Performance-based Planning and Programming

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The Boston Region MPO envisions a modern, well-maintained transportation system that supports a sustainable, healthy, livable, and economically vibrant region. To achieve this vision, the transportation system must be safe and resilient; incorporate emerging technologies; and provide equitable access, excellent mobility, and varied transportation options.

-Destination 2040 Vision

The MPO uses a performance-based planning and programming (PBPP) process to assess how its spending decisions support progress toward this future. PBPP processes include three phases: 1) Plan, 2) Invest, and 3) Monitor and Evaluate.

  • Plan: Establish the goals and objectives, performance measures, and targets that will guide MPO decision-making, and identify and acquire necessary data.
  • Invest: Use the framework established in the planning phase to create a strategy for investing MPO funds.
  • Monitor and Evaluate: Review and report on the outcomes of MPO investment decisions with respect to performance measures and targets, and determine what framework or strategy adjustments are needed.  

PBPP activities help the MPO make informed decisions in accountable, transparent ways. PBPP shapes the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). PBPP is also integrated into the MPO’s decision-making on planning emphasis areas and studies conducted via the Unified Planning Work Program. Data and analyses from the Congestion Management Process support the PBPP process.

Please refer to the booklet Boston Region MPO Performance-based Planning and Programming (PDF) (HTML) for additional information about PBPP concepts, related federal requirements, and the MPO’s PBPP process.

For the MPO’s most recent LRTP systems performance report, which describes the MPO’s baseline values and targets for its performance measures, see the Systems Performance Report chapter (PDF) Systems Performance Report chapter (HTML) of the Destination 2040 plan. For a performance analysis of the MPO’s current TIP, which describes the MPO’s performance targets and how projects in the TIP may improve performance, see the Performance Analysis chapter (PDF) Performance Analysis chapter (HTML) in the federal fiscal years 2022–26 TIP.

Recent Activities and MPO Actions

The United States Department of Transportation requires states, MPOs, and operators of public transportation to establish targets for performance measures in key areas. The MPO will set targets on an ongoing basis for specific federally required performance measures, and it will coordinate on PBPP activities with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), other regional transit authorities, and other MPOs and stakeholders. The MPO has recently adopted the following sets of performance targets to meet federal requirements and create an effective, integrated, and informative PBPP process.

Transit Asset Management (TAM) Targets

On January 21, 2021, the MPO board voted to establish an updated set of TAM performance targets. Transit agencies and MPOs are required to set targets related to the state of good repair of passenger and service vehicles, facilities, and fixed-guideway infrastructure. The MPO’s TAM performance targets draw directly from targets set by the MBTA, the Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA), and the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) and apply to state fiscal year (SFY) 2021 (July 2020 through June 2021). For more information about TAM activities, performance measures, and targets, please refer to the memorandum titled Proposed SFY 2021 Transit Asset Management Targets for the Boston Region (PDF) (HTML).

Transit Safety Targets

On April 8, 2021, the MPO board voted to adopt an initial set of transit safety performance targets, based on targets set by the MBTA, CATA, and MWRTA. These targets pertain to (1) the number and rate of fatalities; (2) the number and rate of injuries; (3) the number and rate of safety events; and (4) system reliability, which is measured in vehicle-revenue miles per major mechanical failure. These targets are set by mode and reflect either calendar year (CY) 2021 or SFY 2021, depending on the agency. For more information about transit safety performance requirements and these targets, please refer to the memorandum titled Transit Safety Performance Requirements and Targets (PDF) Transit Safety Performance Requirements and Targets (HTML).

Roadway Safety Targets

On February 3, 2022, the MPO board voted to adopt the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ CY 2022 targets for a set of federally required roadway safety performance measures. The Commonwealth and MPOs are required to establish one-year targets for these measures on an annual basis, which pertain to fatalities and serious injuries occurring on roadways. By adopting these targets, the MPO agrees to plan and program projects that help the Commonwealth achieve its roadway safety targets. For more information about these measures, CY 2022 targets, and related processes, please refer to the memorandum titled Federally Required CY 2022 Roadway Safety Targets (PDF) Federally Required CY 2022 Roadway Safety Targets (HTML).

National Highway System Bridge and Pavement Condition, Travel Time Reliability, and Congestion Reduction and Air Quality Targets

In fall 2018, the MPO board voted to adopt the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ two-year and four-year performance targets related to National Highway System bridge and pavement condition, travel time reliability on the Interstate Highway System and non-Interstate National Highway System, and the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program. In fall 2020, the MPO board voted in support of updating a CMAQ program target related to non-single occupant vehicle travel. For more information about these targets, see the following memoranda:

National Highway System Bridge and Pavement Performance Measures and Targets (PDF) (HTML)
Travel Time Reliability Performance Measures and Targets (PDF) (HTML)
2020 Boston Region MPO Mid-Performance Period CMAQ Progress Report (PDF) (HTML)

For information on other target-setting efforts from previous years, visit the PBPP Archive page.

Performance Dashboard: Transportation in the Boston Region

This interactive dashboard tells the story of how the Boston region’s transportation system has changed over time. Explore data on crashes, bridge and pavement condition, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and congestion, and the characteristics of the people who use the system. Learn more about the individual towns where you live and work, as well as the region as a whole.  

As the MPO expands its PBPP process, this dashboard will be updated to reflect new data, measures, targets, and graphics. Keep visiting this site to see these updates.

Stay Informed

The MPO welcomes your feedback on the PBPP process, including the selection of measures, targets, and projects to improve the transportation system’s performance.


Michelle Scott
MPO staff