The National Academies

NCHRP 08-32(2)A [Completed]

Multimodal Transportation: Development of a Performance-Based Planning Process

  Project Data
Funds: $299,990
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Steven M. Pickrell
Effective Date: 4/1/1997
Completion Date: 4/30/1999

The results of this project are summarized in NCHRP Report 446, A Guidebook for Performance-Based Transportation Planning. The research delved into the development of a framework for performance-based transportation planning. The report is intended to provide transportation organizations, planning practitioners, and transportation decision makers with practical tools and guidance for considering system performance in the multimodal transportation planning and decision-making process. It is also expected to support transportation investment decisions tailored to the specific conditions and performance needs of major transportation systems. Presented as a guidebook, it brings together lessons learned from different regions of the country and establishes a rationale for performance-based transportation planning and provides guidance for a wide range of applications having different scopes and levels of complexity. This guidebook provides a structured approach to monitoring, evaluating, and considering transportation system performance in various components of the planning process. It also includes a "Performance Measures Library" (Appendix B) that catalogs measures currently being applied throughout the country. This guidebook should be especially valuable to planning practitioners in state departments of transportation (DOTs), metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and local transportation agencies, as well as other practitioners concerned with planning, programming, and implementing multimodal transportation projects. It should also be a useful educational resource on the concepts, tools, and procedures currently employed for establishing system performance as a basis for transportation planning and decision making.

Federal transportation policy, as embodied in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), places a high priority on transportation decision making that is based on transportation system performance and reflects the specific needs of the area and public served. This new emphasis represents a shift from predetermined modal decisions toward a broader consideration of tailored multimodal solutions within the context of transportation performance expectations and investment commitments. As such, this emphasis is intended to result in transportation plans, programs, and decisions driven by the needs of the specific area, rather than by the modal restrictions on funding sources or support programs.

NCHRP Report 446 presents guidance for use by planning practitioners and other decision makers to design, manage, and carry out multimodal transportation planning that reflects performance objectives. Although this guidebook addresses many of the fundamental activities included in effective performance-based planning studies, the emphasis is not solely on the process. Rather, the emphasis is on how to organize and employ systematic, effective performance measures to support planning analyses and decisions. The principles and procedures are intended as guidance to practitioners, to be applied in a way that is tailored to the decisions being made. Although this guidebook focuses on the planning-level decisions, it emphasizes the importance of integrating planning and project development so that decision making is, in effect, seamless and objective. In addition, this guidebook includes a comprehensive catalog of performance measures in use in the United States today. This catalog is provided in Appendix B.

The project also resulted in a research project final report, published s NCHRP Web Document 26, Multimodal Transportation: Development of a Performance-Based Planning Process. This web document presents, in detail, the results of the entire project, including more detailed documentation of the case studies that serve as the foundation for the project results.

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