Enhance the region's approach to transportation programming
The scarcity of transportation dollars demands that they be spent wisely and transparently. In the CMAP region as well as the rest of the state, transportation funding is largely allocated via formulas set in law or simply adhered to by custom. Even if these formulas once had a strong basis in transportation system size or condition, they are not responsive to changing conditions, can spread funding too thin for any individual agency to accomplish more significant projects, and can prompt decision makers to focus on the money itself rather than on how individual projects address or do not address transportation needs. Performance-based funding promises a more accountable process for programming transportation projects, using a variety of measures to allocate scarce resources. Performance measures reflect the use, condition, and impact of transportation elements and are publicly reported for illustrative purposes or to demonstrate progress made toward established targets.
One of the most significant policy changes in the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) transportation law, enacted in 2012, was to institute a national performance measurement system for the highway and transit programs. Implementation of this new system is just beginning, and it requires state DOTs, MPOs like CMAP, and transit agencies to work together to set targets that define the performance they want to achieve. Select infrastructure condition, safety, congestion, and emissions federal performance measures are closely aligned with recommendations in the Mobility chapter. These measures are plan indicators and are referenced throughout the Mobility chapter and described in more detail in the Indicators appendix. More detail on all of the federally required performance measures is in 2018 Systems Performance Report.
Tying programming to quantifiable targets helps demonstrate the effectiveness of performance-based programming. MAP-21 and the FAST Act, the two most recent federal transportation authorization laws, require state departments of transportation and transit agencies to implement asset management practices. IDOT is responsible for implementing asset management on the NHS. CMAP, IDOT, and county and municipal departments of transportation will need to collaborate to define the NHS and set appropriate targets for its condition. CMAP, RTA, and the service boards should continue to collaborate on achieving asset condition targets for the transit system. The long-range planning process offers an opportunity to place a high priority on meeting federal asset management requirements and moving the system toward a state of good repair.
Improving system condition while minimizing costs requires nuanced decision making. Rather than prioritize the repair of assets in worst condition first, asset management seeks to optimize lifecycle costs of achieving and sustaining a desired target condition. Implementing asset management can help improve system resilience in the face of changing climate or challenging economic conditions. These practices can be applied to a wide range of infrastructure, including freshwater, wastewater, signals and communications, vehicles, transit facilities and equipment, and pavement. Pavement management programs in particular have a demonstrated ability to stretch scarce funding farther. For additional recommendations about asset management, see the Governance and Environment chapters.