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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Performance-Based Planning and Programming

Performance management is a strategic approach that uses performance data to inform decision-making and outcomes. When implemented effectively, performance management can improve project and program delivery, inform investment decisions, focus staff on leadership priorities, and provide greater transparency and accountability.

FTA and FHWA published the final rule on Statewide and Nonmetropolitan Transportation Planning and Metropolitan Transportation Planning on May 27, 2016. FTA published the final rule on Transit Asset Management (TAM) on July 26, 2016. The rules establish new requirements for metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to coordinate with transit providers, set performance targets, and integrate those performance targets and performance plans into their planning documents by certain dates.

Following federal transportation law (MAP-21 and FAST Act), grant recipients are required to transition to performance-driven, outcome-based programs. As part of this performance-based approach, recipients of federal highway and transit funds are required to link investment priorities from their Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to achieve performance targets as well as develop Transit Asset Management plans.

In a series of rulemakings, FHWA and FTA are establishing national performance measures in areas such as safety, infrastructure condition, congestion, system reliability, emissions, and freight movement. The Final Rule on Metropolitan and Statewide and Non-Metropolitan Planning establishes the requirement that states, MPOs, and operators of public transportation use performance measures to document expectations for future performance.


The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act of 2012 directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a set of performance measures to increase the accountability and transparency of the federal highway and transit programs and improve project decision-making through performance-based planning and programming through the rulemaking process. Once national performance measures are established, that state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and providers of public transportation must:

  • establish performance targets that reflect the measures,
  • report on progress towards achieving those targets,
  • develop performance based plans for safety and asset management, and
  • implement a performance based approach to planning and programming.

MAP-21 transformed federal transportation grants programs by establishing new requirements for performance management and performance-based planning and programming to ensure the most efficient investment of federal transportation funds. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) of 2015 continued the performance management and performance-based planning and programming requirements of MAP-21 with minor changes.