After being aggravated over various aspects of Microsoft Windows and Office for years, I have finally found a point of total agreement with Bill Gates, and it is even applicable to parking and transportation!

In the 2013 annual letter from his foundation, he writes:

”I have been struck again and again by how important measurement is to improving the human condition. You can achieve amazing progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal…”

How does that apply to parking and transportation?

We have often written and worked with our clients to develop key performance indicators that will help them measure and improve performance.  From IPI’s Parking 101 to a recent Consultants Corner article in The Parking Professional, the recommendation has been to define key indicators and develop a program to collect and analyze them regularly.

Gates goes on to say, “It is amazing to me how often it is not done and how hard it is to get right…”

That is also true in parking and transportation.  Many programs do not regularly measure performance by gathering the correct data and producing useful information, so staff members may not fully understand the past and present performance of their programs.  Then, when a change is made in a program, management and staff are unable to determine how the results really differ from before.  This is more common than you might imagine.

Whether the issue is on-street turnover, response to changes in pricing, customer service complaints, lost tickets, on-time transit performance, or parking occupancy, measuring key performance indicators can help you understand what is happening now, and what you really need to change to improve performance.

Measurement is key to improvement.