The Need for Developing Transit Performance Evaluations of Efficiency and Effectiveness

CED-78-100: Published: Apr 25, 1978. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 1978.

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The Urban Mass Transportation Administration's (UMTA) program of formula assistance grants to states and local public agencies was surveyed to determine what effect the grants have had on mass transportation services and what has been done to improve efficiency and effectiveness in mass transit performance. Under section 5 of the Urban Mass Transportation Act, assistance has been provided for both operating and capital expenses. Generally, transit systems in urban areas with over 200,000 populations used section 5 funds exclusively to offset operating deficits, while some transit systems in urban areas with under 200,000 populations have used section 5 funds to purchase capital items. There were no specific improvements in service, ridership, or fare structures directly attributable to section 5 assistance. Considering the increasing amount of federal funds being devoted to transit improvements, UMTA should take the lead in accurately measuring whether transit systems receiving such funds are efficiently and effectively operating their systems. UMTA should: (1) work with the transit industry, state and local governments, and other interested parties to arrive at the most appropriate performance indicators for use by transit operators; (2) ensure that the operators use these indicators to fully implement performance evaluations; and (3) evaluate the effectiveness of performance evaluations in identifying weaknesses in transit performance.

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