PhD Defense by Alice Grossman

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School of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Ph.D. Thesis Defense Announcement

Adoption of Performance Measures in Regional Transportation Planning: Current Practice and

Lessons for Future Applications



Alice Grossman



Dr. Randall Guensler (CEE)


Committee Members:

Dr. Kari Watkins (CEE), Dr. Catherine Ross (CRP), Dr. Michael Meyer (WSP), Dr. Joshua Schank

(LA Metro)


Date & Time: Friday, January 12th, at 2:00pm

Location: Mason 2228


. Metropolitan

Planning Organizations (MPOs) have been tasked by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) federal

legislation to develop short- and long-term transportation plans that include performance measures. Measures required by

legislation are standard, uniform indicators for specific projects and entire metropolitan regions, and lead to MPOs implementing

performance analysis serving as evidence of the productive use of taxpayer dollars toward public accountability. Agencies are

in the process of responding to federal rulemaking in implementing and incorporating the required safety, infrastructure,

congestion, system reliability, freight, and environmental performance measures.

This dissertation research includes a nation-wide survey and four urban transportation planning case studies. A survey

response of 183 (45%) of the 405 MPOs across the country reveals when agencies began collecting federally mandated

performance measures as well as additional non-mandated measures, how performance measures link to regional and state

goals and priorities, what factors currently impede agencies from adopting performance-based planning practices, and where

agencies are looking for examples, best practices, and data sharing. Only 12 out of the 183 responding agencies reported using

all of the federally required measures. Larger MPOs are generally adopting more measures and introducing them earlier, and

agencies located in the Northeast and Western states (where many of the larger regions are located) are generally ahead of

regions in the South in implementing performance-based planning. Medium-sized MPOs show no discernable trend in

responding to the federal requirements and have not adopted as many additional non-federally mandated performance

measures as larger MPOs. Four case studies indicate the characteristics of MPO adoption of performance measures and

provide examples of best practices. Many agencies reported a lack of resources – both monetary and in personnel –

contributing to their inability to quickly and efficiently adopt new data-driven practices. Case studies reveal the varying levels of

coordination between MPOs and state DOTs. Agencies demonstrating best practices in incorporating performance-based

planning into their long-range plans in recent years are only now including the methods in short-term Transportation

Improvement Programs (TIPs). The survey results and case studies provide the most comprehensive data and research to date

of MPO response to the MAP-21 performance measure mandates indicating state of the practice across the country and

presenting best practice models.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Created: 01/02/2018
  • Modified By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Modified: 01/02/2018


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