Comparing the Efficiency of Urban Transit Park & Ride Lots Using Data Envelopment Analysis GCP-07-09

Darold T. Barnum, Sue McNeil, Jonathon Hart
Darold Professor of Management and Professor of Information & Decision Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Sue  Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware, Jonathon transportation analyst and project manager with Wilbur Smith Associates’ Transportation Finance

This paper discusses the need for a performance measure that compares the efficiencies of subunits within an urban transportation organization, reflects the diversity of inputs and outputs, and is objective and consistent.  The paper presents a method for developing such a performance indicator, and illustrates its use with an application to the park-and-ride lots of the Chicago Transit Authority.  The proposed method applies Data Envelopment Analysis supplemented by Stochastic Frontier Analysis to estimate efficiency scores for each subunit.  The paper demonstrates how the scores can provide objective and valid indicators of each subunit’s efficiency, while accounting for key goals and values of internal and external stakeholders.  The scores can be practically applied by a transit agency to identify subunit inefficiencies, and, as demonstrated by several brief case studies, this information can be used as the basis for changes that will improve both subunit and system performance.

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