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User Guide for Spreadsheet Tool P A R T I I I
147 Introduction This document is a guide for navigating and using the tool prepared for NCHRP Project 14-34. The tool presents a core set of performance measures for reporting snow and ice control operations; it helps decision makers identify appropriate adjustments that can be made to manage resources effectively through the use of these proposed performance measures, and it highlights some of the best practices in winter maintenance with a focus on safety, mobility, and sustainability. The tool can be found by going to www.TRB.org and searching for âNCHRP Research Report 889.â About The tool is a macro-based Microsoft Excel (2013) spreadsheet that outputs a customized report providing insight into which performance measures an agency can potentially assess, given its current capabilities. The home page gives the user four options upon opening the tool: 1. Answer questions in the Decision Guide to view a customized report that details how the user agency can report each snow and ice performance measure. 2. Proceed directly to the Navigation Screen, where the user can view information about each performance measure (e.g., overview, definitions, how it can be reported). 3. View a list of resources that summarize (and provide hyperlinks to) the useful technical references for agencies that seek to develop performance measures for snow and ice control operations. 4. View the taxonomy of indicators needed for the development of potential core performance measures. The user guide provides information on all options, but it is focused on describing the first option: the Decision Guide.
148 Performance Measures in Snow and Ice Control Operations 3. On the home screen, click on the first option, Decision Guide. 4. The button will take you to the Decision Guide page, where you will be prompted with instructions for filling out Parts 1 and 2. Part 1 is composed of free-text fields where you provide the name and jurisdiction of your agency. Part 2 is a list of 15 questions regarding the agencyâs current winter maintenance capabilities, which must be answered by selecting the appropriate responses from the drop-down lists. 5. As you select the appropriate drop-down responses, keep an eye out for the supplementary questions that become available to the right based on your answers: These supplementary questions are designed to provide further insight into how particular winter weatherârelated performance measures can be reported. Option 1. Decision Guide 1. To start, open the document in a Microsoft Excel 2013âcompatible Excel version. 2. Enable the content of the tool by clicking âEnable Contentâ button above the formula bar (highlighted below in the rectangle).
User Guide for Spreadsheet Tool 149 6. For cells that are grayed out (i.e., not applicable), you can either leave them blank or select N/A from the drop-down list. 7. Note that some questions have multiple allowable selections: 8. Note that answers can be deleted/redone by either: i. Selecting the âblankâ option from a drop-down list; or ii. By simply pressing âdeleteâ on your keyboard. 9. After answering all the questions, click on the âView Reportâ button.
150 Performance Measures in Snow and Ice Control Operations Part B Part B summarizes the responses to all 15 questions in the Decision Guide. Report 10. After completing the Decision Guide section, the tool will generate a customized report containing four Parts â A, B, C, and D. Part A Part A simply summarizes the agency name and jurisdiction at the top of the screen.
User Guide for Spreadsheet Tool 151 Part C Part C summarizes the responses to the supplementary questions, called Applicable Agency Definitions. This section provides a useful reference for agencies to better outline what specific resources/tools they have available for reporting performance measures.
152 Performance Measures in Snow and Ice Control Operations If the agency has sufficient capabilities to report a particular performance measure, then Part D provides the suggested ways/variations of doing so (based on its current capabilities). If the agency does not have sufficient capabilities to report a particular performance measure, then Part D indicates that the agency cannot reliably report it. In each instance, the user can click the individual performance measure buttons to hyperlink to the corresponding page to view more detailed information/results. Part D Part D provides the most useful piece of information: a summary page of how the agency can best report each of the performance measures, given its current/available capabilities.
User Guide for Spreadsheet Tool 153 As an example, if you navigate to the detailed information/results for the Recovery performance measure, you may find that based on your agencyâs current capabilities, you are able to report some variations of the performance measure, but not all: The prior section of the performance measure page (in this case, Recovery), titled Performance Measure Breakdown, showed exactly how each performance measure is broken down and weighted. For example, recovery times for the Recovery performance measure should ideally be reported with a storm severity index since recovery times depend on how severe an event was. However, in this case, this agency does not have the ability to report storm severity indices (perhaps it can only report seasonal severity indices by month), and so those options are not available. Users of the tool should view each individual performance tab for the most direct, relevant information about: â¢ What the performance measure is (i.e., definition), â¢ How the performance measure is broken down (i.e., how it can vary in terms of detail/ sophistication), and â¢ How the agency can report it, based on its current capabilities. In regard to the last point, while the tool does not explicitly outline the exact steps needed to achieve all variations of reporting the performance measure (e.g., âuse a storm severity index for more accurate reportingâ and âreport fatality data by roadways rather than on a district-wide scaleâ), it should be clear from the content in the performance measure pages what the ideal scenario is and how agencies should strive to get there. In that sense, the tool is not an explicit, step-by-step, personalized to-do list for improving an agencyâs winter maintenance operations; however, it does digest and condense information from an extensive report and present it to the user in a simplified, concise, and interactive way. The guide provides more detailed information on how to develop analytical approaches with the selected performance measures and implement them in practice.
154 Performance Measures in Snow and Ice Control Operations Option 2. Navigation Screen The second option is the Navigation Screen, which provides information on each snow and ice performance measure based on when they take place within a storm timeline. Selecting this option will open an interactive sheet where the user can select the main areas of performance they would like to assess (highlighted in rectangles). Selecting one of these will provide details about it (e.g., a brief overview, a definition, a breakdown of how to measure it, and the available variations). Option 3. Resources The third option provides a list of useful technical references that provide insight into how to develop performance measures. These are a combination of practical reports and papers developed by practitioners and academics in the field of snow and ice operational control.
User Guide for Spreadsheet Tool 155 The resources include examples of DOT performance reports and fact books, relevant research reports, federal and state guidance and reports, and pooled-fund study reports. Option 4. Taxonomy The fourth option provides a list of performance indicators extracted from readily available literature. The list includes over 50 currently used measures and indicators summarized by the elements of performance each of them describes. A taxonomy of each indicator is then provided, detailing the definition, type, unit, data required to measure it, data collection method, geographic scale, event scale, temporal scale, maintenance activity affected, system or technology required, type of decision support it affects, and any variants and other important information regarding the indicator. Once on the main page, click on the â+â signs (highlighted in the rectangle on the left in the following figure) to expand each element and view the specific indicators that fall within each.