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FHWA Resource Center



The Congestion Management Process (CMP) The Congestion Management Process (CMP), which has evolved from what was previously known as the Congestion Management System (CMS), is a systematic approach, collaboratively developed and implemented throughout a metropolitan region, that provides for the safe and effective management and operation of new and existing transportation facilities through the use of demand reduction and operational management strategies. The CMP is required to be developed and implemented as an integral part of the metropolitan planning process in Transportation Management Areas (TMAs) – urbanized areas with a population over 200,000, or any area where designation as a TMA has been requested. Although the CMP is not required in non-TMAs, the CMP represents the state-of-the-practice in addressing congestion, and should be considered in metropolitan areas that are facing current and future congestion challenges.

The Congestion Management System has been described as a "7 Step" process; with the addition of a new "first step," the Congestion Management Process is an "8 Step" process, as follows:

  1. Develop Congestion Management Objectives;

  2. Identify Area of Application;

  3. Define System or Network of Interest;

  4. Develop Performance Measures;

  5. Institute System Performance Monitoring Plan;

  6. Identify and Evaluate Strategies;

  7. Implement Selected Strategies and Manage Transportation System; and

  8. Monitor Strategy Effectiveness.

In May 2008, FHWA released An Interim Guidebook on the Congestion Management Process
in Metropolitan Transportation Planning which provides an overview of the Congestion Management Process. Together with a companion volume, Management and Operations in the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the reader will find useful information about implementing an objectives-driven, performance based approach to the metropolitan planning process. These guidebooks build upon over a decade of experience in effective congestion management, and emphasize a regional approach to transportation systems management and operations that has evolved in recent years. The output of several recent research efforts and workshops involving leaders in metropolitan planning, congestion management, and performance-based planning have informed this guidebook, and several additional, related projects are currently underway. The guidebooks are available online.

The Resource Center Planning Team provides technical assistance on CMP as well as a 1 day workshop on the topic. In addition, assistance on related planning and operations topics is also available, including training on performance measures, traffic analysis and other tools. For additional information on the Congestion Management Process contact Brian Betlyon, Ben Williams, or Eric Pihl.

Sample CMP Discussion Questions:

    • How do I know a Transportation Management Area (TMA) has defined an area and network where they will be monitoring congestion and implementing the steps that are mentioned in the 23CFR §500.109(b).

    • What kind of CMS complies with the Regulation?

    • What kind of interaction with local transit, freight and traffic control operators, etc. has been established?

    • Do these partners share data, performance measures, etc. and do they contribute strategies toward solving regional congestion problems?

    • What is the output/outcomes of the CMS?

    • Has the CMS been fully integrated into the overall metropolitan planning process?

    • If the CMS is integrated into the regular planning process, can we see its process, evaluations and strategies in all of the planning products, e.g., UPWP, long range plan, corridor studies and TIP?

    • How does the CMS affect the programming of projects? Does it account for points in project prioritization criteria?

    • How often is the CMS updated?

    • What CMS work activities are included in the UPWP? How much data are enough and what types of data are being collected?

    • What are the performance measures and how many are appropriate?

    • Does the MPO use measurements of congestion in the real world or are they modeled?

    • If in a non-attainment area, is there documentation of the SOV analysis?

    • Are TDM and operational commitments recommended by the CMS eventually implemented?

    • What strategies are being implemented and how are they different from those resulting from the regular planning process?

    • Who are the appropriate implementers of CMS strategies? (e.g., the State DOT, Transportation Management Associations, Transit Agencies, locals, etc.)

    • Does the CMS claim credit for the strategies implemented by others?

    • Is the reevaluation just updating the system performance measures or does it evaluate corridors and/or projects and strategies?

    • How often are CMS strategies or projects reevaluated?

    • What level of detail is used? Is it a corridor-based approach? Does the MPO have to look at every driveway or is the 50, 000 ft view acceptable?

    • How much monitoring is enough and how often is it done?


Texas Transportation Institute Urban Mobility Study

Access Management has been one of the most effective strategies at reducing congestion. TRB has developed a Access Management Manual.

FHWA Congestion WebSite

FHWA System Management and Operations: A Planner's Resource

FHWA Travel Time Collection Handbook

North Jersey MPO

South Western Regional Planning Agency

North Central Texas COG

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