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USES OF GEOSPATIAL APPLICATIONS FOR TRANSPORTATION PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT PEER EXCHANGE

Spokane, Washington
June 30-July 1, 2015

Host agency:
Spokane Regional Transportation Council

logo of the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation

Participating peer agencies:
City of Flagstaff
Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization
Florida Department of Transportation
Michigan Department of Transportation
Oregon Department of Transportation
St. John's County Department of Public Works
Washington Department of Transportation


TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The U.S. Department of Transportation John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, prepared this report for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Planning. The Volpe Center project team wishes to thank the participants in the peer exchange, which are listed in Appendix A, for providing their experiences, insights, and editorial review. The time they kindly provided was vital to preparing the exchange and reviewing this final report.

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INTRODUCTION

Purpose

This report provides highlights from a peer exchange held in Spokane, Washington, on June 30-July 1, 2015. The exchange, which was held as part of FHWA's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Transportation program,1 focused on the topic of uses of geospatial/GIS tools and applications to support effective transportation performance management (TPM).

Background

TPM is a strategic approach that uses transportation system information to make investment and policy decisions to achieve national performance goals. TPM is a systematic, ongoing approach to transportation decision-making that involves:

In recent years, transportation agencies have increasingly adopted data-driven management tools and performance management approaches to make more informed and effective investments in the transportation system. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) sought to formalize these processes and institute TPM as a core component of all surface transportation management, including but not limited to investment decision-making. MAP-21 outlines national performance goals relating to the National Highway Performance Program, the Highway Safety Improvement Program, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, and freight movement. Through its Office of TPM, FHWA will issue final regulations on performance management for Federal-aid recipients, conduct training and education on the new regulations, and share best practices.2

FHWA considers TPM to be a comprehensive approach for managing the entire transportation system. However FHWA recognizes that TPM has links to other types of performance management approaches such as asset management, which focuses on managing physical assets based on their useful life and replacement requirements,3 and transportation performance-based planning and programming (PBPP). According to FHWA, PBPP shares many of TPM's core principles but focuses on incorporating performance goals specifically into the planning and programming phases of transportation decision-making.4 FHWA will issue final regulations for asset management and PBPP concurrent with the roll out of TPM regulations.

FHWA believes that geospatial/GIS tools and applications can support a wide range of performance management goals.5 However, there have been few opportunities for transportation agencies to share information on how geospatial/GIS tools and application can support TPM-specific goals (due in part to the fact that MAP-21 TPM rulemakings are still forthcoming). The GIS-TPM peer exchange sought to fill this gap by providing a forum for State departments of transportation (DOTs) and local transportation agencies to share noteworthy practices, success factors, and challenges encountered in using, developing, and maintaining geospatial/GIS applications and tools that support performance management approaches (e.g., asset management, PBPP, maintenance management) as well as TPM specifically.

Format

FHWA's Office of Planning sponsored the peer exchange with support from FHWA's Office of TPM. The Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC) hosted the event at its offices in Spokane. Participants included staff from SRTC as well as the City of Flagstaff (Arizona) and Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Florida DOT (FDOT), Michigan DOT (MDOT), Oregon DOT (ODOT), St. John's County (Florida) Department of Public Works (DPW), and Washington DOT (WSDOT). See Appendix A for a complete participant list.

FHWA began the peer exchange by presenting an overview of FHWA's GIS in Transportation program, FHWA's definition of TPM, and a summary of national geospatial initiatives such as the Highway Performance Management System (HPMS), which requires States to submit data on various characteristics of State-owned public roads. The introductory session was followed by peer presentations and demonstrations of tools or applications. Peers also participated in a series of roundtable discussions throughout the exchange that addressed pre-identified topics of interest to both FHWA and the peers. The exchange concluded with a discussion of next steps and final remarks from FHWA that summarized recurring themes. See Appendix A for the peer exchange agenda, including roundtable discussion topics.

Overview of Peer Examples

The examples presented in the peer exchange focused on the use of geospatial/GIS tools and applications to support a range of performance management approaches, in particular asset management, PBPP, and maintenance activities. Given the forthcoming MAP-21 TPM rules, peers reported that they are still in the early stages of developing (or considering how to develop) geospatial/GIS tools that support TPM-specific goals as proposed by FHWA. However, peers anticipated that they could build upon existing initiatives and efforts to refine, tailor, or adopt current GIS tools for TPM-related goals over the next few years. Table 1 on the next page provides an overview of the examples highlighted during the peer exchange.

Table 1. Overview of Examples

Agency Name Name of GIS Tool/
Application/Initiative
Overview of GIS Tool/Application/Initiative
City of Flagstaff and Flagstaff Area MPO
  • Establishing Performance Measures
The City and MPO are evaluating existing coverage of performance-related data for their areas with the goal of establishing measures to support evaluation of transportation system performance.
FDOT
  • Reliability of Freight Flows around Dedicated Freight Corridors
  • Bicycle Level of Service (LOS)
FDOT is evaluating the viability of integrating a variety of data sources, such as the National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS) and bicycle safety data, for specific project-based analyses. FDOT's Transportation Analysis Office has found particular success in using performance data, imported into GIS, to perform project-based analyses and to investigate the value of recent investments.
MDOT
  • Performance-Based Maintenance (PBM) Framework
  • Transportation Asset Management System (TAMS)
  • Michigan Maintenance Rating System (MiMRS)
MDOT is developing a PBM framework that will provide an outcome focus for maintenance delivery. At the same time, it is initiating TAMS to support performance data integration and standardization across its seven operating Regions. It is also piloting the MiMRS to support the consistent assessment and reporting of performance measures and level of service.
ODOT
  • Features Attributes and Conditions Survey - Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (FACS-STIP)
  • Data2Go
ODOT's FACS-STIP is an asset management database primarily designed for internal use that supports centralized data storage and oversight for highway asset management. ODOT integrated this tool with a customized add-on, Data2Go, which enables field staff to update asset condition information in FACS-STIP from virtually anywhere in the State.
SRTC SRTC's Horizon 2040, the region's long-range transportation plan, outlines guiding principles and key indicators that will be the focus of the agency's performance monitoring over the life of the plan. SRTC is developing a toolkit with geospatial elements to support data monitoring and performance management analysis.
St. John's County DPW
  • Cityworks
Cityworks is a maintenance management system that integrates with DPW geospatial data. DPW uses Cityworks to support a variety of asset management activities as well as project tracking.
WSDOT
  • WSDOT Gray Notebook
  • GIS to Support Performance Reporting/Asset Management
WSDOT's Gray Notebook is the agency's quarterly performance and accountability report. It also provides a comprehensive listing of all available transportation data within the State and identifies performance indicators for its districts. WSDOT is integrating these indicators into an enterprise GIS to streamline performance reporting and asset management.

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PEER EXCHANGE DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS

Discussions held during the exchange centered around four topics:

  1. Adapting current performance management geospatial/GIS tools and applications to support TPM goals;
  2. Establishing transportation system performance measures;
  3. Collecting and maintaining transportation system performance data (i.e., data stewardship); and
  4. Anticipated or expected benefits associated with using geospatial/GIS resources to support TPM goals.

More detail on each of these topics is provided below.

A. Adapting Performance Management Tools for TPM Goals

Most peers reported that their agencies currently use geospatial/GIS tools and applications to support performance management approaches. Some of the more advanced tools support automatic updates after project changes and provide the ability to track project implementation and costs. Peers suggested that these types of GIS tools could be adapted, tailored, or refined in various ways in the future to help evaluate transportation system performance as a whole.

screenshot of the FACS-STIP Mapping Tool which is displaying a Traffic Barriers report for ODOT District C Figure 1. ODOT's FACS-STIP summary reporting feature for its District 2C.
graphic of a conceptual framework for CityWorks showing a cylinder labled CityWorks surrounded by, and connected to, images that represent sectors: Solid Waste; Facilities; Parks & Rec.; Signs, Sidewalks, and Pavement; Fleet Maintenance; Asset Management; Inspections; Utilites; and Road & Bridge Figure 2. Conceptual framework for Cityworks.

B. Establishing System Performance Measures

Peers acknowledged that the core of a robust TPM program is a suite of measures to monitor overall system performance, safety, and asset condition from a holistic, multi-modal perspective. Establishing appropriate measures and reporting on progress against these measures will provide transportation agencies, the public, and others information with which to effectively evaluate performance, set targets for specific outcomes, identify investment priorities, and communicate the impacts of specific investments.

The peers represented a range of experience with establishing these types of cohesive system measures. Some peers reported developing initial or draft measures to assess transportation system reliability, congestion, safety, asset condition, transit performance, and maintenance needs. A number of peers expressed interest in developing measures to capture transportation system reliability from a multi-modal perspective. Most peers, however, noted that they are still identifying what data are available from which to craft these types of performance measures, as well as what staff and funding resources are available to engage in these efforts.

map of the Flagstaff region color-coded by transit level of service Figure 3. Flagstaff region transit LOS by traffic analysis zone (TAZ).
screenshot of the SRTC toolkit displaying a map of the Spokane area with content describing CMP Step 5: Identify and Evaluate Strategies Figure 4. SRTC toolkit with geospatial data/features that may help SRTC assess its progress toward meeting Horizon 2040 regional goals.

C. Data Stewardship

As the peer agencies have continued to explore how to effectively use geospatial/GIS tools and applications to support TPM goals, they reported experiencing challenges with engaging in effective data stewardship: in other words, how to effectively collect system performance data, integrate them into existing decision-making processes, and update data over time. While data stewardship presented difficulties, peers believed that this was critical to adopting a TPM approach. Having access to accurate, up-to-date, system information—data that all stakeholders “trust”—will support appropriate and effective evaluation of the entire transportation system's performance. Peers also noted the importance of developing common data standards and formatting practices to ensure that different datasets can be linked and are appropriately scaled.

Peers reported working to improve performance data stewardship practices by compiling datasets and data sources that might currently exist in disparate places and simplifying data collection/maintenance processes with improved tools (particularly using mobile applications that permit in-field inputs). To ensure that data updates occur regularly and consistently, some peers have piloted or implemented initiatives to ensure that performance data (especially asset condition or maintenance data) are compiled on a more regular basis.

Data Collection/Compilation/Integration
Peers are compiling geospatial data for system performance monitoring from a wide variety of sources, including locally sourced datasets, data from other State DOTs and FHWA, and datasets from private industry providers. Multiple peers are exploring the use of the National Performance Management Dataset (NPMRDS) as a resource to support performance analysis.9 The All-Roads Network of Linear Referenced Data (ARNOLD), which requires State DOTs to report geospatial data representative of their public roads to FHWA as part of the HPMS, may also serve as a resource to support States' or MPOs' TPM efforts.

Peers discussed the importance of compiling performance data into a central repository. Such a tool would make performance information more accessible to users within (and possibly outside) the agency. Tools with visualization capabilities might also help communicate information to internal and external stakeholders. This would help agencies to “tell a story” about how the transportation system is doing, providing context for future investment decision-making.

Peers believed that while there are potential benefits of having a centralized repository for performance information, developing such tools may come with particular challenges such as whether/how to share highly localized data. To address these and other challenges, peers discussed the necessity of documenting (for both agency leadership and the public) the potential benefits that would be realized. These benefits might include increased access to system data, increased transparency of transportation system performance and agency decision-making process for the public, time- and cost-savings, and improved data quality.

screenshot of MDOT's TAMS displaying graffiti data for one highway interchange Figure 5. Example of how MDOT is currently using GIS data to support in-field performance monitoring—for live data collection on graffiti.

Data Maintenance
Peers agreed that performance data need to be kept up-to-date to ensure they can effectively support TPM goals. Many peers mentioned using mobile tools to support field staff in collecting and maintaining GIS data more easily and frequently.

MiMRS screenshot displaying data for one roadway section Figure 6. MiMRS data collection in graphical view, showing roadway segments in the north region of the State.
screenshot of the FACS-STIP Tool with the left menu selection 'Data To Go' circled in red Figure 7. ODOT's Data2Go Tool, with mobile functions highlighted.

D. Early or Anticipated Benefits of Applying GIS for TPM Goals

All of the peers recognized value in using geospatial/GIS tools and applications to support general performance management goals. But as the peers explore ways to use GIS tools for TPM-specific goals, many are anticipating additional benefits that may include improved coordination and collaboration and more strategic, effective investment decision-making. Peers expected to continue identifying these and other benefits as their efforts evolve over time.

Coordination and Collaboration
Peers believed that using geospatial/GIS tools and applications“particularly web-based tools”has generally made it easier to compile data from across an organization or from others. These tools are also supporting collaboration by making it easier to share information with different divisions or offices within an organization, other agencies, and the public. These benefits may help spur agencies to identify new opportunities for applying previously siloed data to support TPM-specific goals.

During the exchange, peers also discussed collaboration and coordination as strategies to address existing data gaps, in order to refine existing tools for TPM goals. For example, peers reported that in some cases, existing GIS tools promoted partnerships between transportation agencies and others; these partnerships could be leveraged to collect more robust performance data.

Improved Investment Decision-Making
Peers noted one of the most important reasons for adopting performance-based approaches, including TPM, is for an agency to better evaluate past investments and improve investment decision-making. While the peers were overwhelmingly in the early stages of using GIS tools to tie performance data to investments, some agencies have already found success in using geospatial data to support discussions around where to make investments, evaluate potential or realized outcomes of these investments, and communicate to agency leadership or the public about these outcomes. Some peers have also found that using GIS has reduced the amount of time it takes to perform cost/benefit analyses that demonstrate the potential impact of a proposed investment.

map of the area near Olympia, Washington with Wetlands Protection content from the Gray Notebook Figure 8. Example map from a Gray Notebook wetlands protection storyboard. The map depicts a corridor widening project that benefited from a WSDOT-owned wetlands site that provides compensatory mitigation credits.
map of the Port Miami Tunnel marked with average truck speed data Figure 9. Differences in 4:00-7:00 PM Weekday Average Truck Speed around the Port Miami Tunnel, May 1-7, 2014 vs May 1-7, 2015.

E. Conclusion

Over the course of the peer exchange, participants identified general lessons learned from their efforts to date:

Peers suggested some strategies that could be taken at the Federal level to better support State DOTs and local agencies as they prepare to address MAP-21 national performance goals. For example, peers noted that they would appreciate learning more about how others across the country are using geospatial/GIS tools to compile or manage performance data to support decision-making, particularly in terms of challenges they are facing and how they are addressing the challenges. Peers also wanted to learn more about risks that different agencies have faced when moving forward with GIS for TPM initiatives, such as funding limitations. Peers were particularly interested in ways to mitigate and address risks early in the process.

The majority of peers believed that they are still in the early stages of exploring or considering how to effectively use geospatial/GIS tools and applications for TPM. Some of the peers anticipate refining, tailoring, or evolving current performance management tools to support broader TPM goals over time. Most peers are focusing on laying the groundwork to ensure more consistent collection or maintenance of performance data over the long-term and identifying strategies to encourage an organizational culture that prioritizes data-driven decision-making. Peers mentioned that existing data on travel times, asset condition, and other attributes may reduce the need for new data collection. Likewise, mobile technologies may simplify the process of collecting performance data and monitoring performance and asset condition. However, addressing data gaps continues to be a challenge.

Despite the challenges discussed, peer exchange participants are recognizing important benefits in using geospatial/GIS tools and applications to support a range of performance management goals that may be extended to include TPM in the near future. These benefits include easier compilation and integration of transportation performance data, the ability to visualize agency decision-making outcomes, more effective communication of performance data both within an agency and with others including the public, and the ability to promote a holistic, systems approach to managing the transportation network.

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APPENDIX A: PEER EXCHANGE AGENDA AND PARTICIPANTS

FHWA Peer Exchange: Uses of GIS for Transportation Performance Management

221 W 1st Ave #310, Spokane WA 99201
June 30-July 1, 2015

Peer Participants

Office Name Title Email Phone
City of Flagstaff Robb Krause GIS Analyst RKrause@flagstaffaz.gov 928-213-2854
Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization (FMPO) David Wessel FMPO Manager DWessel@flagstaffaz.gov 928-213-2650
Florida Department of Transportation Paul O'Rourke GIS Support Section, Transportation Statistics Office Paul.ORourke@dot.state.fl.us 850-414-4732
David Lee Administrator, Statewide Planning and Policy Analysis David.Lee@dot.state.fl.us  
Michigan Department of Transportation Cory Johnson Enterprise Data & GIS Specialist JohnsonC45@michigan.gov 517-331-4508
Melissa Howe Performance Based Maintenance Engineer HoweM@michigan.gov 517-599-8135
Oregon Department of Transportation Laura Wipper Performance Management Consultant Laura.R.Wipper@odot.state.or.us 503-986-4092
Spokane Regional Transportation Council Sylvia Ferrin GIS Analyst SFerrin@srtc.org 509-343-6388
Kevin Shipman GIS Analyst KShipman@srtc.org 509-343-6385
Eve Nelson Senior Transportation Planner ENelson@srtc.org 509-343-6370
St. John's County Rocky Agbunag Information Services Manager RAgbunag@sjcfl.us 904-209-0273
Washington Department of Transportation Bradley Bobbitt Transportation Planning Specialist BobbitB@wsdot.wa.gov 360-705-7907
Sreenath Gangula Lead Systems Analyst GangulS@wsdot.wa.gov 360-705-6888

US DOT Participants

Office Name Title Email Phone
FHWA Mark Sarmiento Office of Planning, GIS Planning Specialist Mark.Sarmiento@dot.gov 202-366-4828
Chris Allen Office of Policy, Division Chief Chris.Allen@dot.gov 202-366-4104
Ronald Vaughn Office of Policy, Transportation Specialist Ronald.Vaughn@dot.gov 202-366-9248
Michael Nesbitt Office of TPM, Transportation Specialist Michael.Nesbitt@dot.gov 202-366-1179
Christopher Chang Office of TPM, Transportation Engineer Christopher.Chang@dot.gov 202-366-4657
Volpe Center Andrew Reovan Community Planner Andrew.Reovan@dot.gov 617-494-3843
Jared Fijalkowski Community Planner Jared.Fijalkowski@dot.gov 617-494-2092

Peer Agenda

Tuesday, June 30
8:45 – 9:15 Welcome and Introductions – SRTC
9:15 – 9:45 Overview of USDOT GIS and TPM Initiatives – FHWA
9:45 – 10:30 Demonstrations/Presentations 1
  • SRTC: Exploring Uses of GIS for TPM (e.g., Horizon 2040, Congestion Management Process)
10:45 – 11:45 Roundtable 1: Using GIS to Support TPM Decision making – All Participants
12:45 – 1:30 Demonstrations/Presentations 2
  • MDOT: Development of a Performance-Based Maintenance System and a Transportation Asset Management System
1:30 – 2:15 Demonstrations/Presentations 3
  • St. John's County DPW: Integrating the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) with GIS for Asset Management
2:30 – 3:00 Demonstrations/Presentations 4
  • FDOT: Florida's Performance-Based Planning and Programming Process
3:00 – 4:00 Roundtable 2: Using GIS to Improve TPM Data Management and Analysis – All Participants
4:00 – 4:15 Day 1 Key Points/Wrap-Up – FHWA
6:00 Informal Dinner (Location TBD)
Wednesday, July 1
8:00 – 8:15 Day 1 Re-cap – FHWA
8:15 – 9:00 Roundtable 3: Using GIS to Improve TPM Communication and Collaboration – All Participants
10:00 – 10:45 Demonstrations/Presentations 6
  • ODOT: Features, Assets, and Conditions Survey Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (FACS-STIP) Tool
10:45 – 11:45 Roundtable 4: Moving Forward with GIS for TPM Activities – All Participants
11:45 - Noon Day 2 Key Points/Wrap-Up – FHWA
Noon Adjourn

Roundtable Discussion Questions

Roundtable 1: Using GIS to Support TPM Decision making

All Participants

Roundtable 2: Using GIS to Improve TPM Data Management and Analysis

All Participants

Roundtable 3: Using GIS to Improve TPM Communication and Collaboration

All Participants

Roundtable 4: Moving Forward with GIS for TPM Activities

All Participants

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FOOTNOTES

1 Through technical support, resources, and capacity-building opportunities, the FHWA GIS in Transportation program aims to assist transportation agencies to more effectively use GIS and geospatial applications. Additional information is available at https://www.gis.fhwa.dot.gov.
2 Additional information on FHWA's Office of TPM and the MAP-21 national performance goals are available at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/tpm/.
3 See FHWA's discussion of the difference between TPM and asset management approaches at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/tpm/about/difference.cfm.
4 Additional information on FHWA's PBPP framework is available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/performance_based_planning/pbpp_guidebook/.
5 FHWA's 2012 report on “Best Practices in GIS-Based Transportation Asset Management” provides additional information on using GIS tools to support asset management goals—see https://www.gis.fhwa.dot.gov/documents/GIS_AssetMgmt.htm. Some of the examples included in the 2012 document are also referenced in this peer exchange report.
6 AGOL is an online, collaborative web platform for geospatial data. Additional information is available at https://www.arcgis.com/home/.
7 Additional information on Horizon 2040's regional goals is available at http://www.srtc.org/Documents/Documents-Maps/Horizon2040/Handout_GuidingPrinciples_Final.pdf.
8 The Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act - A Legacy for the Users (SAFETEA-LU) stipulated the requirement for the use of the CMP process in Transportation Management Areas. The CMP seeks to define and identify congestion within a region, corridor, and activity center or project area, and to develop and select appropriate strategies to reduce congestion or mitigate the impacts of congestion.
9 NPMRDS data are made available to States and MPOs through FHWA's Office of Freight Operations and Management at http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/perf_measurement/. NPMRDS data provide information on average travel times for both passenger and freight vehicles traveling on the NHS.
10 The TPM Capability Maturity Model is currently in development by the FHWA Office of TPM. For more information, please contact Michael Nesbitt (Michael.Nesbitt@dot.gov) or visit the Office of TPM's website: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/tpm/.

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