This section provides an overview of some of the current performance-based planning efforts going on in the region, as represented by the four panelists.
In 2011 the governor of Rhode Island asked all state agencies to begin using performance-based planning. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) began their performance-based planning and programming development on the premise that the agency's primary mission is to serve the public. With that direction, RIDOT identified five areas to measure: system operations, congestion, safety, infrastructure preservation, and environment. RIDOT is currently in the process of identifying the measures and implementing them.
RIDOT's dedicated performance measurement team is looking at what data are available, what needs to be collected, how it should be stored, and how to normalize it. Driving this effort is the knowledge that program needs are mounting, constrained resources are shrinking, and RIDOT needs a strategy to address these competing needs. RIDOT views performance management as a process of continual improvement, with the goal of always doing it better the next day.
The New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) recently completed a study evaluating the effectiveness of performance management. The goal of the study was to analyze the performance management process and identify those measures and processes that led to good decisions. NJTPA examined a sample set of actual projects covering all modes, evaluating several measures (both quantitative and qualitative) that capture a broad range of goals.
The final product is a guidebook resource for agencies interested in the impact of performance-based planning. While NJTPA attempted to create a common framework, the final product aims to be flexible enough to work across a range of unique projects. The process provided led them to conclude the following:
The Vermont Agency of Transportation's (VTrans) performance-based planning took hold in 2010 with the new governor's strategic planning process, and accompanying mandate to all agencies to plan for achieving their established goals. Although there had been related efforts at the agency level previously, it was the governor's request and leadership that finally got things moving. VTrans built its program using their 2009 strategic plan. This experience led to the following conclusions:
The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) has incorporated performance management into their regional plan. As the region wrestled with extensive suburban development, CDTC took a step back and expanded the conversation to include livability, land use, transportation choices and community values. CDTC then translated these considerations into a diverse set of performance measures to be considered in the plan. The measures included:
Despite the strong public support for consideration of these attributes, selection of and adoption of these measures has been challenging. The challenges include: