Incorporating Reliability Performance Measures into the Transportation Planning and Programming Processes

Funding for making capacity and reliability improvements to transportation systems is inherently limited. It appears that these funding limitations will exist for decades to come. Planning large-scale capacity improvements to transportation networks has also become increasingly difficult and time-consuming due to other community, social, and environmental constraints. For these reasons, many transportation agencies are looking more closely at traffic-operations and related improvements as a way to get the most out of the existing transportation system. These improvements range from expensive and elaborate to relatively inexpensive "quick fixes." This shift creates a need to give more consideration to measuring the reliability of the system, which is what these operational strategies often achieve. As an example, many state departments of transportation (state DOTs) and metropolitan-level transportation organizations (such as metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs)) have focused on incident response and incident management strategies to improve the performance of their transportation systems. However, transportation organizations have traditionally focused on measuring and forecasting system capacity and, more recently, on measuring system physical condition and safety. Reliability performance measures and strategies are simply not well integrated into DOT and MPO planning and programming processes. Current transportation planning and programming processes cannot adequately compare the relative benefits and costs of capacity additions versus reliability improvements. There is a need to develop objective methods to make comparisons and assess tradeoffs. Reliability is not yet in the mainstream of transportation planning, programming, and budgeting. This project will develop the means--including technical procedures--for state DOTs and MPOs to fully integrate mobility and reliability performance measures and strategies into the transportation planning and programming processes. This will allow operational improvements of all types (including capital projects and other expenditures) to be considered in planning and programming along with more traditional types of project investments. The end result will be that limited available dollars are invested in a more optimal manner and that our existing investments in capacity are used as effectively as possible. The target audiences for this research will be: planners/programmers and project managers within MPOs and state DOTs, as well as their operational and budget personnel. A secondary audience will be decision makers, both appointed and elected, involved in planning and programming. It is important to note that the L05 project is an integral component in both the SHRP 2 Reliability and Capacity research focus areas. For Reliability, the project provides the key link into system and project planning, programming, and budgeting. This link is largely nonexistent now. For Capacity, the L05 project helps provide knowledge about how to maintain or improve traffic throughput on the existing system before often-controversial new capacity enhancement projects are undertaken. It is the intent of the SHRP 2 Reliability and Capacity Technical Coordinating Committees (TCCs) and the SHRP 2 Oversight Committee that the results of Reliability Project L05 be integrated into the Collaborative Decision Making-Framework web-based tool being developed as a part of Capacity Project C01. The Reliability program has already committed resources to the Capacity program for this purpose. Proposers for Project L05 must demonstrate that they understand and plan for this critical coordination with the C01 research contractor (see Special Note A).


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $1499500.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project L05

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Strategic Highway Research Program 2

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Plazak, David

  • Performing Organizations:

    Cambridge Systematics, Incorporated

    150 Cambridge Park Drive, Suite 4000
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02140-2369
  • Principal Investigators:

    Vandervalk, Anita

  • Start Date: 20100324
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20130221
  • Source Data: RiP Project 15539

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462724
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project L05
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:09PM