Performance Measures and the Uncertainties of Planning: Current Practice at Transportation Planning Organizations

Ann Hartell

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

Abstract

Transportation planning in the United States is moving to widespread use of performance-based
planning methods as new federal requirements for Metropolitan Planning Organizations
(MPOs) are implemented. In addition to requirements for measures of safety and infrastructure,
many MPOs are adopting performance measures for other issues. This study explores current
planning practice in using a performance-based approach to tackle a complex planning issue:
location affordability, defined as the combined household cost burdens of housing and
transportation. A review of long-range transportation plans at 20 large MPOs provides
information on how location affordability is represented in regional transportation plans, how it
is defined and measured, and how it is integrated into the planning process. Using Christensen's
(1985) matrix of planning and policy problems as a theoretical framework, appropriate
application of performance measures in connection with location affordability is identified. For
challenging planning issues where solutions are uncertain or infeasible, performance measures
are more appropriate if used in project or program evaluation, supporting a search for more
effective solutions rather than holding MPOs accountable for outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameSRE - Discussion Papers
No.2017/03

WU Working Paper Series

  • SRE - Discussion Papers

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