Can Your Measures Answer the ‘So what’ Question?

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A key goal for transit companies is to integrate their services in different communities. It is important because integrated services allow people use different transportation modes within and across regions easily. Whether it is hopping on a bus after taking the subway or picking up a car from a car-share lot, people want little wait–time and hassle-free.

Transit companies often conduct service optimization reviews. The purpose is to examine how well they integrate their services. In their annual report, a performance measure used is % of the communities with a service optimization review completed.

So what if 90% of the communities under their jurisdiction have had their review completed.

The percentage doesn’t mean a whole lot other than indicating a review is done and possibly, deficiencies and opportunities for improvement are identified.

For people living in the community, they care about service improvement. That indicator doesn’t address improvement.

When you use a performance measure, consider the audience you are presenting the information to. If it doesn’t mean anything, don’t use it. For this indicator, the % of communities with that service optimization review completed, it is information more suitable for internal use to gauge for example, how many communities are still outstanding.

In choosing a performance measure, check that it can answer the ‘so what’ question. Otherwise, don’t bother using it.

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