Roadway congestion is a primary concern facing the users of the Hampton Roads transportation system as it adversely impacts quality of life and economic competitiveness. In order to evaluate current roadway conditions, assess regional transportation needs, and outline strategies to manage current and future roadway congestion, the HRTPO staff maintains a Congestion Management Process (CMP).
The Congestion Management Process – which is a federal requirement for urbanized areas over 200,000 in population – is an ongoing program in which congestion in the multi-modal, regional transportation system is evaluated and for which improvements are recommended. The main goals of the CMP are to reduce congestion/travel time delays, encourage the use of alternative modes of transportation, and improve air quality through the promotion and coordination of congestion mitigation strategies. The Hampton Roads CMP is a vital element of the HRTPO planning process that takes a “regionwide” approach to identify and address congestion concerns.
The CMP assists in performing the following actions for the regional transportation system:
- Develop regional objectives for congestion management
- Define the CMP roadway network
- Develop multimodal performance measures
- Collect data/monitor system performance
- Analyze congestion problems and needs
- Identify and assess strategies
- Program and implement strategies
- Evaluate strategy effectiveness
In addition, the CMP is used as a guide to develop project recommendations for the Transportation Improvement Program and the Long-Range Transportation Plan.
The current Hampton Roads Congestion Management Process – System Performance and Mitigation report was released in 2014. For the first time in the 2014 update, HRTPO staff has access to historical travel time and speed data for use in the CMP. INRIX collects travel time and speed data on a continuous basis, using millions of GPS-enabled fleet vehicles (Taxis, airport shuttles, service vehicles, and long haul trucks), mobile devices, traditional road sensors, and other sources. INRIX data allows for a number of congestion measures to be reported, including travel speeds, congestion duration, and travel time reliability.
The Hampton Roads Congestion Management Process – System Performance and Mitigation Report is updated every four years. In those years when the CMP report is not updated, HRTPO staff produces the Volumes, Speeds, and Congestion on Major Roadways in Hampton Roads report. This document details regional traffic volumes for the six previous years, speed data collected by INRIX from the previous year, and congestion levels based on these volumes and speeds.
HRTPO staff collects transportation data from a wide variety of sources and incorporates this information into the CMP Database. The CMP Database includes the following information for roadways throughout Hampton Roads:
- Traffic counts, speeds, and congestion levels
- Traffic volume forecasts
- Peak hour characteristics
- Roadway characteristics (such as number of lanes, number of traffic signals, and speed limits)
- Truck volumes
- Crash data
In the recent CMP master document, HRTPO staff identified arterial roadway segments with high potential for intersection congestion alleviation (called “PICA” for short), i.e. segments that have more delay than one would expect given their volume per lane and location/type (e.g. rural, high design speed vs. urban, low design speed). In Identifying Promising Intersections for High-Congestion-Benefit/Low-Cost Improvements, staff examines each high-PICA segment in the CMP master document, identifies the promising ones—those likely to receive major benefit from minor improvement—and recommends further analysis to estimate that benefit.
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