Mid-Sized Transit Agencies Kickoff Nation’s First Benchmarking Group with Imperial College London

Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) recently welcomed transit experts from across the country as well as London, England to Rochester for the kickoff meeting of the first of its kind transit benchmarking group. Called the American Bus Benchmarking Group (ABBG), the consortium represents nine mid-sized transit agencies that are seeking to improve their operations by working collaboratively and measuring each other against uniform performance definitions and measures.

Joining the transit agencies in Rochester as facilitator were representatives from the Railway and Transport Strategy Centre (RTSC) at Imperial College London, an institution renowned worldwide for transit benchmarking.  

ABBG, the first benchmarking group of American mid-sized transit agencies, is modeled after the International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG), which includes 13 of the world’s largest urban bus systems. The RTSC at Imperial College manages IBBG as well as CoMET, a consortium of 12 of the world’s largest metro subway systems; NOVA, which consists of 16 medium-sized metro subway systems; and the International Suburban Rail Benchmarking Group, which includes 11 suburban/commuter railways.

“The methods and infrastructure RTSC has developed in their years of experience managing CoMET, NOVA and IBBG provide a proven formula for success that will ensure positive outcomes for members of our newly formed benchmarking group,” said RGRTA chief executive officer Mark R. Aesch. “This is a tremendous learning opportunity for member agencies as we share and compare with our peers in the industry.”

Aesch, on behalf of RGRTA, was elected as initial president of the ABBG during its inaugural work session, which took place June 2-3.  

During this first session, the group began the work of developing a Key Performance Indicators (KPI) system for performance measurement, which will make way for balanced and comparable study of best practices.

“The benchmarking work will help agencies understand their strengths and weaknesses and where there is room for performance improvement, allowing a strategic prioritization of efforts,” said Mark Trompet, RTSC senior research associate. “The ultimate outgrowth of our work will be improved efficiencies and cost savings.”

In addition to the benefits of performance measurement work, the benchmarking group also provides an ideal forum for informal networking and confidential information exchange.

The group reconvenes in February in Fort Worth, Texas to review KPIs created to begin the benchmarking process. The group will then convene on an annual basis.

Members of ABBG currently include Capital District Transportation Authority (Albany, N.Y.), Greater Dayton RTA (Dayton, Ohio), The T (Fort Worth, Texas), San Joaquin RTD (Stockton, Calif.), C-TRAN (Vancouver, Wash.), Lane Transit District (Eugene, Ore.), DART (Des Moines, Iowa), RIPTA (Providence, R.I.), and RGRTA (Rochester, N.Y.). For more information about the group, including membership, please contact the group President or the RTSC at Imperial College London (http://www.rtsc.org.uk/).