Estimation of Performance for Proposed Projects and Programs

Status: Candidate    
Potential Funding Sources: AASHTO Committee Research / FHWA    
Timeframe: Mid-Term
Research Period: 24 months
Funding Estimate: $350,000
Potential Sponsors: TBD

This research will develop guidance for transportation agencies to use in predicting performance for proposed projects and programs, including what measures to calculate, how to address common challenges, and how to report results.


Frequently transportation agencies must communicate the benefits of performing a proposed project or program of projects, such as through reporting predicted reduction of delay, change in asset conditions, safety benefits, emissions reductions, or other types of performance impacts that may result from a project or program. Further, including information on performance for a proposed project or program can be an effective way to build support for a project or program, and can help support investment prioritization. However, there is little consistency between transportation agencies concerning what performance measures are calculated for proposed projects or programs, or how common measures are calculated.
Research is needed to develop guidance concerning reporting of predicted performance for proposed projects and programs. The research should help transportation agencies determine:
• What performance measures to calculate
• How to calculate them
• How best to report predicted performance for multiple projects and programs over time.
The research should address performance measures related to
• Congestion
• Safety
• Asset conditions
• Emissions
• Additional measures, such as measures of sustainability and livability.

Research Objectives

This research will develop guidance for transportation agencies to use in predicting performance for proposed projects and programs, including guidance on:
1. What performance measures to calculate
2. How to address common challenges that may impede predicting performance, such as limitations in available data
3. How to report performance

Proposed Research

The proposed research will include the following activities:
1. Review existing and best practices for calculating performance measures for proposed projects and programs
2. Develop a framework for project/program performance that details
• What measures to calculate in a range of performance areas
• How to address common challenges in performance measures prediction
• Considerations in reporting predicted performance
3. Perform a series of pilots illustrating the proposed framework
4. Prepare a guidance document
5. Prepare a final report incorporating the guidance document and detailing the research performed as part of the project

Potential Benefits

The research has the potential to help agencies obtain better predictions of future performance, and as a result, may be useful in support decisions concerning what projects to fund and/or how projects should be prioritized.

Related Research

The research will build upon previous NCHRP research efforts, such as:
• NCHRP Report 551, Performance Measures and Targets for Transportation Asset Management
• NCHRP Report 660, Transportation Performance Management: Insight from Practitioners
• NCHRP Report 708, A Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies
• SHRP2 Report S2-C02-RR: Performance Measurement Framework for Highway Capacity Decision Making
• NCHRP Project 20-24(37) (ongoing), Measuring Performance among State DOTs: Sharing Good Practices
• NCHRP Project 25-39 (ongoing), Environmental Performance Measures for State Departments of Transportation