The National Academies

NCHRP 20-24(37)I [Completed]

Measuring Performance among State DOTs: Sharing Good Practices -- Congestion
[ NCHRP 20-24(37) (Measuring Performance among State DOTs: Sharing Good Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,195
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics
Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Margiotta
Effective Date: 3/7/2012
Completion Date: 8/7/2013

The objectives of this project were to (a) review and assess specific measures useful to DOTs for management of highway congestion, (b) demonstrate how DOT data for a small number of such measures may be used to supplement data available through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to conduct a comparative analysis of DOT performance regarding congestion management, (c) report on successful data- and system-management techniques employed by exemplary agencies, and (d) design a program for establishing a data base that can be used as a resource for other AASHTO and NCHRP performance measurement and management activities. The research shall consider FHWA’s continuing efforts to characterize congestion on segments of the National Highway System and activities by INRIX or other private-sector data sources.


The work was completed through Task 2. Due to delays in the release of the FHWA's Notice of Proposed Rule Making on traffic congestion performance measurement, the project has been terminated. The contractor's technical memoranda are available for loan from the NCHRP.

Task 1. Recruit agencies to participate in the research and secure their commitment to provide highway congestion data. Work with NCHRP and the AASHTO Standing Committee on Performance Management (SCOPM) to contact DOTs and identify individuals in the agencies who will be responsible for providing data for the research. Review performance measures used by these agencies to characterize and manage traffic congestion. Review similar work done by FHWA, INRIX, and others. Identify a set of measures useful to DOTs and suitable for adoption as a basis for multi-agency performance analysis and benchmarking. Building on the work done in other NCHRP 20-24(37) projects, develop specifications to describe data to be provided and secure agreement from participating agencies that data conforming to the specifications will be provided. Prepare Technical Memorandum 1 (TM1) documenting the results of this task. Meet with the NCHRP project panel via teleconference to discuss TM1 and subsequent research activities.
Task 2. Receive congestion performance data from participating DOTs and other agencies. Update the research work plan as necessary to respond to results of Task 1 and NCHRP project panel comments on TM1. Proceed to assemble and compile agency-collected data from participants. Prepare Technical Memorandum 2 (TM2) describing the data assembled and presenting summary statistics for the assembled data base. Provide a copy of TM2 to each participating agency for review. Assemble agency comments and report them to NCHRP. Correct the data base as necessary.
Task 3. Use the data collected to illustrate how agencies may assess their system’s performance with respect to congestion, develop management benchmarks and targets, and monitor performance. Illustrate how agencies exhibiting superior congestion performance analysis might be identified. Consider appropriate peer groupings (for example, based on highway network size, urban versus rural designation, percentage of trucks in the traffic flow, or other such criteria) that may be used in designating “best-practice” DOTs. Identify agencies among the research participants with exemplary data collection, performance measurement, and congestion management programs. Solicit from those agencies information on agency management leadership practices thought to underlie their exemplary programs. Identify commonalities and lessons that other agencies might apply to improve their congestion analysis and subsequently system performance. Prepare Technical Memorandum 3 (TM3) presenting the results of this task. Obtain NCHRP comments.
Task 4. Considering the results of preceding work, describe how the data specification and data submission process may be modified if necessary and used to support continuing congestion measurement across DOTs. Describe one or more options or scenarios for how AASHTO could establish and maintain a database and prepare periodic reports benchmarking congestion performance. Estimate labor and other resources required to implement these options.
Task 5. Prepare a final report documenting the research. Present the results of analyses of congestion data, agency practices identified as helpful in achieving superior analysis practices and system performance, and options for establishing and maintaining an AASHTO performance benchmarking and monitoring database and processes. Submit a draft report for review by NCHRP. Revise the draft as appropriate to address NCHRP project panel comments and submit the revised final report to NCHRP.

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