You Get What You Measure

The indefatigable Todd Litman has a guest piece on Planetizen reviewing the many ways we can measure the performance of our transportation systems.

This discussion is an excellent prelude for developing performance measures for Portland’s update to our Comprehensive Plan, in which I hope we will find a much better measure than “LOS” (Level of Service), which measures vehicles, not people or economic value.

What measures would you suggest we employ in the next Comp Plan? Perhaps our New Year’s resolution should be to find better metrics?

5 Comments

5 Responses to You Get What You Measure

  1. Nathanael
    January 1, 2013 at 10:06 pm Link

    Customer satisfaction?

    Users per dollar of annualized maintenance & replacement cost (measured to reflect future rises in the oil price)?

  2. dwainedibbly
    January 2, 2013 at 12:38 am Link

    Crashes, injuries, and deaths per vehicle-mile, with “vehicle” defined as any motor vehicle, human-powered conveyance, perambulator, or pedestrian. Include companion animals (but not stray, feral, or wild animals).

    (Once I wrote “conveyance”, “perambulator” followed naturally.)

  3. EngineerScotty
    January 2, 2013 at 12:53 am Link

    Dwaine,

    If an old lady slips and falls on the sidewalk, does that count as a “vehicle” accident?

    What if she does the same in her kitchen?

  4. charlie
    January 2, 2013 at 8:24 am Link

    What I would like to measure is a yes no question- is the transit in a particular area “good enough” that I can live there comfortably without a car? That is, assuming that I only travel within that area, and that I’m not lance armstrong, I should be able to get around at speeds comparable to a car. Then we could focus on expanding the “good enough” until they cover the whole city.

    Good enough is somewhat subjective, of course, but I think it could be done. Right now in portland, I would say that only the areas around downtown and immediately next to max stops would qualify for what I mean.

  5. charlie
    January 2, 2013 at 8:27 am Link

    What I would like to measure is a yes no question- is the transit in a particular area “good enough” that I can live there comfortably without a car? That is, assuming that I only travel within that area, and that I’m not lance armstrong, I should be able to get around at speeds comparable to a car. Then we could focus on expanding the “good enough” until they cover the whole city.

    Good enough is somewhat subjective, of course, but I think it could be done. Right now in portland, I would say that only the areas around downtown and immediately next to max stops would qualify for what I mean.

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