FHWA proposes new rule to combat traffic congestion

Rulemaking would require state DOTs to collect data on travel times

Posted April 26, 2016

On Friday, April 22, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to propose national performance management measure regulations. The rules would assess the performance of the National Highway System, Freight Movement on the Interstate System, and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, as required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (“FAST Act”).

According to the FHWA, the NPRM proposes regulations that would make progress towards the following goals:

  • Congestion reduction — To achieve a significant reduction in congestion on the national highway system.
  • System reliability — To improve the efficiency of the surface transportation system.
  • Freight movement and economic vitality — To improve the national freight network, strengthen the ability of rural communities to access national and international trade markets, and support regional economic development.
  • Environmental sustainability — To enhance the performance of the transportation system while protecting and enhancing the natural environment.

In addition, the agency says the NPRM will:

  • Provide for greater consistency in the reporting of condition/performance.
  • Propose requirements for the establishment of targets that can be aggregated at the national level.
  • Propose reporting in a consistent manner on progress achievement.
  • Propose a process for determining a State DOT's significant progress.

State agencies will measure system reliability by measuring the variability of travel times. State DOTs would be expected to use the information and data generated as a result of the new regulations to make better informed transportation planning and programming decisions. The new performance aspects of the Federal-aid program would allow FHWA to better communicate a national performance story and more reliably assess the impacts of Federal funding investments.


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