Information on the Missions, Goals, and Measures Developed by FHWA, FTA, and NHTSA
RCED-98-34R: Published: Nov 14, 1997. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 1997.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the missions, goals, and performance measures being developed under the Government Performance and Results Act by the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), focusing on: (1) the relationships of the three agencies' missions and strategic goals to DOT's mission and goals; (2) the agencies' strategic goals and outcomes to program-level goals and measures; and (3) GAO's views on the goals and measures.
GAO noted that: (1) the mission statements for FHWA, FTA, and NHTSA reflect the agencies' focus on highways, public transportation, and highway safety, respectively, while DOT's mission statement reflects its broad authority over the nation's transportation systems; (2) each of FHWA's three major programs has program goals and measures to support various strategic goals, outcomes, and measures; (3) FTA has agency-level goals, outcomes, and measures that its four major programs are expected to support; (4) information on the relationship of NHTSA's individual programs to its strategic goals will not be available until the Office of Management and Budget completes its review and the fiscal year 1999 budget is completed early in 1998; (5) FTA's goals and measures are at a high level of aggregation and reflect broad outcomes; (6) FTA's outcomes and measures provide little information on how the specific programs support the goals; (7) it is difficult to determine whether FTA will have the information needed to determine whether outcomes have been achieved; (8) FTA is developing additional measures for quality of service, such as amount of transit service provided at high frequencies, the speed of transit service, and a measure of service reliability; (9) FHWA's strategic goals and measures are at a similarly high level of aggregation, but the agency has a second level of more specific program goals and measures; (10) each strategic goal has one or two broad outcome goals and measures associated with it; (11) it will be difficult to determine if some program goals have been met because they are not directly measured; (12) among the three agencies, NHTSA has developed the most program-specific goals and measures; (13) NHTSA's goals, outcomes, and measures reflect a combination of results orientation and process orientation; and (14) although many of its program measures focus on program activities, NHTSA's draft budget documents clearly explain the relationships among program measures and the agency's outcomes.