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New FHWA Rules Aim to Improve Performance of Nation’s Highway System

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New FHWA Rules Aim to Improve Performance of Nation’s Highway System

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today released two final rules outlining new performance measures to improve the condition of the nation’s roads and bridges and assess travel reliability, congestion and emissions at a national level. The rules call for states to account for air quality improvement by establishing performance targets, and greater transparency and accountability in setting and achieving performance targets for several key measures of highway performance, including pavement and bridge condition and travel reliability. 

“Deteriorating and congested roads and bridges in our nation must be addressed head on, and today’s actions help us do exactly that,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These rules will play an important role in reducing travel delays and air pollution, and also improving infrastructure quality, giving the American people a better travel experience.”

Both rules are issued pursuant to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and address the concerns outlined in the USDOT report “Beyond Traffic” which examines the trends and choices facing America's transportation infrastructure over the next three decades, such as a rapidly growing population, increasing freight volume and the need to mitigate environmental impacts.  

“National Performance Management Measures; Assessing Pavement Condition for the National Highway Performance Program and Bridge Condition for the National Highway Performance Program” will increase accountability and transparency of the federal-aid highway Program. It also will help ensure that the nation’s highways and bridges are in good condition and that the overall quality of transportation is improved through targeted investments. 

 “National Performance Management Measures; Assessing Performance of the National Highway System, Freight Movement on the Interstate System, and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program” is a rule that requires states to evaluate and report more effectively and consistently on transportation system performance, including travel time reliability, excessive delay during peak hours, freight movement reliability, and greenhouse gas and vehicle emissions. 

“These new rules will improve the information available to state departments of transportation to help them focus their planning and programming decisions,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Overall, they are about targeting investment decisions more strategically and evaluating their impacts.”

The rules are expected to bring about greater accountability nationwide in addition to more consistency in data collection and analysis and more comprehensive practices.

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