Approaches to Presenting External Factors with Operations Performance Measures

External factors (e.g., fuel prices, economic conditions, employment levels) are those influences that affect transportation system performance but are typically outside the control of transportation agencies. Transportation agencies that wish to effectively manage system performance should understand the nature and extent of this influence of external factors on system performance. Understanding the nature and extent of external factors helps in several elements of performance management, particularly in communication and target setting. This project identified key external factors that can impact performance, and developed recommendations for including external factors in performance reporting. Based on a statistical analysis of available data, the following external factors were identified as being highly correlated with system performance: 1) traffic volume levels; 2) number of employed persons; 3) number of building permits; 4) rental vacancy rate; 5) fuel price index; and 6) economic conditions index. The report also includes recommendations for including external factors in performance reporting. The recommendations include communication and chart design techniques that highlight and reinforce the connection between system performance and external factors. For example, one should illustrate the system performance and external factors on the same time scale on a single chart, preferably with seasonal adjustments applied to better visualize overall trends. The intended message from the chart should be clearly spelled so that readers are not forced to interpret complex graphics. Colors should be chosen that are complementary and easily viewable, even by those with visual impairments.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 54p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01666640
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-HOP-18-002
  • Contract Numbers: DTFH61-12-D-00046
  • Created Date: Apr 23 2018 4:44PM