Selecting indicators for strategic performance management

Greg Marsden, Charlotte Kelly, Carolyn Snell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


There is a growing emphasis on the use of indicators for performance measurement and management in the transport sector. In the United Kingdom all local authorities are now required to set out 5-year programs with commitments on progress over a range of mandatory and voluntary indicators linked to a series of key policy outcomes. Increasingly, the financial settlements that local authorities receive from the central government will be related to their performance against these targets. Different types of information are needed to fulfill different roles in the decision-making process. Research in the United Kingdom has indicated that there are too many indicators and yet too little clarity about what is being collected and reported on, at what level, and why. This paper reports on a study examining the use of indicators in 16 local and regional authorities in the United Kingdom. The results from a questionnaire and a series of follow-up interviews are combined with the findings of a desktop review of performance management in the public sector to propose a more logical and connected process for developing a suite of indicators that supports both strategy development and monitoring. The results suggest that the current indicator sets are not broad enough to ensure that the strategies proposed are consistent with sustainable transport goals. The lack of a comprehensive framework also increases the risk of negative impacts from monitoring programs, such as measure fixation and myopia. The more comprehensive approach proposed seeks to bring together the aspirations of strategy with the realities of measurement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManagement and Public Policy 2006
Place of PublicationWASHINGTON
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)0-309-09965-X
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Event85th Annual Meeting of the Transportation-Research-Board - Washington
Duration: 22 Jan 200626 Jan 2006


Conference85th Annual Meeting of the Transportation-Research-Board

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