Integrating Operations into Planning and Programming

Analysis and Performance Measurement

Regional Collaboration and Coordination

Organizing for Operations

Congestion Management Process (CMP)

Regional Concept for Transportation Operations (RCTO)

How Does Planning for Operations Relate To ...

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Policy and Regulations

Performance-Based Planning

Designing for Operations

Regional ITS Architecture and ITS Strategic Plans

Systems Engineering and ITS Project Development

Livability and Sustainability

Traffic Signal Programs

Corridor Management

Active Transportation and Demand Management

Transportation Demand Management

Traffic Incident Management

Reliability

Capacity

Heavy evening traffic in the city

About Planning for Operations

Planning for operations is a joint effort between planners and operators to integrate management and operations (M&O) strategies into the transportation planning process for the purpose of improving regional transportation system efficiency, reliability, and options. It requires collaboration among transportation system operators, transit agencies, highway agencies, toll authorities, local governments, and others to facilitate improved transportation system operations. M&O strategies, also known as transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) strategies, are programs, projects, or services designed to get the safest and most efficient use out of existing and planned infrastructure.

Examples include:

  • Traffic incident management
  • Traveler information services
  • Traffic signal coordination
  • Transit priority/integration
  • Freight management
  • Work zone management
  • Special event management
  • Road weather management
  • Active transportation and demand management

Planning for operations is driven by outcome-oriented objectives and performance measures. Rather than focusing on projects and investment plans, the planning for operations approach emphasizes first developing objectives for transportation system performance and then using performance measures and targets as a basis for identifying solutions and developing investment strategies. This is called the “objectives-driven, performance-based approach.”

Traditionally, transportation planning and transportation system operations have been largely independent activities. Planners focus on long-range transportation investments, including development of metropolitan transportation plans and programming of projects. Operators are typically more concerned with addressing immediate system needs such as incident response, traffic control, and work zone management. Planning for operations connects these two vital components of transportation and integrates operations considerations into the planning process.

Goals for the Planning for Operations Program

The goal of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Planning for Operations Program Area is to improve the performance of regional transportation systems through:

  • An objectives-driven, performance-based approach to planning for operations.
  • Enhanced collaboration and coordination between planners and operators.
  • Effective integration of the congestion management process (CMP) and M&O strategies in the metropolitan transportation planning process.

What FHWA and FTA Do to Promote Planning for Operations

FHWA and FTA promote planning for operations among metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), State and local departments of transportation (DOTs), transit agencies, and other stakeholder organizations through guidebooks, case studies, workshops, courses, and webinars. The program has developed publications to promote planning for operations as a means to support many other areas such as livability and sustainability, traffic incident management, and regional intelligent transportation systems (ITS) architecture use.