U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
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.
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.
WINBASIC - The model WINBASIC is one of the most useful and powerful analytical models used by the Office of Policy and Governmental Affairs. It was first developed in the 1990s and has been updated several times. In simplest terms, the model analyzes bridge strength. It is not a detailed bridge rating model, rather, it is a policy level model that can analyze the impacts of axle load on tens of thousands of the Nation's bridges. It can isolate bridges by state, county, functional class, and route number.
HRFM - The Highway Revenue Forecasting Model is used to estimate highway user revenue for a variety of transportation policy scenarios. This model is used, in part, to analyze user fee options intended to improve the equity of the highway user fee structure.
NAPCOM - The National Pavement Cost Model provides a best estimate of how pavement costs vary as a function of vehicle use. This model is currently being updated and the new version of NAPCOM will include distress equations and load equivalency factors (LEFs), based on AASHTO's Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) model.
ITIC - The Intermodal Transportation and Inventory Costing (ITIC) Model is for policy analysis on issues concerning long haul freight movement. Such issues include modal diversion and the assessment of economic benefits associated with changes in transportation policy or infrastructure. The model estimates traffic and shipment diversions from the existing truck configurations to an alternative vehicle weight or configuration. The model also estimates the diversion of shipments to and/or from railroads to the same proposed vehicle configuration and weight.
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:
Incorporating Connected/ Automated vehicles in Transportation planning processes and products – The purpose of this project is to help facilitate incorporating of C/AV in transportation planning processes and products. This study evaluates the impacts of C/AV on planning tools, techniques and data and identifies skills, expertise and training required at the state DOTs and MPOs level to successfully prepare for incorporating this technology in planning processes. This project was initiated in fall 2014 and completed in summer 2016. For more information, please contact Max Azizi at 202-366-9237
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:
What would a successful megaregion transportation regime look like?
Is there a need for such a regime since there are existing MPOs and State, local and Federal transportation planning organizations?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of transportation planning in regional governance?
Are there examples of current megaregion transportation planning in the United States and / or internationally?
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.
|(202) 366-9237|| Policy Analysis and Development Team Research Plans
Connected Vehicle Technology
Road User Fee and Transportation Revenue Options
Highway Cost Allocation
|(202) 366-9254||Policy Development Tools and Models
Highway Cost Allocation
Highway Construction Cost Index
|(202) 366-5044||Framework and Assessment of Resiliency of the National Highway System
Successful Jurisdictional Approaches to Megaregion Planning