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29 Measures are Used as Predictive Tools Many of the eral and state requirements for analysis of a program or measures used in conjunction with programming are project's impacts to the natural and social environments. intended to provide perspective on anticipated future per- Although the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) formance as determined by specific investment strategies. sets the broad federal guidelines, it is supplemented by a Measures Bridge the Gap Between Project and Strategic variety of environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act, Levels Measures used in programming are based on the Clean Air Act, and Historic Preservation Act; Executive expected outcomes of individual projects, but they also can Orders, such as Environmental Justice; and U.S. DOT address potential gaps in achieving strategic goals identi- implementing guidelines, such as Section 4(f ) for Parklands fied in long range planning. and others. In addition, most states now have equivalent legislation that augments federal environmental reporting requirements. Corridor Studies Performance measures can improve a DOT's ability to Performance measures can support a state DOT's capacity- make NEPA decisions that support speedy project delivery. related preprogram studies. A preprogram study is custom- The hallmarks of a good set of environmental review-level arily used by state DOTs and their partners to engage in performance measures include several defining characteris- broad brush thinking about alternative solutions to complex, tics that together distinguish them from other areas where corridor-level transportation problems. It often includes performance measures are used by DOTs: strategies for addressing capacity needs. As the foundation for subsequent project-level NEPA and design work, a well Project-Level Focus Measures are used to define the executed preprogram study expedites delivery of project need for the project, to describe the existing environment. solutions that meet all stakeholders' needs. Comparison of Alternatives Measures gauge potential At the preprogram stage, performance measures help plan- impacts of multiple alternatives, as well as to determine the ners distinguish between alternative concepts for transporta- significance of those impacts. tion solutions. The hallmarks of a good set of preprogram Bridge Stakeholders Interests Measures can be devel- study-level performance measures include several defining oped to bridge the goals of collaborating resource agencies characteristics that together distinguish them from other areas with the mitigation commitments of the transportation where performance measures are used by DOTs: agency. Corridor-Level Perspective Measure(s) should offer Design and Permitting insights on trends and issues at a regional or corridor level that is relevant to DOT managers, local officials, and stake- At the design stage, performance measures are not used fre- holders in the project. quently. Those that are used tend to focus on project and pro- Applicability to Conceptual-Level Project Solutions gram delivery rather than the direct impacts of individual Measures must be capable of distinguishing among project projects or alternatives. For example, measures can track the concepts for which footprint details are vague. delivery status of specific components of a project or the sta- Address a Broad Range of Issues To help distinguish tus and function of programmatic permitting efforts. among project concepts, measures should cover a wide There are exceptions to this general rule and they usually range of metrics from environmental impacts to eco- include measures that can help in the selection of specific design nomic development potential that are tailored to specific features, including those that help mitigate environmental corridor-level issues. impacts. For example, the climate change factor includes a Focus on Supporting Integrated Analysis of Needs and measure that addresses the need for infrastructure design to Challenges Performance data establishes integrated accommodate severe weather events. understanding of both transportation needs and potential impediments to alternative solutions. Measurement of Capacity Data Can be Used to Support NEPA Review Perfor- Impacts What mance data and conclusions based on it should be usable in subsequent NEPA studies. The performance measurement framework is focused prima- rily on examining the impacts of major capacity investments on five key sets of planning factors: transportation, environ- Environmental Review ment, economic, community, and cost. Table 3.1 presents the Performance measures can be used to support state DOTs' specific performance factors identified through this research capacity-related environmental review activities. Environ- effort. These factors represent the substantive issues the mental review is the collection of processes that address fed- what that performance measures are trying to address.

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30 Transportation Environment Economics Community Cost Mobility Ecosystems, Habitat, Economic Impact Land Use Cost and Biodiversity Reliability Economic Development Archeological and Cultural Cost-Effectiveness Water Quality Resources Accessibility Wetlands Social Safety Air Quality Environmental Justice Climate Change Environmental Health Table 3.1. SHRP 2 C02 Performance Factors SHRP 2 C02 Framework Measures ments of highway where travel conditions are sufficiently congested to merit consideration of additional capacity. The specific measures included in the SHRP 2 framework are 2. Support for Evaluation of Project-Level Options Once designed to be general enough so that any agency could adapt priorities for meeting capacity needs are established, other them to support their own objectives. In many cases, each of measures can help practitioners evaluate potential trans- the measures could be calculated and monitored in a number portation solutions in terms of their impact on a range of ways, depending on the tools and data available, and the of transportation, environmental, economic, and com- objective that the measure supports. Chapters 4 through 8 munity factors. A measure such as "acres of wetlands provide detailed examples of applications for each of the impacted," for example can help add insight on the rela- SHRP 2 measures. tive impact of several possible project-level alignments in The performance measurement framework provides hun- a particular corridor. dreds of potential measures. The tenets of performance man- agement described in chapter 2 suggest that performance measures should be selected to reflect a strategic direction for Based on the literature and case studies conducted as part an agency or group of agencies. A strategic direction typically of this research project, specific objectives were developed includes a vision or mission statement, a set of high-level within each factor area. Individual agencies will define objec- goals, and more specific objectives that detail how the agency tives in more detail to suit the specific conditions they need hopes to achieve progress with each of the goal areas. to address. Examples of agency objectives that reflect this From the perspective of this framework, the planning additional level of definition are provided in Table 3.2. factors represent generic goal statements. In general, it is Each objective should be supported by one or more per- assumed that a transportation agency pursing a capacity proj- formance measures that can provide information to help an ect intends to achieve transportation benefits (i.e., improved agency make decisions, improve policies and practices, and mobility or safety), that improve or minimize impacts on the gauge progress. A set of measures, supporting the established environment (i.e., improve the quantity or quality of wet- objectives should be selected carefully, with attention paid to lands) and the community (i.e., do not disrupt established the following characteristics: communities), all while providing the greatest benefit relative to the cost of the project. Relevance Why is this issue significant to each phase of The performance measures contained in the framework the capacity decision-making process? What purpose does for highway capacity decision making are linked to more spe- it serve? How should it be considered differently at the cific, but still generic, objectives. In general, the measures are many stages of the transportation planning process? For intended to help address either or both of two broad types of example, at the planning and preprogram phases, mobility objectives: issues are key for identifying transportation needs. Processes and Approaches How are or should these issues 1. Identification and Prioritization of Statewide Capacity be incorporated into the specific phase of the process? What Needs Some measures can help practitioners identify, agency is primarily responsible for addressing each issue at understand, and prioritize capacity needs on a regional or each phase? statewide scale. A measure such as "throughput efficiency" Level of Detail What type of data and scale are appro- or "level of service," for example, can be used to identify seg- priate to support the analysis of this issue? How do the