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28 CHAPTER 7 Intra-Agency Scenario--Linking Planning and Operations at a State DOT Scenario has conducted several recent best practice studies of these efforts and released separate guidebooks directed toward The previous scenarios focused on interagency partnerships. MPOs and DOTs. However, even within agencies, consideration of network per- The case studies most directly relevant to this scenario come formance can help expand and integrate the solutions that from the Oregon and Washington State DOT efforts using transportation agencies apply to the challenges they face. Most system-level performance measures. The Oregon Transporta- DOTs and MPOs are organized by function (e.g., planning, tion Plan (OTP) is a statewide effort that looks at transporta- project development, or operations) or by mode (e.g., high- tion system needs across all transportation modes. The OTP way or rail) or both. includes an assessment of the impacts of transportation sys- This scenario focuses on linking planning and operations tem operations investments relative to capacity investments within a state DOT, though it may apply to other integration and includes a rigorous performance analysis of several plan efforts as well. In many DOTs, there are well-established roles scenarios. for planning and operations but often limited or no formal The Washington State Department of Transportation (or even informal) links between them. (WSDOT) provides a unique example of an agency that has Planning typically coordinates transportation planning applied management tools to nearly every aspect of agency statewide, including identifying agency goals and objectives, business. The agency publishes a comprehensive quarterly evaluating and prioritizing projects and strategies, and evaluat- performance report called the Gray Notebook that guides ing the agency's success in addressing transportation challenges. decision making in congestion management, including capi- DOTs are increasingly recognizing the value of system man- tal planning, demand management, and operations. The agement and operations as both a fundamental responsibility WSDOT approach provides reliable data that can be applied and a strategy to tackle congestion. Operations responsibilities across agency business (planning and operations) and creates include some or all of maintenance, traffic, safety, and intelli- consistency, allowing for overall buy-in and agreement by gent transportation systems (i.e., roadway monitoring, inci- both legislators and the public. dent management, traveler information, and operation of In addition, this section draws examples from recent and traffic management centers). ongoing research to supplement the case studies that were con- Though significant progress has been made in improving ducted for this effort. The research for this guidebook focused primarily on interagency partnerships, not individual agencies. management and operations, planning and operations func- tions have not typically coordinated on issues that they share in common, such as congestion. Improving the linkages between Building Blocks these two functions can improve system performance by help- Establish Partnership Agreements ing to coordinate transportation investments and improve data collection strategies and data sharing. In a typical state DOT, the roles of and responsibilities for planning and operations fall within separate and distinct departments. Coordination between these departments can Case Studies improve how the agency tackles congestion. Though a partner- Recently significant attention has been paid to linking plan- ship agreement within a single agency may seem unnecessary, ning and operations functions at DOTs and MPOs. FHWA some formal or informal agreement helps ensure coordination.
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29 A review of state DOTs that successfully link their planning and consistency. Planning and operation collaboration provides operations functions revealed that all of them had a board or decisionmakers with network performance measures that committee to coordinate these two functions broadly. These address a range of investment strategies, including measures committees facilitate activities of mutual interest such as of system reliability. Traditional mobility performance mea- sures (e.g., volume-to-capacity [V/C] ratios) cannot effec- · Developing network performance measures that are con- tively assess the reliability and safety benefits of operational sistent across the agency; investments and should be supplemented with operations- · Coordinating the collection and storage of data and devel- oriented measures. oping tools for data access. (Operations collects data from WSDOT uses a suite of measures to identify and prioritize public [and sometimes private] sources to support incident congested corridors. The network includes major interstates management and traveler information. Planners increas- and arterials in and around Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia. ingly recognize that such data can supplement data used for With many corridors experiencing some congestion, tradi- planning studies and travel forecasting.) tional metrics such as LOS yielded billions of dollars of needs · Identifying strategies to address nonrecurring congestion over a 20-year time frame. WSDOT began to use measures in statewide, regional, and corridor studies, and congestion of throughput efficiency to narrow the deficiency list by management; roughly one-third and focus scarce resources on the most · Developing models to quantify the impacts of operational needed corridors. The department uses maximum through- investments for easier comparison to capacity expansion; put to select projects for the state transportation improve- and ment program. · Overseeing the execution of the mobility-oriented strategies Network performance measures helped convince WSDOT and objectives from a long-range plan. management that capacity solutions must be supplemented The OTP update was developed by the Transportation Devel- by operational solutions. Performance measures have helped opment Division of the Oregon DOT but had substantial justify expanded investments in operations, such as inci- support from other divisions to estimate transportation sys- dent response and demand reduction programs. WSDOT tem need and analyze scenarios. As part of the OTP update, a uses before-and-after evaluations of operations projects to "Maximum Operations" scenario was defined in coordination demonstrate their benefit in terms of reduced travel times or with the Office of Operations. delay avoided. Mobility Council In 2005, the National Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC) identified and defined a num- The Maryland State Highway Administration ber of potential key operations performance created a "Mobility Council" to oversee mobility measures of national significance. Under NCHRP and congestion relief performance measures, Project 20-7, Guide to Benchmarking Operations one of six key performance areas that are part of Performance Measures, the NTOC measures the agency's strategic plan. The Mobility Council were pilot tested and refined (Table 7.1). These includes representation from planning, traffic, measures can be used as a starting point by safety, and incident management. The Mobility state DOTs to identify and implement intra- and Congestion Relief performance measures agency network performance measures that include objectives and associated performance support planning and operations functions. measures for Incident Congestion Delay and Recurring Congestion Delay. Develop Measurement and Data Collection Methodologies Define Performance Measurement Framework Data Collection Traditionally, operations and planning staff have used Both planning and operations functions make use of data, separate performance measures with little coordination or but often for different purposes. Planning typically uses data
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30 Table 7.1. Potential operations tions functions has benefits for data collection and storage, performance measures. including Performance · Increasing the usability of archived data for both opera- Measures Definition tions and planning staff through improved access tools and Average · Facility: Average time required to greater attention to data quality; and peak travel traverse a section of roadway time · Repurposing data between planning and operations to during peak travel period · Reliability: Includes the additional improve the efficiency of data collection and the robustness time that must be added to a trip of analysis. to ensure a traveler will arrive at a destination at, or before, the Sharing data also presents challenges. Planners, for example, intended time 95% of the time · Trip: The average time required to need detailed and accurate volume, speed, and classification travel from origin to destination on data for forecasting, while operations staff, more interested a trip that might include multiple in quickly finding incidents, have a higher tolerance for less modes during peak period accuracy. Throughput · Person: Number of persons traversing a facility section or screen line per unit time Analysis Tools · Vehicle: Number of vehicles traversing a facility section or Planning typically makes use of regional or state travel screen line per unit time demand forecasting models, project- and corridor-specific Speed · The average speed of vehicles meso- and microsimulation models, and sketch-planning measured in a single lane, for a single direction of flow, at a tools. Increasingly, planning staff are recognizing the need for specific location on a roadway tools to evaluate operational investments within the planning Recurring · Vehicle delays that are process so that these investments can be considered alongside delay repeatable for the current time of capacity investments. There is a range of tools, including day, day of week, and day type sketch-planning, microsimulation models, and custom mod- Nonrecurring · Vehicle delays in excess of els for major incidents (e.g., hurricane evacuation). delay recurring delay for the current time of day, day of week, and day type Incident · The time elapsed from the duration notification of an incident until all evidence of the incident has been Relevant Data and Analysis Practices removed from the incident scene Extent of · Spatial: Miles of roadway in an Caltrans, working with the University of Califor- congestion area and time period with nia, has developed a real-time performance average travel times 30% longer than unconstrained measurement system (PeMS) for freeways. The · Temporal; The time duration system provides real-time freeway performance during which more than 20% of information and can perform detailed quick- the roadway sections in an area are congested as defined by the response analysis on historical freeway perfor- Spatial Extent of Congestion mance, primarily through data from detectors. performance measure (https://pems.eecs.berkeley.edu/) Source: Adapted from Guide to Benchmarking Operations Performance Measures, NCHRP 20-7. The Maryland State Highway Administration, working with the University of Maryland and several partners, has developed the Regional Integrated Transportation Information System, from a relatively small number of traffic recording stations which serves as an archive and provides numer- strategically placed throughout the state for planning studies. ous data query tools for incident data, traffic DOTs also often have hundreds of traffic-monitoring devices detectors, and third-party probe data. on both highways and arterials that provide real-time data for incident management and traffic information. In addition, Georgia DOT Traffic Management Center staff DOTs are examining possible system enhancements that developed a set of data validation checks and a make use of probe data collection devices (such as Bluetooth) quality assurance plan to smooth raw data gaps and other new technologies to augment existing data collec- and increase the overall quality of data to levels tion efforts. Increased coordination of planning and opera-
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31 satisfactory for other uses beyond operations, Planning and Operations Coordination including planning. Planning staff now make in the Use of Analysis Tools use of such data in their studies. The Maryland State Highway Administration The Portland Oregon Regional Transportation and the University of Maryland have developed Archive Listing (PORTAL) is the official Archived an evacuation planning tool (http://oceancity. Data User Service for the Portland Metropolitan umd.edu/index.php) to support evacuation of Region. PORTAL provides a centralized database the state's eastern shore beaches and resort that facilitates the collection, archiving, and shar- communities. The tool was developed by high- ing of information/data for public agencies in way operations staff; however, agency planning the region. PORTAL has been used to support staff is interested in using the tool to conduct (1) development of arterial performance mea- operational analyses for determining trans- sures and (2) the region's congestion manage- portation system investments based on major ment process, transportation system plans, incident scenarios, including evacuation of the corridor plans, and system management and state's eastern shore. operations. (http://portal.its.pdx.edu/)