Performance Evaluation

Performance Evaluation refers to a monitoring and analysis process to determine how well policies, programs and projects perform with regard to their intended goals and objectives. Performance indicators (also called measures of effectiveness) are specific measurable outcomes used to evaluate progress toward established goals and objectives. A performance index is a set of performance indicators in a framework designed to facilitate analysis. Commonly used performance indices include school grades, sports ratings, economic productivity indicators, and investment rating systems.

An organization’s performance can be evaluated at various levels:

  • Process – the types of policies and planning activities, such as whether the organization has a process for collecting and publishing performance data, and public involvement.
  • Inputs – the resources that are invested in particular activities, such as the level of funding spent on various activities or modes.
  • Outputs – direct results, such as the miles of sidewalks, paths and roads, and the amount of public transit service provided.
  • Outcomes – ultimate results, such as the number of miles traveled and mode split, average travel speeds, congestion and crowding, number of accidents and casualties, energy consumption, pollution emissions, and user satisfaction.


It is often best to use some of each type of performance indicators. For example, when evaluating the performance of a government agency or jurisdiction it may be appropriate to develop a performance index that include indicators of process, inputs, outputs and outcomes.


Steve Abley, Paul Durdin and Malcolm Douglass (2010), Integrated Transport Assessment Guidelines, Report 422, Land Transport New Zealand (;

CalTrans (2008), Transportation System Performance Measures (TSPM), California Department of Transportation (

Cambridge Systematics (2009), Performance Measurement Framework for Highway Capacity Decision Making, Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) Report S2-C02-RR, TRB (; at 

Cambridge Systematics (2010), Measuring Transportation Network Performance, NCHRP 664, TRB (; at

CTE (2008), Improved Methods For Assessing Social, Cultural, And Economic Effects Of Transportation Projects, NCHRP Project 08-36, TRB ( and AASHTO; at

CTS (2010), Measuring What Matters: Access to Destinations, the second research summary from the Access to Destinations Study, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota (; at

DfT (2006), Transport Analysis Guidance, Integrated Transport Economics and Appraisal, Department for Transport ( This website provides comprehensive guidance on how to identify problems, establish objectives, develop potential solutions, create a transport model for the appraisal of the alternative solutions, how to model highway and public transport, and how to conduct economic appraisal studies that meet DoT requirements.

Dowling (2010), CompleteStreetsLOS: Multi-Modal Level-of-Service Toolkit, Dowling Associates ( This software program automates the procedures described in NCHRP Report 616, Multimodal Level of Service for Urban Streets, for evaluating complete streets, context-sensitive design alternatives, and smart growth from the perspective of all users of the street.

EDRG (2010), Interactions Between Transportation Capacity, Economic Systems, and Land Use Merged with Integrating Economic Considerations in Project Development, Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Report S2-C03, Transportation Research Board (; at

David J. Forkenbrock and Glen E. Weisbrod (2001), Guidebook for Assessing the Social and Economic Effects of Transportation Projects, NCHRP Report 456, Transportation Research Board, National Academy Press (

Albert Gan, Feng Gui and Li Tang (2011), “System for Transit Performance Analysis Using the National Transit Database,” Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 87-108; at

Theunis F. P. Henning, Sugandree Muruvan, Wanhua A. Feng and Roger C.Dunn (2011), “The Development Of A Benchmarking Tool For Monitoring Progress Towards Sustainable Transportation In New Zealand,” Transport Policy, Vol. 18, pp. 480–488 (

Robert A. Johnston (2008), “Indicators for Sustainable Transportation Planning,” Transportation Research Record 2067, Transportation Research Board (, pp. 146 – 154; at

Robert Joumard and Henrik Gudmundsson (2010), Indicators Of Environmental Sustainability In Transport: An Interdisciplinary Approach To Methods, INRETS (; at

Todd Litman (2003), “Measuring Transportation: Traffic, Mobility and Accessibility,” ITE Journal (, Vol. 73, No. 10, October, pp. 28-32; at

Todd Litman (2005), Well Measured: Developing Indicators for Comprehensive and Sustainable Transport Planning, VTPI (; at; summarized in “Developing Indicators For Comprehensive And Sustainable Transport Planning,” Transportation Research Record 2017, TRB (, 2007, pp. 10-15.

Todd Litman (2007), “Developing Indicators For Comprehensive And Sustainable Transport Planning,” Transportation Research Record 2017, Transportation Research Board (, pp. 10-15; at 

OTM (2008), Transportation Performance Measures, Office of Transportation Management, Federal Highway Administration ( 

PCT (2011), Measuring Transportation Investments: The Road To Results, Pew Charitable Trusts and The Rockefeller Foundation (; at

Performance Measurement Exchange (, is a website supported by FHWA and TRB to promote better transportation decision-making.

STI (2008), Sustainable Transportation Indicators: A Recommended Program To Define A Standard Set of Indicators For Sustainable Transportation Planning, Sustainable Transportation Indicators Subcommittee (ADD40 [1]), TRB (; at

TRB (2008), Performance Measurement Practice (, Performance Measurement Committee (ABC30), Transportation Research Board.

TRB (2010), Highway Capacity Manual, Transportation Research Board (; at

USEPA (2011), Guide To Sustainable Transportation Performance Measures, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (; at

WSDOT (2008), Performance Measurement Library, Washington State Department of Transportation (; at

WSDOT (2011), Ten Years of Transparency: The Role of Performance Reporting at WSDOT, Washington State Department of Transportation (; at