Evaluation of Programs in the Department of Transportation--An Assessment

PAD-79-13: Published: Apr 3, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 1979.

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Each of the several operating administrations within the Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for establishing its own evaluation system. Since there are no Department-wide guidelines or standards to follow in evaluating agency programs, the administrations vary in their emphasis on and treatment of evaluation.

In most cases the system is decentralized and evaluative activities, with the exception of a few legislatively mandated studies, are aimed primarily at providing program managers with information on operational and technical deficiencies. Relatively few DOT evaluations have assessed the impact of programs on legislative expectations. Most DOT programs have been established by law to provide a service to the public. With the exception of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, none of the operating administrations have a formal evaluation planning process which identifies major areas of concern and allocates resources to these areas for evaluation purposes. However, DOT is in the process of developing a Departmental Program Monitoring and Evaluation System.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should: (1) continue DOT initiatives to develop a Departmental Program Monitoring and Evaluation System, including the formulation of DOT-wide guidelines for evaluation; (2) review the manner in which DOT program objectives are specified and measured for evaluation purposes, given the apparent inconsistencies between many program objectives and the measures used to assess performance; (3) develop a means for clarifying objectives and measures with the appropriate congressional committees; and (4) establish an evaluation planning process in which adequate consideration is given to priority transportation objectives identified by DOT, the Congress, and others.

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