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Highway Information Quarterly Newsletter

September 2001

Picture of Lake in Fall

Office of Highway Policy Information

Federal Highway Administration

Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) - New Capacity Procedures

Starting with the 2001 HPMS data, all capacity related procedures in HPMS will use the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) 2000 which was released by the Transportation Research Board in October 2000.

The peak capacity reported in the 2001 HPMS data will be determined by using the procedures and guidelines outlined in the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) 2000. The HCM 2000 procedures will replace the 1998 procedures that are currently in the HPMS Submittal Software V4.0. If a State elects to override the capacity calculated by the submittal software, the HCM 2000 guidelines must be used for the 2001 data.

The new version of the HPMS Submittal Software will be sent to the States in February 2002.

For further information contact Beverly Harrison at 202-366-4048 or email: beverly.harrison@fhwa.dot.gov

HPMS Notes

The Intermodal Transportation Database (ITDB) is live in beta version. Although hosted and managed by BTS, the Office of Highway Policy Information (OHPI) provided the HPMS data and display applications available on the site. Currently there are eleven applications, developed as mapped displays of HPMS 1999 attributes, including NHS and STRAHNET routes, pavement roughness, and traffic. The ITDB can be accessed at http://www.itdb.bts.gov/.

Comments and suggestions are welcomed; contact robert.rozycki@fhwa.dot.gov.

Travel Trends 2000

Travel for the Nation in 2000 showed minimal change as compared to 1999. The estimate of vehicle miles of travel from the Traffic Volume Trends (TVT) was estimated at 2691.9 billion for 2000 as compared to 2691.3 billion for 1999, which is an overall change of 0.02 percent. This is the smallest change in travel since 1980 when travel changed by only 0.12 percent. The TVT estimates are based on monthly submissions of continuous traffic recorder data from the various States. The TVT estimates are of interest to the private sector and public agencies as an early indicator of vehicle miles of travel. The TVT travel estimate for 2000 is an interim value that will be superceded by that from the Highway Performance Monitoring System, which will become available in Fall 2001.

Questions on the TVT data series can be directed to Jeff Patten at (202) 366-5052 or email jeff.patten@fhwa.dot.gov for assistance.

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) - Annual Traffic Counting Meeting

The DVRPC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for the Philadelphia transportation management area having responsibility for collecting traffic data within the area boundaries. The area includes nine counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, adjacent to the city of Philadelphia.

The meeting of June 26, 2001, included representatives from the traffic count groups of Pennsylvania DOT, New Jersey DOT, the City of Philadelphia, FHWA's Office of Highway Policy Information, and DVRPC. The agenda included a review of the traffic counting programs of each agency, the vehicle-miles-of-travel estimates prepared by DVRPC compared with state estimates, and a trip survey being conducted by DVRPC in the area.

The DVRPC has implemented a very effective traffic data collection program within a major urbanized area and presents a model for urban traffic monitoring operations worthy of review by other urbanized areas. The program was highlighted in a 1997 research study Case Studies of Traffic Monitoring Programs in Large Urbanized areas which can be found at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/casemon.pdf

For further information contact: Mario Stegossi, PE Manager, Travel Monitoring, DVRPC, 111 S. Independence Mall East Philadelphia, PA. 19106 Voice: 215-238-2894 Fax: 215-592-9125 Email: mstegossi@dvrpc.org

Western WIM Conference

The FHWA's Western Resource Center (WRC) sponsored a Weigh-in-Motion (WIM) Technical Exchange Conference July 24 and 25, 2001 in Denver, Colorado.

Participants included thirteen State Department of Transportations, eight WIM Manufacturers, six Consultants, and FHWA Divisions, Resource Centers, and Headquarters personnel.

The conference focused on highlighting the importance and use of WIM data, identifying the best and current practices in a WIM program, and updating the field staff on WIM research and LTTP activities. The workshop also had discussions on data collection, information management, and sharing of ideas to improve practices related to WIM. Several recommendations were made at the workshop:

For additional information on this conference, contact Lorrie Lau at 415-744-2628, or email lorrie.lau@fhwa.dot.gov.

Local Government Highway Finance Trends: 1994 - 1998

An article n the summer 1996 issue of Public Roads reported on local government highway finance trends from 1984-1993. This brief article follows up with a summary of local government highway finance trends from 1994-1998.

The role of the local governments in highway receipts, expenditures, and debt service is a major one. Local governments account for about 25% of total highway receipts and 38% of total highway expenditures in 1998. Local government highway finance consists basically of receipts, disbursements, and in some cases, disbursements of highway user revenue for non-highway purposes. From 1994 through 1998, local governments raised an increasing amount of money for highways. In 1994, $25.8 billion was raised, and $28.3 billion by 1998. In 1998, State governments transferred $13 billion to local governments and the Federal government transferred $.8 billion to local governments - together these revenues compromised about one-third of total and local government income.

Among the different categories of revenues raised by local governments, the greatest percentage was money from General Funds. General Funds accounted for between 37.2% and 44.5% of the money raised by local governments for highways during the 1994 through 1998 period. Property taxes and assessments is the second largest revenue source raised by local governments, ranging between 18.8% in 1994 to 20.5% in 1998 of total revenues for highways. The third largest revenue source for local governments for highways was Investment Income and Other Receipts (Miscellaneous). In 1994, Investment Income and Other Receipts (Miscellaneous) comprised 16.6% of total revenues raised by local governments for highways, but by 1998 it comprised only 14.9% of the total. Bond proceeds were the next largest source of revenue raised by local governments for highways. In 1994, Bond Proceeds raised 12.1% of total local government revenues for highways, but by 1998 had declined to 10.3% of total revenues. Other Taxes and Fees, and Highway-User Revenues accounted for the remainder of the revenues raised by local governments for highways between 1994 and 1998. In general, over the 5-year period, 1994 through 1998, these individual revenue categories were fairly stable as a percentage of total revenue raised by local governments for highways. An exception was the General Fund, which had a variance of seven percent during this period.

Maintenance accounted for the largest percentage of expenditures for highways by local governments. The maintenance function was a very stable percentage of total expenditures between 1994 and 1998, at approximately 40%. Capital outlay was the second largest expenditure item by local governments for highways. Capital outlay's percentage contribution to local government highway expenditures between 1994 and 1998 ranged from 29.7% to 32.9% of total expenditures. The third largest expenditure category by local governments for highways was highway law enforcement and safety. The percent contribution of highway law enforcement and safety was very stable, ranging only from between 10.4% to 11.1% of total local government expenditures for highways in the 1994 through 1998 period. The remainder of the money spent by local governments for highways consisted of administration and research, interest on debt, and bond retirement.

The percentage of money transferred by State governments to local governments for highway purposes steadily increased between 1994 and 1998. The percent contribution of State governments to total funds available for highway purposes for local governments was 26.5% in 1994, 30.4% in 1996, and 32.9% in 1998. As the percentage of State funds to total funds available for highways has increased, the percentage of local government funds to total funds available for highways has decreased steadily, from about 75% in 1994 to only about 69% in 1998. The Federal government transfers to local governments for highways is a very small percentage of total funds available to the local governments. Its percentage contribution to total funds available for local governments for highways was constant at 2% from 1994 through 1997, and was about 2.5% in 1998. In summation, by the latest data available, local governments spent $41.1 billion for highways: 40.3 % for maintenance; 32.9% for capital outlay; 10.7 % for highway law enforcement and safety; 6.6% for administration and research; 5.5% for bond retirement; and 4.0% for interest on highway debt in 1998. This can be compared to the first year of this trend analysis, 1994, where local governments spent $33.3 billion for highways: 40.1% for maintenance; 29.7% for capital outlay; 10.4% for highway law enforcement and safety; 8.2% for administration and research; 7.1% for bond retirement; and 4.6% for interest on highway debt.

The 1999 local government highway finance information can be found on our website by November 2001 at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim.

The user should click on Highway Statistics Series, and then on Highway Statistics 2000 (Note that the local government highway finance information will be a year behind the State highway finance information, or 1999 data).

For more detailed information on local highway finance, contact Lenny Goldberg at (202)-366-0524 or email lenny.goldberg@fhwa.dot.gov.

FHWA Motor-Fuel Oversight to Begin in FY 2002

As a result of TEA-21, State motor-fuel data and Highway Trust Fund attributions have become its most important formula factors in determining fund distribution.

With support of Division Administrator's Council, a working group of FHWA met May 3-4, 2001 to discuss options and make recommendations related to the oversight of State-reported motor-fuel data.

The group recommended that the FHWA division offices have primary oversight responsibility. The group further recommended that by September 30, 2002, each division should complete an initial in-depth review of its State's process for compiling and submitting motor-fuel data to FHWA. Based on results of the initial in-depth review, each division would develop an oversight plan and annual report on activities. Currently, several Divisions including Kansas, New York, and Washington have agreed to be "pilot" Divisions for these reviews. Other "volunteer pilots" are encouraged and welcomed.

In general, the FHWA Continuous Process Improvement Process (CPI) model will serve as the framework for oversight. The implementation of CPI in the motor-fuel/HTF attribution area will ensure improvements in data quality and is consistent with the FHWA "Quality Journey".

The Headquarters-sponsored workshops on "Motor Fuel Reporting and Oversight" will be offered to FHWA staff and State data providers during winter 2002, in Atlanta and Chicago.

For further information contact Ralph Erickson at (202) 366-9235 or e-mail Ralph.Erickson@fhwa.dot.gov.

Large Increase in the Miles of High Volume Roads

From 1993 to 1999, the number of miles of the Nation's public roads with daily traffic volumes of 20,000 or more vehicles per day increased by nearly 15,000 miles, or 26 percent. The increase in miles of high volume highways varied among States. Note that most of the States experiencing the highest growth were in the western region of the Nation.

Much of the Nation's vehicle travel in 1999 occurred on roads in the 20,000 - 49,999 average vehicles per day volume group, contributing greatly to the congestion experienced by motorists.

For more information, contact Paul Svercl at paul.svercl@fhwa.dot.gov or (202) 366-5036.

Note: The line graph below illustrates comparisons of miles and daily vehicle miles traveled for 1999. If you need access to the actual numbers, click here.

Comparison of Miles and Daily Vehicle Miles Traveled 1999

Note: The map below illustrates miles of highway with daily traffic volumes of 20,000 or more, and the percent change from 1993 to 1999. . If you need access to the actual numbers, click here.

Miles of Highways with Daily Traffic Volumes of 20,000 or more (Percent change from 1993 to 1999)

HPMS and the 2000 Census

The results of the 2000 Census will have impacts on both the population counts and boundaries of small urban and urbanized areas. At this time, FHWA intends to accept the urbanized areas as defined by the Census Bureau for use in MPO and TMA designations. FHWA is also considering the use of Census Bureau definition in urbanized area boundaries for the purpose of reporting HPMS and other statistical data to the Office of Highway Policy Information.

FHWA has historically used an adjusted urbanized area boundary for HPMS reporting, resulting in a situation where FHWA urbanized area statistical data are not comparable to data made available by the Federal agencies that use Census Bureau definitions. This also imposes a reporting burden on the States who must provide different population, land area, and boundary information to the HPMS for urbanized areas.

In the absence of a continuing FHWA business need, this special reporting requirement no longer appears necessary. FHWA can accept the urbanized area boundaries as defined by the Census Bureau as the basis for reporting urbanized area data to the HPMS, and other data programs managed by the Office of Highway Policy Information. This will have impacts on the States as they functionally reclassify roads in response to the Census Bureau population and boundary changes, and as they reconfigure various internal data systems.

In addition, data for urban clusters of 5,000 or more persons, established in accordance with Census Bureau definitions and boundaries, could be reported in HPMS using the "small urban area" code. Data for urban clusters of less than 5,000 persons, established in accordance with Census Bureau definitions and boundaries, can be reported in HPMS using the "rural" code. The delineation between "urban" and "rural" based upon the 5,000 persons threshold is consistent with past and existing HPMS definitions.

Please feel free to direct any questions or comments on this proposal to Mr. Paul Svercl, at paul.svercl@fhwa.dot.gov.

Looking Forward to Highway Taxes and Fees

The Office of Highway Policy Information has finished updating the publication, "Highway Taxes and Fees: How They Are Collected and Distributed", available on the Office of Highway Policy Information website. This information reflects the changes in State Laws since the passage of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).

"Highway Taxes and Fees: How They Are Collected and Distributed" includes information regarding the taxes and fees paid by highway users, and the laws that provide for the distribution of these taxes and fees. Also included is information on other non-highway user State taxes that are allocated for highway purposes, and on the Federal funds and Federal agencies that provide funding for highway activities. This publication is extensively used by FHWA, other agencies within the U.S. Department of Transportation, State Legislatures, State highway agencies and many outside groups. The current web address for the latest issue of "Highway Taxes and Fees" is: www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/hwytaxes/2001/index.htm.

If you have any questions please contact Carla Mauney at (202) 366-5045, or email Carla.Mauney@fhwa.dot.gov.


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