Integrating Operations into Planning and Programming

Communicating TSMO

Analysis and Performance Measurement

Regional Collaboration and Coordination

Organizing for Operations

Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Plans

Congestion Management Process (CMP)

Regional Concept for Transportation Operations (RCTO)

How Does Planning for Operations Relate To ...

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Resources Helpful to ...

Current Research

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



A road network map of a portion of the Denver Regional Council of Governments' region showing various operations activities across the region.

Source: Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG)1

Metropolitan Planning Organizations

Several of the FHWA/FTA planning for operations resources are directed toward MPOs and their partners who are involved in the metropolitan planning process.

The Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations desk reference and guidebook provide the foundation for understanding and applying the objectives-driven, performance-based approach to metropolitan planning for operations.

  • Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: The Building Blocks of a Model Transportation Plan Incorporating Operations - A Desk Reference (HTML, PDF 2.1MB) - This publication is a resource designed to enable transportation planners and their planning partners to build a transportation plan that includes operations objectives, performance measures, and strategies that are relevant to their region, that reflect the community's values and constraints, and that move the region in a direction of improved mobility and safety. (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-027, April 2010).
  • Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: An Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach – A Guidebook (HTML, PDF 977KB) - This guidebook presents an approach for integrating management and operations (M&O) strategies into the metropolitan transportation planning process that is designed to maximize the performance of the existing and planned transportation system. (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-026, February 2010).

Below are the key U.S. DOT resources for implementing the congestion management process (CMP).

  • Congestion Management Process Guidebook (HTML, PDF 3MB) – The guidebook is designed to provide information on how to create an objectives-driven, performance-based congestion management process (CMP). It describes a flexible framework of 8 actions that should be included in the development of a CMP. (Publication Number: FHWA-HEP-11-011, April 2011).
    • Case Studies of the Congestion Management Process (HTML) - This series of in-depth case studies is a companion to the guidebook and focuses on the Congestion Management Process (CMP) at seven metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) around the country.
  • Showcasing Visualization Tools in Congestion Management: A Guidebook (HTML, PDF 2.1MB) - This publication is a summary report describing visualization practices used as part of the congestion management process (CMP), and is a supplement to the CMP Guidebook. These visualizations include maps, charts, graphs, photographs, videos, and computer illustrations and simulations. (Publication Number: FHWA-HEP-11-015, April 2011).

The Operations Benefit/Cost Analysis Desk Reference and Applying Analysis Tools in Planning for Operations documents provide support for the systematic analysis and evaluation of M&O strategies as part of the transportation planning process.

  • Operations Benefit/Cost Analysis Desk Reference (HTML, PDF 4.16MB) - This Desk Reference is intended to meet the needs of a wide range of practitioners looking to conduct benefit/cost analysis of operations strategies. The guidance provided in the Desk Reference includes basic background information on benefit/cost analysis, including basic terminology and concepts and also describes some of the more complex analytical concepts and latest research in order to support more advanced analysts in conducting their analysis. (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-12-028, May 2012).
    • FHWA Operations Benefit/Cost Analysis Desk Reference: Real-World Examples of Application of the Guidance (HTML, PDF 610KB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-13-006, November 2012).
    • FHWA Operations Benefit/Cost Analysis Desk Reference: Conducting Benefit/Cost Analysis of Strategies Impacting Non-Typical Traffic Conditions (HTML, PDF 244KB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-13-005, November 2012).
    • FHWA Operations Benefit/Cost Analysis Desk Reference: Providing Guidance to Practitioners in the Analysis of Benefits and Costs of Management and Operations Projects (HTML, PDF 1.1MB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-13-004, November 2012).
  • Applying Analysis Tools in Planning for Operations (Brochure) (HTML, PDF 1.6MB) - The intent of this brochure, and four accompanying case study brochures, is to help planners and operations professionals use existing transportation planning and operations analysis tools and methods in a more systematic way to better analyze, evaluate, and report the benefits of needed investments in transportation operations, in order to make the overall transportation system work better. (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-001, September 2009).
    • Case Study #1 - Operations Strategy Impact Reference and Deployment Guidance (HTML, PDF 1.4MB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-002, September 2009).
    • Case Study #2 - Incorporating Highway Capacity Manual Procedures into Long-Range Transportation Planning (HTML, PDF 1.4MB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-003, September 2009).
    • Case Study #3 - Using Archived Data As a Tool for Operations Planning (HTML, PDF 2.8MB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-004, September 2009).
    • Case Study #4 - Application of Microsimulation in Combination with Travel Demand Models (HTML, PDF 1.6MB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-005, September 2009).

Publications that help MPOs and other agencies to increase their level of planning for operations include:

  • Applying a Regional ITS Architecture to Support Planning for Operations: A Primer (HTML, PDF 8.7MB) - This primer offers transportation planners and operations managers a menu of opportunities for applying the regional ITS architecture to enhance planning for operations. (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-12-001, February 2012).
  • Integrating Demand Management into the Transportation Planning Process: A Desk Reference (HTML, PDF 31MB) - The document has been developed to serve as a desk reference on integrating demand management into the transportation planning process. (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-12-035, August 2012).
  • The Regional Concept for Transportation Operations: A Practitioner's Guide (HTML, PDF 2.4MB) - This practitioner’s guide is a collection of the observed successes and lessons learned from four metropolitan regions as they developed Regional Concepts for Transportation Operations. (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-11-032, July 2011).
  • The Role of Transportation Systems Management & Operations in Supporting Livability and Sustainability: A Primer (HTML, PDF 5.7MB) - This primer describes the role of transportation systems management and operations (M&O) in advancing livability and sustainability. The document highlights the connections between M&O and livability and sustainability objectives and the importance of a balanced, comprehensive approach to M&O in order to support those objectives. (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-12-004, January 2012).

The case studies below demonstrate effective planning for operations practices at MPOs.

  • The Use of an Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach at the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (HTML, PDF 1.6MB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-054, November 2010).
  • Outcomes-Based, Performance-Driven Planning at Metro Portland, Case Study (HTML, PDF 2.5MB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-055, November 2010).
  • Developing Decisionmaker Support for Management and Operations at MetroPlan Orlando, Case Study (HTML, PDF 1.6MB) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-10-056, November 2010).
  • The How: Case Studies Advancing Planning for Operations – Best Practices Illustrating the Benefits of Planning for Operations. A strategic approach to planning for operations that is guided by specific objectives and regular performance measurement will help ensure that the most effective operations strategies are incorporated into transportation plans. In many regions around the country, agencies are already applying elements of this approach in a variety of ways. The case studies below are just some of the examples of where this is being done.
    • Capital District Transportation Committee Albany, New York, Case Study (HTML, PDF 323KB) - Placing the Congestion Management Process in the Context of Metropolitan Transportation Planning Goals and Objectives (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-09-043, April 2009).
    • Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Philadelphia Metropolitan Region, Case Study (HTML, PDF 305KB) - Planning for Congestion Management and Tracking Progress (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-09-044, April 2009).
    • The Denver Region Traffic Signal System Improvement Program Case Study (HTML, PDF 324KB) - Planning for Management and Operations (Denver, Colorado area) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-09-046, April 2009).
    • Metropolitan Transportation Commission San Francisco Bay Area Case Study (HTML, PDF 455KB) - Developing Regional Objectives and Performance Measures to Improve System Operations (San Francisco Bay Area, California) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-09-047, April 2009).
    • Pima Association of Governments Case Study (HTML, PDF 402KB) - Regional Concept for Transportation Operations Fosters Planning For Operations in the Tucson Metropolitan Area (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-09-048, April 2009).
    • Wilmington Area Planning Council New Castle County, Delaware and Cecil County, Maryland Case Study (HTML, PDF 340KB) - A Performance-Based Approach to Integrating Congestion Management into the Metropolitan Planning Process (Newark, Delaware area) (Publication Number: FHWA-HOP-09-045, April 2009).

The following links lead to sample operations-focused plans that MPOs have used to strategically incorporate M&O into the metropolitan transportation plan and transportation improvement program (TIP).

1 Denver Regional Council of Governments, Regional Transportation Operations Strategy, 2010. Available at: Transportation Operations Strategy Oct 2010.pdf.