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Multimodal Decision Making at the State and Metropolitan Level


Programming decisions for State and Regional Transportation Improvement Programs have historically been made within modal silos. Transit projects have been evaluated against transit projects, highway projects have been evaluated against highway projects, etc. This has been the case for many reasons, including that funding for transportation projects has largely been segregated in to modal “pots” of money, and developing metrics which can apply across all modes is very difficult. Multimodal evaluation requires both a clear set of goals and meaningful evaluation measures which span across modes and resonate with political and public stakeholders. With the push for more sophisticated performance measures in Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), transportation agencies are developing multimodal performance measures and all of the up-stream data required for these measures. The declining transportation funding levels have also made it critical to optimize the use of every transportation dollar. A synthesis of multimodal decision making at the state and metropolitan level will provide critical information and advance the state-of-the-art as agencies continue to develop and refine the programming of transportation investments.


This synthesis will provide a review of State and MPO multimodal programming with a focus on how goals and performance measures are used in a multimodal context for the programming of transportation projects.

The results of the tasks listed below will be assembled into a “practice ready” document providing practitioners the background needed to implement their own programs, a description of the hurdles they might face and techniques to overcome these, and advice on agency collaboration.

Related Research:

NCHRP Report 750: Strategic Issues Facing Transportation (2013)

TCRP Web-Only Document 62: Strategic Issues Facing Transportation (2013)

NCFRP Web-Only Document 3: Truck Tolling: Understanding Industry Tradeoffs When Using of Avoiding Toll Facilities (2012)

TCRP Research Results Digest 105: Summary of Research Findings: Assessing and Comparing Environmental Performance of Major Transit Investments (2012)

TCRP Report 145: Reinventing the Urban Interstate: A New Paradigm for Multimodal Corridors (2011)

NCHRP Report 706: Uses of Risk Management and Data Management to Support Target-Setting for Performance-Based Resource Allocation by Transportation Agencies (2011) TCRP Report 141: A Methodology for Performance Measurement and Peer Comparison in the Public Transportation Industry (2010)


The tasks to be performed include, but are not limited to, reviewing current practice and emerging initiatives related to:

  • How State and Metropolitan Long Range Plans establish goals and performance measures which address transportation in a multimodal framework.

  • Mode-neutral methodologies for project cost/benefit analysis and performance metrics.

  • How programs balance project selection across modes and regional goals which may be difficult to quantify.

  • Efforts to quantify benefits of achieving historically qualitative goals (e.g. climate protection; health; safety; economic vitality; equity; etc.).

  • Integrating multimodal State of Good Repair needs into decision making.

  • Development of new tools that build on new data collection options (such as transit vehicle GPS data or cell phone GPS data) and new evaluation options (such as activity-based models and micro-simulation models that permit a more nuanced look at the impact of transportation investments).

The synthesis will also identify areas of future research and needs, such as:

  • Data gaps encountered.

  • Research needs identified. Agency coordination requirements to successfully move to a multimodal approach.

Sponsoring Committee:AEP10, Transportation Policy and Processes
Source Info:Committee members
Date Posted:04/06/2014
Date Modified:07/06/2020
Index Terms:Multimodal transportation, Decision making, Regional transportation, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, Metropolitan planning organizations, Financial analysis, Investments,
Cosponsoring Committees:AEP15, Transportation Planning Analysis and Application
Public Transportation
Administration and Management

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