Event ID: 2239913
Thank you for standing by. Welcome to the transportation planning information webinar on Performance-Based Planning and Programming guidebook. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer session. Instructions will be given at that time. If you should require assistance, please press star then zero. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Mr. Spencer Stevens. Please go ahead.
Spencer Stevens – Opening Remarks from FHWA
Thank you, Peter. Good afternoon or good morning to those of you out in the far West. Today's webinar will showcase the new Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Performance-based Planning and Programming guidebook. Three presenters will provide an overview of the Performance-Based Planning and Programming guidebook including the key elements of using this approach and its relationship to existing planning and programming processes. To achieve the desired performance outcomes for the transportation system, it will highlight the effective practices being applied by three different agencies. FHWA and FTA along with the National Highway Institute and the National Transit Institute are working together to update many of our course offerings to ensure they reflect the changes resulting from the –passage of MAP-21. We're finding that some courses easier than others to update, we are hopeful that within the next year all of our courses will be updated to better reflect the current rules. In addition, we have recently completed the resources for financial planning and fiscal constraints in transportation planning. There are a set of tools now available on our transportation planning capacity building website. The tools consist of a series of spreadsheets that allow transportation agency staff to demonstrate financial constraints or develop different transportation revenue and expenditure scenarios. Also included is a brief overview of those tools, a document that describes the steps the agencies can take to cooperatively develop revenue forecasting process, and literature scan we did of noteworthy financial planning practices. The tools can be accessed on the financial planning focus area page or using the drop-down menu under peer learning. We have the model long-range transportation plans, a guide for incorporating performance-based planning. This guidebook really builds upon the guidebook we're going to discuss here today on the webinar. And focus on is on how to incorporate performance-based approaches to the plans developed by state DOTs along with transportation partners. Work on this guidebook should be wrapped up spring 2014. One more exciting item we're working on is the development of performance-based electronic STIP's. And the different practices currently in place, the key or applicable components in design and operating, the advantages and challenges in implementing eSTIP. I will now turn it over to Dwayne for updates from federal transit administration.
Dwayne Weeks – Opening Remarks from FTA
My name is Dwayne, I'm the division chief for the office of planning, the FTA office of planning and environment. And just a quick update, since September 30, –FTA and FHWA did joint guidance for an organization representation, the comment period closed on October 30. We are currently reviewing all the comments and anticipate producing a draft, final guidance early next year. Also in September, FTA published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on transportation safety plan, the public transportation agency plan, the public transportation safety certification training program, and transit Asset Management. There's a 90 day comment period that closes in January so please review the information pertaining to the 120 questions related to safety and transit Asset Management. We need your input in order to draft the notice of proposed rulemaking for further comment. We're also working jointly with counterparts in the Federal Highway Administration on drafting the notice of proposed rulemaking for the Metropolitan statewide planning. We hope to make this soon available for early public comment. And it will provide a framework to implement MAP-21 requirements for performance-based planning. We also had made available the simplified trips on projects software on our public website. STOPS is a tool that transit agencies may use to develop estimates of trips on proposed major capital investment projects or other local projects you wish to fund. It's located on our new travel forecasting page at the federal transit website under the planning and major capital investment. The website contains the user guide, executable file and provides links to sensitive information needed to run the STOPS program. We did do an overhaul of our website for transportation planning last summer and would hope you will find it easier to locate the information related to Metropolitan statewide planning. Recently, the Secretary of transportation Anthony Foxx along with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan introduced the availability of two cutting-edge data tools, location affordability index and the transportation cost calculator. These are both available on a website and the office of sustainable communities developed with the Housing and Urban Development. It is a good tool to estimate what housing and transportation costs may be from any specific location. And transportation cost calculator estimates based upon where you may live and what your choices are, how much it's going to cost you monthly and annually. Anyway, take a look at those. We are interested in receiving feedback on those tools, so we can get good input as to the next version. So that's what we've been up to at the federal transit administration with our partners at FHWA and with the Housing and Urban Development.
Egan Smith Moderator/ Presentation – Overview of PBPP Guidebook
Thank you, Dwayne. Good day, everyone. I'm Egan Smith with Federal Highway Administration office of planning. Thank you for attending the Performance-based Planning and Programming guidebook webinar. This webinar provides highlights of the Performance-based Planning and Programming guidebook and is intended to address questions about how the guidebook can be used as a resource. It also includes key practices from industry stakeholders, three of which you will hear from today. And with that, there's the first presentation that includes myself and Michael Grant.
Michael Grant is a Principal at ICF International in Washington, DC. He brings more than 18 years of experience focusing on advancing sustainable transportation decision-making practices, including work related to transportation planning, project development, and the environment. He has provided training and technical assistance to State DOTs, metropolitan planning organizations, and transit agencies on topics such as the congestion management process, air quality conformity, and transportation demand management. For FHWA and FTA, he recently led development of the Performance-based Planning and Programming Guidebook, and is currently developing a guidebook on Model Long Range Transportation Plans to support Performance-based Planning. He holds a M.S. in Public Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
And with that, I'll continue with the presentation.
In order to address the challenges for planning and programming, to influence more performance-based decision-making, the Federal Highway Administration and the F TA have been supporting dialogue to help transportation agencies learn from each other and share information on best practices. Activities have included a series of national and regional, multistate workshops in coordination with industry stakeholders and development of resources focused on performance-based processes, such as this performance-based planning and programming guidebook. The congestion management process guidebook and other performance related outreach efforts. This guidebook is designed as a practical resource to help state DOT's, MPOs and transit agencies understand what the key elements are and how they fit within existing planning and programming. In that context, this document expands upon existing resources and outreach efforts and highlights examples of effective practices from state DOT's, MPOs and transit agencies on long-range transportation plans, and process elements such as the strategic Highway safety plan, congestion management process, and Asset Management Plans.
Apart from the outreach efforts mentioned on the last slide, stakeholder committees of practitioners from state DOT's, MPOs, transit agency and national stakeholder associations guided the development and provided significant input to develop this guidebook. That said, the guidebook is designed to highlight good practices and not interpret MAP-21 requirements, but identify processes that could be useful in addressing requirements for performance-based planning that is found in MAP-21.
In a nutshell, performance-based planning and programming ensures that transportation investment decisions are made and long-term planning and short-term programming of projects based on the ability to meet, and establish goals. The guidebook is organized around the basic elements of performance-based planning and programming process. Starting with an executive summary that intends to capture the overall process and can be shared as a standalone document with transportation executives. Sections one and two introduce basic principles of performance-based planning and programming and include an overall framework and common teams that are featured in successful performance-based approaches. Sections three through nine give a detailed explanation of the key elements in the process from goals through monitoring, evaluation, and implementation. Section 10 highlights tips and success factors for an effective process and section 11 provides detailed case studies of agencies using performance-based planning and programming approaches. Section 12 provides a glossary of links to relevant reference documents and relevant websites. Throughout the document, multiple short case studies are included to boost the arguments made.
The guidebook leads off with an executive summary that attempts to capture all of the nuances of Performance-Based Planning and Programming. The executive summary defined PBPP including distinctions between performance management and Performance-Based Planning and Programming. It identifies the plans and activities that encompassed the process. It presents this framework diagram indicated on this slide and key Performance-Based Planning and Programming steps and identifies key lessons for effective implementation of the PBPP approach.
To step through the process, we start with the basic characteristics:
Under strategic direction, you will have goals, and maybe quantifiable objectives that guide decision making, and performance measures that capture these goals and objectives.
Next under analysis:
Making the link to programming requires understanding. The set of actions, strategies, and investments that you can use will improve performance. The expected impact of those strategies on your resource constrained achievable targets to be set so the planning process should lead to the development of investment priorities that can feed into an investment plan. Based on the resources that are available, this can lead to a program of projects that produces the outcomes desired.
Finally, successful Performance-Based Planning and Programming will require thinking about implementation and reporting and monitoring which not only feeds back into the planning process, but also informs the programming of projects as well. So that you can see that the decisions you are making on a continual basis are actually achieving the results that you desire. With that I'd like to turn it over to Michael to get into some discussion of what we trying to get across today.
Michael Grant – Presentation – Overview of PBPP Guidebook
Thank you, Egan. As noted, the Performance-Based Planning and Programming process involves a number of different elements and the focus of today's webinar or at least my presence is on the elements of linking planning and programming to ensure that planning really does inform the selection of investments made. And that in the programming process and then in the implementation and evaluation of projects, the performance elements carry through. Under Performance-Based Planning and Programming framework, the programming of projects and strategies in the transportation improvement program at the MPO and state levels should support the desired performance outcomes delineated in the Long-range Transportation Plan. And the TIP/STIP should communicate how specific investments funded should contribute to the outcomes that are delineated in the planning process. We found through developing the guidebook that incorporating information into TIP/STIP development process is often challenging yet it's a critical part of this overall element of the performance-based planning and programming.
So how do areas really go about moving from planning into programming? The guidebook identifies various techniques that can be used to support this process. One of which is to use project selection criteria which reflects the priorities and desired performance outcomes identified in the planning process. This case, performance selection criteria may be used as evaluation metrics to help rank projects. Typically the long-range plan will contain some narratives that talk about criteria that will be used that also can be used to help support the short-range programming. Once projects and strategies are prioritized based on the selection criteria, then funding is matched to those projects and strategies in order to identify the highest priority project. The guidebook identified several examples of this. And we will hear more from three practitioners today about how they are linking planning to programming.
In one example in the guidebook, the Atlanta regional commission developed and implemented a project prioritization method in ENVISION 6, regional transportation plan which evaluates capacity including transit, roadway, and HOV projects based on environmental impact support for regional land-use policies and ability to reduce congestion. All of the system expansion projects in the regional transportation plan were evaluated using this method. And intersection with critical environmental areas along with data for each area to compare the proposed projects. As an example at the state level, we see a comprehensive approach connecting long-range planning to programming with the North Carolina department of Transportation. In 2009 it began a reform process to better ensure that its projects that are developed support the goals that are in its long-range planning effort. And are developed in an outcome based manner. The department's policy of projects process begins with a 30-year long-range plan and concludes with a detailed 5-year work program.
The strategic prioritization and programming process uses a scoring process to prioritize projects based on quantitative data addressing factors such as congestion, safety and benefit costs associated with time-saving for projects. The prioritization process also accounts for local input on ranking of projects and assigns additional points for multimodal characteristics. So both of these and we will hear from others examples of how this project selection criteria can feed into their broad ideas about goals and objectives into the selection of individual projects. We also see another way that areas may look at this is to ensure that the projects in the TIP and STIP are consistent with the long-range transportation plan's investment priorities and goals. As one example, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments or SEMCOG, the MPO for the Detroit area tracks the consistency of projects with the investment levels that are identified in the Long-range Transportation Plan. The LRTP identifies preferred funding levels for each major program area and then by tracking the consistency of the actual project program compared to the preferred levels, they are able to make that connection in the investment levels that they are placing on different priorities.
These are just a few of many examples several of which are in the guidebook. We will hear more about the examples from practice today. At the State DOT level one of the challenges is that in many cases long-range plans may be setting out a strategic direction with goals and objectives and performance measures. But in some cases states do not actually developed very detailed investment plans within their long-range plans. And so the idea of developing a more detailed or midrange investment plan is a good practice that we found. This practice is used by some agencies to identify the types of investments needed at a more detailed level than included in the long-range plan. There are several examples in the guidebook.
Minnesota DOT adopted several performance-based modal plans including a freight, bicycle, transit, highway systems operations, highway safety, and aeronautics plan. Together these provide the foundation for performance-based resource allocation. As an example, each district developed a 20-year highway investment plan for 2009 to 2028 which derives into three timeframes. Short-range through 2009 through 2012, which is incorporated into the STIP and then midrange 2013 to 2018, and a long-range element, 2019 to 2028.
New Jersey also has a capital investment strategy that helps decision-makers take a collaborative approach to investments in thinking about Asset Management and developing investment options for transportation asset categories using goals, objectives and performance measures. So as part of this strategy, New Jersey identifies investment needs in each asset category and establishes 10-year targets annual investment levels based on revenue levels and performance objectives. The SCIS or statewide capital investment strategies links project funding selections with broad program objectives using a performance analysis that determines potential success of various investment scenarios.
Across all these approaches, a key element is that the projects selected and funded should effectively translate what is laid out in the strategic elements of the planning process into projects that are actually funded and implemented. Historically the process of selecting project and strategies for inclusion in a TIP and STIP has varied widely and in many cases in the past has often been poorly understood by stakeholders and may not be directly connected to performance outcomes. Performance-based planning promises to introduce more transparency to the programming process and demonstrate a connection between individual projects and system performance targets. So consequently, a critical link from planning to programming often is defining some level of project selection criteria that effectively translate a plan and it's identified outcomes into the projects that help to achieve those outcomes. And again the guidebook identifies a number of examples of this. There are different ways in which MPO's and states have used project scoring selection criteria or optimization techniques to help support this.
Just as an example, North Carolina capital area MPO, the MPO for the Raleigh Metropolitan area, implemented a points scoring system for projects that takes into consideration whether the project is a local priority, the level of local funding match, and the compliance with the Long-range Transportation Plan as well as different factors such as cost effectiveness. The MPO found also that by considering the extent to which the project is a local priority, it helped to identify projects that are the best fit for the region.
Other areas may start out allocating funding to specific categories of projects as defined or designed to support the goals and priorities in the long-range plan. And then distribute funding to programs or district using a performance-based formula and prioritizing projects within those individual areas. Pennsylvania DOT has an approach that uses a process like this. We also noted that the Denver regional COG has a TIP selection process that first involves developing funding targets for different categories of projects such as roadway capacity, operational improvement, reconstruction, air quality improvement projects and bicycle pedestrian projects designed to implement the objectives in the long-range plan. And then identifies specific evaluation criteria for each project type used for scoring and ranking projects within those categories reflecting overall regional goals and objectives. And also accounting for different factors including environmental justice and other considerations.
So all of these are just some good examples to show how the process of performance-based planning can tie more directly into the outcomes of projects that are programmed by agencies at the state and metropolitan levels. An important component in addition to programming is monitoring the success of funded projects to help create that feedback loop that Egan showed in the diagram on Performance-Based Planning and Programming. And communicating that connection to performance from the project implemented. As some state DOTs are transitioning to the use of an electronic STIP, which can actually include some explicit link in the STIP to identify performance information. As noted at the beginning, FHWA and FTA are developing a more detailed resource on this focused on electronic STIP, the guide to incorporating performance measures in programming.
To follow-up on the programming process as already noted, ongoing monitoring and evaluation and reporting are an important feedback loop in the overall Performance-based Planning and Programming process. There are many reasons that it is important to monitor and evaluate performance. Several are noted here:
The purpose of Performance-Based Planning and Programming is to ensure the results of the investments and policies inform the future decision-making so agencies better understand approaches that work. And data on performance, if not analyzed, then you are not using that benefit to influence the future decisions in planning and programming.
The guidebook highlights some distinction between what's meant by monitoring and evaluation. Monitoring itself is the process of providing information on actual conditions. This can occur on a periodic basis and allow for periodic assessments of whether targets have been or are likely to be attained. Monitoring system performance is an ongoing process with data being used and collected regularly. And monitoring data can be used to inform the public and transportation officials and elected officials about progress toward meeting goals relative to targets. Evaluation really goes a step beyond monitoring the performance to really look at and understand why performance has changed over time and whether the strategies that have been implemented have been effective in contributing towards positive performance outcomes.
Many cases, there may be external factors that affect system performance. Population growth, fuel prices, all sorts of different factors can affect regional congestion, safety, other metrics that are important to a region or state. So evaluating and interpreting the results is important to say, how have our programs and investments affected this metric? How have other factors also played a role in overall performance? This I think is important because it also recognizes transportation often is only one component of supporting certain goal areas as it relates to safety. Where law enforcement public education, vehicle, technologies, a wide range of factors ultimately influence the performance of the transportation system.
Given those issues, it's important to consider, how do we communicate the performance of our system? And the role of transportation investments in achieving performance changes. The concept of performance journalism really came out of initially Washington State DOT but has been applied more broadly across many transportation agencies who are looking at, how do we show the performance of our system and then also tell a story about how the performance is changing? So performance journalism includes various components including not only providing data but providing good information with writing, good graphics, and good formatting of the information to help the reader understand and even include stories about how performance has changed. Both for the positive and negative and why the performance changes are occurring. With that, I'll wrap up. I think Egan and I are happy to take some questions now or towards the end of this session. And then we can go on to our three other key speakers.
If you would like to ask a phone question on today's call, please press the star key followed by the digit 1. A voice prompt on your phone line will let you know when your line is open. Please state your name before posing your question. It is star one for a phone question.
If there are no questions, we would move on quickly to the first presenter. Right after we close out the survey.
And today the first presenter is Susan Gorski is Manager of Statewide and Urban Travel Analysis at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Bureau of Transportation Planning. Since coming to MDOT in 1990, Susan has led agency work on developing of MDOT’s Congestion Management System, travel demand modeling, forecasting, economic analysis and numerous performance measure applications in planning. Susan also led the development of the 2030 and 2035 MI Transportation Plan which is the state long –range plan for MDOT. Susan holds a Master of Arts degree in Economics and Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Mathematics from Central Michigan University, as well as a Masters Certificate, Project Management from George Washington University, Washington D.C. Susan currently serves as the Board Vice Chair for AASHTO Census Transportation Planning Program, as well as Panel Member for NCHRP 08-36/Task 111: U.S. Commuting and Travel Patterns: Data Development and Analysis. With that, we would pull up her presentation quickly and we will jump over to Susan's presentation. Thank you.
So for MDOT, there's a direct connection between planning processes and how projects are selected and prioritized. It goes right back to what they were showing you earlier in terms of the schematics involved the goal setting, performance measurement, setting targets, connecting our capital investments to achieve those goals. We've actually established this linkage a while back where we've actually set and made our commitments 94% of announced program has been completed since 2001. The linkage is instrumental in not only allowing us to deliver our project commitments but the linkage has provided other benefits such as aligning the organization and processes and connecting our efforts towards the common understood goals with partners and stakeholders as well as community.
For MDOT, this is a slide that we shows our framework in terms of the connection between planning and programming. As I said, first through goal setting with long-range planning development in Michigan, our long-range plan is a policy document and does provide a strategic direction. My transportation plan actually set the decision principles for development of our programs at all levels and as well as developing strategies to pursue those goals. We connect our goals with our investment planning, investment strategies guide the allocation of capital resources to achieve goals established. They are focused where most benefit to the public consistent with the direction that has been established. Investment strategy is communicated throughout the organization. And in coordination with stakeholders and partners at the MPO's in regional planning agency levels.
MDOT has actually been implementing performance-based planning as it's described since 1997. At that time our state transportation commission actually established trunk line pavement and bridge goals we needed to achieve. At that time, those goals are pavement condition was very poor. And we needed to get the pavement back into good position. So our historic measures that we actually focus on since that time were our pavement, bridge and safety, and we were successful at setting and achieving those goals through our processes.
So for MDOT, the performance measurement reall set an ongoing process. Once we established those initial goals and direction from the state transportation commission, we also then began to develop our new state long-range plan, our 2030 my transportation plan. With the development of new goals and objectives, performance measures were integrated in terms of the development, not only doing all the research and in terms of the historic trends that were going on, looking at what the future needs and expectations would be, but it looked at reviewing our measures that we were using and getting input from the public and stakeholders to find out what was important to them in terms of the performance and what they desired in our transportation system. In addition we adopted Asset Management approach to doing our transportation programming.
So from that process, we now continue with assessing on an ongoing basis the attitudes and perceptions of our residents in the state of Michigan through various customer surveys and public involvement findings. We evaluate on a continuous basis to look at our goals and objectives as well as measurements that we are using. And we review those measures and look at new options and look at additional measures we may need to adopt depending on the desires. For MDOT, investment planning is really the core of our planning and programming process. It supports our Asset Management approach, it guides our annual and multiyear investment decision, and it's really results in getting everybody together to have the most effective way of identifying what needs to be accomplished in terms of our priorities. The investment template is used and approved by our state transportation commission as well as used with the Governor and Legislature to communicate our program in terms of where our investments are going.
What we end up doing is to annually look at our investment strategy template. And we look at each of the program categories in terms of pavement, bridge, safety, from the highway capital side. We look at targets and develop for each of the program categories based on the direction that we received from our commission, as well as the state long-range plan and the strategy then is constrained to the revenue available. And each program then is monitored throughout the year. Given our limited resources in recent years our strategy has mainly been focused on investment for preservation and safety of our existing transportation system.
One of the key things that we use is an integrated call for project process. This process is communicated annually, which provides the mechanism for project selection and prioritization. The goals of strategic direction to meet our performance objectives along with the funding targets that are consistent with the investment plan are provided during this call for projects process. And the process includes looking at the strategies that are going to be used for identifying the projects, project selection, scoping and estimating of those candidate projects and ultimately this selection and program approval. The program of projects is published annually and MDOT's transportation program as well as in our 4-year STIP. As with any good Asset Management process we use, we monitor and evaluate our progress towards our goals obtaining feedback and making adjustments along the way. There are several committees charged with reviewing and looking at and working with the call and developing our program. In fact today, I was going to have another individual at MDOT sit on the webinar to discuss some of this, but they are presenting our five-year program to our state transportation commission so I'm here holding down the ship as they say.
One of the other things is that once you make the selection to help your program, you need to implement the strategy. And the implementation of the strategies is defined through the programming process. This link is adjustment for successful program delivery at MDOT. The linkage has not only allowed us to deliver our commitments but has provided a benefit to the organization as well in terms of alignment. One of the things I'd like to do is quickly show you an example of how we use the tools and that in the process to achieve our goals. As I indicated back in 1997, we had the transportation commission set a goal for us in terms of the pavement condition. The goal was to achieve a 95% good or fair condition by 2007 for freeways and 85% on non-freeways. We actually used what we call remaining service life as the performance measure to identify that. We also discovered too that in 1997 we had not had any tax revenue increases in 13 years. We had a federal aid Max shortfall. We had to ensure we could meet the federal aid and we needed to be more accountable and transparent to the public. So the vision was established by our state transportation commission to achieve these goals. And implement this practice. What we use here is a tool that we call the road quality forecasting system. The road quality forecasting system is a program level model used to forecast the future pavement conditions based on remaining service life. It's also used to determine funding need based on desired future conditions. Six strategies identify by the percentage of the network to be repaired by a fixed type whether it be just your basic preventive maintenance to resurfacing or reconstruction and all these fixes in between. What we end up doing is we look at the goals and targets from a statewide perspective, looking at the types of strategies that would be used, goals are sent to the regions, and the regions use this tool to look at the network within their area to develop the appropriate fixed strategies to be used within the region. And then through the call process, those are all brought back together to look at it from a state perspective to make sure every strategy is consistent.
Over the years we've learned that the Asset Management approach that includes a mix of fixes, doing the right fixed at the right time is the most effective strategy. Our tools of road quality forecasting system did tell us that we could achieve our pavement conditions goals by 2007 if we got additional money so that we could do the right fixes at the right time. We were able to achieve revenue increases as a result and we found out that our projections were a little bit optimistic. This graphic here shows that the initial strategy that we looked at was that we needed to achieve in terms of funding back in 2003, was the strategy and our original strategy is at the bottom green line, preserve first strategy which we ended up going with as the dotted line. As you can see here, we ended up looking at and achieving our goal to obtain our pavement conditions. One of the things we had to do was really go back and look at our analysis to ensure that we are on track to meet our goal and make the right adjustments based on what we had. We also in order for this to work, is that we have an organizational alignment that we used in terms of linking our planning processes and programming. It's a process oriented structure. Interdisciplinary teams or cross-sections as well as outside the organization. And it allows us to come to a common goal and looking at a meeting our objectives.
So for us as I said, Performance-based Planning and Programming is an ongoing process. It provides a framework for consistent delivery and involves the entire organization not just planning. A lot of times people will see planning and all of a sudden I have on my desk all of these documents and reports that talk about planning because they have planning in them or they just pertain to transportation planning. Well, no, performance-based planning and programming pertains to the entire organization and how we operate to achieve our common goals. At this point, I'll open it up to any questions. And hopefully I have given you some information that you find useful.
Once again, for our phone audience if you would like to ask a question, please press star one. Star one for phone questions.
Thank you, Susan. That's a great presentation. That's a good point you raised. Not just planning. It involves a lot more of the organization than just a planning process. And there are no questions in the chat pod, but I have one question Do you monitor and report progress in other modes similar to the way you monitor pavement conditions?
Yes. We have a number of tools similar to our road quality forecasting system. We have a specific tool for our bridges which is called the bridge condition forecasting system. Which looks at freeway and non-freeway bridge conditions based on the national bridge index NBI. We also have different tools for safety, ITS, operational congestion management processe, we have performance measure reports that include all the definitions and standards that we use and the status is so that we can assess progress towards our goals and make the results transparent.
That sounds like a lot of great tools. We may want to reach out to you after this session to see if we can get more details on some of that information as well.
We'd be happy.
I'm sure the audience would be interested in that as well. And since there are no more questions, I have one final question. In terms of forecasting, your pavement condition forecasting had been a bit optimistic why was that? And what did you learn along the way?
One of the things as you know with any modeling, it depends on what your assumptions are. And one of the things we found that with this particular tool is our deterioration rates. We were deteriorating pavement from the low end of the category a little too aggressively. And when we started to look at the data, we found that we needed to update those. What we ended up realizing was that reality wasn't doing what the tool was saying it was doing. So the tool was adjusted to more appropriately address deteriorate appearance of the pavement conditions throughout each of the categories as we were experiencing out in the field. And then we do an update annual review of our fixed life to make sure that we have those appropriately embedded into the tool. They are reviewed by our pavement engineers for the years of improvement for each of the pavement types. And we do an update of our cost Tables as well. One of the things as you put your costs in, you have to remember they change over time as well so it's also looking at the inflation. We did not include that. So we needed to using a new tool, as you use a tool and you learn the tool you tweak it and make improvements and we're constantly improving these tools as we use them.
Thank you, Susan. That's a really good point you raised there. The need to have that feedback as we tried to illustrate in the Performance-based Planning and Programming diagram. The connection between programming and the monitoring of the process and making decisions based on the actual outcomes themselves. I think there's one more question. --
Victor Austin of the FTA wants as to know how you look at transit in terms of your STIP and Performance Management criteria?
Well, yes, the state of Michigan, MDOT actually does not own or operate any transit in the state as some other states might. We actually work with our transit agencies. We have the transit agencies and of course the MPO's are part of that process. And then within the TMA's, and then in our rural areas, they coordinate with regional planning agencies, as well as our rural taskforces. I can do a follow-up with Sharon Egger, the head of our passenger transportation Bureau, and find out some more information for you. So just make sure we have some contact information or maybe get it posted to the webinar webpage or something like that.
With that, we move onto the next presenter today,
Rich Perrin serves as the Executive Director of the Genesee Transportation Council, a position he has held since February 2004. He is responsible for directing and managing activities related to federally-funded transportation policy, planning, and investment decision-making in the nine-county Genesee-Finger Lakes Region, which includes the Rochester, New York metropolitan area. Rich currently serves as Vice President of AMPO and is a member of the TRB Metropolitan Policy, Planning, and Processes Committee and the Executive Committee of APA’s Genesee-Finger Lakes Section. Rich received his Master’s degree in urban planning from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his Bachelor’s degree from St. John Fisher College. He has also completed the Wharton Transportation Executive Program at the University of Pennsylvania..
REACH Rich Perrin
The increased availability of data is just changing faster and faster. One of the things we recognize is we need to be able to deal with big data. Not looking at it as just a lot of information but it can provide us with useful insight. The forthcoming federal requirements we are looking at those. We will begin to see them in the next few months. MAP-21 Performance Management requirements. But the third one is where we had control over it. So we worked hard to get consensus on goals and objectives and associated performance measures. And then placed those and codified those in the Long-Range Transportation Plan through 2035. We looked at this and said we have these four things. This is a perfect opportunity to get in there and say, how do we no pun intended make the best decisions where the rubber meets the road? Through our investment decisions and capital program. We had some keys we said we wanted to have. We wanted to say as we moved to this performance-based planning and programming process we needed to know what's important customers. The way to do that is to ask them. Not just the public, it was also member agencies. We started saying to state DOTs, our local County Highway and Transportation department, Rochester Genesee regional transit authority, what's important to you? We realized as a planning agency, we had to make the measures meaningful and understandable. As technical professionals, we had no doubt we could have a number of meaningful metrics. But is anybody going to be able to understand them? Not only public but also policy makers. We know they were only going to spend maybe a couple minutes thinking about this at most before they say, I don't get it. I would point to if you want to look at where there's very effective metrics both meaningful and understandable, take a look at crime and education. Crime rates, graduation rates, violent crime rates, graduation rate in five years, this is who we are competing with for Public resources. Our idea was to the greatest extent possible, and we still haven't figured out how to boil it down to one metric, how do we make these things so that people say yes, that has an impact on me and I get what the change in it is?
The other one which we're going to talk about is how do we embed those measures and investment decisions? If we keep talking about them but not tying it back to what we do, we can't make the case for the last bullet, which is these are our metrics and these are the results of what we can and can't do with what we have. Here are our accomplishments. Here's how much more we could do if we had additional revenue. For our guiding principles this is important - the first one was we're not planning for infrastructure. Infrastructure is not the customer people are. We don't treat roads, bridges, buses, multiuse trails as if they are the primary concern. It is how much they are being used.
Our region is extremely large, about 4700 square miles and encompasses urban, suburban, rural areas. We have 1.2 million residents and about 550,000 jobs. That's greater than eight states. So there are large variations. Everybody has similar needs but there is a variation in how those needs are going to be met. The other thing we said is, we have sufficient capacity but the key for us is maximizing existing assets. We can't sacrifice what we have and need for what we want. Also a lot of people will talk about Asset Management. If you are not adhering to the first two principles, you are talking about infrastructure management. As we make investment decisions, our criteria vary and the amount of emphasis we place on criteria vary by place.
The other one was accepting uncertainty. There was a report from the US Public interest research group about changes in people walking and biking and taking transit. Based on American community survey (ACS) data. There's going to be changes. We can only address what we hear for the public. But at the same time we want to be absolutely sure of not just the stated preferences but the revealed preferences, not what they say but what they do. The other one is on the funding levels. We don't know where we're going to be. We do a reasonable estimation of what we expect as we go forward, with our planning process at all levels to identify the expected revenues for the long-range plan and the TIP. Our performance measures are pretty straightforward. Right now we have 15. We don't have 50 or 100. We tried to keep it at a manageable level so that they would be meaningful and understandable coming back to that principle.
We have benchmarks, desired and likely changes. We don't have targets. That's the evolution of the process. Something that we've started thinking about. Because obviously as Susan went through her discussion you have the ability to model these things to say what's a reasonable target and what is an aspirational target? We plan on getting there. In the end we have five areas we wanted to look at. Safety is one measure. Number of fatalities on a three-year rolling average. That's what we tie our investment decisions to. How does that change that’s first and foremost. At the end of the day, how many crashes are we having that have the absolute multiple negative impact on the traveling public? We look at preservation, mobility, accessibility, the environment and we really covered all modes. Highways and bridges, public transportation, bike and pedestrian, passenger rail and now starting to develop a freight subset. Individual parts. When I say passenger rail, it is intercity passenger rail. Important to note because we don't have control over it but it is something we heard was important from the public.
For our performance measures, this is important to the investment decisions, we tried to select outcome-based measures. The key here is not did we or didn't we but what impact is it having? Clearly defining each measure. When we said we're going to have a travel time index, if we wanted to define congestion, it's going to be 1.3 or higher. One third longer in a peak period to make that trip, it is congested. Actually, 1.25. On-time performance, three minutes early, six minutes late. Not two minutes 59 seconds early, three minutes. Very specific. We wanted to use real world data as opposed to modeled data. We don't have sensors on the end of every tailpipe. We couldn't do emissions but for everything else we wanted to be using real world data that we actually collect or get from someone else. We work with member agencies. Consistent with what they're trying. One of the things that the MPO has to do is work in a cooperative fashion. One of the three C's. Our process came down to when we got into the TIP, we want to build on a solid foundation. We really had a good process. We knew we wanted to make it better. We wanted to retain the familiarity.
When we showed this to member agencies, we did not change the format. The content definitely changed to become more performance-based. But at the end of the day we used the same process and we do it jointly with New York State department of Transportation region. That goes for all funds sources and agencies that are regionally distributed in terms of fund sources. So we direct link and prioritized based on the long-range plan. How do we do that? The key was to identify the right questions. What that meant was what is fundamental to progressing towards desired changes and those performance measures? The questions are in the application package. People give us responses. Then we also allow potential sponsors - potential project lead agencies to expand upon those in presentations. This allows us to dig deeper and get to if you didn't fully answer the question or we thought of something else, tell us how you're going to do that. Not just the data, really key to us saying it has to be a human process.
We also produced the raters guide. It's very specific. So if safety can score up to 20 points, this is what scores eight, 12, 16 when we talked about fiscal responsibility. We had three questions underneath there. Each 1 worth five points. This is exactly what get to a one, two, three, four, five, zero. And we did that because we wanted to have consistency across updates. If we end up getting more money, no problem. We can start to add projects. The next round when we do it, our next TIP round, we want to be able to go back and say, how would this project have rated against other projects from previous or future rounds? We wanted to have all of the raters being able to score the same thing. For us we scored 200 applications. 400 projects. We had multiple projects in an application for preventive maintenance. So did the New York State department of Transportation regional office. We got together and agreed on a single score for every single criterion. We closed the doors and said, we're not leaving until we make this much progress this day so that it is consistent. That's very key. Our evaluation criteria are pretty basic and upfront in terms of what we're looking at. We have common ones across all modes up to 100 points. This allows us to compare across modes. To ensure we are picking the best projects. –At the same time we may want to make specific selections for particular modes. We have four to five criteria for up to 35 points. That has to do with what happens if we end up matching funds sources to projects? As we start running low, we may have to start looking at matching projects to fund sources. In that case the program eligibility to determine that we have to pick a public transportation project or we have to pick a bicycle and pedestrian project. We wanted to be able to have the ability to infuse professional judgment where necessary to say, we're not doing enough public transportation. Not doing enough system management and operations.
Going back to place matters, this is a map of our region you would find anywhere. Political geography but not functional geography. The functional geography determines the transportation needs and that's exactly what this is. This is our map of places when we talk about place matters. Not that you need to see the detail but when we start defining needs, we do that by place. Safety, preserving and maintaining system and reducing energy usage, those are high priorities everywhere. But improving mobility for automobiles, not a high priority in the regional urban core. Increasing access for pedestrians to regional retail, probably not walking there so it's going to be a low priority. What we found out is as we went to through the process basing it on guiding principles where cooperation and critical thinking are absolutely key. You can have all the technology and data you want, everything else, but at the end of the day for an MPO if your member agencies don't buy into it, and cannot see how you come up with this it's not going to move forward. It's hard to get people to agree but it's still the most important thing. Quantitative does not equal objective. You can put a number on anything. That does not make it objective. It's objective when you have the agreement around what will make a material change or difference to the system in the way you want it to? The other thing is we don't want to be too flexible or overly rigid. So we had to be adaptive. That meant principled and being able to respond to changes. This is the arc. We have to balance that and say how do we set up a process we can change? The raters guide is what it is. It allows us to be consistent. It always will. The comparison may need to change. We may have to say, this is now more of a priority. Change the amount of points for that particular criterion or measure. And we can't just look at non-system considerations. In some cases there's the aesthetic aspect. This is a good project because the community has identified it somewhere else and said this is important to us and transportation is key. If we don't fix transportation, we can't fix other things. This is a process. It's never going to be a destination you get there and all of a sudden you are done. Just making changes is not a good way to do things. Making changes so it results in improvement is important. Being able to document improvement to the member agencies is absolutely critical. Very simply, the old Will Rogers quote. Even if you're on the right track, you get run over if you sit there.
We've got to continue moving forward. There's still more to be done. That more is to move from not only the first box, project selection which is picking the best projects, we need to deliver them to the extent possible ahead of time and under budget so we can go back out to the public and say, we picked the best projects. We got them done like we said we would. We didn't have to come back to you. This is the results we got. If we do that, we can make a very strong case for why additional revenues are needed and deserved and we're not going to be going out every time with what seems like the jar saying, please help. No! Transportation has made this type of change and this is why it's been beneficial to our communities. At the end of the day, that's a very quick overview but I would reiterate our process goes back to a solid foundation and long-range plan and carry through to making good objective quality decisions we can then point to and say not just did we do something? But what impact did it have on the system? Thank you.
Once again, if you would like to ask a question, please press star one. That is star one for phone questions. We do have a question on the phones. Please go ahead.
This is Jill in North Carolina division.
One thing that struck me too is really getting the involvement -- the stakeholder involvement. And one thing I'm finding is that as we work more towards NEPA and planning, a lot of our partners out in the environment world, they're getting the blanket requests at the beginning of the process from MPO saying, we're going to be doing the MTP update for the next two years. If you want to get involved, let us know. And they don't want to be involved for two years. One of the things that I was wondering, if anybody had any better ideas on tackling it. I was looking at doing detailed MTP schedules. And then at that time, identifying different stakeholders that could be involved in those different pieces at the time they are needed. If somebody has some better ways of going about it, I would appreciate those examples.
Thank you. I'll open up the floor to Rich.
Okay. Thank you.
Victor Austin, FTA. Looking at your evaluation criteria, are those tied to your goals and objectives? And what's the process for determining the major, moderate and minor need?
When I was looking at the chart here, and I was looking at the different colors, I was looking at how does the major need, moderate and minor need -- how did that play out for increased frequency of existing public transit service at new public transportation service? And enhanced and expanded mobility and access for bicyclists and pedestrians? I compared that to improve mobility for automobiles. I was wondering how were these rankings determined?
With that I will move to the final presentation today. And we have Brian Fineman is Director of Systems Planning at the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, the metropolitan planning organization for northern New Jersey. In nearly two decades at the NJTPA, Brian has focused on strengthening systematic decision-making grounded in comprehensive information and oriented toward regional goals. He has led agency work on developing a regional capital investment strategy, a placebased strategy evaluation and congestion management process, multimodal transportation modeling, forecasting, geographic information systems, air quality analysis, and numerous performance measure applications in planning. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Stony Brook University. Brian.
In terms of our process, this is the chart we've been using. There are many iterations of this. This is quite consistent with the process that expressed in the guidebook we're trying to simplify and communicate on this. In terms of stages of going from policy angles to analysis and planning, moving toward action. And then going back with monitoring and hopefully coming back full circle. I'll put here a more detailed version of this but I'm not going to talk about all these things. I will touch on a couple but we try to link with this kind of overall structure whereas the key MPO products fit in. Including regional transportation plan, long-range plan, transportation improvement program in terms of programming specific funds on projects and overall unified planning work program. But the overall process itself of course is one of the major products of MPO so that is our focus here. So beginning with policy angle, what we're looking for in terms of performance based planning is that it provides the stage and provides that foundation and looking for goals, objectives, and performance measures, begin to be defined and strategies for investment and so on. A lot of those policy aspects get incorporated into regional transportation plan.
Here at NJTPA, we've worked on many of these over the years beginning early on with post Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 in the early '90s looking where MPO's began to be empowered to implement these things. And we have established and adopted within our plan and other documents, goals and performance measures covering a full range of economic quality-of-life, environmental and of course transportation goals. We have an adopted regional capital investment strategy that goes over principles of investment and also looks at allotment of investment by mode. And includes lots of specific guidelines contingent on types of places and some of the things that previous speakers have touched on included in our regional transportation plan. Within our congestion management process we have a place-based approach. Some of the same themes which I'm quite happy to hear. Where we are looking at planning objectives that are customized toward the different diverse kinds of places in our region. Suburban, rural, parts of our region. And recognizing performance measures objectives, and targets ultimately will very much depend on place and customers. So these policy elements set the stage for analysis in the process. We want to look for that to be in actuality and we have a way to look at scenarios that are based in what's of interest to the policymakers. We want to look at examining trends in terms of the kind of measures established earlier in the process and looked at conducting a visioning effort where we are examining these kinds of scenarios, looking at comparisons to some of those targets, some notion earlier about objectivity. A lot of the measurements actually correct. It's not a question of being objective necessarily. It's a question of comparing to the desired outcomes of policymakers the public and so on. Location specific strategies that we do analyze, guided by the capital investment strategy, overarching strategy for the region. We maintain that kind of context of what places we're looking at in the region and the markets we're trying to serve. So more examples in terms of regional analysis, we have done scenario work looking at those goals and performance measures in our plan and looking at the forecasting performance and seeing what kind of outcomes are desirable. In terms of congestion management process, we have the place-based approach where we have drawn specific targets that are based on places and again looked at some of those market areas that are very dependent on the objectives set for them. More focused analysis, that’s smaller scale, I mentioned a couple things here, in terms of -- of course we want to see the performance-based analysis conducted and carried throughout our process, no matter who's doing it, not only talking about work conducted at MPO. So many planning studies are happening with our planning partners, members sub regions, counties and cities. We want to ensure that those studies are consistent with the work that we're setting the stage at the MPO for some of the performance-based approach. For example in some of the pass-through funding we have in the sub regional studies, we have specific requirements that they are connections to established regional goals, capital investment strategy, congestion management process. And we also look to have those studies carried forward the performance-based type of approach and look to bring data and analysis to their examination of needs and proposing solutions.
Another example -- this is something new we are developing here – we are producing an information system planning recommendations information management engine, (PRIME). I give it its own slide here. This is going to be a searchable database with geographically defined findings from studies so that were able to retain the findings of earlier stages in the processes, correlate them, put them on a map, have them referenced to the kind of performance measures and important characteristics of the findings that we want to bring forward as we move closer toward ultimately developing projects, developing actions. So this is really a nice transition Phase and brings us from the planning stages much closer to actions which hopefully folks will be hearing more about in the future I think is going to really help us integrate a lot of that work and make sure we are maintaining consistency along the way through our process. Further along in analysis to action is this kind of transition is a strategy refinement Phase. And this is something we've done in the past a couple of times brought specific regional findings of our regional congestion management process and strategy evaluation and brought them into smaller scales again setting the stage for working with our members to ultimately do further corridor studies, to do further project development. And those strategy refinement again draw upon the earlier performance measures, earlier strategies that are generated and look for consistency with our capital investment strategies and so on. Just another item along these lines, we note in New Jersey and we've seen earlier an example in the guidebook of some very nice work happening at our New Jersey DOT.
Performance-based Planning and Programming really is popular here but it doesn't mean that every effort at every agency is in lock step in how we're approaching things. We are working closely with our partners to try to make sure we're on the same page, all respecting each other's analyses, working off the same type of data. So the coordination on the crucial stage of moving from planning to project element is really something we're highlighting at this moment. To make sure that we don't want to see a plan sitting on the shelf. We want to see good planning work based on performance elements really come to some fruition. So that's something we're working with our partners on. Congestion management process compliance is an instrument. We've been using within our management process of developing templates and checklists and so on. Starting to publicize these in terms of making sure that folks can see how those connections are explicitly made so that we see that projects are emerging and are getting developed and are connected back to those earlier planning elements. Of course, it may well happen as projects come from all sorts of directions that some of the consistency we see with our congestion management process could be accidental but we are hoping that the stronger the process feeding the product development pipeline is, the more those things will be happening as they should be happening. Beyond that, I was talking about the programming. This has come up before as well. We have a long-established linkage of the programming process linking back to planning with an established project prioritization with performance oriented criteria, a points system. Also recognizing various place types and so on. Looking at different categories of investments, looking at the range of planning goals, environmental goals, economic goals, quality-of-life goals and so on. These are explicit connections with consistent performance measures we use in things like congestion management process and pavement management system, bridge management system, working with our partners and this of course is not the final word on programming, but this process has been helping us to prepare our transportation improvement program. And this year and next, we are making the updates of course always trying to make this as effective as possible. In addition, overall to look at our entire program, we do track the expenditures and look for consistency with that overall regional capital investment strategy. That is certainly critical.
I should say again there's another area where we have New Jersey DOT with a state capital investment strategy and we work with them on that kind of consistency as well. And talking about performance-based planning, have to mention air-quality conformity analysis. In New Jersey performance-based analysis, tracking is a very important what we expect our overall plans and programs to be doing in terms of very critical performance measures and air-quality pollutants. So that's certainly worth noting. I will also highlight on the project specific level, the NJTPA recently developed a comprehensive methodology guidebook for project performance measurement. This is tremendous resource -- I think it allows us to provide methods for looking at specific individual projects and trying to track them against contextual conditions and trying to understand the actual impacts of those projects with a whole host of performance measures. Again across all the kinds of goals of interest to our agency. And to our decision-makers. Further on monitoring, we're trying to get back to repeating the cycle ultimately but we do continually monitor trends and not only performance oriented trends in terms of how the transportation system is doing, but other trends as well and others in terms of demographics and economy and so on continually gets reported on again, much of this goes into development of regional transportation plan, much of it goes into our outreach and partnering and trying to engage stakeholders and continue that discussion about where we are ultimately for the region and where we are headed.
One important effort for us these days, our region, is a recipient of one of the HUD sustainable planning grants. And we're in the middle of developing with a whole host of other partners, a regional plan for sustainable development. And so this is an example of the process we are engaged in. It is very much a performance-based process. And wrapping up right now, this monitoring and policy stage of that. Again examining where we are, examining what indicators we are talking about and where we are headed and getting into some of the scenario planning stages next to see where we want to change things. I have to note there is a lot of attention on MAP-21, these days largely focused really on the monitoring angle and hopefully also leading toward policy on the measures that are going to emerge and are emerging from MAP-21. And the requirements that MPO's and state are facing really are going to be on reporting on what's happening. And what is being accomplished. So as we are getting to that, we're trying to understand what some of the measures might do.
We're partnering with New Jersey DOT and others on what we think is an important pilot of some of the measures specifically on the systems performance angle. Getting at things like congestion and delay in reliability and freight mobility. And we're learning some interesting things. Stay tuned and we will be hearing more about that pilot and our efforts to take advantage of some of the archived realtime highway data and those kind of things. Trying to see what others have said in terms of what do those measures actually tell us? Do they mean what they should mean? Are they telling the right kind of story? Are they fair? Those kind of very interesting questions are emerging from that effort. Again, basically going through the entire cycle after monitoring. This monitoring ultimately informs policy and so on. I will close with a few observations. We are really looking for performance conscious planning. That is the whole idea here that the performance measures help us to define what our goals are really saying. And help us to maintain that kind of focus on our goals throughout our decision-making process. The whole idea of a systematic process where you're connecting the different phases of decision-making where you have confidence that decisions you make at each stage are reliable and so that if you are basing subsequent decisions on the earlier decisions, that's great. That counts. That's exactly what you're trying to do. Beyond that, we're looking at some of the points on specific measures and indicators. We can get as Rich touched on -- caught up on some of the details on some of this. We should look for measures and indicators that are consistent throughout the process, but we have to be very conscious of the fact that for different applications, there may be real differences in formulations, in some of the math and so on. And this again especially these days looking very much at MAP-21, I think it's quite recognized that some of the measures that emerge as national -- as regional or state summary measures, those may very well not be the measures used in something like project prioritization. They may not be the measures used in problem identification at a local level. And because they could really point you in the wrong direction. You have to be careful with some of the technical aspects of applying these measures. Finally of course, as much as it's an exciting time for performance-based planning, with all of the renewed focus and on performance measures and so on, we really of course have to recognize the limits on how much performance measures can or should drive the process. Ultimately we are looking to inform decision-makers as best as we can. We certainly want to make sure that performance measures help set the stage and define the conversation but also recognize that we are relying on some wisdom out there to merge performance dtat with other important information. Not everything important can get measured. And we certainly don't want to miss on some of those important things as well. With that, hopefully this process is going to continue. I appreciate the opportunity and all the good work that's happening at Federal Highway and FTA. I will take any questions.
Again, it is star one for phone questions.
In the chat pod, someone stated that they agree with Brian's statement that performance data should supports wise decisions, but it does not generate them. And I agree with that as well. That was a very good statement. The performance measures need to be tempered with the decisions you make, the locations, and as Rich mentioned as well, and engaging the public and not just involving them in the overall process.
And if there are no questions on the line, I would like to mention that we also have Mr Ken Petty with us today. Mr. Petty is the acting Director of the office of Planning would you like to say a few workds Mr. Petty.
With that, operator, you can go ahead and conclude.
Us does conclude today's conference. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T teleconference service -- this does conclude today's conference.
You may now disconnect.
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