Transportation plays an important role in modern societies. Despite the advantages inherent to well functioning transportation systems, they always generate significant negative side effects that put a burden on the quality-of-life, especially in urban areas. This is especially true of the way in which increasing automobile usage generates important negative impacts such as congestion, increases in accidents and additional vehicle emissions. The European Commission proposes to address these impacts by shifting modal share away from private transportation: in the local transportation sector this means improving the performance of public transportation operators so as to compete with the advantages of private car use. Recent legislation has increasingly required public transportation companies to operate in an environment of increasing competition; consequently there is constant pressure on the operators to improve the efficiency of their performance in order to survive. Benchmarking is considered as one of the most promising ways to help maintain and improve the quality and efficiency of this sector by the sharing data on good practices among operators. This paper concentrates on the practice of 'benchmarking' e.g. the measurement of indicators for an individual operator and 'a comparison of results' with other operators. The empirical basis for the paper comes from the EU-DG project called EQUIP (Extending the Quality of Public Transportation). The paper has the following structure: in the introduction of the paper, the theoretical framework is discussed: what are the experiences in the industry with benchmarking in public transportation? What is measured with benchmarking? How are the potential benefits of benchmarking exploited? The second section deals with the methodology of the benchmark process. Attention is then turned, in the third section, to practical experience. It deals with the complications of data collection and how to select indicators to provide relevant information for public transportation. After some interim conclusions on achieving and sustaining improvements in Section 4. In the final Section (5), the paper concludes with the experiences of piloting this methodology and makes recommendations for changes in the institutional environment for the successful introduction of benchmarking on a national and European basis for this sector.

Bench marking, Public transport, Quality improvement,
Journal of Cleaner Production
Department of Public Administration

Geerlings, H, Klementschitz, R, & Mulley, C. (2006). Development of a methodology for benchmarking public transportation organisations: A practical tool based on an industry sound methodology. Journal of Cleaner Production, 14(2), 113–123. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2005.03.021