Public Inquiry on Service Performance Dashboard

CourtPostal Regulatory Commission
Citation87 FR 8882
Record Number2022-03327
Published date16 February 2022
Federal Register, Volume 87 Issue 32 (Wednesday, February 16, 2022)
[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 32 (Wednesday, February 16, 2022)]
                [Notices]
                [Pages 8882-8884]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2022-03327]
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                POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION
                [Docket No. PI2022-2; Order No. 6104]
                Public Inquiry on Service Performance Dashboard
                AGENCY: Postal Regulatory Commission.
                ACTION: Notice.
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                SUMMARY: The Commission is initiating a proceeding to propose public
                input with respect to the service performance dashboard and other
                questions of data accessibility and usability. This document informs
                the public of this proceeding, invites public comment, and takes other
                administrative steps.
                DATES: Comments are due: March 18, 2022. Reply comments are due: April
                7, 2022.
                ADDRESSES: Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing
                Online system at http://www.prc.gov. Those who cannot submit comments
                electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER
                INFORMATION CONTACT section by telephone for advice on filing
                alternatives.
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David A. Trissell, General Counsel, at
                202-789-6820.
                SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
                Table of Contents
                I. Introduction
                II. Background
                III. Invitation for Comments
                IV. Ordering Paragraphs
                I. Introduction
                 The Commission's mission is to ensure transparency and
                accountability of the United States Postal Service and to foster a
                vital and efficient universal mail system.\1\ As part of the
                Commission's ongoing efforts to promote transparency by making its
                public data more accessible and usable, the Commission is in the
                process of developing a new online service performance dashboard. In
                this docket, the Commission seeks public input with respect to the
                service performance dashboard, as well as other questions pertaining to
                data accessibility and usability.
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                 \1\ See Postal Regulatory Commission, Strategic Plan: 2017-2022,
                available at https://www.prc.gov/sites/default/files/Strategic%20Plan%202017-2022%2009222016%20OSA.pdf.
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                II. Background
                 As a result of its statutory oversight responsibilities, the
                Commission has an extensive catalog of public data pertaining to the
                Postal Service, including information concerning the Postal Service's
                service performance, finances, operations, and rates.\2\ While
                [[Page 8883]]
                this information has always been available to the public in the form in
                which the Commission receives it, it is spread across a myriad of
                reports and filings in the Commission's docketing system and knowing
                where to look for relevant information is not necessarily intuitive for
                the general public. Much of the data exists in the form of ``library
                references,'' which consist of electronic spreadsheets, workpapers, and
                other supporting material relevant to Commission proceedings, where it
                is frequently included within multiple layers of compressed files. See
                39 CFR 3010.125.
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                 \2\ See, e.g., 39 U.S.C. 3652-3653, establishing the annual
                compliance review process. Other statutory areas of Commission
                oversight include 39 U.S.C. 3622-3633 (the Market Dominant and
                Competitive product ratemaking systems); 39 U.S.C. 3641 (market
                tests); 39 U.S.C. 3642 (mail classification changes); 39 U.S.C. 3654
                (required financial reporting from the Postal Service); 39 U.S.C.
                3661 (conducting hearings and issuing advisory opinions with respect
                to nature-of-service changes); and 39 U.S.C. 3662 (hearing rate and
                service complaints).
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                 As directed by statute, the Commission prepares reports on an
                annual basis, and these reports highlight and discuss important
                findings, trends, results, etc. with respect to the Postal Service's
                operations, finances, and performance. However, for generalists and
                members of the public who are not postal experts, but who seek to
                obtain specific relevant information relatively quickly, this process
                may seem somewhat opaque. Moreover, there is a necessary lag time
                between the receipt of relevant information by the Commission and the
                issuance of formal reports based on that information. Furthermore,
                statutorily prescribed reporting periods typically cover previous
                periods, such as prior fiscal years, such that the information
                contained in Commission reports can lag what is happening ``on the
                ground'' by many months. While the Commission complies with all
                relevant statutes and strives to make its reports accessible to the
                general public, the Commission is exploring how the information
                contained therein might be made even more accessible.
                 Congress has encouraged federal agencies to improve the quality and
                accessibility of their data.\3\ The Commission is required to comply
                with the OPEN Government Data Act,\4\ and the Commission looks to open
                data policies for guidance on transparency initiatives. As part of
                these efforts, the Commission is in the process of developing an online
                dashboard that provides visual data and interactive tools to allow the
                public to view service performance results for many of the Postal
                Service's Market Dominant mail products (and product components) at the
                national level. The data on which these results are based are filed
                each year in Annual Compliance Review (ACR) dockets; but, for the
                reasons explained above, accessing it may not necessarily be intuitive
                for members of the public.\5\
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                 \3\ See, e.g., the E-Government Act, Public Law 107-347, 116
                Stat. 2899 (2002); the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act
                (DATA Act), Public Law 113-101, 128 Stat. 1146 (2014); and the OPEN
                Government Data Act, Public Law 115-435, 132 Stat. 5534 (2019).
                 \4\ OPEN Government Data Act, Public Law 115-435, 132 Stat. 5534
                (2019), Title II.
                 \5\ Specifically, service performance data are generally filed
                in a library reference, typically ``Postal Service Library Reference
                29,'' in ACR dockets. See, e.g., Docket No. ACR2020, Library
                Reference USPS-FY20-29, December 29, 2020 (service performance data
                pertaining to Fiscal Year 2020); Docket No. ACR2019, Library
                Reference USPS-FY19-29, December 27, 2019 (service performance data
                pertaining to Fiscal Year 2019), etc.
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                 Consistent with the data that the Commission receives, the service
                performance dashboard focuses on national-level service performance
                results for specific Market Dominant postal products and/or product
                components.\6\ The dashboard does not have the capability to visualize
                geographic data, such as regional or ZIP Code level service performance
                results.\7\ The dashboard reflects information that is already
                available to the public and does not present any personally
                identifiable information. The initial service performance dashboard can
                be found at https://www.prc.gov/dash-deploy.
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                 \6\ See 39 CFR part 3055, subpart A, which establishes the
                required level of service performance reporting by the Postal
                Service.
                 \7\ The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General
                publishes national, division, and district data based on the
                composite results provided by the Postal Service at the following
                web page: https://www.uspsoig.gov/service-performance. These data
                are not the product-level results (as required by 39 CFR part 3055)
                used to evaluate compliance in the ACR dockets. The national
                composite results serve as public performance indicators used to
                evaluate the Postal Service's progress toward its High-Quality
                Service performance goal. See, e.g., Docket No. ACR2020, Analysis of
                the Postal Service's FY 2020 Annual Performance Report and FY 2021
                Performance Plan, June 2, 2021, at 34-35.
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                III. Invitation for Comments
                 The Commission invites interested persons to comment on the initial
                service performance dashboard, as well as on the Commission's more
                general efforts to make Postal Service data more accessible and usable
                for the public. Regarding the service performance dashboard, the
                Commission seeks comment specifically on the following discussion
                areas:
                 The overall usefulness and desirability of dashboard-style
                visualization with respect to the Postal Service's national-level
                service performance.
                 The current dashboard's presentation, usability,
                functionality, and any other features.
                 The scope of products and/or product components covered by
                the current dashboard.
                 The frequency of desired updates (e.g., quarterly,
                annually, etc.).
                 The desirability of being able to download source data,
                and if so, in what format.
                 Regarding data accessibility and usability more generally, the
                Commission seeks comment specifically on the following discussion
                areas:
                 What, if any, other dashboards should the Commission
                develop that are consistent with the Commission's statutory authorities
                (e.g., postal finances, etc.)?
                 What other forms of data visualization should the
                Commission explore?
                 Who would be the likely users of Commission dashboards and
                what information they would be most interested in?
                 Whether bulk access and Application Programming Interface
                (API) \8\ functionality with respect to Commission data would be useful
                to mailers, postal customers, or other postal stakeholders?
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                 \8\ ``An Application Programming Interface, or API, is a set of
                software instructions and standards that allows machine to machine
                communication,'' available at https://digital.gov/2013/04/30/apis-in-government/.
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                 What machine readable formats are most useful to external
                users?
                 The dashboard linked above is limited to public information
                currently provided by the Postal Service to the Commission for its
                regulatory purposes pursuant to Title 39 and consistent with the
                Commission's regulations. Comments suggesting presentation of data not
                currently provided to the Commission or not currently available to the
                public are beyond the scope of the initial service performance
                dashboard but may be considered for future efforts to the extent
                consistent with the law and the Commission's mission and resources.\9\
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                 \9\ The treatment of information and data provided to the
                Commission as non-public material is governed by 39 U.S.C. 504(g),
                3652(f), 3654(f), and 39 CFR parts 3006 and 3011.
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                 Comments are due March 18, 2022 and reply comments are due April 7,
                2022. Material filed in this docket will be available for review on the
                Commission's website, http://www.prc.gov.
                 Pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505, Manon A. Boudreault is appointed to
                serve as an officer of the Commission (Public Representative) to
                represent the interests of the general public in this docket.
                [[Page 8884]]
                IV. Ordering Paragraphs
                 It is ordered:
                 1. The Commission establishes Docket No. PI2022-2 for the purpose
                of receiving public input with respect to the Commission's new service
                performance dashboard and other questions of data accessibility and
                usability.
                 2. Interested persons may submit written comments no later than
                March 18, 2022 and reply comments are due April 7, 2022.
                 3. Pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505, Manon A. Boudreault is appointed to
                serve as Public Representative in this proceeding.
                 4. The Secretary shall arrange for publication of this Notice in
                the Federal Register.
                 By the Commission.
                Erica A. Barker,
                Secretary.
                [FR Doc. 2022-03327 Filed 2-15-22; 8:45 am]
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