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U.S. Department of Transportation

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

Transmission Letter

FHWA logo.
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590

In Reply Refer To: HOTM-1

Dear Colleague,

The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty, Office of Operations, the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Office of Planning and Environment, along with professionals in the planning and operations communities nationwide, are pleased to present three significant new products that work together to advance an outcomes-driven, performance-based approach in the area of Planning for Operations. These three products, "Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: An Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach – A Guidebook," "Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: The Building Blocks of a Model Transportation Plan Incorporating Operations – A Desk Reference," and "Statewide Opportunities for Integrating Operations, Safety, and Multimodal Planning: A Reference Manual" have been developed to act as a companion package of documents and reflect the strong continuing collaboration among FHWA, FTA, and professionals in the planning and operations communities nationwide.

The Advancing Planning for Operations Guidebook provides an approach focused on operations outcomes that metropolitan area transportation planners and operators can utilize to advance performance-driven regional thinking for metropolitan areas. This Guidebook utilizes requirements for the Congestion Management Process (CMP) and Management and Operations that are contained in the Federal legislation, "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users" (SAFETEA-LU).

The Model Transportation Plan Desk Reference is intended to be a "toolbox" document that provides to planners and operators types of possible operations objectives, with associated performance measures, data needs, and strategies, that a metropolitan area can utilize as a starting point towards advancing Planning for Operations in their area. In addition to providing types of operations objectives to advance, the document includes an illustrative plan to visually show "how the pieces fit together," incorporating outcomes-driven operations into the metropolitan planning process. This document was developed in close collaboration with a number of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) from across the country and it is intended to be an easily accessible reference document.

The Statewide Opportunities Reference Manual is designed to assist managers and staff within State DOTs to integrate their functions and to partner with other agencies, such as metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), transit agencies, and local jurisdictions to more effectively integrate operations, safety, and planning. Specifically, this manual is designed as a "how to" reference that provides practical information on implementing these opportunities, and case study examples with "toolkits" to help get started. This document also expands the focus of integration to include planning, operations, and safety in a multimodal context. This document was developed working closely with the support of a number of State DOT organizations, as well as AASHTO, to create a product that is intended to be a readily accessible resource document for promoting this Statewide collaboration.

Each of these three documents can be viewed electronically by visiting our U.S. DOT website on Planning for Operations at " On this website one can also find additional associated resources for advancing an outcomes-driven, performance-based approach as part of the Planning for Operations program.

We look forward to receiving your feedback, reactions, and experiences in implementing this concept and utilizing these resources. Please direct any comments, questions, and suggestions to any of the following members of our staff:

Richard E. Backlund at, 202-366-8333;

Egan Smith at, 202-366-6072; or

John Sprowls at, 202-366-5362.

Sincerely yours,

James A. Cheatham, Director
FHWA Office of Planning

Robert E. Arnold, Director
Office of Transportation Mgmt.

Charles Goodman, Director
FTA Office of Planning

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