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Statewide Opportunities for Integrating Operations, Safety and Multimodal Planning: A Reference Manual

Section 3 - Statewide-Level Opportunities

Overarching Themes

  • Bringing together multidisciplinary teams
  • Developing and using performance measures
  • Utilizing operations and safety data in tracking performance measures
  • Tying planning to programming
  • Ensuring that various statewide plans relate back to the SLRTP

This section focuses on opportunities for integrating operations, safety, and multimodal planning at the statewide level. Greater integration at the statewide level should flow into strengthened integration of operations, safety, and planning at the lower levels, particularly when interdisciplinary teams and performance measures are brought into these efforts.

There are a number of required documents as part of the transportation planning process, including the SLRTP, SHSP, and STIP. State DOTs may also develop other specialized plans focusing on specific issues, such as operations, transit, bicycle and pedestrian activity, and freight. Opportunities for integration occur by developing links between safety-focused efforts (such as the SHSP), operations-focused efforts (such as operations or ITS plans), and other multimodal transportation planning efforts with the SLRTP, and ultimately in influencing projects and investments that are programmed in the STIP. These opportunities are briefly described below.

Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan

flowchart

The SLRTP sets the direction for investments and should be a focus for DOTs that wish to integrate operations, safety, and multimodal planning. The statewide transportation planning process varies widely across the country. Unlike metropolitan transportation plans, the SLRTP is often a policy document or investment strategy and therefore does not contain information on specific projects and programs. A recommended approach to integrate operations and safety in the SLRTP involves the following steps:

Other Statewide Plans

There are a range of statewide plans that State DOTs develop outside of the SLRTP (see appendix A for a list). These plans should be linked to the SLRTP goals and policies. Development of specialized plans focusing on safety and operations provides opportunities for integration of these issues into long-range planning. Examples include:

Statewide Transportation Improvement Program

The STIP is the programming document for the State DOT, and identifies the projects to be implemented in order to reach the vision for the State's transportation system and services. It represents a commitment for Federal-aid transportation and transit funding. The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) from each of the State's metropolitan areas flows directly into the STIP; however, the STIP also contains projects from other sources, including non-metropolitan areas of the State.

Linking planning and programming is key to ensuring achievement of intended outcomes. If investments are not programmed to support the plan vision and specific objectives, it is likely that intended outcomes will not be achieved. Linking planning and programming occurs when projects in the STIP originate from strategies in the SLRTP. Fiscal constraint and a realistic assessment of available funding may raise awareness of cost-effective operations and safety strategies.

Section Content

Eight opportunities for integration of operations, safety, and multimodal planning at the statewide level are identified in this section:

As noted above, these opportunities are linked and may be considered steps in an overall approach to integration.

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Section 3.1

Develop Statewide Operations & Safety Goals and Objectives

Description Goals represent desired outcomes for the transportation system as a whole. Objectives are specific, measurable statements that identify what is to be accomplished in order to attain goals. An ideal objective starts with an action (e.g., "reduce," "increase," "attain," " maintain") and contains specific targets (e.g., "reduce fatalities by 10% by 2020," "increase the share of trips on non-motorized modes to 30% for work trips statewide").

At a minimum, a statewide plan that seeks to integrate operations, safety, and multimodal planning should reflect the importance of operations and safety within the goals in the SLRTP. Ideally, these goals should be multimodal. Establishing supporting objectives in the SLRTP should yield more focus on operations and safety investments.
Benefits
  • Communicates and demonstrates to the public the importance of operations
  • Places increased emphasis on operations and safety in project and program
  • Can increase multimodal integration if goals and objectives are written in ways that emphasize multimodal considerations.
Challenges
  • May be difficult for operations and safety staff to participate in the long-range transportation planning process, and for planners to engage these staff
  • May be difficult to develop robust operations and safety objectives that
  • Developing agreement on objectives with targets may be challenging.
  • Process may get bogged down if trying to incorporate too many goal areas.
Who Is Involved Planning staff working collaboratively with staff from operations and safety are essential to establishing goals and objectives. In order to effectively collaborate, each functional area will require a clear understanding of the planning process as well as the interests and responsibilities of the other functions.
Recommended
Implementation Steps
  1. Establish a working group with representatives from safety, operations, transit, and planning to discuss development of the SLRTP and the overall planning process.
  2. Utilize the working group to identify and/or develop goals at the statewide level (e.g. efficiency, integration, increased economic development, and balanced investment priorities). A key consideration is keeping it simple. It has been found that, in general, plans with four to six goal areas were easier to understand and abide by than those with numerous or obtusely named elements. 6
  3. Utilize the working group to develop specific, measurable objectives in relation to the goals. Objectives may include specific targets. Developing measurable objectives requires examining what data are available for tracking performance. Operations and safety staff may be able to identify data (on travel times, crashes, incident delay, etc.), which may not otherwise be accessible to planners.
  4. Ensure that the established goals and objectives (including the operations and safety-focused ones) reflect the overall State vision. They should also reflect those
  5. Ensure that the established objectives carry forward and are used in helping to prioritize investment decisions (see opportunities 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4).

Relevant Examples

Oregon DOT Transportation Plan: "Management of the System" and "Safety and Security" Goals

The Oregon DOT's Oregon Transportation Plan , updated in 2006, is the overarching policy document among a series of plans that together form the State transportation system plan. One of the plan's seven goals focuses on system management: to improve the efficiency of the transportation system by optimizing the existing transportation infrastructure capacity with improved operations and management. 7 This goal provides a direct linkage to operations strategies with a focuses on a combination of both supply and demand management strategies to improve operational efficiency through activities such as:

The plan also includes a "Safety and Security" goal, "to plan, build, operate, and maintain the transportation system so that it is safe and secure," along with corresponding policies. The plan outlines a "Safety Policy" focused on improving safety leadership in government, and public and private entities, and developing a Strategic Transportation Safety Action Plan to more effectively use resources to remedy system problems. Safety goals will be achieved through planning, education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency response efforts. Planning efforts include addressing safety and security issues through "planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of new and existing transportation systems, facilities, and assets."

More information is available at http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP/Pages/Plans.aspx. Contact: Robert A. Maestre, Long-Range Planning Manager, Robert.A.Maestre@odot.state.or.us, (503) 986-4165.

Michigan State Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP): Goals, Objectives, and Performance Measures

The Michigan DOT's (MDOT) SLRTP, MI Transportation Plan Moving Michigan Forward: 2005-2030 State Long-Range Transportation Plan, adopted June 2007, directly supports efficient and effective operations. Its vision specifically states that Michigan's future transportation system will be:

One of the plan's goals is: to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the transportation system and transportation services and expand MDOT's coordination and collaboration with partners. This goal reflects MDOT's desire to optimize the performance from Michigan's existing transportation system, with objectives focusing on the application of technology, stronger coordination and cooperation with public and private sector partners, and improved intermodal transfers. Another goal is: Continue to improve transportation safety and ensure the security of the transportation system. The plan also lists those projects that are prioritized under each goal. Measuring performance for all modes, with a focus on highway operations, safety, and the condition and performance of other modes, is identified as a strategy, and the separate Goals, Objectives, and Performance Measures Report provides a detailed discussion of the plan's four goals and associated objectives.

More information is available at http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1607,7-151-9621_14807_14809---,00.html or http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_SLRP_rept_Goals_Objectives_Performance_Report_11-17-06l_180916_7.pdf. Contact: Susan Gorski, Section Manager, Statewide & Urban Travel Analysis Section, gorskis@michigan.gov.

Toolkit: Sample Operations and Safety-Focused Goals and Objectives
Sample Goal Types Sample Objectives
Mobility and Travel Options
  • Improve personal mobility and access to transportation.
  • Increase the share of trips by transit, carpooling, bicycling/walking.
  • Improve transit travel time compared to auto travel time in major travel corridors.
  • Increase the share of population with access to high-frequency transit services.
System Efficiency
  • Reduce delay experienced by travelers on highways and transit.
  • Reduce the share of highways that are congested during peak hours.
  • Reduce the number of hours per day that highways exceed LOS F.
  • Reduce the cost of congestion on the transportation system.
  • Increase average vehicle occupancy for work trips.
  • Increase transit load factors and fare-box recovery ratio.
System Reliability
  • Improve travel time reliability on the freeway system.
  • Improve travel time reliability on the freight network.
  • Improve on-time performance for transit services.
Safety
  • Reduce the number of total fatalities on the transportation system.
  • Reduce the number of injuries on the transportation system.
  • Reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
  • Reduce the number of fatalities and injuries in traffic accidents involving heavy-duty trucks.
  • Reduce the number of alcohol-related fatalities and injuries.
Innovation / New Technology
  • Improve the training and professional capacity of traffic signal operations and maintenance staff through stewardship of regional training programs.
  • Provide the capability to monitor transit vehicle location using an Automated Vehicle Location System. The location data can be used to determine real-time schedule adherence and update the transit system's schedule in real-time.
Traveler Information
  • Ensure that reliable, multimodal, real-time traveler information is disseminated consistently throughout the region.
  • Provide roadway operations data (e.g., speed, travel times) to real-time traveler information services to better inform the public in real time. 8
Work zone management
  • Reduce the number of work zones (e.g., through system preservation/preventative maintenance, combining of work zones) or duration of work zones (e.g., full road closures, completion time incentives).
  • Coordinate planned projects to facilitate improved traffic flow through construction zones and minimize traffic impacts.

Relevant Resources

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Operations and Office of Planning, Planning for Operations, http://www.plan4operations.dot.gov/index.htm.

National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), Report 546: Incorporating Safety into Long-Range Transportation Planning, http://www.trb.org/Main/Public/Blurbs/156716.aspx.

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Section 3.2

Develop Performance Measures and Targets in the SLRTP

Description Incorporating performance measures into the SLRTP serves an important function for communicating and coordinating between a DOT's decisionmakers, policymakers, and the public and for assessing progress toward achieving the goals and objectives outlined in the SLRTP. Performance measures focused on safety and operations issues, such as reliability, access to traveler information, incident management, and transit operations, will help to focus attention on these issues and enable tracking performance. Combined with data and analysis tools, performance measures serve an important role in helping to provide a basis for prioritizing investments. When coordinated with planned operations activities such as the implementation of ITS infrastructure, the data collection efforts required for performance measures can be supported with limited additional cost. These performance measures can then be utilized in other documents, including operations plans, the SHSP, and modal plans, as well as regional and corridor planning efforts.
Benefits
  • Elevate attention to specific issues (e.g., pedestrian fatalities, nonrecurring delay) that may not otherwise receive the same level of attention.
  • Enable the agency to track success toward goals and objectives.
  • Help in communicating agency work with the public and other stakeholders, including the benefits of investment.
  • Provide an internal accounting system that allows the agency to gauge where resources (staffing and financial) are most needed.
  • Create an opportunity for improved data, data collection, and estimation procedures when there is strong reliance on this information.
  • Result in more effective use of resources (financial, personnel, infrastructure).
Challenges
  • Expanding the traditional highway LOS, pavement condition, and other engineering-oriented performance measure to include multimodal measures, measures addressing nonrecurring delay, and specific safety issues can be difficult.
  • Data and analysis capability limitations (coverage, quality, needs, accessibility, transfer between agencies) may limit use of performance measures.
  • Gaining agreement on appropriate targets to set can be difficult. Performance targets should be realistic, but it may be difficult to determine what is an appropriate target for fatalities or injuries (given an ultimate goal is to have zero deaths and debilitating injuries in the transportation system).
Who Is Involved
  • Operations, safety, and planning staff should work together to identify and develop performance measures to support goals and objectives.
  • Operations and safety staff in particular can help identify data that can be used to support tracking the performance measures.
  • Policymakers will assist in incorporating performance measures into statewide policy to help realize greater coordination among the various internal functions.
Recommended Implementation Steps
  1. Maintain or convene a multidisciplinary team of operations, safety, and planning staff focused on developing performance measures.
  2. Consider vision, goals, and objectives that have been established in order to select appropriate performance measures that relate to these objectives.
  3. Evaluate data availability and adequacy to monitor performance measures.
  4. Ensure that performance measures capture the impacts of operational or ITS strategies on system reliability and safety considerations such as incident management and road fatalities as well as planning objectives and system long-term needs.
  5. onsider relevant examples and recommendations from research projects, other states" experiences, and existing studies (see toolkit and resources below).
  6. Develop and implement the established performance measures.
  7. Clearly define and track roles and responsibilities of those involved in the performance measurement as well as the actual performance of the system.

Relevant Examples

New Hampshire DOT Transportation Plan: Mobility and Safety Objectives and Performance Measures

The New Hampshire DOT's transportation plan, A Framework for Transforming Transportation in New Hampshire 9 (public draft, May 2008) is built on a vision, goals, objectives, and strategies, which lead to performance measures that are used to assess progress. The plan's vision and goals were developed by the Community Advisory Committee through a facilitated, consensus-based process and appear to put a high emphasis on operations and safety. The vision indicates that transportation in New Hampshire provides safe and secure mobility and travel options for all the state's residents, visitors, and goods movement; it is well maintained, efficient and reliable; and provides seamless interstate and intrastate connectivity. Under the goal of "Mobility and Modal Choice," selected objectives include:

Under the goal of "Safety," objectives include: A key initiative in the SLRTP is use of performance measurements to allow the DOT to track and communicate the effectiveness of policies, programs, and investments. For each goal area, the plan identifies performance measures categories and draft "dashboard" metrics. Examples of these include reliability (travel time variability, transit on-time performance), traveler safety (number of fatalities, fatality rate, serious injury crash rate), incident response (incident response and clearance duration), and customer satisfaction (overall satisfaction from annual customer surveys).

The New Hampshire DOT is currently in the process of finalizing updates to its 2008 SLRTP. This updated draft includes some minor edits that continue to emphasize and strengthen the areas of safety, operations, and multimodal planning, as well as strengthen discussions on security, climate change, and financial challenges. This plan is anticipated to be completed in fall 2010.

More information is available at http://www.nh.gov/dot/org/projectdevelopment/planning/lrtbp.htm. Contact: Bill Watson, Planning and Community Assistance Administrator, bwatson@dot.state.nh.us, (603) 271-3344.

Minnesota DOT Statewide Transportation Plan: Incorporating Operations Policies, Measures, and Targets 10

Mn/DOT's recently updated transportation plan from 2009, Minnesota Statewide Transportation Policy Plan 2009-2028: Your Destination...Our Priority, focuses on statewide efforts to achieve a new vision that "is broad and far-reaching... [and] speaks to transportation as a critical ingredient for the continued economic vitality of the entire state and livability of its communities." Previously, Mn/DOT addressed operations as a separate policy within its long-range plan, but, in the new plan, operations is emphasized as a strategy to help effectively manage the transportation system, particularly as it relates to congestion in Minnesota's major metro area, the Twin Cities. The 2009 plan update highlights safety, operations, and transit as areas within which transportation improvements will be made in order to achieve their long-range planning vision.

One of the opportunities Mn/DOT outlines for improvement, "new approaches to safety and congestion," notes using a systematic, data-driven approach to help solve safety and congestion problems. It highlights a new approach where the funding priority will be elevated for those projects that are low-cost, high-benefit, and utilize innovative solutions that are both effective and can be implemented in the short term. Mn/DOT has already begun to implement some of these solutions, which include rumble strips, cable-median barriers, high-occupancy toll lanes, expanded capacity through shoulder lane conversions, and lane remarkings within existing rights of way.

Complementing its discussion of opportunities to improve safety and congestion, Mn/DOT identifies a number of policies for realizing these opportunities, which are further supported by performance measures to keep Mn/DOT accountable and transparent to the public. Policy 1, Traveler Safety, focuses on improving safety by "reduc[ing] the number of fatalities and serious injuries for all travel modes." Policy 5, Statewide Connections, focuses on statewide travel and improving the connections between major centers of commerce within the State. Mn/DOT has supported this by developing corridor-wide average travel speed performance targets specifically for the Greater Minnesota Interregional Corridor (IRC), one of the State's main connectors. Policy 6, Twin Cities Mobility, emphasizes effective management and operations, focusing on transit, within the Twin Cities. Due to the limited potential for capacity expansion within the cities, Mn/DOT notes the priority for projects that are high benefit and low cost, reduce incident duration to help reduce congestion, and improve traveler communication efforts. Policy 7, Greater Minnesota Metropolitan and Regional Mobility, focuses on improving travel outside of metro regions, at the subregional level, through improved coordination between jurisdictions and decisions regarding land use and transportation.

Performance measures associated with these policies include:

Performance Measure Relevant Policy
Annual number of vehicle-related fatalities on all State and local roads Policy 1
Annual number of severe or incapacitating injuries on all Minnesota roads Policy 1
Annual number of bicycle and pedestrian-related fatalities and injuries Policy 1
Dollars spent on Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) stand-alone safety projects Policy 1
Percent of Greater Minnesota IRC miles meeting or within 2 mph of target speed Policy 5
Percent of Level 1 and 2 Regional Trade Centers with scheduled intercity bus service Policy 5
Twin Cities" ranking among metropolitan areas for peak to off-peak travel times Policy 6
Percent of freeway miles congested in weekday peak periods Policy 6
Number of transit passengers served in the Twin Cities region Policy 6
Miles of bus-only shoulder lanes Policy 6
Average clearance time for urban freeway incidents Policy 6
Metro signal retiming frequency on arterial routes Policy 6
Total miles covered by the Freeway Incident Response Safety Team Policy 6
Number of park-and-ride spaces in the Twin Cities region Policy 6
Total number of public transit bus service hours provided compared to the total number of hours needed to meet transit demand Policy 7
Number of counties in Greater Minnesota with county-wide transit service Policy 7
Percentage of Minnesota workers commuting by a mode other than automobile Policy 7

The Plan's framework of opportunities and policies is supported by a variety of plans: Greater Minnesota Transit Implementation/Investment Plan, Greater Minnesota Transit Plan, Intercity Bus Study, and the Statewide Freight and Passenger Rail Plan.

More information is available at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/planning/stateplan/background.html. Contact: Peggy Reichert, Director, Minnesota DOT Statewide Planning Unit, Peggy.Reichert@state.mn.us, (651) 284-0501.

Toolkit: Sample Operations and Safety Performance Measures 11
Type Measure Definition Sample Units of Measurement
Satisfaction with transportation system operations, safety, and service quality Customer
satisfaction
Qualitative measure of customers" opinions related to roadway and/or transit management and operations services. Very satisfied
Somewhat satisfied
Neutral
Somewhat dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied
Don"t know / Not applicable
Mobility Extent of congestion-spatial Miles of roadway within a predefined area and time period where average travel times are congested (30% longer than unconstrained times). Lane miles of congested conditions
Percent of congested roadways
Extent of congestion-temporal Measure of time during which more than 20% of the roadway sections in a predefined area are congested (see definition above). Hours of congestion
Recurring Delay Repetitive vehicle delays for the current time frame (time of day, day of week, day type). Vehicle-hours
Non-recurring delay Vehicle delay in excess of recurring delay for the current time frame (time of day, day of week, day type). Vehicle-hours
Speed Average speed of vehicles measured in a single lane for a single direction of flow, at a specific location on the specified roadway. Miles per hour
Feet per second
Kilometers per hour
Throughput (Person) Number of persons traversing a roadway section in a specified direction in a given unit of time (includes vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and bicyclists). Persons per hour
Throughput (Vehicle) Number of vehicles traversing a roadway section in a specified direction in a given unit of time. Vehicles per hour
Travel Time-Link Average time required to traverse a section of roadway in a single direction. Minutes per trip
Travel time-Reliability (Buffer time) Buffer time is the additional time that must be added to a trip (measured according to the "travel time" definition above) to ensure that travelers making the trip will arrive at their destination at, or before the intended time at least 95% of the time. Minutes
Percent of total trip time
Index
Travel Time-Trip The average time required to travel from an origin to a destination on a trip that might include multiple modes of travel. Minutes per trip
Incident Management Incident Duration Time between incident notification and complete incident clean-up. Vehicle-hours
Incident Clearance Time Average clearance times for major (90+ minutes) incidents on identified roadway. Minutes
Safety Traffic Fatalities Number of traffic fatalities. Number of fatalities
Pedestrian/Bicycle Fatalities Number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities. Number of fatalities
Transit Fatalities Number of fatalities for passengers on transit services. Number of fatalities
Fatality rate Number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle or passenger miles (for each mode). Number of fatalities per vehicle mile or passenger mile
Injuries Number of serious injuries (for each mode). Number of injuries
Injury rate Number of serious injuries per 100 million vehicle or passenger miles (for each mode). Number of injuries per vehicle mile or passenger mile
Crashes Number of (fatal and non-fatal) crashes. Number of crashes
Connectivity Connectivity to Intermodal Facilities (driving) Number of miles away from an identified intermodal facility. % within 5 miles (1 mile for metropolitan areas)
Dwelling Unit Proximity Number of miles away from identified dwelling units. % within 5 miles,1 mile for metropolitan areas (driving), % within ¼ mile (walking)
Employment Proximity Number of miles away from identified places of employment. % within 5 miles, 1 mile for metropolitan areas (driving), % within ¼ mile (walking)
Percentage of Miles With Bicycle Accommodations Number of miles on identified roadway with bicycle accommodations. % miles with bike lane/shoulder coverage
Percentage of Miles With Pedestrian Accommodations Number of miles on identified roadway with pedestrian accommodations. % miles with sidewalk coverage
  Service Coverage (walking/biking) Number of transit stops within walking distance (less than ¼ mile) and/or biking distance (less than 2 miles) for an identified percent of the local population. Number of transit stops

Relevant Resources

Federal Highway Administration, Operations Performance Measures, http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/perf_measurement/index.htm.

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety, A Primer on Safety Performance Measures for the Transportation Planning Process, http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/tsp/fhwahep09043/cs4.cfm.

Federal Highway Administration, Traffic Safety Performance Measures for States and Federal Agencies (DOT HS 811 025), August 2008, Available at: http://www.nhtsa.gov/.

National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Synthesis 311: Performance Measures of Operational Effectiveness for Highway Systems and Segments. Transportation Research Board. 2003. Available at: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_syn_311.pdf.

National Transportation Operations Coalition. Performance Measurement Initiative: Final Report. July 2005. Available at: http://www.ntoctalks.com/action_teams/perf_measure.php.

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Section 3.3

Collect Data and Monitor System Performance

Description Once performance measures have been established, agencies should collect data and develop a tracking system to evaluate progress in relation to these measures. Performance measure tracking can also be used to identify deficiencies, which can feed into regional and corridor and sub-area planning.

Data are a critical element of the analysis that serves as the foundation for safety and operations planning. For many years, the quality and timeliness of crash data were lacking, constraining the ability of safety and transportation planners to understand what was happening on the road network. Similarly, the quality and availability of data on travel time reliability, incidents, and the sources of non-recurring delays have been a gap in knowledge regarding the system. The advent of geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) has provided much more effective and efficient ways of handling data. Many states are now requiring common police crash reporting forms so that data are consistent from one part of the State to another. Some states are using new communications technologies to provide crash information within a few days of the crash having occurred. 12 ITS technologies now provide a wealth of real-time data on travel speeds and volumes 7 days per week, 24 hours per day, allowing greater information on reliability problems and the sources of delay. Integrating these and other improvements in data management into planning help in prioritizing investments and more effectively address operations and safety strategies. (See opportunities 4.2 and 5.1. )
Benefits
  • Enables the agency to track success toward goals and objectives.
  • Allows for a more data-driven approach to identifying system deficiencies and prioritizing specific projects and programs.
  • Provides an effective format for communicating an agency's progress in various areas to internal users as well as the public, and for evaluating the effectiveness of implemented strategies.
Challenges
  • Transferring data in a format that is useful to planners can be difficult. The vast amount of data potentially available requires coordination to determine who will use the data and how, what data are needed, in what format, and for what periods.
  • Tying performance measures to investment decision making and programming can be a gap. It may be difficult to make tradeoffs between competing investments, particularly those with long-term and short-term impacts.
Who Is Involved
  • Operations, safety, and planning staff should work together to identify data and develop system monitoring plans using established performance measures.
  • Operations and safety staff in particular can help identify data that can be used to support tracking the performance measures.
Recommended Implementation Steps
  1. Develop a working group to define data needed to support performance measures in planning applications and potential availability from operations and safety divisions.
  2. Convene the working group to discuss evaluation criteria for each of the established performance measures as well as an appropriate schedule for performance measure evaluation. Draw on other states" experiences.
  3. Implement procedures for effectively sharing and tracking data.
  4. Publicly or internally report on the status of established performance measures, as appropriate.

Relevant Examples

Maryland DOT: Annual Attainment Report on Transportation System Performance

Since 2002, the Maryland DOT (MDOT) has published the Annual Attainment Report on Transportation System Performance. The report details MDOT's tracking efforts to date for evaluating Maryland's transportation network performance. 13 The performance measures outlined in the report directly link back to the goals and objectives of the Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP). This tracking tool is particularly useful for Maryland's transportation agencies when they are determining their overall management strategies. The report outlines current performance measures, their evaluation, and future performance strategies.

For example, in the "System Preservation and Performance" section, performance measures for the 2010 report include user cost savings for the traveling public due to incident management and operating cost per passenger trip, which evaluates Maryland Transit Administration's (MTA) ability to effectively and efficiently meet passenger needs on various travel modes such as bus, light rail, metro service, light rail service, and paratransit and taxi services.

In the "Connectivity for Daily Life" section, performance measures include the percent of freeway lane-miles and arterial lane-miles with average annual volumes at or above congested levels, percentage of state-owned roadway centerline miles within urban areas that have sidewalks, percentage of state-owned roadway centerline miles with a Bicycle Level of Comfort (BLOC) grade "D" or better and mileage of MDSHA-owned highways with marked bike lanes, annual vehicle revenue miles of service provided (measures miles on bus, light rail, metro service, light rail service, and paratransit and taxi services), and average weekday transit ridership.

The "Safety and Security" section includes performance measures such as customers perceptions of safety on the MTA system while riding, waiting at stops, and while walking to a vehicle in an MTA parking lot, preventable accidents per 100,000 vehicle-miles, and the number and rate of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities and injuries on all Maryland roads.

More information is available at http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/Office_of_Planning_and_Capital_Programming/Plans_Programs_Reports/Index.html, Annual Attainment Report on Transportation System Performance. Contact: Mike Haley, Office of Planning and Capital Programming, MHaley@mdot.state.md.us, (410) 865-1011.

Virginia DOT: Data Business Plan for System Operations

VDOT completed the Data Business Plan for System Operations in June 2008 to support data operations within the maintenance and operations functional area, and to ensure that investments in data coincide with VDOT's business needs. VDOT decided to develop the plan after performing an internal assessment of data collection and data use within the department. It found that while data sharing occurred in the areas of planning and environment and construction, in all other sectors of the department, data use was not integrated and often duplicated. The data business plan has been used to evaluate the contribution of data to VDOT's operations, establish a programmatic approach to planning for future investments in data collection, provide an understanding of available data resources across all levels of the maintenance and operations directorate, identify data needs, and define the roles and responsibilities related to data collection.

VDOT is also encouraging data stewardship as a way to improve accountability for data quality and data management and encourage collaboration among user groups, executives, information technology personnel, and other stakeholders related to data needs.

In developing its plan and facilitating the associated stewardship, VDOT aims to achieve the following:

This plan will ultimately integrate data collection as a business process integral to the operation of the VDOT business itself.

More information is available at http://webservices.camsys.com/trbcomm/2009PresPap.htm, VDOT's Approach to Aligning Data Program. Contact: Jeff Price, Assistant Director Operations Planning Division, VDOT, Jeff.Price@vdot.virginia.gov, (804) 786-2826.

Washington State DOT: Gray Notebook

This graphic depicts the "Performance Dashboard" of the Gray Notebook. There are five policy goals: safety, preservation, mobility (congestion relief), environment, and stewardship. Under each of these goals, there are performance measures. Progress toward achieving these performance measures is evaluated using a check mark if the goal has been met, an upward arrow if the performance is trending in a favorable direction, a horizontal double arrow if the trend is holding, and a downward arrow if the performance is trending in a unfavorable direction.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is a known leader in system performance measurement and transportation systems operations. WSDOT began developing the Gray Notebook (formerly titled Measures, Markers, and Mileposts) 14 in 2001 to communicate agency and system performance to legislators and citizens alike. The publication links performance measures from the agency's Strategic Plan policy direction from the State's legislative and executive branches, and Federal reporting requirements. This type of aggressive reporting is an important step to transportation planning accountability, which will likely become a key part of the next surface transportation bill. (An example of a performance dashboard is shown in the image to the right.)

The Gray Notebook presents articles in a way that makes the topics" relationship to the five Legislative policy goals-and WSDOT's own strategic goals clear. The notebook is organized into five sections devoted to those strategic goals, each marked by a page that recaps WSDOT's goals for Safety, Preservation, Mobility/Congestion Relief, Environment, and Stewardship. The first four sections feature quarterly and annual reports on key agency functions, providing regularly updated system and program performance information. The Stewardship section reports on delivery of capital projects funded by the three main State funding programs and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). They contain summary tables, detailed narrative project summaries, and financial information. The information in these articles can be used by planners to update priorities and focus investments where performance improvements are needed.

Among the 23 subjects addressed in the Gray Notebook are:

The system performance updates are rotated over four quarters based on data availability and relevant data cycles. Annual reports provide in-depth analysis of topics and associated issues. Examples of mobility measures include average clearance times for major (90+ minute) incidents on key Puget Sound corridors, percentage of Washington State Ferries trips departing on time, percentage of Amtrak Cascades trips arriving on time, and annual weekday hours of delay statewide on highways compared to maximum throughput (51 mph).

The Gray Notebook uses several important styles to better convey its performance to the reader: "no surprises reporting", "performance journalism," and good graphing technique. "No surprises" refers to a philosophy of reporting on news both good and bad so that decisionmakers can be well informed. "Performance journalism" refers to using a journalistic writing style to aid in conveying detailed and sometimes complex performance information to a reader that they will be able to understand and utilize. Finally, the notebook emphasizes good graphing technique to ensure that data is correctly, fairly, and clearly displayed to convey performance, whether using charts, tables, or maps.

Each edition of the Gray Notebook, as well as each performance measure going back to 2001, is archived quarterly on WSDOT's Accountability Web site at www.wsdot.wa.gov/accountability.

Source: Washington State DOT. "The Gray Notebook." March 2010. Available at: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/BD26D6F0-B554-497C-9D0E-35C546BF179F/0/GrayNotebookMar10.pdf. Accessed June 23, 2010.

More information is available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/accountability. Contact: Tyler Winchell, Performance Specialist, Washington DOT Strategic Assessment Office, WincheT@wsdot.wa.gov, (360) 705-7907.

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Section 3.4

Develop Strategies and Programs to Support Established Goals and Objectives

Description Goals and objectives identified in the SLRTP, SHSP, and other planning documents should lead to development of policies, strategies, programs, and investments that support attainment of objectives. Performance measures are a useful tool to help prioritize investments because they provide a means to identify system deficiencies where investments are warranted. In this way funding can be allocated based on investment priorities that are measurable and can be tracked over time. Analysis tools can also be used to help develop tradeoffs between different kinds of strategies.
Benefits
  • Goals, objectives, and performance measures assist in justifying and prioritizing projects.
  • Provides for an avenue where projects that will result in system-wide improvements will receive funding priority, and result in a more effective use of available funds.
Challenges
  • Given the variety of goals and objectives, it can be difficult to make tradeoffs.
  • Need to better understand the impacts of operations and ITS strategies in relation to policy goals and objectives.
  • Strategies, projects, and policies included in plans might not get funded or implemented; it is important to tie planning with fiscal programming.
Who Is Involved
  • High-level decision makers typically determine statewide investment priorities based on recommendations and data presented by staff.
  • Traditionally this consideration in the SLRTP has been supported by planning staff, but should include operations and safety as well. Planners, operators, and safety specialists should work together to identify effective approaches (e.g., policy, programs, projects) to address objectives.
Recommended Implementation Steps
  1. Utilize a multidisciplinary working group with representatives from safety, operations, transit, and planning that has been involved in development of the SLRTP in order to identify strategies, policies, programs, and investments to meet goals and objectives.
  2. Consider funding and fiscal constraint in developing implementation strategies in order to ensure that the identified strategies are realistic.
  3. If useful, develop a specific plan or plans addressing key issues (e.g., operations, transit, freight) that involves more detailed data analysis and/or modeling in order to help identify and prioritize projects for funding.
  4. Develop a comparison matrix that can be used by decision makers to see the tradeoffs and benefits of transportation systems management and operations strategies in relation to SLRTP goals and objectives.

Relevant Examples

New Jersey Transportation Plan: Strong Transit and Intermodal Operations Focus

New Jersey's SLRTP, called Transportation Choices 2030 (October 2008) 15 is developed jointly by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and NJ Transit. This policy plan provides broad direction for the transportation system, with a heavy emphasis on integrating transportation-land use planning (smart growth) to support transit, walking, and biking. It also emphasizes the importance of ITS to improve operations; facilities to move more freight by rail and policies that support moving freight during nonrush hours; travel demand management measures to shift travel out of cars and shift travel times; and strategic improvements to address bottlenecks in the highway system. The New Jersey SLRTP supports continued implementation of NJDOT's ITS Master Plan, which calls for significantly expanding the number of closed-circuit television cameras, electronic message signs on the state's highways, and continually improving the NJ511 free phone and Web service for transportation information. In addition, NJ Transit is applying ITS to improve safety, including Automatic Train Control (ATC) to monitor speed and apply brakes automatically if necessary.

One of the plan's goals is to "Improve Mobility, Accessibility, and Reliability," through operational and multimodal strategies such as improving the speed and reliability of bus service by establishing bus priority corridors and implementing preferential treatments for buses to reduce delays due to congestion; sustain efforts to improve the on-time performance and reliability of all public transit services; and aggressively pursue transportation demand management by giving greater emphasis to the work of transportation management associations. Another goal is to "Operate Efficiently" through strategies such as providing customers with real-time travel information about current conditions and the availability of choices; reducing the duration of incidents through increased coverage of emergency service patrols and increased coordination with local emergency responders; improving traffic signal operations; and making transit fare payment easier and more seamless.

More information is available at http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/works/njchoices/. Contact: Brent Barnes, Director of Statewide Planning, brent.barnes@dot.state.nj.us, (609) 530-2866.

Virginia DOT: Northern Region Operations Program Development

This graphic illustrates the Northern Virginia ITS Architecture. It shows the five components, Planning, Program Development, Fiscal Programming, Program Delivery, and Program Evaluation. These components are interconnected, illustrated by a connective arrow loop. Each of the five components encompass other areas: Planning involves the NRO Strategic Plan, the NRO ITS Architecture, and the NRO Master Plans. Program Development includes Annual Strategic Focus Development, Project Development, and Project Prioritization. Fiscal Programming includes preparing a funding package and finalizing Fiscal Year (FY) investment plan, and requesting funding. Program Delivery consists of kick-off the investment plan, project initiation, and project implementation. Program evaluation includes evaluating programs and developing a year end report.

Source: Virginia DOT. Northern Virginia ITS Architecture.
http://vdot-itsarch.com/planningprocess/planningprocess.html.
Accessed April 26, 2010.

VDOT's Northern Region Operations (NRO) has pioneered an integrated, full-cycle process for investing in, implementing, maintaining, evaluating, and enhancing ITS and operations projects. Over the course of several years, NRO developed and refined a process that can serve as a model for public agencies all across the United States. This integrated process flows from initial strategic program-level planning to tactical project planning and prioritization, investment decisions, ITS architecture and FHWA Rule 940 compliance, through project implementation, evaluation, and feedback to the ongoing strategic planning process. Along the way, some sophisticated approaches and methodologies developed by VDOT NRO are utilized to ensure that a high-quality, robust, and well-ordered ITS program is delivered to its customers.

In a resource-constrained environment with increased calls for accountability and growing mobility and safety needs, the delivery of the operations program requires VDOT NRO to make sound investment decisions between various projects with competing priorities. VDOT NRO's Planning and Program Delivery (PPD) Process consists of five phases: Planning, Program Development, Fiscal Programming, Program Delivery, and Program Evaluation.

VDOT NRO uses a three-step process for its annual Program Development phase: (1) identify program and project needs, (2) develop the Annual Strategic Focus, and (3) prioritize the system needs based on the identified annual goals and objectives. NRO begins by identifying its program and project needs through the objectives and goals of the long-range plan and Strategic Plan, and use of the ITS Decision Support Tool (www.vdot-itsdst.com) and ITS Device Master Plans. Once the program and project needs have been identified, NRO develops its Annual Strategic Focus, an identified subset of the goals and objectives contained in the Strategic Plan. The goals and objectives from the plan are assigned weights by NRO section managers during the Annual Program Planning Workshop. The weights are based on the current strategic focus, each manager's experience, recent technological advances, direction from administrators within the District and Central Office, and other factors. The weights are compiled and a rank order for the goals and objectives is established for the upcoming fiscal year. The result of the 2009 Annual Strategic Focus for Fiscal Year 2010 is below.

Following the Annual Strategic Focus process, projects are mapped back to their associated goals and objectives, and the weights of each associated goal and objective are applied, resulting in a project prioritization score. This score provides a guideline for allocation during the fiscal programming phase when projects are linked with eligible funding sources.

More information on projects in Northern Virginia is available http://www.vdot-itsarch.com/planningprocess/planningprocess.html. Contact: Amy Tang McElwain, Northern Region Operations, AmyTang.McElwain@VDOT.Virginia.gov.

This pie chart illustrates Virginia DOT's, Northern Region Operations' Fiscal Year 2010 annual strategic focus with weighted strategic plan goals. Goal 1, "Reduce Congestion," was weighted at 20%. Goal 2, "Improve Safety," was weighted at 22%. Goal 3, "Enhance Communication with Travelers," was weighted at 7%. Goal 4, "Promote Environmental Responsibility," was weighted at 5%. Goal 5, "Preserve and Manage an Integrated Traffic Management System," was weighted at 22%. Goal 6, "Improve Emergency Management," was weighted at 11%. Goal 7, "Improve NRO Business," was weighted at 6%. Goal 8, "Improve Regional ITS/Operations Coordination and Efficiency," was weighted at 7%.

Source: Virginia DOT. NRO FY2010 Strategic Investment Program Plan (SIPP).
Available at http://www.vdot-itsarch.com/docsandfiles.html.

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Section 3.5

Take Full Advantage of the Strategic Highway Safety Plan

Description Each State must develop an SHSP as mandated in SAFETEA-LU, 23 USC 148. An SHSP is a statewide-coordinated safety plan that provides a comprehensive framework for reducing highway fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. The SHSP strategically establishes statewide goals, objectives, and key emphasis areas developed in consultation with Federal, State, local, and private sector safety stakeholders, and should be directly linked to the SLRTP and STIP. The SHSP must address engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency services elements of highway safety as key factors in evaluating highway projects. Through the establishment of statewide goals and objectives, the SHSP and SLRTP have a natural synergy. By collaborating on the setting of goals, planning and safety functions are integrated at the highest level within the organization. Linked goals and objectives allow the setting of strategies and monitoring that reinforce the relationship, and provide a mechanism for integrating safety considerations into long- and short-range transportation planning. The SHSP also can provide a potential opportunity for integrating operations considerations with safety.
Benefits
  • Integrated statewide goals and objectives for safety, and operation.
  • Greater integration in strategies, monitoring, and identified improvements.
  • Data on crashes collected for the SHSP can also be used to help advance operations strategies related to incidents and incident management, along with infrastructure and educational strategies.
Challenges
  • Update schedules for the SHSP and SLRTP may not be aligned.
  • Separate financial resources to support each plan may result in a disconnect in focus, which requires coordination.
Who Is Involved
  • Safety staff and stakeholders-Collaborative relationships among safety partners, including State and local transportation agencies, law enforcement, and others, are vital to developing a successful SHSP.
  • Planning staff-Planners ensure that the safety goals and objectives in the SHSP and SLRTP are aligned to support projects funded in the STIP.
  • Operations staff-Operators can identify opportunities to align operations considerations with SHSP goals and objectives.
Recommended Implementation Steps
  1. Establish a multidisciplinary working group of safety partners, operators, and planners to consider existing goals and objectives in the SHSP and SLRTP.
  2. Identify potential overlap, synergies, and commonalities. Incorporate SHSP goals and objectives into the SLRTP, or update new goals and objectives for each plan based on a collaborative understanding.
  3. Determine the overlap between existing safety and operations problems.
  4. Identify relevant and appropriate strategies, policies, action plans, and countermeasures that will help remedy safety and operations problems. Examine potential future safety and operations issues.
  5. When updated plans are adopted, monitor system performance in each area to identify improvements.
  6. Prioritize projects, programs, and policies according to data analysis and funding availability.
  7. Ensure that safety priorities are adequately reflected in funded projects and programs in the STIP, and built into project development.

Relevant Examples

Virginia DOT's Strategic Highway Safety Plan

The Virginia SHSP includes a section, "Transportation Safety Planning," that recognizes the important role of integrating safety within the transportation planning process. It notes: "Individual jurisdictions, as well as state and regional agencies have widely varied transportation safety planning practices. To make informed decisions about highway crash trends, state, regional, and local agencies need current data and analysis for accurate problem identification. With good crash records, strategies can be implemented to address the causes of crashes. In addition, safety between modes of transportation needs to be more fully addressed." 16

The SHSP also makes a tie between highway safety and operations. For instance in an emphasis area focusing on preventing roadway departures, Virginia's plan notes that the Commonwealth aims to improve the operations, maintenance and design process to incorporate safety reviews and to facilitate better design decisions. The plan also includes a section focusing on work zone safety, which includes operations strategies. Some examples of strategies in the SHSP that integrate operations, safety, and planning include:

More information is available at: http://www.virginiadot.org/info/hwysafetyplan.asp. Contact: Mike Sawyer, Assistant Division Administrator, VDOT Central office, Traffic Engineering Division, Mike.Sawyer@VDOT.Virginia.gov, (804) 786-4196.

Ohio DOT's Strategic Highway Safety Plan

ODOT's SHSP identifies its focus on integration up front. In the Introduction, it notes that the SHSP "is considered comprehensive because it asks government agencies and safety advocates to work across jurisdictional boundaries to address crash problems regardless of where they occur." 17 Examples of strategies included in the SHSP that relate to operations and planning include:

ODOT has developed comprehensive efforts to integrate operations, safety, and planning, which include a multidisciplinary safety review committee that includes representatives from roadway design, traffic operations, and safety planning and data analysis. This committee is directly involved in project selection for projects that are funded through the Safety Program (largely the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) as well as other funding sources).

Additional integration efforts include ODOT's statewide Systematic Signal Timing & Phasing Program (SSTPP), which was launched in 2008 and is designed to evaluate and update the timing and phasing of signal systems in congested, high-crash corridors where signal timing can be linked to crashes. The program was developed based on a number of national studies that demonstrated a link between improved signal timing and significant reductions in crashes, travel times, fuel costs, and air quality improvements. The program is funded through Ohio's Safety Program (HSIP as well as State and local funding). Once the analysis is complete, ODOT uses this information to make decisions regarding improvements.

ODOT has made efforts to link its SHSP with other efforts such as its project development process, which now requires a work zone design review by the Ohio State Highway Patrol in major construction zones. This review will provide ODOT with input on how the work zone design could be improved in order to encourage safer speeds and to facilitate enforcement efforts during construction.

More information is available at: http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/TransSysDev/ProgramMgt/CapitalPrograms/Pages/SHSP.aspx. Contact: Jennifer Townley, Systems Planning and Program Management Administrator, (Unavailable May 2011) Jennifer.Townley@dot.state.oh.us, (614) 466-7493.

Toolkit: Sample Operations-related Strategies to Consider in the SHSP
Focus Area Operations Strategies
Aggressive drivers
  • Speed cameras
  • Message signs about enforcement
Work zone safety
  • Real-time work zone information and traffic conditions
  • Variable speed limits
  • Incident alert system for work zones
Intersection safety
  • Traffic signal improvements
Roadway safety
  • Speed management
  • Access management
  • Traffic signal coordination
  • Incident management
  • Traveler information systems, including road weather information
Transit bus safety
  • Traveler information system
  • emand management programs
Pedestrian and bicycle safety
  • Count down crosswalk signals
  • Speed management
  • Traffic signal timing

Relevant Resources:

AASHTO and NCHRP Project 17-18, Implementing the Strategic Highway Safety Plan, http://safety.transportation.org/.

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety, Strategic Highway Safety Plan, http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/shsp/.

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety, Strategic Highway Safety Plans: A Champion's Guide to Saving Lives, Interim Guidance to Supplement SAFETEA-LU Requirements. http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/safetealu/guides/guideshsp040506/.

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Section 3.6

Develop Operations or Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Plans

Description Operations and/or Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) plans are developed to provide a statewide framework for enhancing the operational performance of the transportation system. The plan enables State DOTs to assess challenges they may experience in managing and operating the State's transportation infrastructure, goals and objectives for effective management and operations (M & O), and strategies. In order to maximize the opportunity for integration with the planning process, an operations/ITS plan should be developed with the intention of complimenting other existing statewide planning efforts and should be linked to the SLRTP. It can build off of the ITS Architecture. The operations/ITS plan can also include performance measures or analysis to help support regional and corridor plans and investment decision making. Although this type of plan is not required by statute, it can build upon the model of the SHSP as a comprehensive planning effort that ties into the SLRTP.
Benefits
  • Brings together a diverse set of operators to develop an overall strategic vision, goals, and objectives related to the short- and long-term performance of the transportation system.
  • Forms a basis for integrating operations goals, objectives, and strategies into the broader statewide planning context, and can directly tie to regional and corridor specific plans.
  • May assist in identifying needed funding for operational improvements.
Challenges
  • Operations staff tend to focus on near-term issues, and changing technologies and other factors makes it difficult to plan over a long-range time period.
  • It may be difficult to get a diverse set of operations staff and agencies to the table to develop the plan.
  • Even when an operations plan is developed, there is a need for data and analysis to better understand the impacts of operations and ITS strategies in relation to infrastructure strategies in helping to attain statewide goals and objectives.
Who Is Involved
  • Operations staff and stakeholders play a primary role in developing goals, objectives, and strategies to improve the efficient operation of the transportation system. A broad range of operations staff and stakeholders should be involved, including emergency medical services (EMS), law enforcement, highway maintenance, toll authorities, DOT staff at a headquarters and district level, transit agencies, and local transportation agencies.
  • Planning staff provide an understanding of the long-range planning process and the SLRTP vision and goals.
  • Safety staff should also be involved to draw connections between operations strategies and safety goals.
Recommended Implementation Steps
  1. Define "operations"; obtain buy-in from top-level managers to develop such a plan.
  2. Establish a working group made up of staff/managers from long-range planning and traffic operations, and bring in a broader set of operations partners and stakeholders.
  3. Provide educational opportunities for those involved:
    • Planners can educate operators on the long-range planning process;
    • Operators can educate planners on the short-range operations considerations.
  4. Identify operations goals and objectives, and both short-range and long-range operations needs and investments. Utilize data and analysis to help enable more effective consideration of operations strategies in comparison to other types of investments in attaining performance objectives.

Relevant Examples

Pennsylvania DOT: Transportation Systems Operations Plan (TSOP)

The scale and magnitude of investment made in Pennsylvania's existing infrastructure compelled the Pennsylvania DOT (PennDOT) to start thinking "operationally." The agency's initial steps toward creating a more operations-oriented system began with its Transportation Systems Operations Plan (TSOP), which was developed in 2005 to direct project development in ITS and operations. It provided a coordinated approach to operations under a statewide framework that defined project areas and set up guidelines for including operations projects within PennDOT's capital program. TSOP was intended to be considered before projects were planned, funded, and procured. As projects were developed, TSOP was intended to be considered in the development stage so that projects would ultimately emphasize information sharing among transportation stakeholders to ensure all relevant information was used in generating a solution.

TSOP was replaced in 2008 with the statewide ITS Strategic Plan, which in turn generated the Intelligent Transportation Program. This program was developed through coordination between the maintenance, planning, and research divisions within PennDOT, and focuses on identifying future ITS needs, increasing communication, and streamlining potentially duplicate project effort among various departments within the agency. The program is run by a working group made up of representatives from a number of bureaus within PennDOT including Business Solutions and Services, Construction and Materials, Design, Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering, Infrastructure and Operations, Maintenance and Operations, and Public Transportation. The group meets weekly to discuss recommendations and strategies to how to implement strategies and develops roadmaps for taking projects from the planning stages to gaining dedicated funding and approval. Due to program organization, which guarantees extensive involvement from various bureaus within PennDOT, projects are developed efficiently with input from all stakeholders from the very beginning of the process.

The program is currently being developed further and the Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering is currently putting together a program plan. Moving forward in the future, the program will work to accurately assess needs within Pennsylvania's transportation system and coordinate data sharing efforts among the bureaus within PennDOT as well as between statewide and local and county level efforts. As a result of this program, PennDOT has seen a greatly improved relationship between their business department and ITS division, as well as a more efficient use of financial and staff resources.

More information is available at http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/Bureaus/PennDOTROP.nsf/defaultTSOP?OpenPage and http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/Bureaus/pdBHSTE.nsf/BHSTEHomepage?OpenFrameset. Contact: Douglas Tomlinson, Acting Chief, ITS Division, PennDOT Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering, DTomlinson@state.pa.us, (717) 787-3657.

Minnesota DOT: Highway Systems Operation Plan

The Mn/DOT Highway Systems Operation Plan (HSOP) was developed in 2005 to help the agency better understand the operations and maintenance needs of its highway system. The HSOP identifies the relevant ways that Mn/DOT operations programs connect to its strategic directions and statewide transportation plan policies. The HSOP uses performance measures to help capture how different levels of investment impact operations and maintenance activities and overall system performance. The HSOP aims to:

More information is available at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/maintenance/hsop/. Contact: Timothy Henkel, Division Director, Modal Planning and Program Management, Tim.Henkel@dot.state.mn.us, (651) 366-4829 or Mitch Webster, Mn/DOT Office of Investment Management, Mitch.Webster@state.mn.us, (651) 366-3787.

Wisconsin DOT: Traffic Operations Infrastructure Plan

To better integrate operations projects into long-range planning, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) developed a Traffic Operations Infrastructure Plan (TOIP) in collaboration with several partners. The TOIP is a long-range planning effort undertaken by the Bureau of Highway Operations with the following goals: (1) to develop a methodology to evaluate operations projects in the same manner as traditional infrastructure projects, and (2) to integrate operations into the WisDOT planning process. It outlines Wisconsin's statewide traffic operations infrastructure needs and opportunities, resulting in a set of operational technology recommendations and associated costs. Recommendations are given on a statewide level and are further broken out by corridor.

In developing TOIP, it was recognized that the plan had to be based on traditional WisDOT planning perspectives, and had to speak to bureaus within WisDOT's Central Office, as well as the Region Planning staff. Consequently, input was gathered from the Central Office and all five regions, including staff from planning, programming, and operations. The plan also built on the structure of the 2030 update to the Wisconsin Long Range Plan, which used a strategic corridor approach that segmented the State trunkline system into 37 multimodal corridors.

The basis of the TOIP is a quantitative, data-driven methodology used to assess transportation corridors and determine levels of necessity for operations improvements. In this methodology, ten operationally oriented criteria were selected addressing recurring and nonrecurring congestion, including safety-related considerations, using both traditional and nontraditional data sources such as weather conditions and the number of major special events. These factors include ADT, LOS, as well as crash rate, crash severity index, a weather index, and a special event rating. The result of this assessment was a score that prioritized corridors for different intensities of operations technology improvements. The results were then incorporated into Wisconsin's Long Range Plan, fostering inclusion of operations needs within planning activities such as feasibility studies and environmental analyses.

Sample of Roadway Segment Scoring

This graphic illustrates the roadway segment scoring, which is scored using a deployment scale that includes high (red), medium (orange), low (yellow) and the baseline (green). The X axis is "Criteria and Weights" and the Y axis is "Criterion Thresholds." The criteria and weights include mobility, safety, and developmental pressures. Mobility includes ADT base year, rated yellow, ADT forecast year, rated orange, HC ADT base year, rated as red, LOS base year, rated as orange, and LOW forecast year, rated as red. Safety includes crash rate, rated as red, crash severity index, rated as yellow, and weather index, rated as yellow. Developmental pressures includes ADT growth, rated as green, and special event rating, rated as red.

Source: Hedden, Christopher. Wisconsin DOT ITS Sketch Plans: Corridor Sketch Plan Methodology.. Cambridge Systematics, Inc. October 2008. Available at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/engineering/OTEC/2008%20OTEC%20Presentations/48A-Hedden.pdf. Accessed April 26, 2010.

By creating a long-term vision for statewide investment in traffic operations infrastructure, the TOIP allows WisDOT to prioritize locations for operations deployment and more efficiently allocate limited resources. It also makes it easier to compare operations needs within the entire transportation network that WisDOT manages, and has facilitated communication and collaboration between WisDOT's central and regional offices since all staff now use the same basis when conducting more detailed corridor analyses.

More information is available at http://www.topslab.wisc.edu/workgroups/toip.html or Wisconsin DOT ITS Sketch Plans: Corridor Sketch Plan Methodology, http://www.dot.state.oh.us/engineering/OTEC/2008%20OTEC%20Presentations/48A-Hedden.pdf. Contact: John Corbin, State Traffic Engineer, John.Corbin@dot.wi.gov or Peter Rafferty, ITS Program Manager, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Traffic Operations and Safety Lab, PRafferty@wisc.edu, (608)890-1218.

Toolkit: Sample Statewide Operations and Safety Strategies
Strategy Considerations Applicability
Operations Safety
Access management Improves traffic flow Improves safety through reduced potential vehicle entry/exits
  • Arterials
Active traffic management (e.g., variable speed limits, managed lanes, advanced signal systems) Increases throughput Decreases accident rate
  • Freeways
  • Arterials
Incident management Improves traffic flow and reliability Reduces potential for secondary crashes
  • Freeways
Transit signal priority Improves transit operations, may encourage mode shift to transit Mode shift to transit may improve safety, since transit tends to be a safer mode
  • Transit
  • Arterials
Transportation demand management Improves mobility and may reduce congestion May improves safety through less vehicle exposure (i.e., for measures that result in reduced vehicle travel)
  • Freeways
  • Arterials
Traveler information Improves mobility, reduces unexpected travel delay Improves safety by advising the public of adverse weather, work zones, and other potential safety hazards
  • Freeways
  • Arterials

Relevant Resources

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Operations, Facilitating Integrated ITS Deployment Program, http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/int_its_deployment/index.htm.

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety, Transportation Safety Planning, http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/tsp/.

Transportation Research Record, Number 2065: Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations; Managed Lanes 2008, December 2008, http://www.trb.org/OperationsTrafficManagement/Blurbs/Regional_Transportation_Systems_Management_and_Ope_160506.aspx.

Research and Innovative Technology Administration, National ITS Architecture, http://www.iteris.com/itsarch/.

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Section 3.7

Incorporate Operations and Safety Into Multimodal Plans and Other Related Plans

Description There are a range of statewide plans that State DOTs develop outside of the SLRTP. While these additional plans should have a linkage to the overall SLRTP goals and policies, the development of specialized plans offers opportunities to integrate planning, operations, and safety considerations. These specialized plans include freight plans, bicycle/pedestrian plans, and transit plans.
Benefits
  • Incorporating operations and safety considerations helps to broaden the focus of these plans from simply infrastructure to also consider how the system will operate in the future.
  • May result in consideration of new strategies and approaches (e.g., pricing, demand management, etc.).
  • Results in more effective use of financial resources.
Challenges
  • Effectively linking these specialized plans with the overall SLRTP and statewide investment strategy may be a challenge; making tradeoffs can be difficult in these plans.
  • Developing performance measures and objectives to accompany these plans can present a challenge, as many of the plans contain visionary goals.
Who Is Involved Developing a specialized plan benefits greatly from multifunctional and multijurisdictional collaboration.
  • Planning staff can use their knowledge of the planning process to educate staff from other functional areas such as operations and safety on the planning process-specifically as it relates to the modal plan being developed.
  • Operations and safety staff can begin to identify areas where operations and safety strategies/programs/policies could help to achieve some of the goals outlined in the specific plan.
  • The public and other stakeholders (e.g., transit agencies, freight shippers, etc.) should also be involved, based on the focus of the plan, to help provide a sense of current deficiencies in the transportation system and what improvements would be most important to its most frequent users.
Recommended Implementation Steps
  1. Develop a working group comprised of operations, safety, and planning personnel to support development of the plan, in order to integrate all of these considerations.
  2. Initiate the plan development process.
  3. Ensure that the plan incorporates a variety of functional areas (safety, operations, planning) and addresses fiscal constraints.

Relevant Examples

South Carolina DOT: Statewide Transit Plan 18

The South Carolina DOT (SCDOT) recognizes that transit alternatives cannot be an either/or proposition when considered with highway construction. The State's transportation infrastructure could greatly benefit from improvements in both areas. In order to incorporate transit to the greatest extent possible in new construction projects, the State analyzes opportunities for transit at the environmental stage of highway projects before the project's construction funding has been determined. Considerations include Transportation Demand Management-based alternatives such as bus pullouts, queue-jumping capabilities, and transit vehicle HOV lanes that would support existing or future BRT service within the right-of-way. In addition to BRT, the State is also considering implementing high-speed rail along various corridors as well as supporting a more extensive commuter rail service. The increased transportation network will be evaluated alongside planning efforts in an effort to align increased density with increased transit service. As of yet, no State or local funding has been identified to address the capital needs for increased transit service.

The transit plan outlines particular goals in the areas of improving the viability and accessibility of transit, increasing economic growth, and using transit as a way to increase sustainable land use decisions. When it comes to improving the viability and accessibility of transit, SCDOT plans to address cost allocation among operations to facilitate greater coordination and cooperation. The State's needs assessment indicates that transit can and will play a larger role in maintaining mobility by providing alternatives to increasingly congested roadways and increasing the options for transit-dependent populations.

More information is available at http://www.scdot.org/inside/multimodal/transit-coord-plans.shtml#StatewideTransitPlan. Contact: Douglas Frate, Statewide Intermodal Planner, FrateDW@dot.state.sc.us, (803) 737-1436.

The Texas Metropolitan Mobility Plan (Texas Department of Transportation, TxDOT) and the Texas Transportation Needs Summary (Texas 2030 Committee)

The Texas Metropolitan Mobility Plan (TMMP) and follow-up Texas Transportation Needs Summary provide an example of long-range transportation planning 19 that includes both planning for operations and using operations data to plan. Developed outside of the SLRTP process itself, the TMMP Program, led by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), is a compilation of regional TMMPs for Texas" largest metropolitan areas. TMMPs were developed by Texas" Metropolitan Planning Organizations under the direction of TxDOT to show the effect on spending to reduce congestion, and to quantify the magnitude of each region's funding shortfalls and unmet needs. The outcome of the TMMP was to show what can be done to develop goals and objectives related to congestion reduction and match those goals to a total cost. Performance goals were set in TMMP development using regional travel time index and a congestion index. The TMMPs were used by the metropolitan areas to characterize unfunded congestion needs documented as the elimination of level-of-service F.

In addition to the aggressive congestion-reduction goal-setting that the TMMPs supported, the analysis also provided a backdrop for the initial incorporation of transportation system management and operations (TSMO) strategies into the planning processes. The Texas TMMP analysis provided the basis of a more recent 30-year needs summary developed by the 2030 Committee under the direction of Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Transportation Commission Chair Deidre Delisi. Led by the Texas Transportation Institute, this unique needs analysis incorporates TxDOT's original TMMP analysis to estimate the costs necessary to allow each Texas urban region to have a mobility level:

While the original TMMP analysis relied heavily on the use of highway construction costs as a proxy for congestion relief, the 2030 needs summary allows the effects of TSMO strategies to be modeled, including ramp metering, incident management, signal coordination, and access management. This analysis allows for infrastructure enhancements to be compared to operations improvements, essentially helping State leadership better understand the importance of TSMO strategies in supporting the economic health of the state.

More information is available at http://www.nctcog.org/trans/mtp/tmmp/. Contact: Michael Burbank, MBurbank@nctcog.org, (817) 695-9251. More information on the Texas Transportation Needs Summary is available at http://texas2030committee.tamu.edu/.

Toolkit: Sample Operations & Safety Strategies to Consider for Specialized Plans
Type of Plan Sample Strategies
Freight Plans
  • Adjust truck speeds on common freight routes.
  • Vary the speed limit for cars versus trucks.
  • Measure truck sensitivity to toll rates. Potentially adjust tolling for trucks along common freight routes to encourage use of particular routes over others.
  • Implement electronic toll collection for trucks.
  • Increase weight enforcement efforts on routes parallel to freeways commonly used by freight traffic.
Transit Plans
  • Develop bus lanes with intermittent priority to enhance bus transit by reducing travel time.
  • Install bike racks at transit stops to encourage/facilitate bike riding rather than driving among transit riders.
  • Install transit information panels at transit stops to alert passengers of upcoming transit vehicle.
  • Implement bus rapid transit.
Bicycle / Pedestrian Plans
  • Install pedestrian crosswalks in (major) intersections with audible messaging systems for hearing-impaired persons.

Relevant Resources

Transit Cooperative Research Program, Report 84: Improving Public Transportation Technology Implementation and Anticipating Emerging Technologies, http://www.trb.org/Main/Public/Blurbs/156794.aspx.

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Operations, Freight Management and Operations: Technology and Operations, http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/technology/index.htm.

Federal Transit Administration, Transit Safety, http://transit-safety.fta.dot.gov/Safety/Default.aspx.

Federal Highway Administration, Office of Safety, Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety, http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/.

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Section 3.8

Link Statewide Planning Efforts With Programming

Description Integrating planning and programming is essential to ensuring that the SLRTP and other statewide plans are realistic in their assessments of available resources and that they result in the identification of implemented projects that support goals and objectives. Programming at the statewide level in order to produce the STIP requires the careful balancing of projects identified to meet system needs with the appropriate funding resource. Funding available from both federal and State sources has specific requirements in the ways in which it can be used. Although the federal resources apply across all states, each State will have different restrictions on its transportation funding. This requires action at the statewide level, which has implications for each region and proposed project.

Because the SLRTP is often a policy plan or investment strategy, it relates indirectly to the identified projects by establishing goals and objectives as well as criteria for prioritizing projects. A strong relationship between the SLRTP and STIP will allow available revenue to most effectively meet the goals and objectives. When this relationship is strong, it will also support the "trickle down" effect of regional TIPs supporting statewide goals as well as those specific to the region.
Benefits
  • Funded projects and programs that support goals and objectives.
  • Projects are prioritized through a more objective process that relates to the attainment of goals.
Challenges
  • There may be limited availability of statewide data and analysis to support performance measurement.
  • There may be limited models and tools for prioritizing projects for funding with respect to all strategies.
Who Is Involved Planning and programming staff, along with technical experts in operations and safety, are central for making the link between planning and programming, but it is also important to bring in operations and safety staff to help identify potential performance measures related to operational and safety goals and objectives as well as the data needed to support these measures.
Recommended Implementation Steps
  1. Start with goals and objectives for the transportation system. These should be the foundation for planning and programming decisions.
  2. Early in the planning process, bring in an understanding of the reality of funding limits within individual funding categories. Assess needs in the context of available funding.
  3. Develop a system for the prioritization of projects that address the adopted goals, objectives, and priorities within the SLRTP.
  4. Identify performance measures and available data that can support system monitoring to evaluate the success in meeting the goals and objectives.
  5. Apply prioritization and performance measurement strategy and evaluate success on a regular basis.

Relevant Examples

North Carolina DOT: Program and Resource Plan

The North Carolina DOT (NCDOT) is currently finalizing its Program and Resource Plan, which will help it determine the appropriate funding allocation for their programs. The plan includes a strategic planning element as well as a financial element. The strategic planning element includes identified objectives and needs developed from discussions with internal divisions and business units as well as input from MPOs and Rural Planning Organizations. Project prioritization is based on the evaluation of performance measures using planning, operations, and safety related data. The financial element includes a forecast of available funds and expenditures, a trend analysis of previous years" commitments and revenues, as well as a budget that considers constrained funding and fund distribution. The Program and Resource Plan projects funding over a 10-year timeframe and is updated every 2 years.

Funding is assigned by grouping programs together into related categories. The program categories include the following:

Major construction project are classified according to their primary purpose (safety, mobility, and infrastructure health), the appropriate component of the State system (statewide, regional, and subregional), and mode (highway, rail, public transportation, ferry, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian). As implementation of the department's first Program and Resource Plan is still in development, an initial sample of the organization tool to show funding for project categories is illustrated below.

In order to determine funding for program groups, each one is associated with specific objectives and goals, as outlined in the SLRTP. The objectives and goals are assigned weights in terms of priority for addressing challenges facing the state's surface transportation system. Performance measures are used to evaluate the expected return on investment of various strategies used by individual programs to help achieve these objectives and goals.

NCDOT's first Program and Resource Plan is anticipated to be approved in June 2010.

More information is available at http://www.ncdot.org/performance/reform/. Contact: David Wasserman, NCDOT Strategic Planning Office of Transportation, DSWasserman@ncdot.gov, (919) 715-1273.

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Section 3.9

Self-Assessment Checklist: Statewide Opportunities

The following checklist may be used as a self-assessment to identify statewide opportunities for integrating operations, safety, and multimodal planning. The user should consider the questions, whether or not the State DOT is undertaking the activity, and what can be done to improve integration.

Checklist: Statewide Level Opportunities
Question Yes No If no, what can be added or improved? Relevant
Subsection
Are operations and safety staff involved in the development of the SLRTP?       3.1
Does the SLRTP include a vision and goal(s) that address operational and safety considerations?       3.1
Is there recognition of the importance of linkages between operations and safety considerations in the SLRTP?       3.1
Are there specific objectives in the SLRTP that relate to system operation and safety?       3.1
Have system-wide performance measures been developed in the SLRTP, including those focused on operations and safety?       3.2
Are performance measures for livability, multimodal choice, and other planning considerations utilized in operations and safety programs?       3.2
Are performance measures being tracked?       3.2
Are safety and/or operations data being utilized to monitor system performance?       3.3
Are operations and safety strategies, policies, and programs highlighted in the SLRTP?       3.4
Are the SHSP's goals, objectives, and priorities reflected in the SLRTP?       3.5
Has an effort been undertaken to develop statewide operations goals and priorities, such as development of a statewide operations or ITS plan?       3.6
Do other plans outside of the SLRTP (e.g., modal plans, freight plans, etc.) relate back to the overarching goals and objectives in the SLRTP? Do these plans include operations and safety considerations?       3.7
Are goals and objectives helping to inform projects that are programmed in the STIP?       3.8
Are fiscal constraints being considered in the development of the SLRTP and other plans?       3.8

6 Wilbur Smith Associates. "State Long-Range Transportation Plan 2005-2030: Goals, Objectives, and Performance Measures Report." Prepared for the Michigan Department of Transportation. November 2006. Available at: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_SLRP_rept_Goals_Objectives_Performance_Report_11-17-06l_180916_7.pdf. Accessed June 29, 2009.

7 Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon Transportation Plan (OTP), Adopted September 20, 2006. http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP/Pages/Plans.aspx. Accessed April 27, 2012.

8 FHWA. "Model Transportation Plans for Operations and Safety: Preliminary Operations Objectives and Performance Measures." July 2008.

9 New Hampshire Department of Transportation. A Framework for Transforming Transportation in New Hampshire. 2008. http://www.nh.gov/dot/org/projectdevelopment/planning/lrtbp.htm. Accessed 2/8/09

10 Mn/DOT. Minnesota Statewide Transportation Policy Plan 2009-2028: Your Destination Our Priority 2009. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/planning/stateplan/index.html. Accessed February 5, 2010.

11 U.S. Department of Transportation. "Data Collection and Sharing." Available at: http://www.plan4operations.dot.gov/data_coll.htm. Accessed July 7, 2009.

12 FHWA, "Implementing the Strategic Highway Safety Plan." Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program, Hosted by Institute of Transportation Engineers, March 20, 2006. Available at: www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/transportation_safety_planning/related_links/impstrhwsp.cfm.

13 Maryland Department of Transportation. 2009 Annual Attainment Report on Transportation System Performance. http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/Planning/Plans%20Programs%20Reports/Index.html#Attainment_Report. Accessed 2/6/09.

14 Washington State DOT. "The Gray Notebook: Quarter Ending March 31, 2009." May 2009. Available at: www.wsdot.wa.gov/accountability/. Accessed June 30, 2009.

15 New Jersey Department of Transportation. New Jersey Department of Transportation Long-Range Transportation Plan: Transportation Choices 2030. http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/works/njchoices/. Accessed 2/8/09.

16 Virginia SHSP http://www.virginiadot.org/info/hwysafetyplan.asp. Accessed February 4, 2009.

17 Ohio Department of Transportation. "Ohio's Road Map to Fewer Fatalities." Available at: http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/TransSysDev/ProgramMgt/CapitalPrograms/Documents/Safety/SHSP/SHSP%20january%202008.PDF. Unavailable May 2011.

18 South Carolina Statewide Transit Plan. Prepared for the South Carolina Department of Transportation by URS and TranSystems. February 2008. http://www.scdot.org/inside/multimodal/pdfs/StatewideTransitPlanExecutiveSummary.pdf. Accessed 1/29/09.

19 It should be noted that these activities are not part of Texas" SLRTP and were developed outside the long-range transportation planning process.

20 Texas 2030 Committee. Texas Transportation Needs Summary. http://texas2030committee.tamu.edu/. Accessed 1/24/09.

Updated: 03/26/2013
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