"Performance management" yields big results in reliability, says CTA prez
The CTA's on-time performance improved in 2008 because it implemented a performance management initiative, CTA President Ron Huberman told his board Jan. 14.
The CTA uses performance management to "identify and track key factors that influence reliability" -- which certainly is a key strategic goal for the transit agency. Here are some ways the CTA says it improved on-time performance:
- Aggressive maintenance program to replace parts near the end of their useful life before they fail.
As a result, Ron said "with some rail cars nearing 40 years old, mechanical problems decreased by 16 percent and trains were able to travel an average of 38% farther before experiencing a defect. More reliable cars contributed to more reliable service: During rush periods, 83% of trains came within one minute of their scheduled arrival time."
This maintenance program also helped reduce overdue jobs by 45%. That means "the number of buses held in due to defective equipment has dropped dramatically since last year. CTA has experienced a 99.9 percent decrease in bus runs held in for defective equipment since August 2007."
- Accountability at the employee level.
The CTA says the number of runs cancelled because of manpower shortages caused by absenteeism dropped by 82% since August 2007. Managers are trained on how absenteeism affects reliability and held accountable for it.
- Slow zone elimination increased rail reliability.
Rail trips now are faster and safer, says the CTA, with slow zones on less than 7% of the system, compared with more than 22% in October 2007.Certainly gotta give 'em props for this.
- Bus gaps reduced.
Gaps between buses -- Ron says he prefers to look at gaps rather than bunches -- were reduced by 31% since fall 2007, "and the number of buses arriving within one minute or less of buses ahead has decreased by 24 percent." The CTA defines big gaps as 15 minutes between buses or arrivals that are double the scheduled headway, whichever is greater.
This is good progress. And good performance management just keeps building on itself as employees see the clear connection between PM programs and results against goals -- and presumably, their own future compensation is tied to performance via merit raises and/or bonuses.
Finally, from the press release:
In May 2007, the CTA implemented a performance management process that focuses on a data-driven management model aimed at improving operational efficiencies which in turn enhance the customer experience. All CTA departments are responsible for managing to targets based on key performance and financial metrics organized around five goals – safe, on time, clean, courteous and efficient.