Plan Coordination

This page features resources on plan coordination.


Transportation Planning is a broad field that ensures transportation decisions are made with a comprehensive consideration to transportation needs, land use, development, safety, security, and fiscal responsibility. The planning process incorporates analysis results and the evaluation of possible impacts to develop a variety of plans that document transportation agency priorities, assumptions, objectives, targets, and planned actions to support the local, rural, tribal, metropolitan, statewide, national, and international transportation of people and goods. For state and regional transportation agencies, the primary planning products are Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plans (23 USC 135), and Metropolitan Transportation Plans (23 USC 134). However, agencies may engage in other planning efforts at the corridor (e.g., Planning and Environmental Linkages), or project level (23 USC 168). In addition to traditional transportation planning, transportation agencies develop various performance management plans to establish and communicate policies, strategies, and planned investments in areas of performance such as safety, resilience, congestion mitigation, maintenance, and more.

These various planning products can vary greatly in terms of timeframes, scopes, and how they are used by the agency. However, each planning product or performance area involves or is impacted by the physical condition of transportation infrastructure assets. This means there is a relationship between each of the various long-range and performance-based plans developed by a transportation agency and that agency’s Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP). In some cases, the various plans may also be related to the TAMP by the funding sources involved.

Implementation Considerations:

The following are steps agencies can take to improve the alignment between planning efforts and the TAMP. Each plan has requirements that are established in statute, regulations, or policy. These requirements may be set at the federal, state, or agency level. The steps presented below are intended to be general enough to apply to most agencies. As agencies work to implement these steps, they will need to be adjusted to address each agency’s specific needs.

  1. Review plans for alignment opportunities.
    • Timing of the development or next update.
    • Assets addressed in each plan.
  2. Identify a lead or liaison for each plan.
  3. Identify document elements of each plan presents an opportunity for alignment.
  4. Perform necessary analysis.
  5. Incorporate improvements into the plans.
  6. Involve plan liaisons in implementation activities.

Federal Program Support

Several Federal funding sources require plans for their use. These fund sources also typically allow their use to develop the required plans. Examples of Federal fund sources that can be used for plan development, or have requirements for plans are listed below. This list is not intended to be completely accurate. Agencies must work with their FHWA Division Offices to ensure the proper use of Federal aid.

  • State Planning and Research (SPR) - Can be used for a wide array of planning purposes (23 USC 505).
  • National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) - Funds can be used for the development of risk-based Transportation Asset Management Plans (23 USC 119).
  • National Highway Freight Program - Funds can be used for the development of State Freight Plans (23 USC 167).
  • Highway Safety Improvement Program - Funds can be used for the development of Strategic Highway Safety Plans (23 USC 148).
  • Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) Program, “Of the funds apportioned to a State under section 104(b)(8) for each fiscal year, not less than 2 percent shall be for activities described in subsection (d)(3)” (23 USC 176(c)(2)).”

The programs of funding described above are established through federal law and supported with additional regulations and guidance. The following list of key legal citations is provided by program area to illustrate the connection between the legal requirements and plans developed by state DOTs and other agencies and planning organizations.

  • Asset Management
  • Statewide and Metropolitan Planning
    • 23 USC 134 Metropolitan Transportation Planning
    • 23 USC 135 Statewide Transportation Planning
    • 23 USC 168 Integration of Planning and Environmental Review
    • 23 USC 505 State Planning and Research
    • 23 CFR 450 Planning Assistance and Standards
      • Subpart B Statewide and Nonmetropolitan Transportation Planning and Programming
      • Subpart C Metropolitan Transportation Planning and Programming
  • Federal Programs Requiring Plans
    • 23 USC 148(c)(1) Highway Safety Improvement Program
    • 23 USC 149(l) Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality
    • 22 USC 167(g)(4) National Highway Freight Program
    • 23 USC 176(d)(3) Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) Program
    • 49 USC 70202(a) State Freight Plans, “Each State that receives funding under section 167 of title 23 shall develop a freight plan that provides a comprehensive plan for the immediate and long-range planning activities and investments of the State with respect to freight.”
  • Other Plans

Case Study Spotlights

Several case studies have been written that explain how agencies have worked to coordinate planning efforts with the TAMP and integrate asset management within the broader planning framework. FHWA and AASHTO have also published several resources to help agencies understand performance-based planning, which can be a key framework to support this type of coordination.

In 2016, The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) developed a transportation asset management plan to better integrate asset condition forecasts into metropolitan planning and programming practices in the greater Cleveland metropolitan area. TAMP development coincided with implementing a pavement management system that allowed NOACA staff to evaluate multiple investment scenarios in support of achieving and sustaining a desired state of good repair for pavements. Details can be found in the report, Integrating Asset Management into the Transportation Planning Process - A Case Study.

The 2020 report, Case Study 2 - Linking Asset Management to Planning and Programming, published by FHWA, highlights efforts by six state DOTs to better integrate TAMPs with other statewide planning efforts.

  • Missouri DOT has developed district level TAMPs for pavements and bridges that are updated more frequently and allowed the agency to better tie programming to asset management objectives.
  • In developing its TAMP, the Maine DOT simulated funding strategies using its pavement and bridge management system. The selected strategies were used to develop project lists for the agency’s 3-Year Work Plan and 4-Year STIP.
  • Utah DOT’s TAMP includes an objective of incorporating asset management into immediate and long-range planning processes.
  • Ohio DOT develops district work plans to achieve asset management objectives. These work plans, in turn, are used to develop the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
  • Wyoming DOT uses its pavement management system to establish long-term investment strategies to optimize pavement conditions. Those strategies are used to identify projects at a district level, which then inform the STIP development process.
  • The Montana Department of Transportation’s 2019 TAMP identified performance gaps for pavement and bridge conditions. The TAMP then established a cyclical process for addressing the performance gap through planning and programming efforts.

How To Guides:

Adapting the Organizational Structure to Support TAM
How to Better Communicate TAM Throughout the Organization
How to Prioritize Ancillary Assets for Inclusion in Your Asset Management Program
Integrated Planning and Reporting Manual
May 8, 2023 | Government of Western Australia: Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries

The council, community and administration each has a unique role and responsibilities for the development of effective and sustainable integrated plans for the local area, and reporting on the progress of those plans.

External Link:

Case Study 2 - Linking Asset Management to Planning and Programming
May 1, 2020 | FHWA

This case study highlights linkage of asset management to long-range plans, the statewide transportation improvement program (STIP), and State planning and programming practices. Examples are selected from the TAMPs in Missouri, Maine, Utah, Ohio, Wyoming, and Montana.

External Link:

Collaborative Practices for Performance-Based Asset Management Between State DOTs and MPOs
January 1, 2021 | TRB

Collaborative Practices for Performance-Based Asset Management Between State DOTs and MPOs documents DOT practices for collaborating with MPOs relative to target setting, investment decisions, and performance monitoring of pavement and bridge assets.

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