Huberman holds CTA managers accountable in "War Room"
We had our first interview session with CTA President Ron Huberman last week, with another set for next week. We only got through a few of the questions you contributed. Check back over the next couple of weeks for the complete interview, which I'm debuting today with my own question:
Q: The front of my Chicago Card Plus says: On Time, Clean, Safe, Friendly. Many CTA riders scoff at that and say “I wish.” What is YOUR wish for the typical commuter’s CTA experience?
A: In answer to this question, Huberman escorted us to the "War Room" to show us how he believes in the CTA credo and how he's enforcing it.
The War Room is a converted conference room that holds about seven staffers and a blizzard of paper reports tacked to the walls. The reports track the key performance indicators that they are currently working on -- the "metrics" that really matter when it comes to performance. The metrics are essentially the same as the CTA credo: Clean, On Time, Courteous, Safety, and others.
The reports are aligned in rows that are headed by the names and titles of the people who are responsible for the metrics. For instance, one row has the name of the vice president in charge of bus operations, and the names of the heads of each garage appear beneath that. In holding managers accountable using measurable metrics, Huberman draws on his experience at the Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, with their focus on hierarchy and reporting structures.
"If we look at one of these measures-- the number of days between a deep bus cleaning, for instance, and see that there is a problem, we bring that person in here and put them on the hot seat,” said Huberman. Also, by comparing stats across the system, managers can see where the successes are and compare methods. "We want to learn why some things worked well here and not there,” said Huberman.
Huberman said some of these metrics were in place when he started, "but they weren't aggregated."
(CTA photo by Noelle Gaffney)