Part IV: Changes to the Highway Performance Monitoring System
The Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) has recently undergone a reassessment to evaluate the HPMS dataset against the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) mission and goals. The results and details of this effort are documented in a report titled HPMS 9.0: Modernization Study. It can be found on the FHWA Office of Highway Policy Information website (https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/).
Although HPMS is not specifically mandated by Congress, many of the data applications that HPMS supports—such as this C&P Report and Transportation Performance Management (TPM) discussed in detail in the Introduction to Part I—are mandated. As part of TPM, State departments of transportation are required to establish performance targets for safety, road condition, and congestion in support of the National Highway Performance Program (23 U.S.C. 119). The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act requires additional data from HPMS for and greater transparency of highway project information at the state level, and monitoring freight operations.
In addition to identifying potential changes to the attributes in HPMS, an overarching goal of the reassessment was to implement strategies to ease the reporting burden on State Departments of Transportation, which provide critical data to FHWA.
Potential Strategies to Relieve the Burden on the States
- Transactional approach to data reporting: States would only report changes to existing data. For example, lane widths are used to calculate capacity. These data are static until a road is reconstructed, so there is no reason for a State to report the lane width annually unless it has changed.
- Reliance on alternative sources of data: Commercially available and open data sources may be effectively used to satisfy some of FHWA data needs.
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and FAST Acts created the need for reassessment of the HPMS. MAP-21 established a new performance-based planning regime with national goals and accountability. Through rulemaking with input from stakeholders, FHWA developed the performance measures that will be used to measure progress in meeting those goals. States and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are setting targets to address the goals. States will report on their success in achieving their targets and will be accountable for shortcomings.
Beginning in May 2017, several Transportation Performance Measures identified in MAP-21 rely on data from the HPMS. VMT calculated from HPMS will continue to be used to calculate Fatality and Serious Injury Rates as part of the Transportation Safety Measures. VMT will be determined through existing methods and will not require any HPMS modification. Pavement and Condition data from the HPMS will be used to calculate highway condition measures. There will be no additional pavement condition attributes; however, the extent of the collection parameters will be broadened to include the full extent of the National Highway System (including the Interstate System) and the National Highway Freight Network. Calculations needed to implement the Final Rule for System Performance Measures (PM-3) (see Introduction to Part I) will require HPMS to include 20 additional attributes, with data to be provided by State departments of transportation. Most of these attributes will capture travel time reliability information.
The FAST Act establishes the National Highway Freight Network (NHFN). HPMS will provide a module to support identification and maintenance of the location of the designated NHFN routes. This will provide a better linkage to attributes that are stored in HPMS to support the freight program.
Federal Land Management Agencies and the Certified Road Public Miles
Each governor or designated official is required to certify annually the public road mileage in their respective State (23 CFR 460). This information is used in the formula for apportioning NHTSA’s State and Community Highway Safety Grants. The current practice is for State Departments of Transportation to calculate this mileage based on the inventory within their data systems. It has always been a challenge for many States to account for mileage that is owned by Federal Land Management Agencies. The reporting burden is on the States, yet there is no regulatory requirement for Federal agencies to report public road mileage in National Parks, National Forests, or lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Reclamation, and the Department of Defense. FHWA staff in HPMS and Federal Lands Highways programs have been working actively with the Federal Land Management Agencies to resolve this situation.