Description / objective
Management Information systems (MIS) present relevant information to decision-takers and managers. The core purpose is to assist them in analysing corporate and/or unit performance, and identifying where management attention and intervention is required.
Within urban transport systems, MIS focus on:
- Financial performance
- Cost drivers
- Ridership and revenue performance
- Allocative efficiency
- Productivity of assets and human resources
- Operational performance and quality
- Safety performance
- Customer satisfaction
MIS systems assemble the available information within the organisation, and present it in formats that support performance review, problem-identification and decision-taking. Reports typically present actual performance against targets, highlight variances and below-target performance, provide trend analysis, and present year-on-year performance (which is relevant due to the seasonality of the public transport business).
Technologies, data and resources
MIS systems are software systems. In general, they assemble information that has been generated and processed in other IT and ITS systems. The MIS packages the information with high attention to the presenting the most salient data for rapid assimilation. Off-the-shelf MIS packages are available, both for general corporate management and specifically for public transport companies. Some companies develop their own systems, as they have specific metrics that they wish to track.
The data requirements span the full operational and financial range of the transport entity. They are normally generated in the various IT and ITS systems of the organisation. In general, MIS packages do not receive unprocessed data. MIS packages do require the planned performance as base data, since most MIS analysis compares actual performance to the plan.
MIS packages generally do not require significant computational resources, although the systems that process the source data and provide inputs to the MIS may have substantial processing and data storage requirements.
Advantages and cautions
The primary advantages of ITS-supported MIS Function are:
- Input data is generated automatically by the various ITS systems. This saves substantial time and cost.
- Data can be transferred automatically, both as imports and exports. This saves on data inputting costs, and eliminates human errors.
- Information is consistent across all systems
- Speed of data transfer and report production, so that same-day or following-morning reports are available
The primary cautions are:
- Since it is automatic, there may be a ‘disconnect’ by those analysing and using the data, so that they may not notice errors and fail to test its integrity