Focus Areas

Fiscal Constraint and Financial Planning

This focus page contains resources for fiscal constraint and financial planning for transportation, including links to regulations, guidelines, case studies, presentations, peer exchanges, and research.

Resources and Publications

  • Memo Clarifying Guidance on Flexibilities in Fiscal Constraint  NEW!
    The purpose of this memo is to provide clarifying guidance on the flexibilities in fiscal constraint.
  • Return on Investment in Transportation Asset Management Systems and Practices   NEW!
    TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Research Report 866: Return on Investment in Transportation Asset Management Systems and Practices explores how transportation agencies manage their transportation assets, and provides guidance for evaluating the return on investment for adopting or expanding transportation asset management systems in an agency. As the term is most generally used, transportation asset management (TAM) entails the activities a transportation agency undertakes to develop and maintain the system of facilities and equipment—physical assets such as pavements, bridges, signs, signals, and the like—for which it is responsible. Based on the research team’s work and the experiences of these agencies and others, the researchers describe a methodology that an agency may use to assess their own experience and to plan their investments in TAM system development or acquisition. A spreadsheet accompanies the research report helps agencies evaluate the return-on-investment of TAM systems.The tool allows users to summarize data from various simulation tools. The calculator also includes factors and procedures from the Highway Economic Requirements System State Version (HERS-ST) to estimate user benefits for pavement projects. It does not estimate user benefits for bridge projects.
  • The Transportation Planning Process: Key Issues A Briefing Notebook for Transportation Decision makers, Officials, and Staff   NEW!
    The Briefing Notebook is a primer for transportation decisionmakers and stakeholders. It provides government officials, planning board members, transportation service providers, and the public at large with an overview of transportation planning in metropolitan settings. Along with a basic understanding of the key concepts, the notebook provides references for additional information. Part I discusses transportation planning and its relationship to decisionmaking. Part II presents short descriptions of key products that are prepared as part of the transportation planning process. This book was updated in 2015 to reflect recent changes in Federal legislation.
  • Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements   NEW!
    Costs for pedestrian and bicycle safety infrastructure often vary greatly from city to city and state to state. This document is a resource for researchers, engineers, planners, and the general public that provides meaningful estimates of infrastructure costs by collecting up-to-date cost information for pedestrian and bicycle treatments from states and cities across the country.
  • Financial Planning and Constraint Planning Tools for Transportation - This set of technical tools has been specifically designed as a resource to be used in preparing the financial elements of long-range statewide transportation plans, STIPs, TIPs, and long-range metropolitan transportation plans.
  • Financial Planning and Fiscal Constraint for Transportation Plans and Programs Questions & Answers - The following "Questions and Answers" are intended to provide non-binding information on financial planning and fiscal constraint as part of transportation plan and program development, in support of the FHWA/FTA Final Rule on statewide and metropolitan transportation planning and programming processes.
  • Supplement to January 28, 2008 "Transportation Planning Requirements and their Relationship to NEPA Process Completion" (February 9, 2011) - In clarifying the requirements additional questions arose from the field after the original memorandum's release. In response to the question, this document clarifies and simplifies information on what transportation planning requirements must be addressed before FHWA can make a final NEPA decision.
  • Transportation Planning Requirements and their Relationship to NEPA Process Completion - This summary is intended to clarify the statutory and regulatory planning and conformity requirements that must be met with regard to the STIP/TIP, the MTP and the Statewide Long Range Transportation Plan prior to FHWA signing a Record of Decision (ROD) or Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), or approving a Categorical Exclusion (CE) for a project.
  • Trends in Statewide Transportation Plans Synthesis Report - This database contains information from a review of long-range transportation plans from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The database presents information on how individual state plans address ten different transportation planning topics. The accompanying report provides analysis from the review and summarizes detailed findings on eight topics: 1) plan types, 2) implementation, 3) guiding principles, strategies, and objectives, 4) performance measures, 5) financial planning and analysis, 6) systems planning, 7) livability and sustainability, and 8) climate change.

Click here to access a full list of Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance related to fiscal constraint and financial planning on the TPCB website.

Calendar of Events

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Peer Event Reports

The TPCB peer program is a free resource for agencies in need of transportation planning assistance. Visit the peer program page to learn more or apply for a peer event.

Related Websites and Organizations

For more information about the TPCB program, please email

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