Transportation in the New Millennium
As some stakeholders have commented, there might be too many outcomes and some might overlap. However, the outcomes represent different regional and interregional priorities for decision makers. Some regions might focus on only a subset of the outcomes.
California recognizes that some of these outcomes cannot be used consistently for both system performance monitoring and forecasting. This becomes evident when specific measures and indicators are reviewed and evaluated. A list of the system performance outcomes under evaluation follows; though interrelated, the outcomes are not prioritized.
Effectiveness & Efficiency
Mobility and accessibility—Reaching desired destinations with relative ease,
within a reasonable time, at a reasonable cost, and with reasonable choices.
Reliability—Providing reasonable and dependable levels of service by mode.
Cost-effectiveness—Maximizing the current and future benefits from public and
private transportation investments.
Customer satisfaction—Providing transportation choices that are safe, convenient,
affordable, comfortable, and meet customers’ needs.
Economic well-being—Contributing to California’s economic growth.
Sustainability—Preserving the transportation system while meeting the needs of
the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Environmental quality—Helping to maintain and enhance the quality of the natural
and human environment.
Safety and security—Minimizing the risk of death, injury, or property loss.
Equity—Fair distribution of benefits and burdens.
A continually evolving “state of the system” report is critical to the success of the California initiative. Once again, data is key. System data on all modes, regions, markets, and other aspects of state transportation will be critical.
TRB’s Role in Data Collection As states from Kentucky to California prepare for transportation in the new millennium, it is important that TRB remains in the forefront. The findings of TRB’s 1997 Spring conference—Information Needs To Support State and Local Transportation Decision Making into the 21st Century—were landmarks in the effort to address transportation data needs (3). Those findings must guide future efforts. The content and the methodological and institutional improvements listed in the conference findings will provide state transportation officials with the data and technology for remaining effective at their jobs.
CONCLUSION The future of data in transportation decision making lies along one of two divergent paths. One perpetuates a greater reliance on good, high quality, statistically relevant, timely, and useful data for decision making. This comes at a high cost that often outweighs the near- term benefits. The other path, and the one often followed for budget reasons, leads to a “data-free analysis zone” in which decisions are made without the benefit of sound data.