Performance-based planning and programming (PBPP) is a strategic, data-driven approach to transportation decision-making that enables transportation planning agencies to efficiently allocate resources, maximize return on investments, and achieve desired performance outcomes while increasing accountability and transparency to the public.
PBPP is how State DOTs, MPOs, and transit providers implement Transportation Performance Management (TPM) within their transportation planning and programming processes to make investment and policy decisions to achieve national performance goals.
Through PBPP and TPM, State DOTs, MPOs, and transit providers use performance measures and targets to monitor achievement of national goals for safety, infrastructure condition, congestion reduction, system reliability, freight movement and economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and reduced project delivery delays.
PBPP and TPM are important because the way in which performance is defined and measured affects the types of projects and strategies that are advanced by decision-makers. Performance indicators can also demonstrate whether investments in transportation are linked to stated goals and achieving desired outcomes.
Planners should be aware that the May 2016 planning rule introduced new PBPP requirements for State DOTs and MPOs, including:
FHWA and FTA encourage State DOTs, MPOs, and transit providers to consider the PBPP Guidebook as a resource for implementing a performance-based approach to transportation planning and programming and the new PBPP requirements. Shown in Figure 1 below, the PBPP Guidebook features an iterative decision-making framework for transportation planning agencies with four central questions:
Figure 1. Framework for PBPP (Source: FHWA PBPP Guidebook, 2013)
The MAP-21 Act of 2012 was an important milestone for PBPP and TPM because the law directed the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to establish performance measures based on national goals for safety, infrastructure condition, congestion reduction, system reliability, freight movement and economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and reduced project delivery delays. Furthermore, MAP-21 required State DOTs, MPOs, and public transportation providers to establish performance targets for those performance measures to guide investments in projects that collectively make progress toward the achievement of the national goals.
The FAST Act of 2015 continued MAP-21’s overall performance management approach, and to guide national implementation, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) coordinated the following rulemakings:
The USDOT is committed to supporting effective implementation of PBPP and TPM. In July 2018, FHWA’s Office of Infrastructure published the TPM Implementation Plan to provide FHWA staff, State DOTs, MPOs, and other stakeholders with the information and resources necessary to achieve a performance-based transportation system. The TPM Implementation Plan articulates five key desired outcomes for national TPM implementation: