TABLE 6-2 Summary of Recommendations

1. Local agencies with responsibilities for infrastructure management should explicitly define a comprehensive set of performance measures and set aside funds sufficient to sustain an adequate performance measurement process. The measures selected should reflect the concerns of stakeholders about the important consequences of infrastructure systems and recognize interrelationships across infrastructure modes and jurisdictions. The committee's framework of effectiveness, reliability, and cost is a useful basis for establishing these measures.

2. While not every aspect of performance is quantifiable, attempts should be made to devise quantitative indicators of qualitative aspects of performance. Quantitative measures should then be used to develop benchmarks that policy makers responsible for assessing infrastructure performance can use for setting goals and comparing performance among systems, considering effectiveness, reliability, and costs (including actual expenditures as compared to budgets).

3. Recognizing that infrastructure performance cannot be managed if it cannot be measured, data should be collected on a continuing basis to enable long-term performance measurement and assessment.


a. Each region with infrastructure decision-making authority should establish a system for continuing data collection to give performance assessment a more quantitative basis and enable longer term performance monitoring. Metropolitan areas with basic databases and modeling tools already in place should seek to integrate information on separate infrastructure modes into a uniform and accessible system, such that existing data sets are documented in consistent ways, within the context of relevant national data collection activities (e.g., federal Department of Transportation or EPA statistics).

b. Federal agencies should assure that national data sets (i.e., those collected by or under the requirements of federal programs) axe compatible (e.g., in geographic detail, time periods, and indexing), computerized, and made electronically accessible.

c. All such performance data collection should be designed to facilitate benchmarking.

d. New data collection activities should give priority to those functional areas where data currently are sparse (e.g., highway stormwater runoff characteristics, solid waste recycling reliability).

4. Responsible agencies should adopt infrastructure performance measurement and assessment as an ongoing process essential to effective decision making. The selected set of performance measures should be periodically reviewed and revised as needed to respond to changing objectives, budgetary constraints, and regulations.

5. Responsible agencies should undertake a critical self-assessment to determine the nature and extent of specific regulations, organizational relationships, jurisdictional limitations, customary practices, or other factors that may constitute impediments to adoption of the proposed infrastructure performance measurement framework and assessment process. Such a self-assessment could be conducted within the context of a specific infrastructure management problem or as a generic review, but necessarily will involve time, money, and a concerted effort to motivate active community involvement with open, candid discussion. The assessment should conclude with explicit recommendations of institutional change that may be needed to enable a systemwide approach to management of infrastructure performance.

6. Federal infrastructure policy and regulations should be revised as needed to accommodate local decision-making processes and performance measurement frameworks, within the context of valid national interests in local infrastructure performance. Federal policy effectiveness should be evaluated on the basis of its sensitivity to local variations in performance assessment.

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