Title

WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES: PERFORMANCE MEASURES AND INFORMATION SUPPORT

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2000

Subject Area

operations - performance, planning - signage/information, land use - planning, organisation - performance

Keywords

Washington State Ferries, Washington (State), Strategies, Strategic planning, State of Washington, Priorities, Performance, Objectives, Measuring, Measurement, Information systems, Goals, Ferries, Decision support systems

Abstract

Washington State Ferries' (WSF's) newest performance measures emanate from broader issues in transportation planning and a public mood toward less government. A multimodal transportation perspective and program accountability are now key concepts in management within Washington State government. The development of performance measures is guided by WSF's strategic plan, which sets out the mission, goals, and strategic initiatives of the organization. The process uses three techniques to maximize success--alignment (of goals, measures, and actions), feedback, and oversight. Although the final set of performance measures leaves room for improvement, particularly with regard to output versus outcome, these measures represent significant change for WSF. Performance measurement makes WSF accountable to the ferry rider and the taxpayer. Implementation of performance measures soon leads to the issue of data support and information systems. The goal of measurement is decision support. Without good data or a good information system that manages the data, the decision support function is nullified. The ferry system has had variable experience in information technology projects. Taking advantage of lessons learned and using a comprehensive, deliberate approach, WSF is proposing an information model that uses industry best practices and a user-driven system.