Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Performance Based Planning and Programming Guidebook

12. Additional Resources


Below is a list of key words used in this Guidebook and in federal and state transportation planning:

3-C Process - Continuing, cooperative and comprehensive planning process.

A continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive ("3 C") process to encourage and promote the development of a multimodal transportation system that ensures safe and efficient movement of people and goods while balancing environmental and community needs.

[FHWA, Transportation Planning Capacity Building Acronym List.]

Asset management - A strategic and systematic process of operating, maintaining, upgrading, and expanding physical assets effectively throughout their lifecycle. It focuses on business and engineering practices for resource allocation and utilization, with the objective of better decision making based upon quality information and well-defined objectives.


Additional resources on Asset Management are available at the FHWA Asset Management website,, and in NCHRP Synthesis 439, "Use of Transportation Asset Management Principles in State Highway Agencies," available at: AASHTO's Transportation Asset Management Guide: A Focus on Implementation is another good source for information on asset management.

Congestion management - Congestion management is the application of strategies to improve transportation system performance and reliability by reducing the adverse impacts of congestion on the movement of people and goods.


Congestion Management Process (CMP) - A congestion management process (CMP) is a systematic and regionally-accepted approach for managing congestion that provides accurate, up-to-date information on transportation system performance and assesses alternative strategies for congestion management that meet state and local needs.

A systematic approach required in transportation management areas (TMAs) that provides for effective management and operation, based on a cooperatively developed and implemented metropolitan-wide strategy, of new and existing transportation facilities eligible for funding under USC Titles 23 and 49, through the use of operational management strategies.

[23 CFR Section 450.104.]

[Congestion Management Process Guidebook.]

Corridor - A broad geographical band that follows a general directional flow connecting major sources of trips that may contain a number of streets, highways and transit route alignments.

[FHWA Transportation Planning Capacity Building Glossary.]

Financially constrained or fiscal constraint - The metropolitan transportation plan, TIP, and STIP includes sufficient financial information for demonstrating that projects in the metropolitan transportation plan, TIP, and STIP can be implemented using committed, available, or reasonably available revenue sources, with reasonable assurance that the federally supported transportation system is being adequately operated and maintained.

For the TIP and the STIP, financial constraint/fiscal constraint applies to each program year. Additionally, projects in air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas can be included in the first two years of the TIP and STIP only if funds are "available'' or "committed.''

[23 CFR Section 450.104.]

Goal - A broad statement that describes a desired end state.

Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) - A document resulting from regional or statewide collaboration and consensus on a region or state's transportation system, and serving as the defining vision for the region's or state's transportation systems and services.

[FHWA Transportation Planning Capacity Building Glossary.]

Metropolitan planning area - The geographic area in which the metropolitan transportation planning process required by 23 USC Section 134 and Section 8 of the Federal Transit Act (49 USC app. 1607) must be carried out.

[FHWA Transportation Planning Capacity Building Glossary.]

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) - The policy board of an organization created and designated to carry out the metropolitan transportation planning process.

[23 CFR Section 450.104.]

Regional planning body, required in urbanized areas with a population over 50,000, and designated by local officials and the governor of the state. Responsible, in cooperation with the state and other transportation providers, for carrying out the metropolitan transportation planning requirements of Federal Highway and transit legislation. Formed in cooperation with the state, develops transportation plans and programs for the metropolitan area. For each urbanized area, a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) must be designated by agreement between the governor and local units of government representing 75% of the affected population (in the metropolitan area), including the central city or cities as defined by the Bureau of Census, or in accordance with procedures established by applicable state or local law.

[23 USC Section 134(b)(1) and Federal Transit Act of 1991 Sec. 8(b)(1).]

Nonmetropolitan planning- Planning and project selection that is performed by State DOTs in areas that are not part of the metropolitan planning organization (not in an urban area). Some states delegate the role of nonmetropolitan planning to Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPOs).

Objective - A specific, measurable statement related to the attainment of a goal.

[FHWA Transportation Planning Capacity Building Glossary.]

Operations - All decision making and actions necessary for the proper functioning of a system, such as information gathering (from a variety of sources), synthesis and processing, and dissemination and distribution of the decisions and information to traffic control equipment, other agencies and decision makers (including those associated with maintenance activities), and the public. (Also see Transportation Systems Management and Operations.)

["Traffic Control Systems Operations, Installation, Management, and Maintenance"; Kraft, W. and Giblin, J; ITE; 2000 Note - Added the context of "decision making" and "decision makers."]

Performance-based planning and programming - refers to the application of performance management within the planning and programming processes of transportation agencies to achieve desired performance outcomes for the multimodal transportation system. Attempts to ensure that transportation investment decisions are made - both in long-term planning and short-term programming of projects - based on their ability to meet established goals.

FHWA Performance Based Planning and Program web site:

Performance management - A strategic approach that uses data and information to support decisions that help to achieve performance outcomes.

Performance measurement - A process of assessing progress toward achieving goals using data.

Performance measure - A metric used to assess progress toward meeting an objective; an indicator of transportation system outcomes.

Planning factors - A set of broad objectives defined in Federal legislation to be considered in both the metropolitan and statewide planning process.

Both SAFETEA-LU and its predecessors, TEA-21 and ISTEA, identify specific factors that must be considered in the planning process. TEA-21 consolidated what were previously 16 metropolitan and 23 statewide planning "factors" into seven broad "areas" to be considered in the planning process, both at the metropolitan and statewide level. SAFETEA-LU increased the number of planning factors to eight by creating separate planning factors for safety and security. SAFETEA-LU added language to emphasize the correspondence between transportation improvements and economic development and growth plans.

Program - A coordinated, inter-related set of strategies, procedures, and activities, all intended to meet the goals and objectives articulated in vision statements and policies.

Programming - Prioritizing proposed projects and matching those projects with available funds to accomplish agreed upon, stated needs.

[FHWA Transportation Planning Capacity Building Glossary.]

Project - Well-defined, individual actions and activities that make up a program. The implementation of projects is how the program is realized.

[FHWA, "Freeway Management and Operations Handbook", FHWA-OP-04-003, September 2003]

Project selection - The procedures followed by MPOs, States, and public transportation operators to advance projects from the first four years of an approved TIP and/or STIP to implementation, in accordance with agreed upon procedures.

[23 CFR Section 450.104.]

Regional Concept for Transportation Operations (RCTO)- A Regional Concept for Transportation Operations is derived through sustained collaboration among stakeholders. It contains the shared regional objective for transportation operations and what is needed to achieve that objective - specifically physical improvements, relationships and procedures, and resource arrangements.


Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) - An agency charged by the state to perform planning and/or project selection in nonmetropolitan areas (area not in an MPO). The structure, capabilities, and governance of RTPOs varies. The term Regional Transportation Planning Organization was introduced in MAP-21. Many RTPOs are known as rural planning organizations (RPOs), or other terms assigned by the state.

Scenario planning - Analytical approach that provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating how various combinations of strategies, or scenarios, may affect system performance at the statewide or metropolitan level. The approach involves identifying various packages or strategies or scenarios against a baseline projection.

Stakeholder - Person or group affected by a transportation plan, program or project. Person or group believing that they are affected by a transportation plan, program or project. Residents of affected geographical areas.

[FHWA Transportation Planning Capacity Building Glossary.]

State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) - A statewide prioritized listing/program of transportation projects covering a period of four years.

Must be consistent with the long-range statewide transportation plan, MPO plans, and TIPs; required for projects to be eligible for funding under USC Title 23 and 49 USC Chapter 53.

[23 CFR Section 450.104.]

Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) - The SHSP is a data-driven, comprehensive, multidisciplinary plan integrating the "4E's" of safety - engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical services or emergency response. It establishes Statewide goals, objectives, performance measures, and emphasis areas and is developed in consultation with Federal, State, local, and private sector safety stakeholders.

[FHWA, Strategic Highway Safety Plan Implementation Process Model - The Essential Eight - Fundamental Elements and Effective Steps for SHSP Implementation]

Target - A specific level of performance that is desired to be achieved within a certain timeframe.

Transportation Asset Management (TAM) - see Asset Management.

Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP) - A risk-based TAMP contains the following elements:

  1. A summary listing of the pavement and bridge assets on the National Highway System in the State, including a description of the condition of those assets;
  2. Asset management objectives and measures;
  3. Performance gap identification;
  4. Lifecycle cost and risk management analysis;
  5. A financial plan; and
  6. Investment strategies.

A State asset management plan shall include strategies leading to a program of projects that would make progress toward achievement of the State targets for asset conditions and performance of the National Highway System. Development of the TAMP should lead to the incorporation of asset management into the long range planning process and improve the coordination between the maintenance and capital programs.

[23 USC Section 119(e)(4)]

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) - Programs designed to reduce demand for transportation through various means, such as the use of transit and of alternative work hours.

[Integrating Demand Management into the Transportation Planning Process: A Desk Reference.]

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) - A prioritized listing/program of transportation projects covering a period of four years that is developed and formally adopted by an MPO as part of the metropolitan transportation planning process.

Must be consistent with the metropolitan transportation plan; required for projects to be eligible for funding under USC Title 23 and 49 USC Chapter 53.

[23 CFR Section 450.104.]

Transportation Management Area (TMA) - An urbanized area with a population over 200,000, as defined by the Bureau of Census and designated by the Secretary of Transportation, or any additional area where TMA designation is requested by the Governor and the MPO and designated by the Secretary of Transportation.

[23 CFR Section 450.104.]

Transportation Performance Management - Strategic approach that uses system information to make investment and policy decisions to achieve national performance goals.


Transportation planning - A continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative (3-C) process to encourage and promote the development of a multimodal transportation system to ensure safe and efficient movement of people and goods while balancing environmental and community needs.

Statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes are governed by Federal law and applicable state and local laws.

[Based on language found in 23 USC Sections 134 and 135.]

Transportation Safety Planning (TSP) - A comprehensive, system-wide, multimodal, proactive process that better integrates safety into surface transportation decision-making. Federal law requires that the State and Metropolitan transportation planning process be consistent with Strategic Highway Safety Plans. It is important for the process to consider projects and strategies to increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users. State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) play the leading roles in transportation safety planning.


Update - Making current a long-range statewide transportation plan, MPO, TIP, or STIP through a comprehensive review.

Updates require public review and comment, a 20-year horizon year for the MTPs and long-range statewide transportation plans, a four-year program period for TIPs and STIPs, demonstration of fiscal constraint (except for long-range statewide transportation plans), and a conformity determination (for MTPs and TIPs in nonattainment and maintenance areas.

[23 CFR Section 450.104.]

Vision - An agreed statement of the overall aims of a transportation plan; it describes the target end-state.

Relevant Reference Documents

AASHTO, Executive Roundtable on Performance-based Planning and Programming; held October 22-23, 2009, in Palm Desert, CA.

AASHTO, A Primer on Performance-Based Highway Program Management: Examples from Select States, January 2008. Available at:

FHWA, Asset Management and Management of Highway Performance; held August 17, 2009 in Washington, DC. Prepared by Cambridge Systematics. Available at:

FHWA, Performance-based Planning and Programming White Paper, Prepared by Cambridge Systematics, May 2012. Available at:

FHWA, Congestion Management Process Guidebook, April 2011, Prepared by ICF International. Available at:

FHWA and FTA, Performance-based Planning and Performance Measures: Peer Exchange; held July 13, 2010 in Minneapolis, MN. Available at:

FHWA, The Strategic Highway Safety Plan Implementation Process Model - The Essential Eight - Fundamental Elements and Effective Steps for SHSP Implementation. Prepared by Cambridge Systematics, June 2010. Available at:

FHWA and FTA, Incorporating Performance Measures into Regional Transportation Planning: Peer Exchange; held February 24, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Available at:

FHWA and FTA, Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: An Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach - A Guidebook. Prepared by ICF International and SAIC, February 2010. Available at:

FHWA and FTA, Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: The Building Blocks of a Model Transportation Plan Incorporating Operations - A Desk Reference. Prepared by SAIC, Kittelson Associates, and ICF International, April 2010.

FHWA, Roundtable on System Performance Measurement in Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Planning: Peer Exchange; held October 7-9, 2003 in Washington, DC. Prepared by the Volpe Center. Available at:

FHWA, Searchable Long Range Transportation Plan Database. Available at:

NCHRP Research Results Digest 361, State DOT Public Transportation Performance Measures: State of the Practice and Future Needs, Prepared by ICF International, September 2011. Available at:

NCHRP 20-24(58), National Forum on Performance-Based Transportation Planning and Programming, held in Dallas, Texas, September 13-15, 2010. Prepared by Cambridge Systematics. Materials available at:

NCHRP Report 666, Target-Setting Methods & Data Management to Support Performance-Based Resource Allocation by Transportation Agencies: Volumes I and II; Volume III: Case Studies. Prepared by Cambridge Systematics. Available at:

NCHRP 20-24(37), Measuring Performance among State DOTs: Sharing Good Practices. Project series available at:

NCHRP Report 446, A Guidebook for Performance-Based Transportation Planning, Prepared by Cambridge Systematics, 2000. Available at:

TCRP Report 88, A Guidebook for Developing a Transit Performance-Measurement System, Prepared by Kittelson & Associates, 2003. Available at:

TRB, Performance Measures to Improve Transportation Planning Practice: Peer Exchange; held May 6, 2004 in Charleston, SC. Prepared by the Volpe Center. Available at:

Updated: 10/20/2015
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000

All Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) information technology systems will be unavailable, Friday, October 28, at 10:00 p.m. to Sunday, October 30, at 11:59 p.m., EDT, while work is being performed on the network. During that time, users will not be able to access any FHWA systems.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact the 5-Help Service Center @ (866) 466-5221 or