6. Review against transport system objectives

A further important review step is to assess system performance against each system objective (e.g. efficiency, safety, security, environment, equity) and its performance targets. This requires the measurement of actual outcomes and comparing them with the stated, desired outcomes. For example, consider the reduction of fatalities as an objective. Any reduction in fatalities is clearly desirable. However, if a safety performance target of a 20 per cent reduction in the number of recorded fatalities over a ten-year period has been set, it is necessary to determine whether or not the initiative delivered against this target.

Once performance against each objective has been assessed, the review should assess the causes of any under- or over-performance.

The set of integrated objectives shown in Figure 3 in F1 provides an effective mechanism for reviewing the success of programs and their components. A review should progress through these objectives in reverse order from bottom to top - that is, from initiatives to the network (see Figure 2).

A final step in the review process may be to assess whether individual transport system objectives were conflicting and, if so, how that affected actual outcomes. Transport system objectives are often interrelated: achieving one objective may influence the degree to which another objective can be achieved.

Over time, as governments change or the emphasis of government objectives and priorities varies, there will need to be a review of transport system objectives, policy directions and strategies. This will be particularly important if there are gaps emerging in long-term strategic policy.

Review of the overall performance of the transport system aims to assess whether ‘we are doing things right’ (a technical or process efficiency question) and whether ‘we are doing the right things’ (an effectiveness question) to achieve the agreed, desired objectives and outcomes.

Together with ongoing stakeholder engagement and the evaluation of changing funding scenarios, the review process should guide the refinement of all steps of transport system development — from objective setting through to program delivery. The entire process relies on the presence of strong feedback loops between the Framework steps as well as two-way dialogue between agencies and their governments, communities and stakeholders.

Key questions would include:

  • What were the actual transport system outcomes that eventuated?
  • How do they compare with the desired transport system performance targets stated at the start of the process?