators helping to facilitate the discussion: Paul Degges of the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Lynn Zanto of the Montana Department of Transportation, and Pete Stephanos of the Federal Highway Administration.
The meeting was set up to discuss performance management best practices used by state DOTs today that can be shared with others; to highlight the actions state DOTs have been taking to prepare for the new MAP-21 performance requirements, discuss key implementation challenges and opportunities, address the potential roles for AASHTO and FHWA to counter the gaps that exist, and talk about state DOT staffing and/or resources needed to more effectively manage performance.
Questions from participants to the panelists ranged from those on target setting to planning and programming to reporting. Some attendees voiced concern over timeliness, availability, consistency, and transparency regarding performance measures.
“The data at a national level will tell an order-of-magnitude story, but will not be used by states on a day-to-day business process,” an audience member said. “How are we actually going to use the data to make decisions? Where does all of this come together to make decisions?”
Stephanos said there is value in seeing that bigger picture.
“There is consistency in how targets are set,” he said. “There is value in telling a story nationally. The whole process is going to be transparent, and targets will be publically viewable and available.”
To learn more about the performance measures included in MAP-21 performance measures is available on the AASHTO Standing Committee on Performance Management website.