Monitoring and Evaluation
The importance of monitoring and evaluation is increasingly recognised as a key part of public sector management – providing a strong basis for planning and for measuring the effectiveness of policies, institutions and spending. Policy and operational decisions should be based on data collected and interpreted by experts. What to measure, how it is measured, and how the collected data is analysed and interpreted are challenges that face all transport ministries and management organisations.
Within the transport sector there are several key ongoing debates about the following issues:
- What are the appropriate headline transport indicators to use to get a ‘snapshot’ of overall performance and mobility? Can these be made consistent globally, and therefore comparable?
- How can mobility be measured? How important is the inclusion of mobility questions in national household surveys or censuses?
- What detailed indicators need to be in place to capture key statistics and to measure transport sectoral performance? What should be measured – inputs, outputs or outcomes? What are the best practice measures for key issues of concern (e.g. the road safety, the environment)?
- What are the right measures to use for evaluating policy options?
- How can the efficiency and effectiveness of institutions be measured?
The World Bank has done considerable work developing a consistent set of headline transport indicators and has published a user's guide for practitioners on its Transport Measurement microsite with links to more detailed guidance and relevant country data. IFRTD has also been working with the World Bank on the development of transport indicators and have held a number of workshops to discuss the issues further. The International Road Federation has published World Road Statistics annually for over 50 years (this is a priced publication) and its European Road Federation publishes the European Road Statistics.
A number of countries have now developed mobility questions as part of their national household surveys. A good example is South Africa – which undertook its first household travel survey in 2003. Mobility measurement is also a key component of the Integrated Rural Accessibility Planning process.
Accurate evaluation of the evidence collected from measurement is an increasingly specialised area. Within transport, interpretation of trends (particularly forecasting demand) is key to successful planning, but often the forecasts or predictive models interpret the data from surveys incorrectly. This can mean that the anticipated benefits, for example of a new road, are incorrectly estimated. Modelling the costs and anticipated impacts of different policy options should provide the basis for choices to be made. Economic evaluation and other appraisal methodologies including environmental appraisal and social impact appraisal help practitioners to make those choices.