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TERI Database

Research Idea Details

ID

534

Title

Developing Environmental Performance Measures and a Framework and Methodology for Incorporating Environmental Performance Measures into Performance Management Programs

Focus Area

Environmental Management Systems

Status

Archived

Cost

$500,000-750,000

Timeframe

1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

TERI Administrator Note - Selected as NCHRP 25-39 (FY12 Program)

RESEARCH PROBLEM STATEMENT
 
Transportation performance management is a well established and effective practice for establishing accountability and driving results in transportation agencies. Holistic approaches to performance management require that performance measures and considerations be integrated into all functions from planning, programming and budgeting, to program and project delivery, to system operations and maintenance.  In addition, holistic approaches need to reflect all the key performance areas of concern including pavement preservation, bridge preservation, operations, congestion and mobility, freight/economic competitiveness, safety, livability, and environment.

Performance measurement systems that fully incorporate environmental considerations longitudinally within the planning, development, and delivery processes will necessarily include performance goals that serve multiple missions including both transportation and the environment. 
 
While some research has been done on environmental performance measures, environmental management systems and particular environmental impact areas (air quality, noise, wetlands, etc.), a comprehensive framework and approach has not yet been fully developed for integrating environmental factors into performance management programs. Specific issues include the appropriate environmental measures to include in such a program and the appropriate approach and level of detail for considering environmental performance factors at various stages of the planning, development, delivery and operation. 
 
AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Performance Management. (SCOPM), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and others have been working to consider how performance-based management of surface transportation programs may be effectively implemented.  An important element of this work is identifying specific performance measures that may be used by state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other agencies.  Such measures ideally will be acceptable nationally and will provide meaningful and consistent basis for management of resources.  NCHRP has undertaken research under the NCHRP 20-24(37) project series and others to support this work. The environmental measures that have been identified through this effort include stormwater, greenhouse gas emissions and recycling.
 
AASHTO and FHWA designated three tiers of measures for consideration in the national performance-based structure. Measures were evaluated against the following criteria:     
§  Is there general consensus on the definition of the measure?
§  Is there a common method or central data collection point in place?
§  Has there been a comparative analysis effort to ensure the validity of the measure? 
 
Tier 1 measures meet all three criteria and are considered complete or nearly complete and ready for deployment. Tier 2 measures meet one or two criteria and require further work before they will be ready for deployment. Tier 3 measures are generally still in the proposal stage and require further study and input from stakeholders in order to advance through the process. The environmental measures were deemed to be Tier 2 and 3 measures and will therefore, not be the focus of development and deployment within NCHRP 20-24(37).
 
In addition to developing the Tier 1 performance measures, NCHRP 20-24(37) will produce a guidance document outlining the steps required to implement a nationwide performance program. It will recommend a process, tasks, milestones, and realistic time budgets to: 
§  adopt the recommended performance measures;
§  adopt methods for calculating them consistently across agencies;
§  monitor and report investment results;
§  develop future guidance to assist states in integrating the Tier 1 measures into their planning, programming, and project development process;
§  develop a tech­nical support program to assist states in implementing performance management;  and
§  Reference specific issues that individual states will face in integrating the goals, measures, and targets into their planning, programming, and project development processes.
 
This work will be completed by March, 2011.
 
Building upon the work to be completed by AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Performance Management, the Standing Committee on Environment recommends research to further develop the three recommended environmental performance measures, and how to implement these performance measures both within the national context developed by NCHRP 20-14(37) as well as existing state DOT performance management programs. 
 
This research project’s results are intended for use by State DOTs.
 
LITERATURE SEARCH SUMMARY
 
Online searches of TRIS Online (http://ntlsearch.bts.gov/tris/index.do) and TRB’s Research in Progress database (http://rip.trb.org/search/) indicate that the proposed research does not duplicate current or recent research.  The following NCHRP studies will serve as the foundation for this study:
§  NCHRP 20-24(37) F Establishment of Comparative Performance Measures Program Infrastructure to Support National System Performance Data Collection and Analysis.
§  NCHRP 20-24(37)G Technical Guidance for Deploying National Level Performance Measurements
§  NCHRP 20-24 (75) Development of Performance Management Roadmap
 
RESEARCH OBJECTIVE
 
As noted in the above Research Problem Statement, the Standing Committee on Environment recommends research to build upon the work to be completed by AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Performance Management to further develop the three recommended environmental performance measures, and how to implement these performance measures both within the national context developed by NCHRP 20-14(37) as well as existing state DOT performance management programs.  Specific tasks to be performed under the recommended research are as follows.
 
Identification of Measures
§  Precise definition of each measure;
§  Calculation methodology for each measure; 
§  List of specific data items needed for each calculation, details regarding the source for each item and/or standards for collecting them, and standards for data quality and reliability;
§  Recommendations regarding considering environmental performance factors at various stages of the planning, development, delivery and operation;  
§  Performance reporting formats;
§  Methods for establishing plausible targets or thresholds for each measure, e.g., averages over time or regions; and
§  Discussion of broader deployment issues, such as any recommended phasing of the measures and deployment options, along with relative merits and risks of each option.
 
Implementation of Measures
§  Develop a recommended framework to incorporate the environmental performance measures within the national context developed by NCHRP 20-14(37) and within existing state DOT performance management programs. 

Urgency and Payoff

URGENCY, PAYOFF POTENTIAL, AND IMPLEMENTATION
 
The Administration and Congress have expressed a desire to use performance measures to identify and prioritize federal investments in transportation infrastructure. The findings of this research will provide transportation decision makers proposed performance measures as well as an approach for incorporating environmental measures into performance management programs. 


The Standing Committee has not identified institutional or political barriers to implementation of the anticipated research products.

Suggested By

ABC30, Performance Measurement Committee, as specified in the TRB Research Needs Database, 2009. Tim Hill, Chair, AASHTO Standing Committee on the Environment/ Subcommittee on Environmental Process and Analysis

Posting Date

February 18, 2009

New - items posted in the last 7 days (30 days for TERI)

AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
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