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U.S. Department of Transportation

Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: An Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach – A Guidebook

Appendix A. SAFETEA-LU Requirements

1.0 Management & Operations in the Planning Process

On August 10, 2005, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) was signed into law and became the most recent reauthorization of the Nation's surface transportation program. Along with identifying Federal funding for a range of transportation programs and other transportation-related regulations, SAFETEA-LU updated requirements for metropolitan transportation planning. A final planning rule (23 CFR Part 450) was issued on February 14, 2007. Beginning July 1, 2007, all newly adopted metropolitan transportation plans must comply with Federal regulations identified in SAFETEA-LU and the associated planning rule.

According to the planning rule, "Promote efficient system management and operation" is one of the eight planning factors that must be addressed in metropolitan transportation plans. Below is an excerpt from the Statewide Transportation Planning; Metropolitan Transportation Planning; Final Rule, February 14, 2007, Federal Register (bold added to highlight points related to operations):

450.306 Scope of the metropolitan transportation planning process.

(a) The metropolitan transportation planning process shall be continuous, cooperative, and comprehensive, and provide for consideration and implementation of projects, strategies, and services that will address the following factors:

(1) Support the economic vitality of the metropolitan area, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency;

(2) Increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users;

(3) Increase the security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users;

(4) Increase accessibility and mobility of people and freight;

(5) Protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life, and promote consistency between transportation improvements and State and local planned growth and economic development patterns;

(6) Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight;

(7) Promote efficient system management and operation; and

(8) Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system.

(b) Consideration of the planning factors in paragraph (a) of this section shall be reflected, as appropriate, in the metropolitan transportation planning process. The degree of consideration and analysis of the factors should be based on the scale and complexity of many issues, including transportation system development, land use, employment, economic development, human and natural environment, and housing and community development.

The Final Rule also strengthens expectations for including management and operations strategies in the transportation planning process. The Rule states that metropolitan transportation plans shall include both long-range and short-range strategies/actions, including operational and management strategies that improve the performance of existing transportation facilities to relieve congestion and maximize the safety and mobility of people and goods.

Selected excerpts are presented below (bold added to highlight points related to operations):

450.322 Development and content of the metropolitan transportation plan.

(a) The metropolitan transportation planning process shall include the development of a transportation plan addressing no less than a 20-year planning horizon as of the effective date. In nonattainment and maintenance areas, the effective date of the transportation plan shall be the date of a conformity determination issued by the FHWA and the FTA. In attainment areas, the effective date of the transportation plan shall be its date of adoption by the MPO.

(b) The transportation plan shall include both long-range and short-range strategies/actions that lead to the development of an integrated multimodal transportation system to facilitate the safe and efficient movement of people and goods in addressing current and future transportation demand.

...

(f) The metropolitan transportation plan shall, at a minimum, include:

(1) The projected transportation demand of persons and goods in the metropolitan planning area over the period of the transportation plan;

(2) Existing and proposed transportation facilities (including major roadways, transit, multimodal and intermodal facilities, pedestrian walkways and bicycle facilities, and intermodal connectors) that should function as an integrated metropolitan transportation system, giving emphasis to those facilities that serve important national and regional transportation functions over the period of the transportation plan. In addition, the locally preferred alternative selected from an Alternatives Analysis under the FTA's Capital Investment Grant program (49 U.S.C. 5309 and 49 CFR part 611) needs to be adopted as part of the metropolitan transportation plan as a condition for funding under 49 U.S.C. 5309;

(3) Operational and management strategies to improve the performance of existing transportation facilities to relieve vehicular congestion and maximize the safety and mobility of people and goods;

(4) Consideration of the results of the congestion management process in [Transportation Management Areas] TMAs that meet the requirements of this subpart, including the identification of [single-occupancy vehicle] SOV projects that result from a congestion management process in TMAs that are nonattainment for ozone or carbon monoxide;

2.0 Transportation Systems Management and Operations

The SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008 amended Section 101(a) of Title 23 U.S.C. to include a definition of transportation systems management and operations (TSM&O). TSM&O is also referred to as "management and operations" or "M&O."

Below is an excerpt from the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008:

(h) Transportation Systems Management and Operations Defined– Section 101(a) of title 23, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(39) TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONS—

(A) IN GENERAL– The term 'transportation systems management and operations' means an integrated program to optimize the performance of existing infrastructure through the implementation of multimodal and intermodal, cross-jurisdictional systems, services, and projects designed to preserve capacity and improve security, safety, and reliability of the transportation system.

(B) INCLUSIONS- The term 'transportation systems management and operations' includes–

(i) regional operations collaboration and coordination activities between transportation and public safety agencies; and

(ii) improvements to the transportation system, such as traffic detection and surveillance, arterial management, freeway management, demand management, work zone management, emergency management, electronic toll collection, automated enforcement, traffic incident management, roadway weather management, traveler information services, commercial vehicle operations, traffic control, freight management, and coordination of highway, rail, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian operations.

3.0 Congestion Management Process

SAFETEA-LU also made a significant change regarding congestion management. Title III Section 3005 and Title VI Section 6001 updated the requirement for addressing congestion in Transportation Management Areas, mandating the incorporation of a "congestion management process" (CMP) within the metropolitan planning process.

The law requires a CMP in TMAs – urban areas with a population greater than 200,000 – as opposed to a congestion management system (CMS). The change in name (and acronym) is intended to be a substantive change in perspective and practice intended to encourage targeted areas to address congestion management through a process that provides for effective M&O and an enhanced linkage to both the planning process and the environmental review process that is based on cooperatively developed travel demand reduction and operational management strategies and capacity increases. This new focus retains the traditional role of the MPO in long-range transportation planning, but empowers the MPO and its partners in planning for the ongoing operations and management of the transportation system.

Below is language from the Statewide Transportation Planning; Metropolitan Transportation Planning; Final Rule, February 14, 2007, Federal Register (bold added to highlight points):

Sec. 450.320 Congestion management process in transportation management areas.

(a) The transportation planning process in a TMA shall address congestion management through a process that provides for safe and effective integrated management and operation of the multimodal transportation system, based on a cooperatively developed and implemented metropolitan- wide strategy, of new and existing transportation facilities eligible for funding under title 23 U.S.C. and title 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53 through the use of travel demand reduction and operational management strategies.

(b) The development of a congestion management process should result in multimodal system performance measures and strategies that can be reflected in the metropolitan transportation plan and the TIP. The level of system performance deemed acceptable by State and local transportation officials may vary by type of transportation facility, geographic location (metropolitan area or subarea), and/ or time of day. In addition, consideration should be given to strategies that manage demand, reduce single occupant vehicle (SOV) travel, and improve transportation system management and operations. Where the addition of general purpose lanes is determined to be an appropriate congestion management strategy, explicit consideration is to be given to the incorporation of appropriate features into the SO V project to facilitate future demand management strategies and operational improvements that will maintain the functional integrity and safety of those lanes.

(c) The congestion management process shall be developed, established, and implemented as part of the metropolitan transportation planning process that includes coordination with transportation system management and operations activities. The congestion management process shall include:

(1) Methods to monitor and evaluate the performance of the multimodal transportation system, identify the causes of recurring and nonrecurring congestion, identify and evaluate alternative strategies, provide information supporting the implementation of actions, and evaluate the effectiveness of implemented actions;

(2) Definition of congestion management objectives and appropriate performance measures to assess the extent of congestion and support the evaluation of the effectiveness of congestion reduction and mobility enhancement strategies for the movement of people and goods. Since levels of acceptable system performance may vary among local communities, performance measures should be tailored to the specific needs of the area and established cooperatively by the State(s), affected MPO(s), and local officials in consultation with the operators of major modes of transportation in the coverage area;

(3) Establishment of a coordinated program for data collection and system performance monitoring to define the extent and duration of congestion, to contribute in determining the causes of congestion, and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of implemented actions. To the extent possible, this data collection program should be coordinated with existing data sources (including archived operational/ITS data) and coordinated with operations managers in the metropolitan area;

(4) Identification and evaluation of the anticipated performance and expected benefits of appropriate congestion management strategies that will contribute to the more effective use and improved safety of existing and future transportation systems based on the established performance measures. The following categories of strategies, or combinations of strategies, are some examples of what should be appropriately considered for each area:

(i) Demand management measures, including growth management and congestion pricing;

(ii) Traffic operational improvements;

(iii) Public transportation improvements;

(iv) ITS technologies as related to the regional ITS architecture; and

(v) Where necessary, additional system capacity;

(5) Identification of an implementation schedule, implementation responsibilities, and possible funding sources for each strategy (or combination of strategies) proposed for implementation; and

(6) Implementation of a process for periodic assessment of the effectiveness of implemented strategies, in terms of the area's established performance measures. The results of this evaluation shall be provided to decisionmakers and the public to provide guidance on selection of effective strategies for future implementation.

(d) In a TMA designated as nonattainment area for ozone or carbon monoxide pursuant to the Clean Air Act, Federal funds may not be programmed for any project that will result in a significant increase in the carrying capacity for SOVs (i.e., a new general purpose highway on a new location or adding general purpose lanes, with the exception of safety improvements or the elimination of bottlenecks), unless the project is addressed through a congestion management process meeting the requirements of this section.

(e) In TMAs designated as nonattainment for ozone or carbon monoxide, the congestion management process shall provide an appropriate analysis of reasonable (including multimodal) travel demand reduction and operational management strategies for the corridor in which a project that will result in a significant increase in capacity for SOVs (as described in paragraph (d) of this section) is proposed to be advanced with Federal funds. If the analysis demonstrates that travel demand reduction and operational management strategies cannot fully satisfy the need for additional capacity in the corridor and additional SOV capacity is warranted, then the congestion management process shall identify all reasonable strategies to manage the SOV facility safely and effectively (or to facilitate its management in the future). Other travel demand reduction and operational management strategies appropriate for the corridor, but not appropriate for incorporation into the SOV facility itself, shall also be identified through the congestion management process. All identified reasonable travel demand reduction and operational management strategies shall be incorporated into the SOV project or committed to by the State and MPO for implementation.

(f) State laws, rules, or regulations pertaining to congestion management systems or programs may constitute the congestion management process, if the FHWA and the FTA find that the State laws, rules, or regulations are consistent with, and fulfill the intent of, the purposes of 23 U.S.C. 134 and 49 U.S.C. 5303.

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