traffic jam

National traffic data collection proposed

To better assess the effectiveness of federal aid to state highway programs and give states metrics for their transportation planning, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has proposed a rule that would require all 50 states to report metrics of transportation system performance, including travel time reliability, congestion and emissions.

The FHWA will gather the data through the National Performance Management Research Data Set tool that collects travel times from vehicles and will be used by states to monitor system performance. All 50 state departments of transportation will be required to use travel time data to report on progress.

The data would allow FHWA to better communicate a national performance story and more reliably assess the impacts of federal funding.  And a new public website is being developed to help communicate the national traffic performance story, according to the proposed rule.

“These measures will enhance a data-driven approach that will lead to better informed decisions on how and where to focus our efforts to reduce congestion,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Ultimately, the goal is to improve the system, enhance our nation’s productivity and support the economy.”

The rule addresses issues highlighted in the DOT report Beyond Traffic, which evaluated challenges facing America’s transportation infrastructure over the next three decades. Americans currently spend more than 40 hours per year stuck in traffic -- with a financial impact of more than $120 billion -- so it’s imperative that the nation improve transportation infrastructure and technology, the report states.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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