Road Network Operations
& Intelligent Transport Systems
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Improving Performance

Monitoring and evaluation are key elements for a learning organisation. An important part of the evaluation cycle is to feedback results from evaluation to inform ITS strategy, ITS operations and the requirement for monitoring. (See Performance Measures)


At a strategic level, the results of monitoring and evaluation can be used to:

  • justify national and local investment in ITS
  • demonstrate the financial, socio-economic and environmental benefits of ITS
  • demonstrate progress towards policy goals and inform future strategies
  • increase understanding of the impacts of ITS services – and their contribution to future strategies

Operations and Monitoring

Evaluation results are also used as feedback to improve operations and monitoring – for example to optimise performance of the ITS during day-to-day operations. The ITS will often need to be adjusted on the basis of evaluation results in the early stages of operation. These adjustments should increase acceptance of the ITS by travellers operators and other users. Even if evaluation results show the system to be working well, there may be scope to optimise it further. Any adjustments made in the early stages, after implementation, will need to be recorded carefully so that they can be taken into account in the evaluation. The full scale evaluation should be carried out after adjustments have been made and the system has ‘settled down’ – and its effects have stabilised.

Monitoring Automatic Vehicle Location of Buses in South Africa

In South Africa, monitoring of an automatic vehicle location ITS application for buses, identified issues of communication over the mobile network operator’s network – which reduced the performance of the automatic vehicle monitoring system. This was found to be a result of the mobile network operator changing the communications protocols without considering the needs of the public transport operator. An agreement has been reached between the two parties – whereby the mobile network operator:

  • informs the public transport operator in advance of such changes in future;
  • cooperates with testing to assess the effects of the planned changes on the performance of the vehicle monitoring system.

The monitoring also highlighted potential impacts on the service level agreement – affecting the suppliers of other components of the system – which had not been anticipated when the service was planned. Further information: See World Bank Case Study Johannesburg, South Africa

Meeting Requirements

Monitoring data can be used to assess the extent to which the ITS meets operational requirements, for example, by:

  • measuring performance and service delivery
  • defining payment milestones in contracts
  • meeting targets for future performance improvements

Performance measures can be used to define payments in contracts – to provide incentives for meeting performance targets and to provide the basis for penalty charges if targets are not met. Where payments for completed work depend on meeting performance targets, specialist advice on risk management and performance measurement is suggested.

Performance Measures and Payments in Dublin

In Dublin, the bus company has a Public Service Obligation Contract with the National Transport Authority. Performance measures are linked to payments. The automatic vehicle location and real time information for bus services provides data on performance which is used to resolve operational issues. For example, running times have been reported as a problem by drivers on some routes. The monitoring data can then be used to analyse whether there is real problem which occurs at specific times of day or days of the week, occasional or frequent – so adjustments can be made. Further information: See World Bank Case Study Dublin Ireland

Performance measures can be also used to look towards the future. They can, for instance, define targets for improved performance as part of a process of continuous improvement. More widely, they can be used to provide recommendations for future operations.

Funding programmes may have put in place established processes for monitoring and reporting performance to obtain approval for payment. For example the Asian Development Bank has ‘Guidelines for Preparing Performance Evaluation Reports for Public Sector Operations’.

Organisational capabilities

Monitoring and evaluation data can be used to assess operational effectiveness – identifying whether the ITS is readily incorporated into day-to-day operations and whether there are additional training needs in an organisation. This is one of the aspects addressed in a World Bank Case Study on monitoring and evaluating ITS for automatic bus location, bus scheduling and real time information.See World Bank Case Study Mysore, India

The US DOT’s ePrimer discusses organisational capabilities and refers to work by AASHTO in the US that provides guidance on how to evaluate capabilities and prepare an action plan. This includes capabilities for performance measurement.(See ePrimer Module 12)

Appraisal Prior to ITS Investment

Evaluation results also improve the quality of appraisals carried out before investment decisions are taken (See Project Appraisal) – by providing feedback on the performance of ITS options – such as, what did they achieve, what impacts did they have on user demand and the use of other modes. Useful tools are databases and websites which bring together evaluation results from a range of applications in different areas and contexts. This emphasises the value of reporting results and making them widely available.

Reference sources

World Bank Toolkit on Intelligent Transport Systems for Urban Transport - World Bank Case Studies

Asian Development Bank:  Guidelines for Preparing Performance Evaluation Reports for Public Sector Operations