Taking the Next Step to TIM Performance Measurement

This guidance has provided a working framework to support an agency or TIM program in understanding TIM performance measurement and in establishing a TIM performance measurement database.

Specifically, the Performance Measurement for TIM Programs section of the website has provided an overview of TIM performance measurement, including:

  • Descriptions and consistent definitions of the three nationally-recognized TIM performance measures, as well as how to calculate the performance measures.
  • Descriptions/examples of how to use incident characteristics (e.g., incident severity, injury severity) to put TIM performance measures into context to provide meaningful comparisons of TIM performance within and between agencies.
  • The most common sources of TIM data, including traffic management centers, law enforcement, and freeway service patrols.
  • A discussion of the most prevalent issues facing many TIM programs, including inconsistent definitions; data availability, sharing, and exchange; data quality and completeness; and data timeliness.
  • Example TIM performance graphics and reports, as well as examples of the analysis of TIM performance data from different perspectives and the use of data visualization techniques.
  • A discussion of the legal and institutional issues that may affect both TIM performance measures and the tactical elements of TIM during response to an incident.
  • Examples of current agency practices with respect to TIM performance measurement.
  • Key points for success.

The Model Database section of this website has presented an in-depth discussion surrounding the development, implementation, and application of a model TIM performance measurement database, including:

  • A dictionary of data elements pertaining to TIM performance measurement.
  • A model TIM performance measurement database schema that logically groups individual data elements into related areas.
  • A script that can be used to generate an empty TIM performance measurement database from the model schema.
  • A script that will populate the look-up tables of the TIM performance measurement database.
  • Example analyses of performance objectives or strategic questions that might be of interest to an agency or TIM program, as well as a link to the corresponding data elements in the model database.
  • Detailed example applications of the model TIM performance measurement database.
  • Database scripts/queries associated with the example applications.
  • Database outputs, analyses, and visualizations associated with the example applications.
  • The model TIM performance measurements database in this guidance is intended to be used by an agency or group of agencies to download and apply to a database software package to quickly generate their own TIM performance measurement database.

The model TIM performance measurement database developed for this project is intended to be downloaded, applied to a database software package, and used by agencies as a starting point for a TIM performance measurement database or as supplemental or supporting information to an existing TIM database.

It is the conviction of this guidance that having TIM data organized in a standard way in a relational database will drive the collection of TIM performance data; provide a centralized repository for the data; and facilitate the analysis, reporting, and comparison  of TIM performance data not only internal to an agency, but across agencies and regions.  As many agencies have begun only recently to collect and analyze TIM performance data, it is timely and opportune to provide guidance on the implementation and use of a TIM performance measurement database for data analysis and reporting.  The ultimate goal of developing a TIM performance measurement database is to provide a mechanism for analyzing TIM program performance to demonstrate transparency, provide program justification, and determine future improvements and strategies.

Regardless of where an agency or TIM program currently is with respect to TIM performance measures, this guidance presents pertinent information that can be used to further advance the TIM program.  If an agency is just getting started, the first step might be to convene a committee to support the TIM performance measurement effort.  Members of this committee might include an existing regional TIM committee to establish regional objectives, identify performance measure of interest, and set initial performance targets.  The committee should also include IT staff from the agency that will be responsible for creating and maintaining the TIM performance measurement database.

If an agency or group of agencies has already begun to consider or even measure TIM performance, but lacks a formal process or data, the next step might be to begin working with IT staff and the help of this guidance to create a TIM performance measurement database.  If some data do exist, the data could be loaded into the database to provide a historical or baseline look at regional TIM performance, while new incident data are entered into the TIM performance measurement database.

If an agency or group of agencies already has an established TIM performance measurement program, it might compare its database schema to the model TIM performance measurement database schema presented in this guidance.  Comparisons could yield additional data elements or additional ways of mining existing data.  In addition, as other regions begin to build their own databases, current lead TIM programs might consider slight modifications to data elements or definitions to allow comparisons across regions or for aggregation of data for statewide or nationwide analyses.

The important issue to remember is that there are numerous benefits to measuring and tracking TIM performance. Agencies need to know how they are doing so they can demonstrate transparency, accountability, process efficiency, and improvements over time; and in order to know how they are doing, agencies need to be able to track their performance, which requires incident data that are organized in a meaningful way.  Once these data are available, agencies need to understand how to mine the data and query the database to identify the areas where performance is below par, as well as to highlight areas where performance is exceptional.

Having a TIM performance measurement database, as well as an understanding of how to mine and analyze the data, will assist agencies in identifying when, where, and during what types of incidents they can improve performance.  Even if the result is reducing average RCT or ICT by a few minutes, the outcomes can be significant. This guidance has provided the reader with the tools needed to get started or to take a TIM program to the next level.