Performance-based Planning and Programming

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The Boston Region MPO envisions a modern transportation system that is safe, uses new technologies, and provides equitable access, excellent mobility, and varied transportation options—in support of a sustainable, healthy, livable, and economically vibrant region.

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) Program, and 3) Monitor and Evaluate.

  • Plan: Establish the goals and objectives (pdf) (html), performance measures, and targets that will guide MPO decision-making, and identify and acquire necessary data.
  • Program: 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.  

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

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.

Recent Activities and MPO Actions

Travel Time Reliability Targets

On October 18, 2018, the MPO board voted to adopt the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s two-year and four-year performance targets related to

1) travel time reliability on the Interstate Highway System;

2) travel time reliability on the non-Interstate National Highway System; and

3) truck travel time reliability on the Interstate Highway system.

By adopting the Commonwealth’s travel time reliability targets, the MPO agrees to plan and program projects that help the Commonwealth achieve these targets. For more information, see the document titled Travel Time Reliability Performance Measures and Targets (pdf) (html).

Congestion Reduction and Air Quality Targets

On September 20, 2018, the MPO board voted to establish two-year and four-year performance targets related to the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program. The MPO voted to concur with performance targets for the percentage of non-single-occupancy-vehicle travel and annual hours of peak hour excessive delay per capita for the Boston Urbanized Area, which covers much of eastern Massachusetts and parts of New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The MPO also established performance targets for expected carbon monoxide emissions reductions from transportation projects programmed in the Boston region’s carbon monoxide maintenance area. 

For more information about these CMAQ program performance targets, please refer to the memo titled CMAQ Program Performance Targets (pdf) (html). The MPO’s CMAQ Performance Plan (pdf) (html) also includes these performance targets, along with information about CMAQ-funded projects in the Boston region.

Transit Asset Management Targets

On May 3, 2018, the MPO board voted to establish an initial set of transit asset management (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 initial TAM performance targets draw directly from targets set by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA), and the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) and apply to state fiscal year (SFY) 2018 (July 2017 through June 2018). By establishing these targets, the MPO took the first step toward integrating TAM into its planning processes. For more information about TAM activities, performance measures, and targets, please refer to the memo titled SFY 2018 Transit Asset Management Targets for the Boston Region (pdf) (html).

Highway Safety Targets

On February 1, 2018, the MPO board voted to adopt the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s calendar year (CY) 2018 targets for a set of federally required highway safety performance measures. The Commonwealth and MPOs are required to establish one-year targets for these measures, which pertain to fatalities and serious injuries occurring on roadways, on an annual basis. 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 2018 targets, and related processes, please refer to the memo titled Federally Required CY 2018 Highway Safety Targets (pdf) (html).

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, as well as 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 upgrades.

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.


For more information, please contact Michelle Scott, MPO staff, at 857.702.3692 (voice), 617.570.9193 (TTY), or (email).