Congestion Management Process
The SJTPO Congestion Management Process (CMP) is an ongoing process that uses analytic tools to identify congested roadways in the region and select appropriate strategies to reduce congestion or mitigate its impacts. The most current CMP document was revised in 2018 and is amended as needed to take advantage of the most recent data sources.
Congestion Funding Programs
The transportation sector continues to be a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, representing nearly a third of the carbon emissions in the United. The goal of SJTPO’s congestion planning efforts is to identify and fund transportation projects that reduce emissions such as carbon monoxide, ozone, and particulate matter from transportation projects in nonattainment and maintenance areas. The SJTPO region is in a nonattainment and maintenance area as outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is eligible to fund emission and congestion reduction projects to improve air quality.
What is the Congestion Management Process?
The Congestion Management Process (CMP) is a federally required process for metropolitan planning areas with a population exceeding 200,000, including the SJTPO region. The CMP is a systematic process that provides for safe and effective integrated management and operation of the multimodal transportation system. The CMP is used to identify congested roadways, establish multimodal performance measures, identify congestion management strategies and means of implementation, and evaluate the effectiveness of implemented strategies.
Congestion Management Process (CMP) Methodology
The methodology for the CMP strives to implement cost-effective congestion relief strategies in the region. The primary sources of data include Probe Data Analytics (PDA) Suite, NJDOT Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS), SJTPO Data Collection through Technical Studies, and NJ TRANSIT. Archived travel time data is made available to New Jersey metropolitan planning organizations through the Probe Data Analytics Suite, a product of the University of Maryland, under contract with NJDOT. This data can be used to measure the extent and severity of congestion regionwide, and the use of travel time data is now the state-of-the-practice for congestion screening. The SJTPO CMP follows an eight-step process modeled after the state-of-the-practice described in the Federal Highway Administration’s CMP Guidebook as follows.
1. Develop Regional Objectives for Congestion Management – According to the Guidebook, these objectives should draw from the regional vision and goals outlined in the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). As such, the vision statement and ten regional goals from RTP 2050 have been adopted for this document. Objectives should be specific, realistic, and bound by a specified time frame. These objectives will serve as the basis for the development of performance measures.
2. Define CMP Network – The key components of the transportation system focused on in the CMP will need to be determined. This requires defining two aspects of the system that will be examined as part of the planning process: the geographic scope and the system elements (e.g., freeways, major arterials, transit routes).
3. Develop Multimodal Performance Measures – Performance measures that will be used to measure congestion on a regional and local scale need to be established. The selected performance measures should relate to, and support, the CMP regional objectives developed in step one of this eight-step process.
4. Collect Data/Monitor System Performance – With the performance measures developed, the next action is to collect and analyze data to determine how the transportation system performs. Data collection may be ongoing and involve a wide range of data sources and partners. Several common types of data that can be used in the CMP are traffic volume counts (automated or manual), speed and travel time data, transit data, bicycle/pedestrian data, and travel survey data.
5. Analyze Congestion Problems and Needs – As data is collected, the raw data must be translated into meaningful measures of performance. Specific locations with congestion problems present in the region or are anticipated should be addressed by using data and analysis techniques. Newly developed analysis tools such as the Probe Data Analytics (PDA) Suite may be used for this purpose.
6. Identify and Assess Strategies – The data and analysis should be turned into a set of recommended solutions to effectively manage congestion and achieve congestion management objectives. Potential strategies for mitigating congestion should be identified and assessed by working together with state and local planning partners.
7. Program and Implement Strategies – Project-oriented planning is crucial for implementing CMP strategies. SJTPO will work with its planning partners to prepare high-quality projects for federal funding and to prepare Problem Statement reports for initiating projects through NJDOT’s Capital Program Delivery system. Implementation of CMP strategies occurs on three levels: system or regional, corridor, and project. SJTPO will prioritize effective strategies in a regional context and integrate congestion planning strategies into the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) process.
8. Evaluate Strategy Effectiveness – There must be an ongoing process to evaluate the implemented strategies and monitor system performance. Future decision-making about the effectiveness of transportation strategies can be informed through this step.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) CMP Guidebook
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a CMP Guidebook to provide information to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO), like SJTPO, on how to create an objectives-driven, performance-based process. The FHWA CMP Guidebook may be viewed here.
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