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Policy Analysis and Development Team

The Policy Analysis and Development Team was created in late 2007 to provide analytical support in the evaluation of FHWA policies and programs.

Policy Analysis and Development Team members conduct research and manage studies to aid in the formulation of transportation policy and legislative initiatives. Studies assess highway user fees, finance issues, transportation revenue collection mechanisms, and forecast the effects of highway policies.

Primarily, the Team is responsible for research into the following subject areas: multi-modal freight and passenger transportation policy analysis, highway cost allocation, highway taxation and revenue analysis, truck size and weight policies, transportation related innovation and technologies issues, international competition, external costs and benefits of highway transportation, and correlations between highway investment, employment, and economic productivity.

The Policy Analysis and Development Team's research on the above subject areas help guide public policies and programs such as energy policies, value pricing and market-based demand strategies, and identification and assessment of any other emerging issues that may affect transportation policy.

This work includes leading, managing and performing a variety of duties, involving the monitoring and forecasting of economic, demographic, finance, environmental, energy and travel trends. This team also provides advice and recommendations to the Office of Policy and Governmental Affairs on available tools and data systems for policy analysis and evaluation.

Current Research Activities

Evaluating Congestion Reduction Strategies - This was a meta-analysis of congestion mitigation programs. The objective was to assess the single and collective impact of congestion mitigation strategies deployed in urban areas. Additionally, the study examined the effect of Active Traffic Management (ATM) strategies optimizing the use of existing infrastructure during peak travel periods.

The information generated in this research can be used to identify and rank effective stand-alone strategies, complementary combinations of strategies, and inconsistent strategies which create a reduction in benefit when employed in combinations.

Updating Models - The Policy Analysis and Development Team is currently in the process of updating several models which, primarily have been used in the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Cost Allocation Studies.

The policy issues associated with vehicles automation and wireless communication- The Policy Analysis and Development Team is an active participant in conducting research in transportation related technologies. This team is responsible for conducting two studies in this area:

Review of Alternative Approaches to Highway Cost Allocation Study - The Policy Analysis and Development Team completed a whitepaper to comprehensively examine alternative approaches for conducting the highway cost allocation study (HCAS) at the national level. This research analyzed relevant approaches for cost allocation studies used by transportation and other industries in the United Sates or other countries. The scope of the study included discussions of the conceptual frameworks, underlying principles, advantages, limitations, policy implications, data input requirements, potential challenges, and resource requirements for implementation. It also included topics such as equity versus efficiency, user versus non-user costs, consideration of costs of all levels of Government (Federal, State and Local), user fees assessed by all levels of Government, consideration of life-cycle cost analysis, equity of user fee structure and cost recovery, user and non-user benefits, socio-economic implications, considerations of highway functional classes, and other relevant issues in the HCAS.

Successful Jurisdictional Approaches to Megaregion Planning - Megaregions are a growing geography in the United States with shared transportation, economic, and natural resource requirements. Megaregion transportation planning requires the involvement and cooperation of multiple jurisdictions to manage and plan for improvements to the transportation system.

The emphasis of this study is to identify and review successful jurisdictional and organizational approaches that can be applied to megaregion transportation planning and the associated roles and responsibilities for all partners.

Some questions the study will answer include:

The purpose of the study is as follows: (1) explore the roles that national, State, regional and local stakeholders would play in a megaregion transportation planning regime; (2) identify two to three examples of successful models of multi-State or interregional organizations (non-transportation related) from which best practices can be borrowed; and (3) make recommendations for a successful megaregion transportation planning regime, including outreach materials for transportation stakeholders. Results of this study are expected to be completed in fall 2016.

Framework and Assessment of Resiliency of the National Highway System - The purpose of this research is to: (1) summarize the literature with respect to defining, assessing and using resiliency analysis techniques to manage road networks; (2) identify and analyze associated measures that will help to assess the resiliency of the national road network infrastructure; (3) create a PPD-21-based definition of resilience for highway systems; and (4) develop recommendations that could help alleviate vulnerabilities to improve system integrity of three resilience case studies.

As transportation infrastructure requirements continue to grow, strategies which seek to prioritize investment alternatives and allocate funding to those investments that will deliver the greatest overall benefit become increasingly important. While this research will focus on the resiliency of the National Highway System (NHS), it is also imperative to include a discussion of how disruptions to other parts of the transportation network (i.e. air, maritime, and transit) would impact the operation of the NHS. For example, if there is an event that takes a corridor offline for a period of time, what is the effect on nearby sections of the NHS? What factors should be included in the development of a remediation plan for the NHS? How specific should such plans be? This work should also take into account any performance management activities of the Strategic Highway Research Program 2, such as those related to reliability and risk management. Results of this study are expected to be completed in winter 2016.

Highway Revenue Forecasting Model (HRFM) - The Policy Analysis and Development Team is currently updating the model. The HRFM is used for analyzing and forecasting highway revenues from existing highway user fees for different vehicle classes and weight groups. The model is capable of analyzing user fee options to understand the equity of the highway user fee structure and revenue forecasts under different policy scenarios. Outputs from this model are primarily used for conducting highway cost allocation (HCA) studies (https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/hcas/final/). The model has also the capability to estimate revenues from other potential revenue raising policy options, such as a weight distance tax, a mileage based tax, and an emission based tax.

National Highway Construction Cost Index (NHCCI) - The NHCCI is a price index that can be used for tracking price changes associated with highway construction materials costs, and for converting current dollar spending on highway construction to real dollars. The NHCCI is produced quarterly, and can be accessed at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/nhcci.cfm. The Policy Analysis and Development Team and the Office of Highway Policy Information are currently updating the NHCCI software, enhancing the current data input cleaning process, and exploring the existence of potential seasonality issues.

Policy Analysis and Development Team Primary Contacts

Max Azizi,
Team Lead
(202) 366-9237 Policy Analysis and Development Team Research Plans

Connected Vehicle Technology

Road User Fee and Transportation Revenue Options

Highway Cost Allocation
Getachew Mekonnen,
Research Analyst
(202) 366-9254 Policy Development Tools and Models

Highway Cost Allocation

Highway Construction Cost Index
Ben Hawkinson,
Research Analyst
(202) 366-5044 Framework and Assessment of Resiliency of the National Highway System

Successful Jurisdictional Approaches to Megaregion Planning


Page last modified on January 31, 2017
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