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HPMS Reassessment 2010+

Final Report

Prepared by:

Office of Highway Policy Information
Federal Highway Administration

5.0 Impacts of Reassessment

5.1 Overview

As stated earlier, the HPMS Reassessment process has been iterative. Comments, questions, and concerns from data users and collectors have been considered and addressed throughout. The Issue papers were established as the main vehicle for communicating recommended changes. They were initially written to reflect HPMS user needs at the Federal level. The Office of Highway Policy Information acted as a neutral party to identify necessary changes to HPMS and then to obtain feedback regarding the changes under consideration with HPMS data collectors. The Issue papers were subsequently revised and rewritten to take into account comments and concerns from data collectors during the extensive feedback process (workshops, webinars, surveys, docket, etc.)

In many cases, recommendations were changed significantly to address collector concerns. For example, original recommendations suggested obtaining off-system traffic and roadway data to support safety analysis. Subsequent concerns from state data providers resulted in concluding that off-system data should be sought from other non-HPMS sources. In some cases, surveys and feedback revealed that data previously assumed not to be available, are actually available. The example of interchange data is appropriate here. The process was a constant balancing act between needs at the Federal level and abilities to collect data at the state level.

The potential impact of the recommended changes on the states varies considerably. The surveys conducted during the webinars revealed that many states are well positioned to report on some additional data items. For example, most are in a good position to transition to spatial submittal of HPMS data while other states are not as advanced in terms of Geographic Information System (GIS) development and use within their states.

As discussed in Section 4.0, the recommended changes fall into three categories. Analysis of the overall potential impacts is difficult because one must take into account different timeframes for changes as well as changes to both collection and processing of HPMS data. Some perceived negative impacts of additional data items may potentially be offset by positive changes in the processing of HPMS data. For example, the impact of the collecting of pavement data on a more regular cycle may result in an increased collection burden to some states. In many states, the additional burden may be offset by the reduced amount of data processing and manipulation required with the new data model as the model is solidified and states’ processes to submit are programmed, tested and become routine. Additionally, states should consider the benefits the additional data will have on improved analysis capabilities of pavement needs, both at the state and national levels. Even more important to the states is the fact that the HPMS Reassessment as a complete package will result in positive impacts to users. Unfortunately, the timing of Reassessment changes varies considerably as well. While additional collection may be requested within the next year or two, improvements to processing and sampling may not occur for three to five years. The schedule of implementation will depend on funding available to continue research and develop solutions in the areas of Data Quality and Process Improvement.

5.2 Analysis of HPMS Items Recommended for Change

The following table (Table 5.2) shows the items to be changed and those recommended for short-term study. It includes specific changes recommended, proposed timing for the change, and an estimate of level of effort to collect the data. Level of effort is a qualitative assessment derived from webinars and other stakeholder feedback.

Table 5.2 Estimated Level of Impact for New and Changed Data Items
New / Change Date item description Description of change or new data Level of effort
Change Route ID Route identification portion of LRS -1
Change Begin Point LRS beginning point -1
Change End Point LRS ending point -1
Change Urban Code Adopt new Census Urban Codes 0
Change Functional System Code Eliminate rural / urban bifurcation 1
Change National Highway System Code FHWA to provide -1
Change Route Number Slight change to coding 1
Change Ownership Make consistent with bridge 1
Change Facility Type Slight change to coding, added ramps as type of facility 2
Change HOV Type Slight change to coding 1
Change AADT Require for all Federal-aid eligible roads 2
Change Future AADT Add future AADT year as attribute 0
Change Percent Peak Single Trucks Carry to nearest 0.1%, not rounded and not zero 1
Change AADT Single Trucks Report actual volume, not percent 1
Change Percent Peak Combination Trucks Carry to nearest 0.1%, not rounded and not zero 1
Change AADT Combination Trucks Report actual volume, not percent 1
Change Median Type Slight change to coding 0
Change Widening Potential Slight change to coding 1
Change IRI Report annually for NHS and include bridges and RR crossings 3
Change Surface Type Change in code, can provide estimate if unknown 1
Change Climate Zone FHWA to provide -1
New Route Prefix Where applicable, add route prefix 1
New Route Suffix Where applicable, add route suffix 1
New Alternative Route Name Optional field 0
New Is Structure Location of bridges, currently included in Facility Type 1
New Special Toll Lanes Where applicable, identify if toll in both directions or only one 1
New Counter Peak Lanes Identify number of lanes in counter peak direction 1
New HOV Lanes Where applicable, identify number of toll lanes 1
New Widening Obstacle Identify obstacle to widening 1
New Rutting Measured pavement rutting 2
New Faulting Measured pavement faulting 2
New Cracking Fatigue Measured pavement fatigue cracking 2
New Cracking Transverse Measured pavement transverse cracking 2
New Year Last Construction Year of last construction, leave blank if unknown 1
New Last Overlay Thickness Thickness of last overlay, can provide estimate if unknown 1
New Thickness Rigid Rigid pavement thickness, can provide estimate if unknown 1
New Thickness Flexible Flexible pavement thickness, can provide estimate if unknown 1
New Base Type Type of base material, can provide estimate if unknown 1
New Base Thickness Base thickness, can provide estimate if unknown 1
New Soil Type FHWA to provide -1
New Curves Location and severity or class of curves 2
New Grades Location and severity or class of grades 2

Level of Effort Scale

  • -1 — Improvement, less effort than now.
  • 0 — Relatively no change in level of effort
  • 1 — Can be generally accommodated within the current or planned data collection structure within most state DOTs.
  • 2 — May result in some burden to some states (will require change to collection process and/or additional resources).
  • 3 — Will result in additional collection/coordination burden on most states i.e., pavement.

5.3 HPMS Items Recommended for Addition

Table 5.3 shows which data items are proposed to be added to HPMS. The items are sorted by type of item (traffic, pavement, interchanges, capacity, and inventory) and by proposed year of implementation. The table indicates the item name; timing, level of effort (as defined above) whether the universe or sample is impacted; and if a table description is being requested.

Table 5.3 New Data Item - Timing, Level of Effort, and Extent
Data item Reportingyear Level of effort Universe Sample Summary/ Description
Route Prefix 2010 1 X    
Route Suffix 2010 1 X    
Alternative Route Name 2010 0 X    
Is Structure 2010 1 X    
Special Toll Lanes 2010 1 X    
Counter Peak Lanes 2010 1   X  
HOV Lanes 2010 1 X    
Widening Obstacle 2010 1   X  
Rutting 2010 & 2011 2   X  
Faulting 2010 & 2011 2   X  
Cracking Fatigue 2010 & 2011 2   X  
Cracking Transverse 2010 & 2011 2   X  
Year Last Construction 2010 & 2011 1   X  
Last Overlay Thickness 2010 & 2011 1   X X
scope="row"Thickness Rigid 2010 & 2011 1   X X
Thickness Flexible 2010 & 2011 1   X X
Base Type 2010 & 2011 1   X X
Base Thickness 2010 & 2011 1   X X
Soil Type 2010 -1   X  
Binder Type 2010 1     X
Dowel Bars 2010 1     X
Joint Spacing 2010 1     X
Curves 2010 2   X  
Grades 2010 2   X  

Level of Effort Scale

  • -1 — Improvement, less effort than now.
  • 0 — Relatively no change in level of effort
  • 1 — Can be generally accommodated within the current or planned data collection structure within most state DOTs.
  • 2 — May result in some burden to some states (will require change to collection process and/or additional resources).
  • 3 — Will result in additional collection/coordination burden on most states i.e., pavement.

5.4 Funding The Changes to HPMS

Throughout the HPMS Reassessment there have been discussions regarding data collection burden and funding the changes to HPMS. FHWA realizes that States are working under constrained budgets and that any increase in the cost of collecting and reporting data is a concern. These concerns have been taken very seriously and FHWA has worked very hard to minimize the data collection burden while still providing the data needed for national-level transportation analysis. The anticipated burden, however, may provide many states and stakeholders with more easily reportable data, thus reducing the HPMS reporting burden.

Unlike other Federal data programs, there are no dedicated (earmarked) funds for the collection, reporting, and maintenance of HPMS. Within FHWA, the primary source of funding for HPMS is discretionary research funds. States are able to use a number of different types of federal funds for collecting and reporting HPMS data. Most often, States use their State Planning and Research (SPR) funds for collecting HPMS data. SPR funds are distributed to States by apportionment formula from the Highway Trust Fund by FHWA. One of the intended uses of SPR funds is the collection of HPMS and other data. However, States are not required to use these or any other Federal funds for collecting HPMS data; how States fund their data collection activities is left entirely to the discretion of each State.

Decisions that States make can have a direct impact on the amount of Federal-aid funds they receive as well as on the resources needed to collect data. As previously mentioned, HPMS data are used in many of the apportionment formulae. The quality of the HPMS data therefore has a direct impact on the Federal funds that they receive. By not funding data collection, States run the risk of not receiving their fair share of Federal Funds.

Furthermore, the systems for which States are required to submit HPMS data are directly correlated to those functional systems that are eligible for Federal funds. States, in cooperation with their cities and counties, are responsible for determining the functional classification of every public road; thus determining what roads will be eligible for Federal funds, and where HPMS data are ultimately required. In 2006, approximately 25% of all public roads were eligible for Federal-aid based on their functional classification. However, this number varied significantly from State to State ranging from 18% to 36%, with seven States less than 20% and 5 States with more than 30%. The impact on States varies by data item, with AADT data being required for 100% of all Federal-aid eligible roads, to the pavement data items that are only required on a sample of all Federal-aid eligible roads.

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