Perspectives of the Operational Performance of Public Transportation Agencies with Data Envelopment Analysis Technique

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - operating costs, operations - performance, organisation - performance, place - north america


operational productivity, efficiency, public transit, operating expenses, fuel consumption, performance


This paper presents a framework for comparative assessment of the operational productivity and efficiency of transit agencies. Inputs from selected public transit agencies in Indiana, including annual operating expenses, number of employees, and total fuel consumption, and outputs, including the total ridership and total vehicle miles traveled during an 8-year period (2002-2009), were used to construct relative efficiency scores through data envelopment analysis. In addition, the changes in productivity during the analysis period were quantified by using the Malmquist productivity index. The Malmquist indexes were decomposed into two components, namely, the frontier shift effect and the catch-up effect, to account for industrywide productivity changes and individual agency-level changes, respectively. The methodology is expected to help transit managers not only to assess the performance of their transit systems compared with peer systems but also to identify potential areas for improvement. The approach can also be useful to state transportation agencies in their transit subsidy allocations.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.