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Data Collection Questions & Answers

Posted 9/25/2012

Question 1: How does MAP-21 impact FHWA's data collection efforts? Are States going to be required to submit additional data?

Answer 1: The data collected by the Office of Highway Policy Information feed a number of programs that were created or impacted by MAP-21. The Office is currently evaluating its data programs and the new requirements of the legislation to determine the need for any future changes. The data programs being evaluated include, but are not limited to:

The MAP-21 programs driving these reviews include, but are not limited to:

The agency will issue new guidance or regulations if any of the existing reporting requirements change or new data is required. Any changes to existing guidance or the creation of new guidance will be developed in cooperation with the States, FHWA Division Offices and the Office of Federal Lands Highways, and could include a Federal Register Notice and public comment period.

The Office of Bridge Technology will be issuing guidance concerning the MAP-21 requirement to begin collecting element level data for National Highway System bridges. The Office is currently evaluating the National Bridge Inventory (NBI) data and coding guidance along with the new requirements of the legislation to determine the need for any additional future changes. MAP-21 also mandates the establishment of a National Tunnel Inventory. Guidance for reporting data to this new database will be provided in the coming months.

Question 2: We have heard so much about new data needs under MAP-21 for performance management. Do the States need to modify the data reported to FHWA now?

Answer 2: Due to MAP-21's requirement that the U.S. DOT establish performance measures with input from the States, data from the States is still a critical element of the development of these measures.

Consequently, the Office of Highway Policy Information, functioning as the nucleus for FHWA's statistical data and analytical tools, will continue to collect the following State-reported data: motor fuel, motor vehicle registration, licensed driver, finance including Federal, State, local, and toll revenue and expenditure, highway performance and monitoring, roadway inventory, truck weight-in-motion, monthly traffic volume, and all remaining "500 series" data.

The Office of Bridge Technology, functioning as the keeper of the National Bridge Inventory and future National Tunnel Inventory databases, will collect these State reported data.

The Office of Federal Lands Highways is currently in the process of developing program guidance, which will include data reporting requirements. The program guidance is essential to facilitate the Office's implementation of a central database for all data storage and analysis. Until new guidelines are developed and issued, no new items need to be reported.

Question 3: How does the newly defined enhanced National Highway System (NHS) change data reporting needs?

Answer 3: In addition to the NHS consisting of highway routes and connections to transportation facilities, MAP-21 now augments this definition with the enhanced NHS as a system consisting of all urban and rural principal arterial roadways, all intermodal connector roadways (including toll facilities), and the strategic defense highway network roadways. Although we are still analyzing the impact of the enhanced NHS on data reporting needs, this expansion of the NHS will impact data programs such as FHWA's Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) and National Bridge Inventory (NBI) that provide coverage of the NHS.

The FHWA Functional Classification Guidelines were augmented on October 14, 2008, when FHWA issued its Updated Guidance for the Functional Classification of Highways. The FHWA is planning to release full technical guidance later this year to assist States in fully implementing the new Functional Classification schema. The new guidance document will update the existing guidance that was developed in the 1970's and revised in 1989 and will address the concepts, criteria and procedures for classifying roadways as well as adjusting urban area boundaries.

Currently, HPMS collects, analyzes, and reports all Functional Class data, and will soon maintain an authoritative record of the NHS. The HPMS team in cooperation with the Office of Interstate and Border Planning will soon release State specific enhanced NHS summary information and maps to both FHWA's Division offices and State agencies for verification and corrections as needed. Following the release of this information and the maps, States will be expected to update the NHS information for bridges reported to the National Bridge Inventory.

Question 4: How will the establishment of the National Freight Network change the data reporting needs?

Answer 4: MAP-21 requires the U.S. DOT to designate the nation's primary freight network and allows states to designate critical rural freight corridors. The process for designating the primary freight network is currently being developed and will likely be based on data currently collected by FHWA. The process for maintaining the authoritative record of the critical rural freight corridors is being developed and will look to utilize existing data reporting mechanisms.

Data that is currently collected by FHWA includes: past analysis performed in association with FHWA's Freight Analysis Framework (FAF), which relied on State reported data, such as truck weight-in-motion data, truck flow data in HPMS and virtually all HPMS data items.

Question 5: How do the new Federal-aid apportionment formulae affect data reporting?

Question 5: To fulfill FHWA's need to apportion funds authorized for its major programs, the States will continue to submit data including motor fuel, vehicle registration, and driver license data.

With regard to motor fuel data, the FHWA intends to carry out a reassessment on how to collect and process data more effectively and efficiently.

MAP-21 established a new formula program for the construction of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities. This new program will distribute funds based on a percentage allocation between the number of vehicles carried by the ferry system, the number of ferry passengers carried annually, and the total annual route miles serviced. FHWA along with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) are exploring the data currently being collected for ferries to determine suitability for this use. At some point in the future, these programs may be refined or combined to collect more consistent and accurate data on ferry boat operations nation-wide.

The Railway-Highway Crossings set-aside from the Highway Safety Improvement program utilizes data on Federal-aid lane-miles, travel, and contributions to the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund. It is anticipated that the existing guidance for the collection of these data is sufficient to meet the requirements of this program.

Question 6: How does the mandated Truck Size and Weight Study in MAP-21 affect data reporting?

Answer 6: Currently, States report selected truck weight-in-motion data to FHWA; we are considering collecting all available truck weight-in-motion data to gain better geographical coverage to facilitate the nation-wide truck size and weight study.

Question 7: How does the continued national transportation Condition and Performance (C&P) Report affect data reporting?

Answer 7: The biennial C&P Report to Congress relies on roadway inventory data, traffic data, and pavement data from HPMS, bridge data from the NBI, and financial data covering Federal, State, local, and toll highway revenue and expenditure data acquired from the annual "500 series" reports. The FHWA will continue to collect these data items. At this time, no changes are anticipated for these data areas to meet the C&P Report requirements.

With regard to financial data covering Federal, State, local, and toll highway revenue and expenditure data from the "500 series" reports, the Office is in the process of conducting a reassessment on how to more efficiently and effectively collect these data.

Question 8: How does the Freight transportation conditions and performance reports mandated in MAP-21 affect data reporting?

Answer 8: Similar to the C&P report data needs, currently collected data items covering roadway inventory, traffic flow patterns, truck flow patterns, and financial information will continue to be collected to perform the appropriate analysis. In addition, commodity data, bottleneck, and other data may be needed. The agency will issue additional guidance should new data be needed.

Question 9: Which MAP-21 programs can be used to fund data collection and reporting efforts?

Answer 9: States will continue to be able to use State Planning and Research funds, Surface Transportation Program funds, and Highway Safety Improvement Program funds for data collection activities. FHWA is reviewing MAP-21 to determine if any of the other programs can also be used to fund data efforts. The agency will issue additional guidance should other program funds be eligible for data collection and reporting.

Page last modified on September 12, 2013.
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