The dimensionality of performance frameworks and performance measurement for bus rapid transit systems

Fundamental to all good business practices in the delivery of public transport is knowledge of how well the enterprise is performing, especially relative to other enterprises undertaking similar activities, as well as self performance over time. A commitment to performance management and benchmarking should transcend all institutional settings, be they subject to competitive tendering or negotiated contracting, and in the presence or absence of specific incentives and sanctions. This paper focuses on the development of a framework within which performance metrics can be defined and introduced in the context of meeting strategic, tactical and operational objectives in the public transport sector. We discuss the important matters of definition of performance, data requirements, standards, the hierarchy of integrated partial and global measures of performance and frameworks to compare enterprises, and to explain why there are differences, and what actions might contribute to closing the gap between relatively poor and better overall performance. The relationship between inputs, outputs and outcomes is central to the performance rubric, as well as an understanding of the processes that underlie the mappings between these three dimensions. An important aim of the paper is to ensure that the data collection activity planned for a global study of the performance of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems is guided by an integrated and comprehensive framework for performance management, measurement, feedback, and improvement.