Procuring, Managing, and Evaluating the Performance of Contracted TMC Services
Over time, beyond the initial role of controlling traffic signals, TMCs have taken on a significant role in the goal of managing traffic and mitigating congestion. Some of the typical tasks that a TMC might perform today include:
implementing responses to incidents,
providing motorist assistance,
performing equipment maintenance,
establishing and maintaining communication systems,
disseminating information to the public and other outlets, such as media,
reporting system status information, and
taking part in the planning and response situations for special events, such as inclement weather or large-scale sporting events or concerts.
Regardless of whether these operations are performed in-house or outsourced, the use of a performance measurement process can track progress over time, evaluate if goals are being met, meet customer expectations, set accountability criteria, and identify areas for improvement.
Benefits of Performance Measurement
The use of a performance measurement process can offer a number of significant benefits to TMCs. In particular, many TMC functions are highly visible to the ultimate customer, the traveling public. While a particular motorist might notice pavement conditions, a reduction in a bridge weight limit or some other roadway condition, items such as congestion, increased travel times, incidents, blocked routes, and more, are attention grabbing and something that public has shown they care about. Performance measurement can be used to support both the traveling public and the TMC management. While the traveling public would want to see information on travel time changes, TMC management would typically want to also see the costs associated with the program and the efficiency of how it is being run. In general, the traveling public will care the most about measures that affect their travel, while TMC management will care the most about the measures that detail their ability to provide effective programs.
The real benefit to using performance measurement for the evaluation of contracted TMC services is to ensure that the public’s investment is managed appropriately – i.e. the public is getting its money worth. While an effective performance measurement system will help a TMC meet public needs and expectations, mitigate congestion, reduce travel time delay, and clear incidents more quickly, these are secondary benefits to the program. The primary benefit
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