NSRMCA: More Transparency, Granularity Needed for USPS Dashboard Project to Succeed

The National Star Route Mail Contractors Association (NSRMCA) — which represents transportation firms that contract with the Postal Service — is asking the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to flesh out its proposed public-facing dashboard for mail delivery metrics.

The concept behind the proposal — a digital tool that gives the public a glimpse into USPS’ efforts to improve on-time delivery — is a welcome one that NSRMCA supports. But NSRMCA harbors reservations about its planned implementation in a Sept. 30 proposed rule, as the rule leaves far too many details at the Postal Service’s discretion. 

Chief among these is the proposal’s lack of specificity on how USPS will process and harness data to determine the top 10 root causes of service disruption. The proposed rule gives limited guidance on this, specifying that USPS must report the point impact data — the percentage drop in on-time service — used to determine root causes and then explain its calculation methods. That’s it. 

NSRMCA considers these guardrails insufficiently transparent for a project all about transparency. Understanding both how the data were culled and utilized is vital to ensuring the dashboard accurately reflects the root causes for on-time service concerns.  

Given the outsized nature of surface transportation in mail delivery, it seems likely that transportation delays will be among the 10 root causes. But the basis for those delays can vary widely. On any given day, postal contractors deal with traffic jams, inclement weather, unrealistic USPS schedules, late cargo and delivery queues at postal facilities.  

And all of this presumes the data are accurately collated and interpreted in the first place, which itself is a leap of faith in a system this large and complex without adequate data safeguards. 

NSRMCA wants to ensure that postal contractors — a key component of the Postal Service’s surface transportation fleet — are not unfairly assigned blame for root causes beyond their control. And that requires a better understanding of — and oversight of — the underlying data.  

A dashboard is only as useful and reliable as the data it’s steeped in. Due to these myriad concerns, NSRMCA wants to see more transparency and granularity in the PRC’s final rule for how on-time performance declines are calculated and expressed. 


The National Star Route Mail Contractors Association is the trade association for transportation companies that contract with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the mail. Our members include small businesses, large interstate trucking companies and leading third-party logistics firms. Collectively, they represent the backbone of the Postal Service’s surface transportation network, ensuring efficient delivery to 163 million locations six days a week.