Performance Measures and the Uncertainties of Planning: Current Practice at Transportation Planning Organizations
Ann Hartell ()
SRE-Discussion Papers from WU Vienna University of Economics and Business
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.
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