Data-driven decisions can improve performance. The U.S. DOT Volpe Center supports the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Transportation Performance Management (TPM) office in moving FHWA and its partners toward a more performance-based assessment of the nation’s roadways.
“TPM helps to make smart investment decisions with limited resources while raising accountability and transparency of the decision-making process,” said Volpe TPM team lead Cynthia Maloney. “For example, if a state sets a target for bridge condition and only has limited funds, how will they prioritize their projects to meet the target?”
Congress has established a number of goals for the nation’s surface transportation, including those related to improving safety, infrastructure condition, and overall system performance. The new FHWA rules establish national performance measures and other performance provisions to support and capture progress toward meeting those goals.
For example, one of the rules addresses interstate freight movement, including truck travel time reliability and reporting on freight bottlenecks, aimed at helping states improve freight and goods movement regionally and nationally.
In August 2017, FHWA held a TPM Implementation Workshop at Volpe to give nearly 150 transportation professionals—from FHWA division offices, state departments of transportation (DOTs), and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in the northeast region—access to the FHWA staff who developed the final rules for planning, infrastructure, asset management, and system performance.
The workshop was one of four sponsored by FHWA in 2017 to give transportation practitioners direct knowledge on how to execute TPM rules. These workshops reached staff at all 52 FHWA division offices.
“FHWA wants to make sure to reach all state DOTs and MPOs,” Maloney said. “It’s equally important for them to make sure federal field staff have the information they need, so it was great that representatives from every FHWA division office were able to attend the four regional workshops.”
The workshops were held in advance of due dates for the initial Transportation Asset Management Plans in spring 2018, and the targets for bridge, pavement, system performance, congestion, and emissions that are due to be set in May 2018. U.S. DOT intends to communicate performance information nationally, adding to the transparency of the decision-making process.
For more on performance-based assessment of the nation’s roadways, please visit the TPM website.