Public sector institutions are under severe pressure to provide better service and demonstrate "value for money" capability. Roading, a major item in local authority activities, is an obvious focal point for these concerns. In looking ahead to the turn of the century it is clear that many new road-related issues will surface to add to existing problems about the capacity of providing road services to acceptable levels. Unless there is significant support, the next decade will see road managers grappling to find ways to cope with aging road networks and new demands against a backdrop of resource constraints and out-of-date performance monitoring requirements. The paper gives particular attention to performance monitoring systems for road management and highlights the danger that the change in road condition will deteriorate faster than the rate at which new systems to combat this are introduced. Against a general background of performance monitoring in local government, attention is given to the roading environment and deficiencies in the current situation. A number of factors are identified which have a bearing on the development of road performance monitoring systems, both from within and external to particular local authorities. Five external factors are described which could be harnessed in efforts to enhance planning, control and communications. In the concluding section, two strategies are put forward aimed at breaking the pattern of standard reporting and replacing it with approaches for performance monitoring which will carve a separate identify for roading, in keeping with its particular long-term service characteristics.