Traffic Congestion:

Activities to Reduce Travel Demand and Air Pollution Are Not Widely Implemented

PEMD-93-2: Published: Nov 6, 1992. Publicly Released: Dec 7, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal efforts to promote more efficient transportation management systems and the extent to which air quality concerns affected transportation systems management (TSM) activities.

GAO found that: (1) 96 percent of all metropolitan planning organizations planned TSM activities for their regions; (2) organizations placed more emphasis on supply than demand; (3) when organizations planned demand management activities, the greatest emphasis came from areas with a population of 1 million or more; (4) planning alone failed to ensure implementation of demand management activities because of the lack of consensus among implementors, and the absence of a link between planning and funding; (5) only 26 percent of all metropolitan planning organizations indicated that their short-term plans included some demand management or related activities for air pollution reduction; and (6) the planning and implementation of demand management or related activities for air quality improvement required the involvement of many agencies.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A report to Congress on the effectiveness of existing transportation efforts to reduce congestion and improve air quality has been completed, in accordance with the recommendation and as required under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should report to Congress during fiscal year 1995, midway during the reauthorization period, about the extent to which any policies, regulations, practices, and programs the Department may institute in response to the 1991 act are functioning to effectively overcome these obstacles. Such an evaluation could be provided either separately or as a section of the annual report on the congestion management system, which the new legislation requires the Department of Transportation to submit.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A report to Congress on the effectiveness of existing transportation efforts to reduce congestion and improve air quality has been completed, in accordance with the recommendation and as required under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

    Recommendation: The Department of Transportation should address, specifically, the funding expended and the projects begun for congestion mitigation and air quality improvement as required under section 1008 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Following publication of the interim Final Rule for the ISTEA management systems in the December 1, 1993 Federal Register, FHwA and FTA continue to provide guidance and training to state, regional, and local planners on the importance of considering the potential of TDM measures to provide congestion relief and enhanced mobility. Over the past year, this message has been delivered nationwide through presentation of a 3-day National Highway Institute training course, "Congestion Management for Technical Staff" in 17 cities. Finally, FHwA has initiated efforts to identify and publicize success stories of congestion relief experiences.

    Recommendation: The Department of Transportation should demonstrate how both funding and project decisions relevant to section 1008 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act have served to improve regional coordination of TSM techniques--and particularly demand management--activities and to encourage public and private sector support for and involvement in these efforts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Following publication of the interim Final Rule for the ISTEA management systems in the December 1, 1993 Federal Register, FHwA and FTA continue to provide guidance and training to state, regional, and local planners on the importance of considering the potential of TDM measures to provide congestion relief and enhanced mobility. Over the past year, this message has been delivered nationwide through presentation of a 3-day National Highway Institute training course, "Congestion Management for Technical Staff" in 17 cities. Finally, FHwA has initiated efforts to identify and publicize success stories of congestion relief experiences.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should act to provide information about demand management activities by: (1) promoting routine evaluations of these activities on the local level; (2) furnishing documentation-as it becomes available-of how relevant these activities, particularly innovative ones, are to local congestion and air pollution problems; and (3) widely disseminating the existing evaluations of the effectiveness of demand management activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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