Traffic congestion and its negative impacts reign as a critical concern in metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Congestion is lasting longer and is more pervasive than in past years. Many corridors are experiencing concurrent inbound and outbound congestion. Negative impacts are manifesting themselves in the form of loss of valuable time, road rage, multivehicle accidents, and greenhouse gas and other air pollution. Clearly, the safety, economic well being, and quality of life in the nation's communities are being diminished by congestion.
Historically, communities have attempted to mitigate congestion by adding major transportation facilities that increase system capacity. Despite spending billions of dollars each year to improve mobility, it is clear that capacity expansion can not eliminate the congestion problem. Although major transportation investments provide short-term relief, increases in population, vehicle miles traveled, and employment soon return parts of the system to a congested state.
Previously completed research suggests that state and local transportation agencies
of the future will be mobility managers for multimodal transportation services. Regional mobility managers will seek to balance new capacity with strategies for travel-demand management and system management. Effective mobility management will require harmonization of diverse transportation systems and services, an approach that has not gotten enough attention to date.
Many communities achieve important goals during difficult circumstances through determination and concerted collaboration among agencies and organizations. For example, when communities host special events (e.g., the Olympics, inaugurations, annual community-wide celebrations) or when they respond to disasters (e.g., an earthquake, fire, hurricane, blizzard, accident, oil spill) surprising success is often achieved. By focusing on solving problems and achieving goals, organizations and individuals work together, information is shared, technology is better utilized, and lines of communication and responsibility are strengthened. Reducing congestion and improving mobility in communities throughout the United States would benefit from the tactics and fervor often applied to special events and disasters.
Research is needed to provide guidance on how collaboration among transportation and related organizations can be more effective in making better use of existing transportation capacity to reduce congestion and improve mobility. This "new vision of mobility" is a critical element of a strategy that balances new capacity with travel-demand management and system management strategies.
The objective of this project is to develop guidance to assist transportation agencies in fostering collaborative, multimodal decision-making processes that can be used to make better use of existing transportation capacity that reduces congestion and improves mobility.
Phase I of this project is completed and the second phase is underway. A contract amendment for the second phase of the project has been signed and this work is underway. The draft Compendium was submitted in February 2004. This will be included as a CD-ROM with the final report. The panel is currently reviewing the Compendium. The Preliminary Draft Final Report is expected in early spring 2004.
This project is complete. Phase 1 results are summarized in TCRP Research Results Digest 65/NCHRP Research Results Digest 288
. Since this project was jointly funded, the final report was published as NCHRP Report 536/TCRP Report 106