Creating Tomorrow Today

Written by  Bill Hale, P.E. Chief Engineer Texas Dept. of Transportation

dallas

A couple of years ago, TXDOT created a new set of goals for the department, goals that focus on our commitment to serve Texans. And while these goals are important, they serve us – and Texans – best when we measure our performance and make targeted efforts to improve.

TxDOT is already a great agency, and we have some of the best employees in the state, but it’s important to also let Texans know just how hard we’re working for them.

Of course, Texans see us on the road working on some section of highway. They’re glad to see our road assistance trucks when they’ve had a flat tire, and need some help. And they are all too happy when they call our offices and get a friendly – and knowledgeable – voice that will listen to their concerns, and answer their questions. And when we finish a project? Communities are often glad to help us celebrate the good news.

That’s standard operating procedure for us. But there’s no central place where we can show Texans how we’re focusing on them as customers, how we’re serving them or how they can evaluate our performance.

Until now.

During the last legislative session, state lawmakers passed SB 312. That legislation – TxDOT’s Sunset bill – laid out a few requirements for TxDOT, specifically they were recommendations that we can get better at the job we’re already doing for Texans. In it, legislators asked us to come up with a way to let Texans know how we’re measuring up. That’s why we’ve created a new webpage – on txdot. gov – that gives our customers that information.

We call it a dashboard, and we’ve taken our seven goals – deliver the right projects, focus on the customer, foster stewardship, optimize system performance, preserve our assets, promote safety and value our employees – and added some specific measures that we can grade our performance against.

Let me give you an example:

One of our goals is to optimize system performance. That’s another way of asking the question, “How well are we cutting congestion and improving travel times?” The answer to that question is important because when we give Texans reliable travel times, our road network runs smoother, drivers get to their destinations faster and goods aren’t stuck in traffic.

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And with the state’s population increasing – state demographers estimate that the population could be more than 33 million by 2025, 54 million by 2050 – reliable travel times will be more important as more people take to the roadways.

The dashboard not only lets us see how we’re performing today, but it also helps us track how we’re meeting our goals over time. This will help us know where we need to make adjustments. It’s an integral part of our planning process because it helps our Transportation Commission and our senior leadership prioritize project decisions. But equally important, it lets Texans know how we’re doing and where we’re headed. It upholds our commitment to the citizens of Texas and reaffirms our core values: people, accountability, truth and honesty.

I invite you to check out our new dashboard on txdot.gov. Let us know what you think. Over time and based on your feedback, we’ll refine the dashboard, even expanding our list of performance measures so that Texans can know how we’re serving them.



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