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Congestion Management Process

A congestion management process (CMP) presents a systematic process for managing traffic congestion and provides information on transportation system performance. A CMP must:

A CMP should include alternative strategies for alleviating congestion and enhancing the mobility of persons and goods to levels that meet state and local needs. At the core, a CMP should include a data collection and monitoring system, a range of strategies for addressing congestion, performance measures or criteria for identifying when action is needed, and a system for prioritizing which congestion management strategies would be most effective.

A CMP is required in metropolitan areas with population exceeding 200,000, known as Transportation Management Areas (TMAs). In TMAs designated as ozone or carbon monoxide non-attainment areas, the CMP takes on a greater significance. Federal guidelines prohibit projects that increase capacity for single occupant vehicles unless the project comes from a CMP. Federal requirements also state that in all TMAs, the CMP shall be developed and implemented as part of the metropolitan planning process.

Getting Started: Using Congestion Management Systems to Link Planning and Operations

Regions have a number of opportunities to use the CMP to advance planning and operations coordination. The most appropriate steps to enhance this coordination depend on the degree to which a region is currently using its CMP for decision-making.

Involve Operations Managers in CMP Development

Although the CMP is the responsibility of the MPO, the expertise of transportation operations managers is vital to developing and evaluating congestion mitigation strategies. Because the CMP typically considers a diverse set of strategies, it is often accessible to a wide range of stakeholders. A concerted effort to engage operations managers in CMP development and implementation is likely to be rewarded, not only by a more effective CMP, but by the information sharing that occurs during CMP development.

Some actions may help draw additional stakeholders to the CMP process:

Use the CMP to Build a System for Rapid Response to Congestion Issues

In addition to linking with longer term planning goals and forecasts, a CMP can be designed to swiftly address small-scale congestion problems that threaten the efficiency of the regional transportation network. Prioritization criteria and funding set asides can be established to support small-scale projects and programs that do not justify a larger corridor analysis. By building the capacity of the regional planning agency to deliver immediate solutions, the planning agency can become more responsive to the needs of the traveling public and more relevant to the transportation management and operations community.

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