Congestion Management Process
Congestion Management Process Toolbox
A congestion management process (CMP) presents a systematic process for managing traffic congestion and provides information on transportation system performance. A CMP must:
- Measure multi-modal transportation system performance.
- Identify the causes of congestion.
- Assess alternative actions.
- Implement cost-effective actions.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of implemented actions.
A CMP should include alternative strategies for alleviating congestion and enhancing the mobility of persons and goods to levels that meet state and local needs. At the core, a CMP should include a data collection and monitoring system, a range of strategies for addressing congestion, performance measures or criteria for identifying when action is needed, and a system for prioritizing which congestion management strategies would be most effective.
A CMP is required in metropolitan areas with population exceeding 200,000, known as Transportation Management Areas (TMAs). In TMAs designated as ozone or carbon monoxide non-attainment areas, the CMP takes on a greater significance. Federal guidelines prohibit projects that increase capacity for single occupant vehicles unless the project comes from a CMP. Federal requirements also state that in all TMAs, the CMP shall be developed and implemented as part of the metropolitan planning process.
Getting Started: Using Congestion Management Systems to Link Planning and Operations
Regions have a number of opportunities to use the CMP to advance planning and operations coordination. The most appropriate steps to enhance this coordination depend on the degree to which a region is currently using its CMP for decision-making.
Involve Operations Managers in CMP Development
Although the CMP is the responsibility of the MPO, the expertise of transportation operations managers is vital to developing and evaluating congestion mitigation strategies. Because the CMP typically considers a diverse set of strategies, it is often accessible to a wide range of stakeholders. A concerted effort to engage operations managers in CMP development and implementation is likely to be rewarded, not only by a more effective CMP, but by the information sharing that occurs during CMP development.
Some actions may help draw additional stakeholders to the CMP process:
- Define clear roles for operations staff. Examples of roles for operations practitioners include brainstorming operations oriented congestion mitigation strategies, identifying congestion data sources and measurement techniques, developing balanced performance measures, and identifying approaches to strategy implementation.
- Summarize CMP actions that have been implemented to date. This can help stakeholders to see that the prioritization of projects and strategies through the CMP process actually influences funding and implementation priorities. To improve this understanding, consider identifying specific strategies that have been implemented because of their identification and performance within the CMP process.
- Propose CMP Strategies for Non-Recurring Delay. A CMP should include a full range of operations strategies, including strategies that seek to reduce recurring and non-recurring delay. Raise the issue of non-recurring delay with the CMP team and identify currently listed and new strategies to reduce this source of congestion. Some examples of strategies to reduce non-recurring delay include incident response programs, work zone management strategies, and event coordination.
Use the CMP to Build a System for Rapid Response to Congestion Issues
In addition to linking with longer term planning goals and forecasts, a CMP can be designed to swiftly address small-scale congestion problems that threaten the efficiency of the regional transportation network. Prioritization criteria and funding set asides can be established to support small-scale projects and programs that do not justify a larger corridor analysis. By building the capacity of the regional planning agency to deliver immediate solutions, the planning agency can become more responsive to the needs of the traveling public and more relevant to the transportation management and operations community.
- Congestion Management Process Guidebook (HTML, PDF 3MB) - The Congestion Management Process (CMP) Guidebook builds on the Interim CMP Guidebook and the Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations guidebook, which focus on an objectives-driven, performance-based approach to address congestion and the relationship between the CMP and efficient system management and operations. This guidebook underscores the importance of developing congestion management objectives appropriate to the region and using performance measures to understand congestion problems, assess potential solutions, and evaluate implemented strategies. It also highlights effective practices for documentation and visualization of congestion information, and includes more case study examples of CMP practices at metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) around the country.
- Case Studies of the Congestion Management Process - This series of in-depth case studies focuses on the Congestion Management Process (CMP) at seven metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) around the country. The case studies highlight how MPOs have structured their CMP processes; their data collection and analysis methods and tools; their integration of the CMP with the metropolitan transportation plan (MTP) and other planning processes; and effective practices for documentation and visualization of congestion information.
- An Interim Guidebook on the Congestion Management Process in Metropolitan Transportation Planning (HTML, PDF 853KB) - This interim guidebook document showcases opportunities to utilize an objectives driven, performance-based approach to enhance the quality of CMP. This interim guidebook document, along with the M&O interim guidebook document, will be finalized in the Fall of 2008 after FHWA and FTA conduct a wide-ranging outreach program in Summer 2008 to showcase the guidebooks and receive further input on this approach.
- Congestion Management Process (CMP) Innovations: A Menu of Options (PDF 534KB) - This document was prepared for the New York State Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (NYSMPOs). The document provides a menu of options for metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to consider in implementing a Congestion Management Plan (CMP).
- Congestion Management System Practices (PDF 244KB) - This report describes the summary of Congestion Management System (CMS) processes currently in use around the United States.
- Frequency of Work Zone Accidents on Construction Projects - The Region 2 University Transportation Research Center has released a report that examines work zone accidents in New York State, with particular attention to the occurrence and mitigation of rear-end vehicle accidents.
- A Guidebook for Including Access Management in Transportation Planning (PDF 834KB) - This report (NCHRP Report 548) offers guidance for implementing access management through the transportation planning process.
- Improving Mobility and Accessibility with Managed Lanes, Pricing, and BRT - This report documents the proceedings of the 12th International HOV Systems Conference: Improving Mobility and Accessibility with Managed Lanes, Pricing, and BRT held in Houston, Texas on April 18-20, 2005. The proceedings summarize the presentations from the plenary sessions and the breakout sessions. The plenary sessions included presentations on the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) system in the Houston area, updates on national activities, and future trends in managing mobility.
- Incident Management Successful Practices: A Cross-Cutting Study (PDF 1.09MB) - This document provides a series of successful practices on managing traffic incidents.
- Linking Congestion Management to Operations (PDF 468KB)
- Management & Operations in the Metropolitan Transportation Plan: A Guidebook for Creating an Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach (HTML, PDF 1.79MB) - This interim guidebook document showcases opportunities to utilize an objectives driven, performance-based approach to enhance the quality of M&O in the planning process. This interim guidebook document, along with the CMP interim guidebook document, will be finalized in the Fall of 2008 after FHWA and FTA conduct a wide-ranging outreach program in Summer 2008 to showcase the guidebooks and receive further input on this approach.
- Managing Demand Through Travel Information Services - The brochure highlights the opportunities and benefits for using traveler information services to manage demand during periods of congestion, including congestion during commute periods, special events, and emergencies. The brochure aims to provide ideas for the use of traveler information in states, regions, and communities. The brochure presents the diversity of traveler information systems employed around the country and overseas and how agencies are using traveler information as a demand management tool.
- Mitigating Traffic Congestion – The Role of Demand-side Strategies - Federal Highway Administration's Office of Transportation Management has produced a new report on demand-side strategies and the important role that it plays in 21st Century transportation operations. This report builds upon previous work done on travel demand management in the early 1990's to present a newer, more contemporary, perspective on what managing demand in the 21st Century really means. The in-depth case studies illustrate a handful of the many applications of demand-side strategies in place today. The case studies attempt to highlight the diversity of programs, with an effort to find examples that also provided one or more measures of program effectiveness.
- Ramp Management and Control Handbook - The purpose of this handbook is to improve the operation of freeways and their associated ramps by providing support, information, guidance, and recommended practice to practitioners responsible for freeway management and operations. Publication No. FHWA-HOP-06-01, January 2006.
- The Relationship between Congestion Management and the Planning Process (PDF 872KB)
- Travel Time Reliability: Making It There On Time, All The Time - Travel time reliability is an increasing concern of travelers, shippers, and businesses. Recent advances in data collection mean that travel time reliability can now be quantified. This report provides guidance in answering questions such as: What is travel time reliability? Why is travel time reliability important? What measures are used to quantify travel time reliability? What are the steps for developing travel time reliability measures? Are there case studies illustrating steps to calculate reliability measures? Who is using reliability measures?
- Using CMP Tools to Advance NEPA Documentation (PDF 208KB)
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