The Western State Performance Management Peer Exchange in Portland, Oregon By Tom Kern

Two weeks ago I participated in the Western States Performance Management Peer Exchange in Portland, Oregon.  The challenge of effective performance management for the Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSM&O) Community is one that state DOTs are taking seriously and the four way conversation in Portland among state DOT officials from California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington underscored both the progress each is making and the work still to be done.

The Peer Exchange began with each of the four states providing updates on their efforts interspersed with Q&A to help clarify and expand on each state’s efforts. 

Caltrans presented on its performance metrics ranking its top corridors. Five measures are pertinent for assessing and managing them:

  • Vehicle Hours of Delay @ 35mph

  • Number of traffic incidents

  • Vehicle Miles Traveled

  • Incidents per Day

  • Incidents per million VMT

Its corridor performance measures follow from these core metrics:

  • Maintain 90% or better ITS health

  • 15% reduction of GHG from 2010 to 2020

  • Improve BTI (reliability) on top 4 corridors by one level

  • Reduce statewide DVHD @ 35mph by 8% growth rate by 2020

  • By 2018, complete five ICM plans and by 2020, implement three ICM corridors

For CALTRANS’ complete presentation, click here.

Idaho’s presentation underscored the importance of assembling both external and internal performance measures.  External measures used are:

  • Five Year Fatality Rates

  • Percent of Time Highways Clear of Ice/Snow during Winter Storms

  • Percent of Pavement in Good or Fair Condition

  • Percent of Bridges in Good Condition

  • Percent of Highway Project Designs Completed on or Ahead of Time

  • Final Construction Cost as a percent of Contract Award

  • Construction Cost at Award as a Percent of Budget

  • Administration and Planning Expenditures

  • Days to Process Vehicle Titles

  • DMV Transactions Processed on the Internet

Its internal measures offer a more granular handle for officials to manage:

  • Percent of Highway Product Designs Completed on Time Based on the 2016 ITIP

  • Statewide Mobility Index Score

  • Winter Performance Measures-Mobility (ice/snow floor prevention)

  • FY 2016 Uptime for RWIS Network

  • Winter Performance Index-WPI (ice/snow floor reduction)

  • Percentage of On-Time Scheduled Winter Road Reports

  • Percentage of Traffic Signs Produced &Delivered on Time

Idaho DOT highlighted several of these during its presentation. Click on Idaho DOT for the complete slide deck.

As part of its presentation, the Oregon DOT highlighted its Roadway Clearance performance for the 2014 calendar year. Roadway Clearance duration measures the duration from the time ODOT is first aware of an incident to the time all travel lanes are cleared for all lane blocking crashes.  The ODOT and Oregon State Police Mutual Assistance Agreement contain a mutual goal to clear lane blocking incidents in 90 minutes or less.  A first step toward improvement is the ability to measure performance.  In 2014, 82% of the incidents were currently meeting the 90 minute goal.  For specifics on how Oregon has tackled this, click on Oregon DOT for the Presentation.

The Washington State DOT shared its goal of business process mapping to develop high level business processes for transportation system development and management. 

The key is to develop a roadmap for priority improvements necessary for deploying practical solutions and, if underway, current initiatives addressing these improvements.

Central to this is “Least Cost Planning” which is an approach to making planning decisions that considers a variety of conceptual strategies to achieve the desired system performance targets for the least cost.  Out of this comes “Practical Design” that leading project decisions that focus on the need for the project and looks for the lowest cost solutions.  For more on this, click on Washington DOT for the presentation.

The Peer Exchange invited presentations from the University of Maryland on Regional Integrated Transportation Information System (RITIS) ( the Florida DOT on Arterial Management), Gannet Fleming (Review of National & Global Operations Performance Management Programs), Portland State University on Portland’s Portal: A Public Data Archive, and Kittleson & Associates on Further Deliberations on What Works.  These presentations can be accessed by clicking on their titles above.