How to measure infrastructure

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) has published a report on ‘Measuring infrastructure asset performance and customer satisfaction: A review of existing frameworks’.

“Well-managed, modern and functioning infrastructure underpins much of Australia’s economic prosperity, “ said BITRE’s head Dr Gary Dolman, releasing the report.

“Services provided by roads, rail, ports, telecommunications networks and energy infrastructure are essential inputs into the activities of most Australian businesses. Infrastructure performance therefore has implications beyond the infrastructure sector.

“Yet current infrastructure performance measures often reflect the priorities of infrastructure owners and/ or operators rather than those of customers, and therefore may overlook the changing needs of customers.”

The report was prepared with from the Better Infrastructure Initiative (BII) at the John Grill Centre for Project Leadership at the University of Sydney, which has been undertaking research into how to manage Australia’s infrastructure assets for long-term efficiency gains.

It provides a review of existing infrastructure performance measures and performance measurement frameworks in Australia and elsewhere, and how customer preferences might be better incorporated to improve the long-term efficiency of operation of Australia’s infrastructure assets.

“While some infrastructure asset types, namely public roads and airports, have made significant progress in performance measurement, for others there is a dearth of information or public engagement,” said Dr Dolman.

“The patchwork approach that has resulted means that Australia may be missing out on the potential benefits of consistent and widespread performance measurement: improved accountability, incentivised performance, and better performance evaluation.

“This report introduces and explores many of the issues surrounding infrastructure performance measurement that should be considered in the context of providing greater consistency across infrastructure asset types.”

The report is available (PDF) here.

Originally established as the Bureau of Transport Economics in 1970, BITRE) provides economic analysis, research and statistics on infrastructure, transport and regional development issues to inform Australian Government policy development and wider community understanding.

It is contained within the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. It employs 30 staff, mostly economists, statisticians, modellers, social researchers and policy analysts.

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