Making Targets Matter: Effective Practices by Transportation Agencies to Establish, Monitor and Adjust Performance Targets

The AASHTO Committee on Performance-Based Management is seeking to support the implementation of a strategic approach that uses system information to make investment and policy decisions to achieve performance goals. An increasing number of transportation agencies are adopting Transportation Performance Management (TPM) principles to ensure the right investment decisions surrounding transportation projects are made and delivered to produce the performance outcomes desired by the agency, external partners, elected officials, and the public. TPM helps determine what results are to be pursued, using information from past performance levels and forecast conditions to guide investments, measuring progress toward strategic goals, and making adjustments to improve performance. TPM is grounded in sound data management, usability, and analysis as well as in effective communication and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders. The key to successful implementation of TPM practices lies in the organizational support and agency embrace of data-driven decision making; connecting employee actions to results; motivating and focusing staff; increasing accountability; guiding the allocation of resources; and tracking the efficacy of adopted strategies. TPM uses performance information to create links among an agency’s strategic direction, resource allocation decisions, individual employee activities, and external stakeholders’ priorities. A core element of TPM is defined performance targets that connect investment decisions to system results in a transparent manner for all stakeholders. Targets are used to assess progress toward achieving strategic goals, guide planning efforts, inform programmatic decisions and adjustments, and communicate with stakeholders. Setting targets has become more common with the requirements outlined in MAP-21 and the FAST Act, but what remains missing is the establishment of a feedback loop to adjust planning, programming, and future target setting decisions. This research will address this challenging yet critical piece of TPM: the relationship between actions taken and performance results and an assessment if targets are practical and reasonable. This research will go beyond how agencies are setting targets by examining closely how agencies are establishing, monitoring, communicating, and adjusting performance targets in both the short and long term. The objectives of this research are to (1) document successful practices of transportation agencies establishing and communicating performance targets related to both the national regulations and individual state-based goals and objectives, (2) identify and fill gaps between the needs of transportation professionals and current resources related to target setting, and (3) develop a collection of resources agency professionals can use to track progress and adjust actions taken to achieve performance targets and adjust those targets as appropriate to achieve agency goals and objectives.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $650000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 02-27

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Lemer, Andrew

  • Start Date: 20180619
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01669533
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 02-27
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: May 21 2018 3:07PM