The term evaluation is very broad and has different implications for different people: An evaluation can be designed only after it is specified who is evaluating for what purpose against what criteria. The different perspectives of some of the more important actors are discussed here. There is a difference between comprehensive evaluation and functional evaluation. Comprehensive evaluation is concerned with external effects, e.g., pollution, energy consumption, evolution of land-use patterns, and other contributions to the quality of life. Functional evaluation is concerned with system performance parameters, e.g., wait times, coverage, productivity, ridership, and the other variables that characterize the supply characteristics and their appropriateness to the markets served. Two primary conclusions are developed. The first is that intelligent interpretation of an observed set of system descriptors requires a knowledge of the ridership pattern being served. Both potential productivity and service level are sensitive to ridership pattern, and without a knowledge of its nature, other comparisons are uncertain. The second is that the equilibrium between supply and demand is unstable. This implies that an observed trend in ridership will, in the absence of external change, probably continue. Thus the rate and direction of change in ridership is the single most important evaluative measure, because it portends the future of the system and can be an early warning signal of a need for change. /Author/

  • Record URL:
  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. This paper appeared in TRB Special Report 184, Urban Transport Service Innovations.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Ward, Jerry D
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 1979

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: pp 118-124
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00193710
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309028175
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: May 26 1981 12:00AM