The HPMS is a national level highway information system that includes data on the extent, condition, performance, use, and operating characteristics of the Nation's highways. In general, the HPMS contains administrative and extent of system information on all public roads, while information on other characteristics is represented in HPMS as a mix of universe and sample data for arterial and collector functional systems. Limited information on travel and paved miles is included in summary form for the lowest functional systems.
The HPMS was originally developed in 1978 as a continuing database to replace special biennial condition studies that had been conducted by the States since 1965. The HPMS has been modified several times since its inception, most recently in 1998; changes in coverage and detail have been made since 1978 to reflect changes in highway systems, legislation, and national priorities, to reflect new technology, and to consolidate or streamline reporting requirements.
The major purpose of the HPMS is to support a data driven decision process within FHWA, the DOT, and the Congress. The HPMS data are used extensively in the analysis of highway system condition, performance, and investment needs that make up the biennial Condition and Performance Reports to Congress. These Reports are used by the Congress in establishing both authorization and appropriation legislation, activities that ultimately determine the scope and size of the Federal-aid Highway Program, and determine the level of Federal highway taxation.
These data are also used for assessing changes in highway system performance brought about by implementing funded highway system improvement programs under the GPRA, and for apportioning Federal-aid Highway Funds to individual States under TEA-21. HPMS is a nationally unique source of highway system information that is made available to those in the transportation community for highway and transportation planning and other purposes through the annual Highway Statistics and other data dissemination media.