States are now required to develop transportation plans, but the focus on performance measures and specific results is still in its formative stages. OnTrackNorthAmerica promotes the utilization of performance measures, benchmarks, targets, and commitments to action so that plans deliver results. To meet the requirements of MAP-21, states have been completing their transportation plans this year. To provide a window into the current state of planning, OnTrackNorthAmerica analyzes transportation plans to identify their progress toward performance-based planning.
OnTrackNorthAmerica has analyzed six transportation plans, to date, focusing on six plan elements: baseline metrics, specific targets, action plan, goals, commitments, and stakeholder involvement. In addition, we noted the department primarily responsible for planning and whether the state used public or private consultants to help in developing the plan.
The following factors affecting state transportation planning were assessed:
State Transportation Plan Summary Data
The Summary Data Table indicates whether a state includes a performance measure in its transportation planning. Six state plans have been analyzed, to date. The bottom row shows the number of states using that performance measure out of the six states we have looked at so far. Each column represents a different metric related to performance measures. The metrics are described above.
|State||Agency||Consultant Type||Baseline Metrics||Specific Target||Action Plan||Goals||Commit- ments||Stakeholder’s Involvement||Plan Type|
|Wisconsin||Transportation, Investment, Planning||Federal/State||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||Rail|
Overall, the state plans we analyzed were strongest in setting general goals. Four of the six states set general, but unsupported goals, and five involved at least some stakeholders in the development of the plan. Unfortunately, stakeholders in these plans were primarily there to get information about the plans and planning process; they were not fully participating in the planning. Deepening stakeholder involvement throughout the planning process, including commitments to action toward plan targets is essential to building better transportation systems.
When it comes to taking specific actions to ensure that goals are reached, the states were less proactive. Only one state, South Dakota, established baseline metrics and none of the states whose plans we analyzed set specific targets that they intended to achieve. Only two of the states, Florida and Kentucky, had action plans that contained some commitments for specific actions.
The small number of states that take proactive steps to ensure that the goals of the transportation plans will see the light of day is concerning. It suggests that too many of these plans once created are not implemented. There is a major opportunity to assist states in becoming more intentional in both their planning and their implementation.