The maxim of ‘what gets measured gets done’ is very true.
A carefully selected performance measure and target that is regularly reported provides a very real incentive and results focus.
The success of any transport program can be measured a number of ways, reflecting the diverse perspectives of the different stakeholders.
The primary categories of transport system performance are safety, access, mobility and environment.
These contribute to community outcomes such as health and safety; liveability and a strong economy.
Safety can be measured in terms of public health, to allow comparisons across other health measures. Measures used include serious injuries or fatalities per capita – with agreed definitions of what constitutes a serious injury or a fatality, with targets benchmarked against international best practice. There is an international road safety movement towards a vision of zero deaths.
Access means being able to travel to a desired destination. Access is difficult to measure in a simple way but can be measured by the number of people within say 400 or 800 metres of a regular public transport service for example. Measures can also consider access to employment or services
Mobility is the ability to reach a destination in a time and at a cost that is considered reasonable or acceptable. Mobility can be measured in terms of time or cost to travel, travel time reliability and combined into an index or a level of service.
The Environment from a transport perspective is about minimising impact on the environment, natural and built environment, and can also extend to liveability, resilience and sustainability. Environmental impact can be measured by changes in mode share to low carbon modes, vehicle emissions, energy use, vehicle travel activity per capita and impacts on flora and fauna. Infrastructure sustainability rating (isca.org.au) is one way of evaluating sustainability across infrastructure programs and projects.
Be careful what you select to measure.