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24 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies that your agency has chosen as the purpose of your sustainable performance measurement program. Depending on your agency resources, this may be as far as you get. But when/if you are ready to select additional measures, the following should build on the areas that are lacking (as described previously). Select Additional Measures The measures listed in the compendium (Chapter 6) can provide examples your agency may want to consider. The selection and implementation of measures can be an additive process. Your agency may have a higher rate of success if only a few measures are added at a time. While there is no ideal number of performance measures, the total number of performance measures your agency selects should be kept to a manageable level. The following is a list of things to consider when selecting measures: 1. How will you calculate the measure? 2. What data are needed? What other measures can benefit from the data? 3. Where will you get the data? (Note: It is best to begin with data your agency has on hand or can access without further collection activities. Once the process of using data to calculate measures is underway, your agency can begin to consider additional data sources and collection.) 4. How many departments/agencies will benefit from the use of the measure? 5. Who will be in charge of tracking and reporting the data? STEP 5 IMPLEMENTING PERFORMANCE MEASURES Application of Performance Measures The real value of performance measures comes when they are integrated and implemented to support the daily activities of your agency. Applications of performance measures include · Description Understand aspects of agency business or actions in terms of current status and trends. Determine at what level its programs, facilities, and services are performing through measures of relevance. · Evaluation Introduce a value judgment with respect to current performance and trends. Involve the use of targets, benchmarks, or trends. Help agencies identify what is wrong, the causes of a particular problem, and how it can be remedied. · Accountability Identify performance for which an agency or unit is responsible, specifically poor performance in a key area that needs to be improved. Identify agency units that need to improve to meet performance target levels. · Decision support Help evaluate, compare, prioritize, and select among alternatives and options in terms of sustainability considerations. Determine whether to proceed with a proposed action or to select among alternatives.
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Using the Sustainability Performance Measurement Framework 25 · Communication Communicate to internal and external stakeholders through indices, numbers, tables, graphs, scorecards, and other display tools such as dashboards. Most frequently used methods show conditions, comparisons, trends, and adherence to targets, goals, and objectives. As shown in Figure 3, these applications of performance measures are interrelated. Some applications derive logically from one another. (For example, evaluation can be viewed as an extension of description; similarly, accountability or decision support follows logically from an evaluation exercise.) Communication, on the other hand, is more an overarching application that is implied in the use of other applications, but is also an application in itself. Figure 3. Relationship between application types. Your agency's purpose for use of the measures should be a consideration in previous steps of the framework application. However, it is at this step that the logistics of how your agency will collect and report the data are determined and then put into practice.
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26 A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies Steps to Successful Implementation Your implementation process depends on the applications that your agency picks. The following steps provide the groundwork for successful implementation and integration. Depending on the number of measures, who is involved, and the application outcomes, these steps can be done per measure, per focus area, or per goal. 1. Determine appropriate scale (e.g., by department, agency). 2. Determine appropriate applications (if more than one) for each measure, goal, or focus area. 3. Establish a reporting system and schedule with roles and responsibility for data collection, analysis, and reporting. Will this be included in an existing annual reporting process, or will your agency establish a new sustainability dashboard of some kind? 4. Your agency can set benchmarks and targets at the level of goals, objectives, or measures. However, in the SPM framework, these benchmarks and targets need to be tracked at the level of performance measures. For example, if an agency sets a target of zero waste, this would need to be tracked for a set of measures that relate to the individual waste-generating activities.