Congestion & Asset Management

Congestion Management

The definition of congestion is relative. It represents the difference between the roadway system performance that users expect and how the system actually performs. People in the Mahoning Valley expect to travel at the "posted speed" during non-peak hours. To provide this level of service planners must examine everything that can be done to improve traffic flow, within fiscal constraint.

Generally recognized strategies include: encouraging use of higher capacity per vehicle (i.e. rideshare and transit), incident management, advanced traffic signal control, managed lanes, managing specific vehicle types (i.e. truck routes), business access control, and real-time traveler information services, along with the more traditional approach of adding lanes and/or changing physical geometry.

State and Federal practices have been established to evaluate the performance of the transportation network that require calculating how efficiently traffic flows through intersections and the segments of roadway between intersections. These practices are referred to as establishing a level of service (LOS) for roadways and intersections. Calculating LOS under existing conditions gives the planner a "baseline" from which to gauge any proposed improvement.

The Federal Highway bill re-emphasizes the need to test "better management" of existing transportation networks before proposing any physical improvements. This strategy attempts to squeeze a little more capacity out of the existing road system.

Eastgate Regional Council of Governments is committed to promoting "best practices" in Congestion. To help reduce existing congestion and prevent future congestion, Eastgate completed the Congestion Management Process for Mahoning and Trumbull Counties. The CMP is a regional approach to manage the transportation system by identifying congested areas, proposing strategies to improve congestion and enacting performance measures used to monitor changes to the transportation system.

Congestion Management Process

Asset Management

"Asset management is a systematic process of maintaining, upgrading, and operating physical assets cost-effectively. It combines engineering principles with sound business practices and economic theory, and it provides tools to facilitate a more organized, logical approach to decision-making. Thus, asset management provides a framework for handling both short- and long-range planning."
Source: FHWA

Asset management plans required a great deal of data including location, condition, and life-cycle. Larger communities including the State of Ohio have adopted a more complex asset management plan. Smaller communities with less resources can manage fewer assets. Either way, an asset management plan can be beneficial for everyone over the long term.

The following are some examples of transportation assets:

  • Pavement condition
  • Bridges
  • Signals
  • Signs
  • Guardrails
  • Sidewalks
  • Pedestrian Signals
  • Crosswalks
  • Culverts

Pavement Preservation

Preserving pavement to get the maximum life out of asphalt is becoming more and more important. Communities are working with stagnant budgets while pavement costs continue to increase. Using preventative measures like surface seals and rejuvenators are good ways to prolong the life of pavement. Applied at the right time over years, preventative maintenance will reduce the cost and give pavement a longer life cycle.

Cost of Timely Maintenance DiagramUseful Links