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Policy Statement 495 - Operations and Management of Transportation Systems

Approved by the Transportation Policy Committee on March 31, 2011

Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 13, 2011

Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 30, 2011

 

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports a strong federal role in the development of the nation’s transportation system.  ASCE endorses federal leadership for increasing the focus on transportation operations and management to enhance the performance of the system and preserve our investments.  

Federal surface transportation legislation should provide support for the following areas: 

  • Homeland security initiatives.  Transportation operations and homeland security can benefit from joint planning and sharing of resources such as communications infrastructure and traffic control operations.  Transit security and preparedness, international border security, asset security and tracking, vulnerability assessment, and creation of system resiliency are important priorities for both transportation operation and homeland security.
  • Support for state and local agencies.  Beyond establishing transportation operations and management as a national priority, the Federal role should be to support and assist state and local entities in accomplishing related goals.  This includes support of research and development, provision of tools, promotion of best practices, and enhancement of education and training at all levels.
  • Provision of flexible funding.  Flexibility in funding could greatly enhance the opportunity of meeting operations and maintenance needs.  Expanding funding eligibility for operations and maintenance programs, enabling direct funding to local and regional operating agencies, and simplifying and clarifying federal funding processes are important initiatives that should be considered.
  • Encouragement of public-private partnerships.  The private sector has much to offer in the areas of operations, management and technical skills. Partnership with the public sector can better serve the transportation needs of the country.
  • Support specific programs. The following programs are also of significance and require special attention.  
    • Incident management programs;
    • Intelligent Transportation System programs;
    • Support for regional cooperation and partnerships; and,
    • Congestion Mitigation programs.

 

Issue

There is a clear and present need for an increased focus on transportation operations, and management at all levels – federal, state, regional, and local.  This need embodies the following: 

  • The aging transportation infrastructure is resulting in the escalation of replacement costs;
  • Growing congestion and incident problems are degrading the performance of the transportation systems in many areas of the country;
  • Capacity constraints and costs of new construction are placing a premium on the maintenance and improvement of the existing transportation system;
  • Customers have a strong desire for travel choices, better information, and increased reliability to meet their mobility needs; and,
  • Homeland security priorities require an efficient and responsive transportation system.

 

Rationale

An increased focus on transportation operations can enhance the system’s performance.   Elements of an efficient and effective transportation system include: 

  • Maintaining systems in a state of good repair;
  • Routine traffic and transit operations;
  • Public safety responses;
  • Asset management;
  • Work zone management;
  • Incident management;
  • Network and facility management;
  • Traveler and shipper information;
  • Bicycle and pedestrian mobility; and
  • Freight management operation.

Just as enhanced operations and management can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of transportation systems, proper levels of facility maintenance will serve to ensure continued service and reliability.  Effective maintenance programs are critical for preserving the integrity of all components while protecting the investments made in the development of transportation infrastructure.

The U.S. Department of Transportation should play a leading role in exploring and promoting best practices related to innovative funding for operations and maintenance.

 

ASCE Policy Statement 495 

First Approved in 2002