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Section 5: Project Performance Measures and Standards

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Overview

Potential subgrantees are required to include project performance measures and targets in all proposals which will be included in the grant agreement to provide guidance to determine efficiency and effectiveness of the project. Each performance measure should be designed as an evaluative mechanism for measuring the project’s level of success. Performance targets determine the degree of progress toward achievement of established performance measures and the effect on identified problems.

See “ General Traffic Safety Proposals”, Chapter 3, Section 2 for examples of completed proposal performance measures and targets.

See “ STEP Yearlong Proposals”, Chapter 3, Section 3 for assistance on Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) performance measures and targets.

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Performance Measures - Definition

Definition. A performance measure is a quantitative or qualitative indicator expressed in terms of a planned level of activity and directly aligned to objectives and goals of a project.

Performance measures provide the basis for determining the degree of achievement of established objectives. Acceptable activity levels or outputs must be established as part of the grant agreement.

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Types of Performance Measures

Direct measures are preferred. Examples of direct measures include: number of crashes, citations, people trained, units purchased, etc.

Sometimes it is impossible to get direct measures. If such is the case, a proxy measure might be used.

Proxy measures are indicators that provide an indirect assessment of desired activity. An example would be a self-reporting survey conducted among a statistically valid sample of the population to determine behavioral change (recognition of public service announcements on television or radio, safety belt usage, drunk driving issues, etc.).

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Performance Measures

When appropriate, the problem solution in the proposal will identify estimated performance indicators or measures (quantities of work units). Performance measures may be shown as specific requirements, for example:

  • “50 workshops”
  • “100 hours.”

For some types of projects, however, the work unit must be specific, for example:

  • “submit one report”
  • “produce one public service announcement.”
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Performance Standards

Definition. A performance standard is a prescribed minimum or maximum level of activity.

There are many uncontrollable circumstances that may affect performance; therefore, measures and standards may be more appropriately used as guidelines to provide a degree of flexibility.

Each STEP grant agreement (on the Law Enforcement Objective/Performance Measure Page) contains the following language regarding standards:

“Nothing in this agreement shall be interpreted as a requirement, formal or informal, that a police officer issue a specified or predetermined number of citations in pursuance of the subgrantee’s obligations hereunder.”

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Measurement Characteristics

The characteristics of a good performance measure or standard are that it is:

  • quantifiable where possible
  • directly linked to objectives
  • accurate, clearly defined
  • understandable
  • objective
  • practical.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Traffic Operations Division - Traffic Safety Section (TRF-TS) uses a guideline called the SMART principle to assess performance goals and performance measures. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time-framed.
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Summary

Performance measures and standards will be defined in each grant agreement. These measures and standards provide guidelines to determine efficiency and effectiveness of projects. Performance measures must be negotiated locally and must be acceptable to all project personnel.

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