Federal Travel Reform:
Plans to Obtain Data to Assess Cost Savings
AIMD-98-87R: Published: Mar 20, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 1998.
- Full Report:
Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided an assessment of the costs that have been saved as a result of the Federal Employee Travel Reform Act of 1996.
GAO noted that: (1) since the act became effective in March 1997, a number of actions have been taken to implement the requirements of the act; (2) it is still premature, however, to assess the savings that have been achieved because complete cost information is not yet available; (3) specifically, administrative cost data elements regarding agencies' costs for arranging, processing, auditing, and reimbursing travel have not been developed to allow a complete cost assessment to be made; (4) GSA agreed with GAO recommendations that establishing travel data standards is important and said that it planned to include travel cost data elements in its biannual travel cost questionnaire that it prepares and sends to the agencies; (5) GSA noted that including this information in the survey should provide the cost data necessary to benchmark and evaluate travel and relocation systems; (6) in January 1998, GAO met with officials from GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy to discuss, among other things, their efforts to collect travel cost information; (7) the GSA officials stated that information obtained from the fiscal year 1996 travel cost data questionnaire has allowed them to begin to identify fairly well the direct costs of travel; (8) the officials also said that identifying the administrative costs of travel is proving to be a much more difficult task; (9) to this end, GSA has drafted a statement of work to hire a contractor to identify cost data elements to help develop a baseline of administrative costs; (10) GSA hopes to have these cost elements identified in time that they can be built into the fiscal year 1998 travel cost questionnaire; (11) GAO believes that the information that can be expected from GSA's survey, once the administrative cost data elements are developed, will go a long way in helping to identify and assess cost savings, both administrative and direct, that have been achieved by provisions of the act; and (12) such data will facilitate the establishment of a complete travel cost baseline and will also allow a more accurate measure of savings that have been achieved.