National Academies Press: OpenBook

Social and Economic Sustainability Performance Measures for Public Transportation (2019)

Chapter: 5.0 Suggestions for Future Research

« Previous: 4.0 Operationalizing the Performance Measures
Page 53
Suggested Citation:"5.0 Suggestions for Future Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Social and Economic Sustainability Performance Measures for Public Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25461.
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Page 53
Page 54
Suggested Citation:"5.0 Suggestions for Future Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Social and Economic Sustainability Performance Measures for Public Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25461.
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Page 54

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44 5.0 SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH Over the course of this project, the research team identified several topics that are outside the scope of this TCRP project but should be considered in future research efforts. • Correlating service measures to social and economic outcomes: Transit agencies may be required to report certain measures to OSHA, NTD, and others. For some smaller agencies, use of service measures (which may indirectly assess social and economic outcomes) could be a useful approach to performance management with a relatively low cost of entry. This research might include a thorough accounting of current NTD measures and efforts to correlate the measures to social and economic outcomes. • Case studies on data partnerships and shared outcomes: Based on the research team’s interviews with transit agencies, developing partnerships with outside organizations appears to be a relatively uncommon practice in performance measurement. Several members of the panel expressed interest in identifying best practices with regard to data partnerships in the community and shared outcomes. More information in this area would address a concern shared by several transit agencies, which was that transit agencies felt that social and economic measures tended to include items that did not fall wholly within the agency’s area of control. The research team recommends additional research in this area also to reflect the shared nature of many social and economic outcomes in a jurisdiction and promote data-sharing across organizations. • Organizational characteristics of agencies implementing a successful performance management approach: Some of the transit agencies interviewed indicated that social and economic performance measurement was either driven by public demand or by the leadership of individuals within the transit agency. Additional research on enabling characteristics of agencies and organizations successfully implementing performance management may provide a useful guide to transit agencies at different levels of maturity with regard to performance-based planning and programming. • Transit’s contribution to economic development: The research team identified a strong need for additional research to better capture transit’s contribution to economic development. Parking costs, vehicle ownership costs, or agglomeration benefits are economic costs and benefits that have not been well-captured in current economic analysis. Expanding TCRP’s Economic Impact Case Study Tool for Transit (2012), could support a better understanding of these impacts. • Standardized survey tool for social and economic outcomes: Many of the highest- priority performance measures identified in this project could be assessed using an employee and passenger survey tool. These surveys are generally developed by individual agencies. A standardized survey tool would provide uniformity to transit agencies seeking to compare their progress on social and economic measures. A uniform survey tool would also reduce the barriers to entry for transit agencies that do not have the resources to develop their own survey. • Expanded guidebook to help transit agencies implement social and economic sustainability: The limited scope of this project did not allow for the development of a comprehensive guidebook on how transit agencies can implement social and economic

45 sustainability programs. An expanded guidebook could build off of the guidance provided in Section 4.0 to provide more detail and recommendations on how to overcome barriers. Transit agencies should continue to share examples of effective practices in advancing social and economic sustainability through organizations such as APTA and TCRP to facilitate continuous improvement within the industry.

Next: Appendix A. Literature Review Summary »
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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) has issued a pre-publication version of TCRP Research Report 205: Social and Economic Sustainability Performance Measures for Public Transportation, which explores a practical tool to help transit agencies of all sizes develop and use social and economic sustainability performance measures to plan, evaluate, and report on social and economic sustainability.

A sustainable transit agency provides environmental, social, and economic benefits to the communities it serves. Transit agency efforts to quantify these benefits have focused primarily on environmental sustainability. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has developed guidance for transit agencies on how to use performance measures to quantify transit’s impact on environmental sustainability. APTA has yet to develop similar guidance to measure social and economic sustainability, which is the focus of this research project.

TCRP Report 205 is intended to complement the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Recommended Practice for Social and Economic Sustainability for Transit Agencies (2018). APTA’s Recommended Practice provides a framework for approaching economic and social sustainability, along with an overview of recommended practices; however, the document does not include performance measures, which are a key component to reporting progress and gauging success.

The report is presented with a companion Excel workbook that can be used by transit agencies to develop their own initial list of performance measures. The workbook includes 606 social and economic sustainability performance measures, as well as 93 transit service performance measures.

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