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Performance-based Planning and Programming - White Paper

Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures

Executive Summary

In response to recent economic, political, and social trends that have placed greater emphasis on public-sector accountability and cost-effectiveness, transportation agencies across the country have increasingly embraced performance management and performance-based planning and programming as a way to ensure that transportation resources are spent on projects and strategies that best serve communities' needs.

This white paper describes the common elements of a performance-based transportation planning and programming process, building on work conducted by State departments of transportation (DOT), metropolitan planning organizations (MPO), and transit agencies. The white paper was initiated in response to a National Forum on Performance-based Planning and Programming conducted in September, 2010 in Dallas, TX and has been refined to reflect discussions at a follow up Workshop on Performance-based Planning and Programming held in Chicago, IL in September, 2011.

These two events have included representatives from state DOTs, MPOs, rural planning organizations, and transit agencies. Participants at both events have recognized performance-based planning and programming as a best practice for the transportation industry and desired to more concretely define what is meant by performance-based planning and programming, what action items will best advance its implementation across the industry, and what steps are necessary to overcome the practical challenges to its meaningful implementation.

Key findings of this white paper and the National Workshops include:

Table ES.1 presents a framework of elements that have been identified as part of any performance-based planning and programming effort.

Table ES. 1 Performance-based Planning and Programming Elements
Elements Description Examples
Strategic Direction (Where do we want to go?)
Goals and objectives Goals and objectives that capture an agency's strategic direction Infrastructure condition, safety, mobility, reliability, and other goals established by an agency.
Performance measure Agreed on measures for goals and objectives. Percent of bridges in good condition, travel time index, and other measures linked to agency goals.
Long Range Planning (How are we going to get there?)
Identify targets and trends Establish aspirational targets or preferred trends based on an understanding of a desirable future for each goal area and measure. Desired conditions of pavement, bridge, and transit assets.
Desired future corridor travel times or reliability levels.
Desired future crash, injury, and fatality reductions
Identify strategies Strategies, policies, and investments that address transportation system needs within the identified goal areas. Resurfacing, rehabilitation, replacement and reconstruction to support infrastructure condition.
Signal timing, vehicle maintenance, service patrols, additional capacity, (transit or highway), tolling, and other strategies/investments to improve mobility or reliability.
Seat belt or drunk driving enforcement, graduated drivers licenses, rumble strips, training, median barriers, and other investments to improve safety.
Strategy evaluation Evaluate strategies and define program level system performance expectations, may be qualitative. Examine impact of varying levels of investment on pavement and, bridge preservation and transit assets.
Examine impact of packages of operations, capacity and other highway or transit investments on corridor travel time and/or reliability.
Examine potential for reduction in crashes, injuries, and fatalities from a package of safety investments.
Programming (What will it take?)
Investment plan Identify the amount and mix of funding needed to achieve performance goals within individual program areas. Investment plan for pavement, bridge, transit asset, operations, expansion, safety, and other projects consistent with strategy evaluation, including specific projects and high level summary of expected investment levels.
Resource constrained targets and trends Established quantitative or qualitative targets or desired trends for each goal/measure. Expected future conditions of pavement and, bridge conditions, and transit assets.
Expected future corridor travel times or reliability improvements given a package of investments.
Expected range of crash, injury, and fatality reduction from a package of safety investments.
Program of projects Identify specific transportation projects for an agency capital plan, or S/TIP that are consistent with system performance expectations established in strategy evaluation. S/TIP with specific projects identified in major program areas (pavement, bridge, transit assets, capital, operations, safety, etc.).
Implementation and Evaluation (How did we do?)
Reporting and monitoring Monitor progress on goals relative to targets and resource allocation efforts. Report on pavement, bridge, transit assets, reliability, safety, and other metrics presented to stakeholders, public and decision makers.
Evaluation Identify improvements in analytics, process, etc. to improve the planning process.
Evaluating the mix of projects.
Examine actual conditions relative to expected conditions for assets, reliability, safety, and other areas. Identify where tools produced inaccurate estimates or investments and policies were more or less successful than planned.

The white paper introduces performance-based planning and programming, describes its relationship to the planning process and potential goals, and provides an in depth description of the elements of the framework. It includes detailed descriptions of several best practice examples and identifies the common elements of performance-based planning and programming.

While the process and framework described in this white paper is intended to improve decision making for States, MPOs and transit agencies, it is important to recognize that performance-based planning and programming will be impacted by factors such as local politics, funding availability, and changing economic or demographic conditions.

Foreword

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names may appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

FHWA-HEP-12-042

2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient’s Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Performance-based Planning and Programming

5. Report Date

May 2012

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)

Hugh Louch

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
38 E. 32nd Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10016

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH-61-06-D-00004

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

White Paper
May 2011 to May 2012

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

HEP

15. Supplementary Notes

Mr. Egan Smith, Federal Highway Administration, COTR

16. Abstract

In response to recent economic, political, and social trends that have placed greater emphasis on public-sector accountability and cost-effectiveness, transportation agencies across the country have increasingly embraced performance management and performance-based planning and programming as a way to ensure that transportation resources are spent on projects and strategies that best serve communities' needs. This white paper describes the common elements of a performance-based transportation planning and programming process, building on work conducted by State departments of transportation (DOT), metropolitan planning organizations (MPO), and transit agencies. The white paper describes current practices in use at several transportation agencies and opportunities to incorporate performance measurement and management techniques into the federally required planning process.

17. Key Words

Performance, performance measurement, performance management, planning, programming

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)

Unclassified

20. Security Classif.
(of this page)

Unclassified

21. No of Pages

45

22. Price

N/A

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed pages authorized

Updated: 06/14/2012
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