Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
4 2.0 STATE OF THE PRACTICE 2.1 METHODOLOGY To identify potential social and economic sustainability performance measures and transit agency practices relating to social and economic sustainability, the research team conducted a literature review and interviews with select transit agency representatives. Specifically, the research team reviewed recent literature related to transit and transportation performance measures, reviewed sustainability reports prepared by transit agencies within and outside of the United States, and conducted interviews with eight transit agency representatives that focus on the environment/sustainability. The research team selected resources that covered one or more of the following topics: â¢ Social performance measures â¢ Economic performance measures â¢ Criteria/process for selecting measures â¢ Using a stakeholder engagement process to inform and/or select measures â¢ Best practices in the public transportation sector The research team reviewed 42 different resources as part of the literature review. As shown in Table 2, most of the resources included social and economic performance measures. The majority of resources also discussed social and economic practices of transit or other transportation agencies. Less than half of the resources covered the criteria/process for selecting measures or discussed if/how stakeholder engagement was used in development of the measures. Table 2. Topic Areas Covered by Resources Reviewed Topic Social Performance Measures Economic Performance Measures Criteria/ Process for Selecting Measures Stakeholder Engagement Transit/ Transportation Agency Cases No. of Resources 30 31 12 20 26 Table 3 identifies the literature reviewed and key highlights of each resource. The complete literature review is included as Appendix A. The list of performance measures is included in Section 3 as well as the companion Social and Economic Performance Measures Database. 2.1.1 Social and Economic Performance Measures Research The research team reviewed Elsevier, FHWA Community Vision Metrics tool (2013b), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) website, Google Scholar, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) website, Google Scholar, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Transportation Research Information Services Database (TRID), and the Union International des Transports Public (UITP) databases for relevant research related to transit/transportation sustainability performance measuresâwith emphasis on social and economic sustainability measuresâ published during the past five years. Search terms included:
5 â¢ Social and economic metrics/indicators/performance measures/metrics for transit/transportation/public transportation â¢ Sustainability performance metrics/indicators/measures/metrics for transit/public transportation/transportation â¢ Social and economic benefits of transit/public transportation â¢ Transportation quality of life performance measures/metrics The research team placed particular emphasis on Well Measured: Developing Indicators for Sustainable and Livable Transport Planning (Litman 2016). This included a search for research papers that cited Well Measured and review of documents referenced by Well Measured. Similar emphasis was placed on the literature review that accompanied the FHWA Community Vision Metrics tool (2013b). 2.1.2 Transit Agency Social and Economic Performance Measures and Practices Research In addition to conducting a literature review of published research related to social and economic sustainability performance measures, the research team conducted a limited review of transit agency social and economic performance measures and practices. This review consisted of collecting information during the 2018 APTA Sustainability and Multimodal Planning Workshop, an internet search of transit agency websites and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) database for sustainability/Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports and information on social and economic performance measures, and interviews with eight transit agencies. Transit agency reports were selected based on the research teamâs knowledge of transit agencies supportive of social and economic performance measures (primarily through APTA involvement), agencies referenced in documents reviewed as part of the initial literature review, and transit agency reports found on the GRI database. The purpose of the eight transit agency interviews was to gain a better understanding of: â¢ Transit agency goals and objectives related to social and economic sustainability; â¢ Specific social and economic sustainability performance measures currently used by the transit agency; â¢ The type and quality of data available to measure the transit agencyâs contribution to social and economic outcomes; and, â¢ Barriers to collecting and reporting data and information on social and economic sustainability. This information provides insight into the challenges and opportunities associated with developing and implementing social and economic sustainability performance measures within a transit agency. Table 4 presents the list of transit agencies interviewed listed in order of largest to smallest based on annual passenger trips. The transit agencies were selected to represent agencies of differing sizes, geographies and modes who also met one or more of the following criteria: member of the project panel; member of the APTA Social and Economic Sustainability Working Group; APTA Sustainability Commitment Signatory; presenting or attending the APTA Sustainability and Multimodal Planning Workshop; or specifically recommended by the panel. A copy of the interview questions and a summary of each interview is included in Appendix B.
6 Table 3. Literature Reviewed No. Resource Title Author Year Highlights Literature Reviewed 1 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards GSSB 2018 The GRI Standards are the gold standard for sustainability reporting. They include a widely accepted list of performance measures for some of the elements covered in the APTA Recommended Practice. The Standards also provide guidance on how to identify material topics and engage stakeholders. 2 Well Measured: Developing Indicators for Sustainable and Livable Transport Planning Litman 2016 Litman emphasizes the need to follow a systematic process in order to develop quality performance indicators. The type of indicator selected can impact whether the outcome is determined to be good or bad. It is important to be realistic in selecting indicators that can be feasibly and reliably measured. This report suggests several factors to consider when developing indicators, and emphasizes the need to tailor indicators to the situation/org. 3 Analyzing the sustainability performance of public transit Miller et al 2016 The Public Transit Sustainable Mobility Analysis Tool (PTSMAT) was developed specifically for transit agencies to evaluate the sustainability of new projects. 4 Economic Impact Case Study Tool for Transit TCRP 2016 This report provides several outcome performance measures that can be used to evaluate the economic impact of transit investments. Based on the pilot cases, local economic development impacts can vary depending on factors including transportation access changes, availability of underdeveloped land nearby, area density and location relative to urban business centers, and redevelopment and revitalization goals. 5 Selecting Performance Measures for Transportation Planning: Developing a Facilitatorâs Toolbox. TRB 2016 Carefully considering the type of performance measure is a critical step in selecting performance measures, as well as applying relevant criteria. Identifying measures that fall within the transit agencyâs sphere of influence is an important consideration, which helps ensure that measures are actionable and connected to outcomes. 6 Livability Performance Measures to Transportation Plans and Projects STRIDE 2015 This report discusses developing performance measures through a facilitated workshop. A key first step is to reach consensus on the criteria used to evaluate the performance measures, which helps frame measures in terms that the organization understands and adopts, and ultimately affects the measures chosen. Factors that contribute to success include visioning, capacity building, and understanding the different types of measures. 7 Transportation performance management for livability and social sustainability: developing and applying a conceptual framework Fischer 2014 Fischer discusses the complex relationship between transportation organization structures, processes and associated decision-making on social resource outputs and wider social sustainability outcomes. This report suggests using a framework to contextualizes these interactions. The report recommends several additional considerations when selecting measures for performance-based decision making.
7 No. Resource Title Author Year Highlights 8 Strategic Issues Facing Transportation, Volume 4: Sustainability as an Organizing Principle for Transportation Agencies NCHRP 2014 The report authors observe that the most critical need in adopting sustainability as an organizing principle is the lack of a simple and easily communicated tool for determining the return on investment (ROI) of sustainability. Agencies and state departments of transportation are at very distinct stages of development with regard to sustainability, and in order to mature, several functional gaps must be addressed. 9 Community Vision Metrics Tool FHWA 2013 Context-based metrics are critical in order for livability performance measurement to truly suit the needs of diverse communities and regions. This easy-to-use database enables users to search based on different criteria to identify a list of potential performance measures. 10 Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, 3rd Edition TCRP 2013 The manual categorizes transit performance measures into the operator point of view, passenger point of view and vehicle point of view. Service measures are distinguished as a subset of performance measures that represents the passengerâs point of view. The manual indicates that in order to be useful, service measures need to be easy to measure and interpret. 11 Blueprint for Sustainability: One Department of Transportationâs Pursuit of Performance-Based Accountability TRB 2013 This report provides detailed information about the process of establishing goals, objectives and useful sustainability performance measures. North Caroline Department of Transportationâs (NCDOTâs) experience demonstrates the importance of stakeholder collaboration to reaching consensus on a set of performance measure evaluation criteria at the onset in order to ensure the resulting measures are relevant and useful. 12 Economic Effects of Public Investment in Transportation and Directions for the Future SSTI 2012 The use of economic performance measures is a growing trend in state Departments of Transportation (DOTs). In project development and prioritization, economic development has become commonly applied criteria. In general, states take a variety of approaches to incorporating economic outcomes in transportation planning and decision-making. The report highlights useful tools and datasets. 13 Methodology for Determining the Economic Development Impacts of Transit Projects TCRP 2012 This research might best be used by a relatively large transit agency with a fairly mature transit system including a rail component. The United Kingdom and Australia would be good resources for transit agencies looking to inform an analysis of transitâs economic impact, as this research suggests a mature body of practice in both countries. 14 NCHRP Report 708: A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measures for Transportation Agencies NCHRP 2011 The report provides resources that would be useful for transportation agencies seeking to improve their performance management approach. The report includes two useful tools: a self-assessment tool to determine how performance measures implementation is proceeding in their department, and a list of performance measures.
8 No. Resource Title Author Year Highlights 15 Evaluating Transportation Economic Development Impacts Litman 2010 Litman identifies key issues that are not well-captured in traditional economic development assessments for transportation projects. The report also highlights the importance of capturing public costs that are often not assessed in economic development, including parking costs. A key point is the notion that a net reduction in VMT may not be the most economically beneficial objective, and instead a reduction in VMT by class of trip might be a more appropriate objective. Transit Agency Publications 16 Telling Our Sustainability Story (Presentation) DART 2018 Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) provides a great example of using a methodical, collaborative process to identify goals, objectives and performance measures. 17 Mass Transit Railway (MTR) 2017 Sustainability Report MTR 2018 This report was prepared in accordance with the new GRI Standards. The report includes an entire section devoted to performance measures. In addition to benchmarking against MTRâs own performance, they benchmark against other large metros and mapped performance measures against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). 18 SEP-TAINABLE SEPTA 2018 This report provides a good example of identifying social and economic sustainability goals with corresponding targets. In their updated sustainability plan, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) was careful to select performance measures that they can feasibly measure. 19 TransLink 2017 Accountability Report TransLink 2018 This report provides insight into the way TransLink continues to evolve its reporting on key sustainability priorities. The report was prepared in accordance with the GRI G4 Guidelines. The materiality assessment that was used to highlight important issues to internal and external stakeholders could be replicated by other agencies. 20 BART Sustainability Action Plan and TOD Policy BART 2017 Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is an example of a transit agency that tracks a significant number of social and economic performance measures, including a few input/lagging indicators. The BART transit-oriented development (TOD) policy includes measures specific to TOD. 21 JR East Group CSR Report 2017 East Japan Railway Company 2017 This report provides an example of an approach to social and economic sustainability by a transit agency located outside of North America. This report followed the GRI G4 Guidelines. JR East clearly mapped transit agency goals with their material aspects and identified corresponding key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance. 22 Transit Advisory Committee for Safety 16-02 Final Report: Safety Data and Performance Measures in Transit FTA 2017 Agencies collect minimum safety data to meet Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. However, the type of data collected is generally not detailed enough to identify trends and causes. The document stresses the importance of using a combination of leading (predictive) and lagging (outcome) indicators to improve safety.
9 No. Resource Title Author Year Highlights 23 LA Metro Quality of Life Report 2008 â 2015 LA Metro 2016 This report provides examples of how a large, multi-modal metropolitan transit agency impacts quality of life. This report includes several measures related to transit access. 24 Caltrans Strategic Management Plan 2015 â 2020 Caltrans 2015 The Caltrans Strategic Plan provides a good example of a well-developed set of transportation agency goals with corresponding performance measures. However, the fact that Caltrans has yet to develop the accessibility, livability, and prosperity metrics underscores the difficulty in establishing a methodology to assign scores to these livability factors. 25 King County Metro 2014 Sustainability Plan Progress Report King County Metro 2015 This report is an example of reporting social sustainability progress primarily in a qualitative or story-telling format, which is common. 26 Social Sustainability Guidelines and Metrics for Transportation in Louisville: A Proposal for TARCâs APTA Sustainability Commitment TARC 2015 This paper highlights the challenges of achieving social and economic sustainability in a mid-size city that has been designed for cars. Pedestrian deaths in Louisville are higher than the national average. This paper discusses transit improvements, primarily focused around TOD, as a key strategy to improve safety, among other benefits. 27 Toronto Transit Commission 2013 Sustainability Report TTC 2013 TTCâs experience with their Community Relations program emphasizes the need to determine the quality and value of what the performance measures are measuring. TTCâs discussion about absentee rates highlights the benefit of incorporating leading indicators, which can measure actions taken to avoid/improve negative outcomes. 28 Sustainability Reporting Handbook TransLink 2011 This handbook is an internal TransLink resource that describes TransLinkâs sustainability reporting program and documents the process and reporting framework for preparing the transit agencyâs annual sustainability report. 29 Ten Years of Transparency: The role of performance reporting at WSDOT WSDOT 2011 The lessons learned from Washington State DOT (WSDOT), long a leader in performance management among state DOTs, include the importance of clear communication to support and expand a performance management program. Resources Consulted but not Summarized in Appendix A 30 Jackson, MS Transit Asset Management Performance Management* City of Jackson 2018 Transit agencies are now required to report certain transit asset management (TAM) data to the NTD. The City of Jackson, which operates JATRAN, established a TAM Plan with performance measures and targets. 31 Community of Metros Key Performance Indicator System CoMET 2018 List of performance indicators tracked by CoMET, which is a global transit agency benchmarking organization.
10 No. Resource Title Author Year Highlights 32 National Transit Database (NTD) FTA N/A Transit agencies receiving federal funding must report certain data to the NTD. The research team reviewed the measures that transit agencies are required to report. 33 -42 APTA Recommended Practices APTA Varies The research team reviewed the following APTA Recommended Practices to ensure the research was consistent with existing APTA guidance: Social and Economic Sustainability for Transit Agencies (2018b); Transit Sustainability Guidelines (2011b); Quantifying and Reporting Transit Sustainability Metrics (2012b); Guidelines for Climate Action Planning (2011a); Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transit (2018c); Transit Agency Partnerships to Improve Urban Design and Enhance Service Effectiveness (2012a); Defining Transit Areas of Influence (2009a); Forming Partnerships to Promote TOD and Joint Development (2009b); Bicycle and Transit Integration (2018). Table 4. Transit Agencies Interviewed Transit Agency Urban/ Rural 2017 Annual Trips Location Mode(s) Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) Urban 409,580,106 West â Los Angeles, CA Rail, Bus, BRT, Subway TransLink Urban 406,840,000 Canada â Vancouver, BC Bus, SkyTrain (rapid transit), SeaBus, West Coast Express (commuter rail), Access Transit, Community Shuttles Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Urban 354,635,583 Northeast â Washington, DC Subway, Bus, Paratransit Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Urban 326,629,466 Northeast â Philadelphia, PA Rail, Bus, BRT, Tram, Trolleybus, Subway Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro) Urban 29,967,578 South â Austin, TX Bus, Rail, Paratransit Transit Authority of River City (TARC) Urban 13,150,822 South â Louisville, KY Bus Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District Urban 12,146,959 Midwest â Champaign and Urbana, IL Bus, Paratransit Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) Small Urban 1,179,418 West â Jackson County, OR Bus, Paratransit
11 2.2 FINDINGS FROM THE LITERATURE REVIEW Based on a review of the literature identified in Table 3, several key practices with a focus on adopting social and economic sustainability performance measures were identified. Many of these observations apply to performance measurement at large, whereas others focus more on the current state of the practice of sustainability measurement. â¢ The practice of applying social and economic sustainability measures is evolving with no standards or consistency amongst transportation agencies at this time. Reporting on sustainability is driven by a desire to be responsive to a local constituency. Generally speaking, the concept of âsustainabilityâ implies a focus on the âtriple-bottom lineâ of social, economic, and environmental issues, with a focus on the long-term over the short-term. While certain aspects of sustainability, are well-defined and broadly practiced, no federal or statewide legislation explicitly targets sustainability as a focus area for performance management (with the exception of safety). Transportation agenciesâ efforts to adopt broad-ranging sustainability-oriented performance measures have largely evolved as a result of public demand, which has caused transportation agencies to take a highly individualized and independent approach to sustainability-oriented performance measurement. â¢ Social and economic sustainability measures are more challenging to define and quantify compared to environmental measures. Challenges include reaching consensus on the goals the measures were developed to support, defining success, adjusting for context, considering equity and environmental justice, defining the appropriate spatial scale, influencing results, and data collection. For example, social and economic outcomes can vary based on context (e.g., TOD may increase property values but displace low- income populations). In addition, transit agencies may have little or no control over TOD if they do not own the land surrounding transit stations or have influence over development. â¢ Performance targets should be strongly reflected in transit agency goals. If possible, goals, targets, and performance measures should be developed simultaneously. If a performance measureâs target is not useful in helping a transit agency to achieve one of its goals, neither the goal nor the performance measure will be meaningful. â¢ The type of performance measures should be considered, and it is desirable to use multiple types of performance measures. The four types of measures that are well- captured by the research include outcome (lagging measure of ultimate results), input (leading measure of resources available to the transit agency), output (lagging measure of progress toward outcomes), and process (leading measure of the process-related actions taken by the transit agency). Refer to Table 6 and Section 3.2 â Performance Measure Evaluation for additional information. While outcome measures are more meaningful to the traveling public, they represent a realized result (lagging indicator) and do not present transit agencies with information that provides the ability to influence the result (leading indicator). Moreover, in some cases social and economic outcome measures fall outside the direct control of transit agencies. â¢ Evaluation criteria are critical in determining whether a performance measure is feasible, relevant, and understandable to stakeholders. Developing this evaluation criteria in concert with stakeholders who may be responsible for gathering data
12 (transportation professionals) and with customers of the transit agency (the traveling public, elected officials) ensures that those measures are grounded and relevant. â¢ External collaboration among transit agencies and jurisdictions is critical for a number of reasons. Performance measures may be wholly or partially outside of the transit agencyâs area of control. It may be necessary to develop relationships between transit agencies and other organizations in order to collect data, and/or to meaningfully demonstrate progress. For example, various agencies may share compatible objectives; by developing relationships with outside organizations, it may be possible for these agencies to collaborate on a shared performance measure that would better reflect the activities of these agencies in achieving that goal. â¢ Assessment is a useful tool. Transit agencies may make use of self-assessment tools that help them to understand their level of maturity and progress toward supporting a sustainability policy system; a materiality assessment may help to highlight priorities within an organization and to the public served by the organization. The concept of materiality is defined in detail by the GRI Standards. Topics are considered material if they can âreasonably be considered important for reflecting the organizationâs economic, environmental, and social impacts, or influencing the decisions of stakeholdersâ (GRI, 2018). Conducting a materiality assessment enables an organization to identify which topics are most relevant (material) to the organization and focus their sustainability program on those topics. â¢ Iteration with regard to performance management is critical. Transit agencies are generally not encouraged to enter performance measurement programs with the goal of maintaining the same set of measures for an indefinite period; agencies are encouraged to revisit the process of developing performance measures periodically. Once measures have been identified, those measures should be used to inform goals, objectives, targets, and outcomes on a regular basis. â¢ Progress toward achieving performance measures should be clearly communicated in a way that is meaningful to a variety of audiences. Performance measurement and reporting can be an incredibly effective tool to increase the publicâs confidence in the transit agency, but it must be supported by clear communication that highlights key points in an accessible manner. To that end, some transit agencies may find it beneficial to produce a stand-alone Sustainability Report in order to call attention to the transit agencyâs sustainability efforts; transit agencies may also choose to integrate sustainability into other reporting documents, but should be explicit about the measurementsâ connection to sustainability outcomes. Mapping performance measures against other reporting standards (e.g., GRI, UN Sustainable Development Goals, International Association of Public Transport) may also make performance measures relevant to a wide variety of audiences. â¢ Transit agencies report on social and economic sustainability performance; however, reporting can be improved. Most transit agency public CSR and sustainability reports include safety performance measures. Some transit agencies include limited economic sustainability performance measures, which primarily focus on transit agency financial sustainability. Social sustainability performance measures are largely absent with the exception of an overall customer satisfaction score and some basic measures related to workforce development (e.g., diversity and retention rate). Some transit agencies also
13 include performance measures related to accessibility (e.g., percent of accessible stations and vehicles). Only a few transit agencies reviewed include measures related to environmental justice. Often social sustainability initiatives are discussed as stories within the report. â¢ Transit agencies that use the GRI Reporting Standards to guide their sustainability reports generally have more developed performance management frameworks. CSR and sustainability reports prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards include more performance measures compared to others. The GRI Standards provide a framework for sustainability reporting from stakeholder mapping and engagement, to conducting materiality assessments, to identify key issues, to selecting performance measures. In addition to the observations noted above, several other important factors not currently captured in many agenciesâ approach to sustainability that could inform future practice were highlighted in the research. â¢ Even the best performance measure may not reflect transitâs contribution to economic development. It is challenging to directly associate economic and land development benefits to transit investment. In addition, parking costs, vehicle ownership costs, or agglomeration benefits are economic costs and benefits that have not been well- captured in current economic analysis. Additional research, including expansion of TCRPâs Economic Impact Case Study Tool for Transit (2012), could support a better understanding of these impacts. â¢ Evaluation criteria should be used not just for the individual performance measures, but also for the performance management system as a whole. Litman emphasizes that while performance measures should individually be evaluated for quality, the performance measures as a whole should be comprehensive (i.e., reflect a broad range of sustainable and economic, social, and environmental impacts), cost effective to collect, supported by strong quality assurance practices, and accessible (Litman 2016). Evaluation criteria should be used against the entire measurement system to ensure that agencies are prepared to track and maintain the data needed to inform the measures. â¢ Performance measures do not necessarily need to be tracked at the same interval in order to be relevant. While some measures may be reasonably collected on a more frequent basis, others may be best collected less frequently (e.g., annually, every five years) due to the difficulty of collecting certain data. â¢ Not all performance measures need to have defined targets to be effective. Agencies with more mature performance management programs may find it useful to set specific targets; agencies with less experience may choose to set a directional goal. 2.3 FINDINGS FROM TRANSIT AGENCY INTERVIEWS In order to supplement observations from the literature with key observations from transit agencies, the research team reached out to representatives from eight transit agencies to share their transit agenciesâ experience implementing a sustainability-oriented performance-based planning and programming approach. The eight transit agencies, listed in Error! Reference source not found., represented a variety of different modes, including rail, bus, BRT, subway, ferry,
14 commuter rail, paratransit, and shuttle. Officials shared several observations in common that are summarized below. Interview summaries are provided in Appendix B. â¢ Measures that relate to social and economic sustainability are often not framed in social and economic terms. Several transit agencies interviewed indicated that their agency has not identified social and economic sustainability priorities. However, these transit agencies are generally supporting social and economic sustainability programs in some way, often on an ad-hoc basis without establishing clear goals, performance measures and targets. â¢ Measures that are more directly tied to social and economic sustainability may not be currently well-captured in agenciesâ performance measurement system. Many transit agencies have programs that address social and economic issues (such as training), but do not track it because it cannot be tied to outcomes that are more salient to the traveling public (such as the condition of the fleet). Some transit agencies interviewed indicated that their more impactful social and/or economic programs (such as special bus service for battered women) are more difficult to track and lend more to storytelling or qualitative reporting. â¢ Data collection and analysis is an issue for many transit agencies. The quality of performance measurement depends heavily on the quality of data in terms of availability, accuracy and consistency. Transit agencies interviewed report that some data is collected at irregular intervals. Transit agencies may be limited by the systems they use to collect and analyze data internally. While transit agencies may have access to data, they struggle to develop this data into meaningful performance measures without a framework. Smaller transit agencies interviewed indicated that accessing data is a challenge, and often time- consuming to collect. Transit agencies interviewed indicate that some measures are easily tracked on an annual basis for certain levels of geography, but to gather information at a regional level requires additional time and may more feasible at different intervals. In one case, a transit agency found that reporting data at quarterly intervals made the data less meaningful than if it were reported on an annual interval. â¢ Internal collaboration with different departments is necessary to develop a comprehensive suite of measures. Transit agencies track data for different reporting requirements. Some of the data that is already collected could be used to inform social and economic performance measures so that efforts are not duplicated. The sustainability team may not have authority over the performance measure, and therefore, must coordinate with the appropriate internal stakeholders. Transit agencies are cautioned against allowing silos that may limit the agencyâs ability to report on certain performance measures. â¢ Several transit agencies interviewed feel that their social and economic measures include items that are not within the agencyâs area of control. For example, one transit agency noted that they currently have a walkscore target for each station, but do not have the resources to meaningfully improve walkability. At least one transit agency indicated that they would continue to track progress toward achieving certain outcomes that they supported, but would not include a goal aligned with those performance measures because it was outside of their control.
15 â¢ Partnerships with outside organizations are key. Where local jurisdictions have prioritized certain programs, agencies may be more likely to make additional investments or realign their priorities to align with those jurisdictionsâ priorities. Partnering with outside organizations can also enable access to data that will inform the performance measures. â¢ Transit agencies eliminate social and economic performance measures for various reasons. Based on the transit interviews conducted, difficulty in obtaining reliable data is a key reason for excluding a measure. Other reasons include changes in reporting requirements, misalignment with other transit agency data tracking, lack of control over the outcome, stakeholder feedback, and evolving priorities. â¢ Safety is considered foundational to many transit agencies: if riders do not feel safe using transit, they will not use the service. All transit agencies are required to track minimum safety performance measures by the OHSA, and if they receive federal funding, by the FTA. However, the measures tracked by these transit agencies focus only on outcome indicators and often do not require a level of data granularity that would enable transit agencies to identify problems. Safety is a key focus for most transit agencies, but the performance measures used to track and improve safety may be limited. It should be noted that FTA recently published the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan Final Rule, which goes into effect in July 2019. This rule requires agencies receiving federal funding to develop Safety Management Systems (SMS) that include safety performance targets. â¢ Moving from measures to targets is a challenge, even for transit agencies with mature performance management systems. Several transit agencies interviewed feel that measurement is the first step, but setting operational performance targets represents an additional level of commitment. Some observations that came out of the interviews that may include replicable best practices are included below. â¢ Linking the performance management team with financial capacity may be an effective tool. One transit agency indicated that housing the performance measurement reporting team within the financial team ensured that a similar level of rigor was applied to performance measurement as financial analysis. â¢ Third-party data collection and/or validation can facilitate data availability and reliability. One transit agency indicated that they use third parties to conduct customer service surveys. This practice may ensure that data is reliable, and the customer may be more likely to provide honest answers. One transit agency used a third party to conduct surveys through a panel of key stakeholders; the results were weighted to ensure that responses were representative of the region. In addition, using a third party to audit the results helps with validating the information being reporting on, which provides the transit agency and its stakeholdersâ confidence in the numbers. â¢ Performance management is, in some cases, driven by capacity building. Transit agencies may not know how to get started with performance measurement systems without training. Frameworks such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 Environmental Management System Standard and GRI have helped some transit agencies start performance management programs.
16 â¢ Tailor communication on social and economic sustainability to your stakeholders. Transit agencies may find it useful to prepare separate reports that speak directly to their commitment to sustainability; they may also find it more appropriate to integrate sustainability performance measures into other reporting. Different stakeholders may be interested in different aspects of social and economic sustainability performance. Some stakeholders may be interested in tracking the transit agencyâs performance measures while others benefit from qualitative storytelling.