Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Operation Performance Management Primer: From Performance Measures to Performance Management

Chapter 1. Introduction

Purpose of this Primer

The purpose of this Primer is to orient transportation practitioners in State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and other transportation agencies to the principles and practices of Operations Performance Measures and Management (OPMM). OPMM aims to support continuous improvement in the practice of Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO), a set of strategies that focus on operational strategies that improve the transportation system. OPMM includes traditional operations performance measurement practices while incorporating the Transportation Performance Management (TPM) principles for TSMO programs. OPMM is a strategic and data-driven approach to making investment and policy decisions to achieve operations goals. OPMM provides a basis for making sound TSMO investment decisions by state DOTs and MPOs.

What Is Operation Performance Measures And Management?

OPMM is the basis for making continuous improvements in TSMO practice. At its most basic form, OPMM addresses four fundamental questions:

  1. What are congestion and related conditions like on the system (base-level performance)?
  2. How does a region’s or a State’s congestion, reliability and related performance levels compare to those of our peers?
  3. Are things better or worse (trends)?
  4. Did my program have anything to do with trends we are seeing (investment analysis)?

Developing, reporting, and making investment decisions based on OPMM activities have many advantages for TSMO personnel. Specifically, OPMM:

  • Provides transparency to the public and accountability to public officials.
  • Documents where the problems are.
  • Allows tailoring of solutions to specific problems.
  • Evaluates how well past investments worked.
  • Provides consistency with other agency TPM activities.
  • Puts TSMO on equal footing with other program areas with a longer history of TPM and asset management.

This primer will define OPMM by first showing its context in the overall transportation investment decisionmaking process in chapter 2.