Measuring success for state aviation agencies

Posted in: Aviation


Airport reportAcross the country, state transportation agencies have been following a trend, originally developed by the private sector, focused on the inclusion of performance measures (PMs) into their core business functions. This reflects a nationwide trend across multiple governmental agencies toward more accountability for activities serving constituents. In response, many agencies have been searching for effective means to demonstrate their value. This is not a simple task—agencies themselves may have little influence over individual issues that their constituents are interested in. Additionally, agencies may have limited resources to track and measure various metrics.

Given this nationwide trend, the membership of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) identified this as a critical topic. Several members of our aviation team at Mead & Hunt worked with other aviation professionals to create Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP)  Report 223: Performance Measures for State Aviation Agencies, which provides guidance on the use and selection of PMs.

Of course, each agency is unique. The goal of this research report is therefore not to provide a heavy-handed, prescriptive list of must-do PMs for every agency. Rather, we wanted to provide a resource for agencies to use as they decide the right PMs for their unique situation. Answers to the following questions are important in the selection of PMs:

  • How does the measure support the mission, vision, and goals of the agency?
  • How can the results of the PM assist in improving the activities associated with the measure?
  • How can the results possibly demonstrate the benefits of those activities?

Agencies are encouraged to reflect on their own needs, start small, and create an action plan for what to do with the results of the data they obtain, rather than measure just to measure. This strategy reflects the overall direction we want to go with these research initiatives: through creating resources that can be tailored to a wide variety of situations, we can provide malleable, adaptable, and far-reaching solutions.

Airports are vital national resources. They transport people and goods and support regional, national, and international commerce. Research allows us to solve common operating problems, adapt new technologies from other industries, and incorporate innovations into the airport industry. Our goal in creating this resource is to help the aviation industry adapt to a shift in the demands it faces. Through doing so, we can overcome current and future challenges and keep our national aviation system—and by extension our regional and national communities—healthy and thriving.


Stephanie Ward, AICP

About the Author

As an aviation planner and pilot, Stephanie Ward brings unique understanding to her projects, big and small. She is passionate about working with communities and airport sponsors to keep airports viable. When she isn’t traveling for work, she enjoys using her frequent flyer miles to explore the U.S.

Read more posts by Stephanie Ward, AICP

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