The National Academies

NCHRP 08-32(2) [Completed]

Multimodal Transportation: Development of a Performance-Based Planning Process

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Steven M. Pickrell
Effective Date: 1/1/1995
Completion Date: 7/31/1996

Transportation planning is commonly practiced along modal lines and often fails to address the needs of multimodal and intermodal (hereafter referred to as multimodal only) transportation for both passengers and freight. The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) emphasizes a shift from project-oriented modal solutions to a fully integrated multimodal mix of solutions within the context of overall societal goals. Given this emphasis, transportation planning must address a broader concept of multimodal transportation system performance. Future transportation demand and its interaction with social, environmental, economic, and quality-of-life issues need to be examined within a new conceptual framework. This framework must recognize, at a minimum, distinctions between mobility and access and between trips and trip components across all modes for both passengers and freight, as well as account for new technologies and their impact on providing transportation services and measuring performance. This framework must ensure that multimodal transportation planning addresses performance from a systems-based approach and that it is not solely a process-oriented tool for measuring planning achievements but rather a systemwide tool for measuring the performance of transportation in a total system concept.

ISTEA and subsequent regulations have the potential for starting a new era in transportation planning. Research is needed to help initiate a process that will provide publicly funded transportation agencies and transportation planning professionals with the tools to explore opportunities and new planning practices.

New and improved techniques and methods are needed to implement statewide and metropolitan multimodal transportation planning based on performance of the overall system. Such planning should include specific measures of system performance reflecting the significant objectives at the multistate corridor, state, regional, and local levels. Monitoring and data requirements are also needed for the specific performance measures.

The overall objective of this research is to develop a framework for multimodal transportation planning that is based on system performance, is responsive to decision makers and customers, and provides the basis for allocating resources. The specific objectives of this first phase of research are to conceptualize the framework and define the research needed to make it an effective tool.

The framework must recognize, but not be limited by, ISTEA requirements and regulations for management systems and planning factors. It must apply to both statewide and metropolitan planning, accommodate passenger and freight transport, ensure effective coordination among various levels of government responsible for transportation planning, and anticipate new technologies in providing transportation services and monitoring activities. The framework shall include the following: (1) a typology of transportation system goals and objectives that are meaningful to decision makers and customers in the broadest social, economic, and environmental context; (2) performance measures for the goals and objectives identified; (3) data requirements to support the broad performance measures; (4) methods for obtaining those data; (5) opportunities for applying performance measures to aid in resource allocation decisions and to evaluate the achievement of goals and objectives; and (6) mechanisms for ensuring coordination and compatibility among various planning agencies.

The intent of NCHRP Project 8-32(2) is to take a fresh and innovative look at formulating an overall framework for performance-based multimodal transportation planning.

The following phases and tasks provide a guide for conducting the research:

Phase I: (1) Collect and analyze information that will be required in the development of a performance-based planning process. This effort involves the following: (a) conducting a search for mobility and access measures, public- and private sector system-performance measures, commonly used transportation goals and objectives, and various performance-based decision making and planning approaches used in transportation, and (b) examining nontransportation fields (e.g., public utilities) for models that use performance measures in planning and development. Assess current limitations on the use of performance-based planning. (2) Develop a typology of multimodal transportation planning goals and objectives. This typology should emphasize goals and objectives that can be related directly to transportation system performance. Consistent with these goals and objectives, develop performance measures for passenger and freight transportation and identify the data needed to support the measures. Describe the application of performance measures to the planning process with emphasis on the relationship of these measures to the management systems and planning factors identified in ISTEA and subsequent regulations. Identify quantitative and qualitative methods, techniques, and tools for conducting performance-based planning that exist or need to be developed or enhanced. Prepare a working paper on the results of Tasks 1 and 2 (including recommendations for conducting performance-based planning), presented in the form of a tentative framework for performance-based planning. (3) Convene an advisory group to evaluate the working paper and make recommendations. The group should include transportation users, planning practitioners, researchers, and representatives of appropriate transportation, social, environmental, and economic interest groups. Prepare a summary of the group session, and make appropriate modifications to the framework. (4) Submit a Phase I final report that documents the research effort and describes a framework for performance-based planning that includes recommended goals, objectives, and performance measures. Explain the degree to which this framework can be applied in current practice and identify methods, techniques, or tools in need of further development. Develop a detailed work plan for a Phase II that will begin to fulfill high-priority needs of the framework. NCHRP approval of Phase II will be necessary before commencing.

Phase II: Phase II of this project could involve one or more of the following activities: (1) further development of performance measures for appropriate planning levels (multistate corridors, state, regional, and local); (2) development processes to facilitate coordination among various levels of government, planning agencies, and private/public sector organizations; (3) development or enhancement of methods, techniques, and tools for obtaining data on performance measures; or (4) demonstration of various aspects of the framework.

Status: Phase I is complete. The Phase I results have been published as NCHRP Research Results Digest 226, "Multimodal Transportation: Development of a Performance-Based Planning Process." Phase II will be conducted under NCHRP Project 8-32(2)A.

Report Availability: NCHRP Research Results Digest 226, "Multimodal Transportation: Development of a Performance-Based Planning Process" is available from NCHRP.

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