Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

An Interim Guidebook on the Congestion Management Process
in Metropolitan Transportation Planning

1.0 Preface

The Congestion Management Process (CMP), which has evolved from what was previously known as the Congestion Management System (CMS), is a systematic approach, collaboratively developed and implemented throughout a metropolitan region, that provides for the safe and effective management and operation of new and existing transportation facilities through the use of demand reduction and operational management strategies. The CMP is required to be developed and implemented as an integral part of the metropolitan planning process in Transportation Management Areas (TMAs) – urbanized areas with a population over 200,000, or any area where designation as a TMA has been requested. Although the CMP is not required in non-TMAs, the CMP represents the state-of-the-practice in addressing congestion, and should be considered in metropolitan areas that are facing current and future congestion challenges.

The Congestion Management System has been described as a “7 Step” process; with the addition of a new “first step,” the Congestion Management Process is an “8 Step” process, as follows:

  1. Develop Congestion Management Objectives
  2. Identify Area of Application
  3. Define System or Network of Interest
  4. Develop Performance Measures
  5. Institute System Performance Monitoring Plan
  6. Identify and Evaluate Strategies
  7. Implement Selected Strategies and Manage Transportation System
  8. Monitor Strategy Effectiveness

This guidebook provides an overview of the Congestion Management Process. Together with a companion volume, Management and Operations in the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the reader will find useful information about implementing an objectives-driven, performance-based approach to the metropolitan planning process. These guidebooks build upon over a decade of experience in effective congestion management, and emphasize a regional approach to transportation systems management and operations that has evolved in recent years. The output of several recent research efforts and workshops involving leaders in metropolitan planning, congestion management, and performance –based planning have informed this guidebook, and several additional, related projects are currently underway. We encourage readers to follow up on the links and references included in this document. This guidebook is intended as guidance only and does not create any new requirements. You may use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.

(References to related guidance materials and useful web sites, as well as examples of good practices, are included throughout this guidebook and in Appendix D.)

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