State and MPO Coordination in Performance Measures and Target Setting
Florida Department of Transportation
This case study is an excellent example of coordination when measuring performance and setting targets. Although Florida DOT and MPOs noted in this report did not use PlanWorks, the PlanWorks Performance Measures Application will be very useful in helping other agencies collaborating for a similar purpose.
- FDOT has a history of innovative performance management practice and strong working relationships with regional planning groups through the Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Council (MPOAC).
- FDOT and the state's 27 MPOs have met the Federal performance reporting deadlines and are well-positioned to continue doing so in the future; these activities also bolster MPOs' long-range planning activities.
FDOT's performance reporting coordination activities include:
- Hosting an annual statewide meeting that convenes all MPOs, representatives from FDOT's seven Districts and Federal representatives.
- Conducting a pilot study to determine whether it was feasible and beneficial for FDOT to provide select performance measures to MPOs.
- Collaboratively developing a set of ten performance measures the agency will provide to its MPOs annually, four of which will rotate on a biennial basis.
- Engaging all MPOs in statewide workshops to gather their input in improving FDOT's Mobility Measures Program.
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has made transportation performance management a part of its business since 1990. The agency has been working closely with its 27 MPOs to coordinate on performance measures and prepare for Federal target setting requirements. FDOT cooperates with the MPOs via Florida's Metropolitan Planning Organization Advisory Council (MPOAC), a statewide planning and policy organization created by the state legislature. The FDOT planning office and MPOAC office are co-located in the FDOT building, which enables frequent communications. When new issues arise, such as performance measure regulations resulting from MAP-21 and the FAST Act, MPOAC and FDOT form working groups to address them. For example, in 2014, FDOT created a Performance Measurement Task Force with representatives from District Offices and MPOs that began developing coordinated, strategic approaches to comment letters responding to the MAP-21 rulemakings.
FDOT also holds an annual statewide meeting: a one-day meeting for the MPOs, FDOT, FHWA, and FTA to network and learn from each other. In 2014, FDOT began adding a half-day interactive workshop to the agenda to address specific performance measures and start preparing for implementing requirements initiated by 23 U.S.C. § 150. At the first workshop, participants came to the mutual realization that no new money was available to implement performance management activities and that agencies could not alter their current activities to alleviate budget pressures. The agencies needed to collaborate to find a solution. The workshop helped create a feeling of joint responsibility for meeting the new Federal requirements and for using performance management as a public communications technique. In 2016, the agency piloted an initiative to provide MPOs with select performance measures. This effort was a success, and the state has since agreed to provide MPOs with six performance measures on an annual basis and an additional set of four performance measures that rotate on a biennial basis.
FDOT has adopted strong practices to support performance measurement and performance-based planning, and has emerged as a national leader in this field. This case study highlights coordination across state and MPO performance measures and target setting as well as ongoing collaboration among transportation partners to improve investment decision making.
FDOT is a decentralized agency comprised of seven Districts spanning the state's largely rural northwest to the densely populated Miami metro area in its southeast. Florida also has 27 MPOs – more than any other state – and collaborates with three Federal transportation agencies (FHWA, FTA, and NHTSA) who have Regional or Division offices in the state. Additionally, the FDOT is home to the Florida Turnpike Enterprise and the Florida Rail Enterprise. As the third most populous state in the nation, this diversity of geographies and agency partners means FDOT's Central Office provides guidance and direction with MPOAC serving as a liaison between the state and its MPOs.
The FDOT ongoing commitment to transportation performance management has been a part of its business practice for decades. Among other benefits, this approach supports the agency's evaluations of the state's transportation system and its assessment of customer satisfaction, while also fostering collaborative decision making. Since the late-1990s, FDOT has provided performance data to the state's MPOs. This effort has been supported by the agency's Mobility Measures Program that provides data and technical support for MPOs seeking to measure the mobility performance of their roadway network, a service that is especially valuable for smaller MPOs with limited resources and/or technical capabilities. Additionally, this program publishes the annual FDOT Source Book that provides statewide measures of speed, traffic and geometric data with some measures aggregated down to the seven largest MPOs, other urbanized areas and non-urbanized areas.
The MAP-21 legislation requires that states and MPOs work collaboratively to set biennial and quadrennial performance targets in the areas of bridge and pavement condition, safety, freight movement, and system performance. In many respects, these requirements mirror the performance measurement process established by FDOT prior to the passage of this legislation. Given this history of transportation performance management, and the strong working relationships it has forged with local agencies through the MPOAC, FDOT has the full support of the state's MPOs in the forthcoming Federal performance measure and target setting deadlines.
This case study illustrates a number of connections to long-range planning key decisions:
- LRP-2. Annual statewide meetings of MPOs and other coordination activities inform goal-setting for MAP-21 compliance. In turn, the adopted performance measures and targets inform regional transportation plan goals.
- LRP-3. The performance measures and data FDOT shares with its MPOs give regional planning agencies a new set of tools to analyze safety and mobility trends and prioritize their long-range planning activities accordingly.
Federal Performance Reporting Readiness
Florida Metropolitan Planning Partnership Meetings and MPO Performance Measures Pilot Study
In addition to the performance data it provides to MPOs through the Mobility Measures Program, FDOT has been conducting a number of activities to prepare its MPOs for MAP-21 performance reporting deadlines. In 2013, the agency began hosting annual Florida Metropolitan Planning Partnership meetings that bring together representatives from all 27 MPOs, the seven FDOT districts, and Federal agencies. This statewide meeting provides an opportunity for peer exchange among MPOs and a venue to discuss current issues like the MAP-21 reporting requirements with FDOT and Federal agencies.
By managing some performance management data at the statewide level, FDOT can provide data support to decision makers in MPOs across the state at a lower cost than if each agency maintained data separately. To gauge Florida MPO readiness to support the performance measures in draft Federal regulations, FDOT began an exploratory pilot study with four of the state's MPOs. These included MPOs like Broward MPO, which represents the populous Ft. Lauderdale area in the state's Southeast, and Gainesville MPO, which represents a much smaller population in the North Central region of the state. Study participants agreed that no performance targets would be set as part of this initiative and that measures used in the pilot study would follow the seven measures described in US DOT's three Notices of Proposed Rule Making. The pilot study aimed to test whether FDOT could manage the data on MPOs' performance according to the Federal measures, to learn how MPO trends relate to statewide trends, and to engage MPOs in the process of complying with the new Federal regulations.
The pilot showed that it was feasible for FDOT to manage the MPO performance measure data with a modest additional level of effort from FDOT staff. Following a panel discussion with the four pilot MPOs at FDOT's 2016 Florida Metropolitan Planning Partnership meeting, the agency concluded that the pilot effort should be expanded statewide, including expanded data sharing efforts with all 27 MPOs. At this meeting, the group agreed that the safety targets should be the first focus of this expanded effort given the fast-approaching reporting timeline and the state's recent challenges in this area.
Figure 1. MPO Pilot Study example performance measures.
Collaborative Development of Statewide MPO Performance Measures
Following the pilot study, FDOT set out to provide 10 measures to assess the roadway networks within each MPO boundary. To determine which measures were most relevant to the state's 27 MPOs, the agency sent a survey to each, asking them to prioritize among 23 different mobility measures. Based on these rankings, FDOT and MPOs selected a tiered approach where FDOT agreed to provide the six most highly-ranked measures on an annual basis. These include measures related to VMT, travel time reliability, traffic congestion and travel time delay. It was also decided that FDOT would provide the MPOs with an additional four measures on a rotating basis every other year. These set of secondary measures include factors like average job accessibility by auto and transit, percent bicycle lane and sidewalk coverage, travel speed, person miles traveled, travel meeting level of service criteria, and truck miles traveled.
The speed, traffic, and geometric data calculated annually for each MPO boundary through the Mobility Measures Program means much of this data is already in place and performance measures that use this data can be calculated without much additional effort. While no MPOs are obligated to use these analyses, the fact that FDOT provides these measures at no cost has garnered a very positive response and there have been efforts by all the state's MPOs to work with these mobility measures.
Mobility and Safety Target Setting
Since the publication of the MAP-21 final rules in 2017, FDOT has engaged the MPOs in the interpretation of the rules, the target setting criteria and timelines. FDOT has provided policy guidance and technical support all along. Early in 2018, webinars were held. In the period of May-August 2018, workshops took place in all FDOT districts with staff from all MPOs to introduce the Mobility Measures Program, discuss measures important to the districts and MPOs, receive feedback from participants on improvements, and highlight the target setting process and provide target setting guidance.
FDOT supported statewide safety target setting in advance of the February 2018 reporting deadlines. The previous August, the state adopted Vision Zero targets that seek to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries for all 5 of the safety performance measures. Many of the MPOs are debating whether to adopt the state's visionary targets or whether to develop their own. For MPOs like Broward and Hillsborough, where populations are large and data points are numerous, regional safety trends tend to follow state ones. A number of these larger MPOs have adopted state guidelines. However, for the state's smaller MPOs, some of which barely meet the minimum MPO population criteria, fewer crash data points mean wider variation and has meant more reluctance to adopt the state targets.
Influence of Statewide Performance Activities and Resources on Local Planning Initiatives
In addition to helping MPOs meet the MAP-21 reporting requirements, FDOT's shared performance measures and data are influencing local planning initiatives. The Hillsborough MPO, a regional planning agency in the Tampa Bay area, has begun incorporating the statewide mobility measures in their LRP. In 2016, the agency conducted a scenario planning exercise looking at travel time and safety within their planning jurisdiction. As a result, the agency decided to make safety a big priority. The FDOT performance measures and data give them the tools to analyze safety trends and prioritize their actions accordingly. Likewise, North Florida TPO, the MPO for the Jacksonville area, which serves a population of roughly 1.2 million, has been using the state's mobility measure databases for more than 4 years to create performance metrics tailored to local concerns. Broward MPO, serving the Ft. Lauderdale area, has been among the state's most active MPOs in performance measurement and have used FDOT's resources to cooperatively develop performance measures for their LRP.
Data Sharing Aspirations
FDOT has long been committed to sharing data with its MPOs. As the MAP-21 performance reporting requirements further increase the demand for data, the agency recognizes a need to provide data to the MPOs. Some of Florida's MPOs have considerable technical capacity and analytic skill while others will continue to rely on the state's support. Additionally, the agency recognizes a need to track performance in specific MPO corridors and not just at the system level. Such an effort would lend support to MPO analysis of corridor deficiencies and give these agencies the data needed to evaluate and prioritize investments targeted at addressing these issues in RTPs and TIPs.
Through the MPOAC and the agency's many initiatives, Florida DOT has established an excellent working relationship with many MPOs. Agency staff report this relationship is like that of a "large extended family," and that the MPOAC provides a good avenue for coordinating around and working through emerging issues like the Federal reporting requirements. The annual Florida Metropolitan Planning Partnership meeting presents a further opportunity for collaboration around performance measures and target setting, and also for MPO peer exchange around these and other issues.
In presenting performance metrics to both technical and non-technical audiences, FDOT has been aware of the need to adapt these according to audiences' requirements. For transportation practitioners, FDOT provides tabular data by administrative boundaries. For elected officials and others, FDOT creates infographics to intuitively communicate each measure to a lay audience without unnecessary detail. FDOT hopes this initiative will further inform regional decision-making and help the agency's planning partners "tell the story of transportation in their areas  ." As this program matures, FDOT anticipates providing additional data visualization methods as well as trends and measures.
Coordination structures in Florida are complex due in significant part to the number of transportation partners and diversity of individual missions. This complexity has the potential to make the MAP-21 requirements even more challenging than in other states. However, commitment to well-established relationships among all partner agencies illustrates the power of collaboration. Specific examples of how FDOT and the 27 MPOs support each other are:
- FDOT's annual Florida Metropolitan Planning Partnership Meetings have helped break interagency siloes and allowed the state's MPOs to come to a common understanding regarding MAP-21 reporting requirements.
- The success of the FDOT's MPO Pilot Study has enabled the agency to provide key performance measures to its regional planning partners. In a number of cases, these have influenced LTP goals and metrics.
- FDOT's performance reporting support is valued and appreciated by the state's MPOs. As this program continues, the agency anticipates providing greater access to state databases and piloting different methods to visualize performance data.
For More Information
Emerging Transportation Coordinator
Florida Department of Transportation
Jessica.VanDenBogaert@dot.state.fl.us Regina Colson
Florida Department of Transportation
Regina.Colson@dot.state.fl.us Mark Reichert
Administrator for Metropolitan Planning
Florida Department of Transportation
- The FDOT Source Book
- FDOT MPO Pilot Study: National Performance Measures
- FDOT Collaboration Best Practice (one-page flyer)
- Florida Transportation Performance
- FDOT Provides Mobility Performance Measures to MPOs - TRB Performance Management Committee (ABC30) Newsletter (December 2017)
 TRB Performance Management Committee (ABC30) Newsletter (December 2017)