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Section 6: Evaluation Overview

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Background

Traffic safety efforts involve four basic steps:

  1. problem identification
  2. countermeasure development
  3. countermeasure implementation
  4. evaluation.

Project evaluation brings the traffic safety process full circle, as the results help managers determine whether or not any of the preceding steps need adjustments. For this reason, evaluation is an ongoing process in the management of the Texas Traffic Safety Program.

NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all references to “grants” include both traffic safety grants and Interagency Cooperation Contracts (IACs). Likewise, all references to “subgrantees” include recipients of both traffic safety grants and IACs.

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Purpose of Evaluation

Evaluation allows all involved to:

  • assess project or program effectiveness
  • improve countermeasures
  • allocate scarce resources more efficiently.

Without evaluations, subgrantees, project directors, and program directors and managers could not know:

  • when to make adjustments to countermeasures development or implementation
  • if programs and individual projects are accomplishing their intended results
  • if one program is more or less effective than another.
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Why Evaluation is Sometimes Neglected

Evaluations are often neglected because they:

  • may be time consuming
  • do not by themselves enhance program or project effectiveness
  • sometimes yield unwelcome or discouraging results.
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Decision Outcomes

Using evaluation results, project and program managers arrive at one of three possible “decision outcomes”:

  • to continue with the activity as it is
  • to modify the activity to improve performance
  • to place the subgrantee on “High Risk” status or cancel the activity for lack of progress or poor performance.
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