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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-15-071    Date:  January 2016
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-15-071
Date: January 2016


The Use of Data in Planning for Operations: State-Of-The-Practice Review

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Planning for operations provides the foundation for proactively operating the transportation system. It is a joint effort between planners and operators to improve transportation system performance, with a focus on the integration of management and operations strategies into planning activities. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) promotes the use of a performance-based approach for the integration of operations into the transportation planning and investment decision making processes at metropolitan and State levels. Access to comprehensive, high-quality data on the operation of the transportation system is vital to fully applying this approach.

This report reviews the state-of-the-practice among metropolitan planning organizations in using data to support planning for operations activities. Planners and operators can use this report to generate ideas to advance their efforts to use data to plan for operations. This review was conducted at the outset of an FHWA project to develop a prototype framework for sharing planning and operations data between State and local transportation agencies from multiple sources within a region. The results of the review were used to inform the development of the framework.

Paul Pisano
Acting Director,
Office of Operations Research and Development


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

The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear herein only because they are considered essential to the objective of this document.

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Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

The Use of Data in Planning for Operations: State-of-the-Practice Review

5. Report Date

January 2016

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Jocelyn Bauer, Julie Evans, Krista Jeannotte, and Anita Vandervalk

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

11251 Roger Bacon Drive, 3rd Floor
Reston, VA 20190

Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
100 Cambridge Park Drive, Suite 400
Cambridge, MA 02140

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101

13. Type of Report and Period Covered


14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

Mr. Gene McHale, Mr. Govindarajan Vadakpat, Mr. John Halkias, Federal Highway Administration

16. Abstract

The purpose of this state-of-the-practice review is to identify the current use of data by metropolitan planning organizations to perform planning for operations activities. This information will be used to develop the virtual data access framework and to help establish requirements for the data that should be accessible by planning agencies via the framework. In addition to data availability and use, this review also looks at the barriers to the use of data so that the project team can design the framework to help address some of these barriers to increase use of the resulting framework. This report was developed in conjunction with another state-of-the-practice review on data access, sharing, and integration.

17. Key Words

Data, planning for operations, management and operations, metropolitan planning organization

18. Distribution Statement

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

19. Security Classification
(of this report)


20. Security Classification
(of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price


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

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors




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