TravelSmart Special Events Planning Resource Kit
04 - Objectives, Targets and Indicators
At a Glance
Once you have completed the audit of your event, it is likely that you will have a good understanding of how many people will come to your event, their likely or preferred mode of travel and the facilities you have available. Now it is important to set some targets for your event access plan.
Establishing a series of achievable targets is the second key factor for a successful event. The remaining two key factors - tailoring and promoting a package of measures - will be covered in Sections 05 and 06.
This section will provide you with an understanding of what objectives, targets and indicators are, how you set them and how to develop an effective monitoring process.
- The Purpose of Objectives, Targets and Indicators
- Identifying Objectives
- Setting Targets and Key Performance Indicators
- Measurement and Monitoring
The Purpose of Objectives, Targets and Indicators
You need to set objectives, targets and indicators to monitor the progress of your event access plan. You may want to do this on an ongoing basis for recurring events, or just once to see if you met the transport objective for a single event.
The Objective is the overall aim of your plan. This can be something as simple as reducing demand for car parking at your venue, or reducing congestion in nearby streets. Targets are the milestones that help you to achieve the objective, such as increased customer "catchment" population through better transport availability, improved customer satisfaction, through not having to negotiate traffic and car parks, or earlier customer arrivals and/or later customer departures, due to better transport availability, while Indicators are the measurements that you use to see if you're meeting targets.
It is important that the objective of your plan is tailored to the event and venue that you are using. Otherwise, you may find that it sounds good, but isn't achievable in your area because you don't have any trams, the area is too hilly for cyclists, or another reason specific to your event.
Having established the capacity of transport modes that offer an alternative to the private car you need to formulate a realistic, clear and concise objective.
The best way to make sure that your objective is going to be the best for your site is to use the information you gathered in the site audit to set the objective. Here are some examples of common objectives identified through site audits:
- you may notice while you're auditing your venue that the surrounding road network is very congested and that you will need to reduce that congestion to make sure people can travel to and from the event; or
- you may notice that not many people travel by public transport and that there's an opportunity to increase the number of people who travel by bus; or
- you may notice that you don't have enough parking for all your visitors so you'll need to reduce the number of people who drive, or increase the number of people travelling together; or
- that you do not have any staff parking and you need to get staff to your event another way.
There are many objectives that you could set yourself, but if you look at your audit results it should be easy to see one that will be important to your event. The steering committee helping to organise the transport aspects of your event may also be keen to help set the objectives.
It is likely that this group will have some experience of the objectives established for other events in your area that have been successful or unsuccessful and the reasons why this happened. This is important information that you can use to make sure that you learn from those lessons and make your objectives work.
Setting Targets and Key Performance Indicators
Now that you've established the objectives of your event access plan, you need to identify the targets and indicators that will help you to achieve the objectives.
Targets should be flexible and able to adapt as you progress with the plan or conditions change. These are the tools that you'll use to measure your achievements.
Your targets must be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based. SMART principles are often used in planning because they are so effective. The best way to check if your target is SMART, is to write it down and check that it covers each SMART aspect. For example, a theoretical target may be to:
'Increase the number of people who cycle to my event by 5%.'
That's a specific statement so it meets the first principle. Is it measurable? Yes, because you can measure how many people use the cycle racks at your event. Is it achievable? Yes, because I have enough racks to let 5% of my crowd park their bikes. Is it realistic? Yes, because about 3% cycle at the moment, the area is quite good for cycling, there are some cycle routes nearby and I'm going to actively promote cycle parking. Is it time based? No, I'll need to change my target to:
'Increase the number of people who cycle to my event by 5% over the next two years.'
Another example, which may be appropriate for a one-off or first time event, could be to:
'To develop an access map that shows pedestrian, bicycle and public transport facilities for issue one month before my event starts'
As you can see, your targets do not always need to be quantifiable; they can also be 'action' targets.
It is a good idea to link your target to Government Policies. Key Australian policies are listed in Section 10 - Key Policies/Initiatives. The steering group, local councils and/or State Agencies will be able to advise you about the targets that they are working to.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI's)
Key performance indicators are used to track your progress. In the sample target we identified 'to increase the number of people who cycle to my event by 5% over the next two years', one of the key performance indicators for this target could be the number of people using cycle racks at the event.
Some more examples of key performance indicators that you could use include:
- mode split information;
- use of facilities, such as walkways or parking areas; or
- use of public transport services.
Measurement and Monitoring
If you are trying to achieve a progress target, such as reducing the number of cars that come to your event, it is important that you have a 'baseline' against which you can measure progress.
For special events, the key baseline is known as 'mode split' or the percentage of people who travel by each mode of transport. You could present this information as a table, a pie chart, or a bar chart. The key modes that you should monitor (if they are applicable in your area) are:
- trams/light rail
The baseline 'mode split' is typically identified by surveying a representative number of people with questionnaires or interview techniques. It is important to survey enough people to ensure that you have confidence in the results, but remember not to make the questionnaire too long.
If you have defined other targets, such as use of a pedestrian walkway, or cycle racks, you may also want to monitor the number of people who use these facilities.
You can identify your 'response rate' by dividing the number of returned forms by the number issued. As a guide you should try to aim for a response rate of around 40% or more.