Transportation Infrastructure:

States' Implementation of Transportation Management Systems

T-RCED-97-79: Published: Feb 26, 1997. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 1997.

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GAO discussed the states' implementation of transportation management systems.

GAO noted that: (1) as of September 1996, about half the states were moving forward with all six transportation management systems, even though they were no longer mandatory; (2) the remaining states were developing or implementing at least three of the systems; (3) all states were implementing a pavement management system, and nearly all states were implementing bridge, safety, and congestion management systems; (4) congestion management systems were being developed for all 128 transportation management areas, where they are still mandatory; (5) about 30 states were implementing public transportation and intermodal management systems; (6) the states were developing the systems for use by decisionmakers in the planning process and to help transportation officials conduct daily operations; (7) some states have realized that to obtain the most uses from the systems, the systems need to be integrated so that, for example, users can combine information from several management systems to analyze the overall transportation needs in a geographic area; (8) nationwide, over half the states plan to integrate the systems; (9) although pavement and bridge management systems have been around for several decades, the other mandated systems were new to many states; (10) three of the seven states that GAO reviewed as case studies indicated that the 1991 legislative mandate provided a catalyst or "jump start" to developing and implementing the new systems and resulted in the systems receiving high-level support and top priority status; (11) although implementing the systems is now optional, several states are continuing their efforts because they view the systems as beneficial to the decision-making process in that they provide more accurate, timely information than was previously available; (12) on the other hand, the removal of the federal mandate lessened support for developing certain systems; (13) in addition, some states reported that the Department of Transportation's (DOT) failure to issue a clear and timely rule on management systems following the 1991 mandate had caused difficulties in implementing public transportation, congestion, and intermodal management systems; (14) several states indicated that the Federal Highway Administration was helpful in providing initial workshops and training to states to develop the systems; and (15) officials in all seven states that GAO reviewed, however, stated that they continue to need federal assistance in solving technical problems.

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