Tracker 2018

Highway Division Performance

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What is the Highway Division?

Efficient movement throughout the state is key to our quality of life, economy, and environment. The Highway Division’s 2,440 employees work to maintain a safe and durable roadway network for people and goods. The Division’s core responsibilities are to ensure roadway safety; design, construct, and preserve roadway infrastructure; and maintain and operate the roadway network.

The Highway Division plays a key role in coordinating across all levels of roadway design, construction, maintenance, and operation in the Commonwealth. The Highway Division divides the state into six districts in order to manage the 9,599 roadway miles owned by MassDOT, which includes all interstates and limited-access freeways. The Division is responsible for over 5,000 bridges, of which it owns 3,498. Beyond what is owned, MassDOT oversees the design and construction of municipal projects that are federally funded.

 
 

Scorecard

Please note that the 2020, 2022, and long-term targets noted in the scorecard below reflect changes made during the FY18 target-setting process. The 2018 target reflects initial 2-year targets set in FY16.

 
Performance Goal Performance Measure Target Met? July 1 2017 - June 30 2018 (FY18) Change from FY17 2018 Year Target 2020 Year Target 2022 Year Target Long-term Target
Customer Experience E-ZPass payment rate (vs pay-by-plate) - 86% - 90% 90% 92% 95%
System Condition PSI - Interstate (% good and excellent, FFY17) Target Met - Increasing Performance 92.9% +5.1% 85% 88% 88% 90%
PSI - Non-interstate (% good and excellent, FFY17) Target Met - Increasing Performance 62.6% +2.7% 62% 60% 62% 70%
PSI - Interstate (% poor, FFY17) Target Met - Increasing Performance 1.3% -1.0% 5% <4% <4% <4%
PSI - Non-interstate (% poor, FFY17) Target Not Met - Increasing Performance 13.4% -1.2% 12.60% <20% <20% 15%
Bridge deck area (NHS only, % in good condition) - 16% - - 15% 16% > 18%
Bridge deck area (NHS only, % in poor condition) Target Met - Increasing Performance 12% -5% 14% 13% 12% < 10%
Bridge Health Index - 85.2 0 88 92 92 95
Failed or missing curb ramps - 5,097 -103 40% reduction from FY12 continue to decrease continue to decrease Move towards zero
Budget & Capital Performance Percent of contracts completed on or under budget - 75% -7% n/a 75% 80% 80%
Percent of contracts completed on time - 59% +4% n/a 75% 80% 80%
Percent of STIP projects advertised in FFY18 Target Met - Decreasing Performance 89% -8% 80% 85% 90% 95%
Safety Number of fatalities (rolling avg/actual) Target Not Met - Decreasing Performance 367/395 +4/+45 354 347/318 320/299 Move towards zero
Rate of fatalities per 100 million VMT (CY12-CY16 rolling average) Target Not Met - Increasing Performance 0.64 -0.01 0.63 0.56 0.51 Move towards zero
Number of serious injuries (rolling avg/actual) Target Met - Decreasing Performance 3,132/2,980 -120/+130 3,299 2,689/2,206 2,467/1,897 Move towards zero
Rate of serious injuries per 100 million VMT (CY12-CY16 rolling average) Target Met - Increasing Performance 5.44 -0.33 5.9 4.12 3.5 Move towards zero
Number of motorcycle fatalities (CY12-CY16 rolling average) - 49 0 48 continue to decrease continue to decrease Move towards zero
Number of bicycle fatalities (CY12-CY16 rolling average) Target Not Met - Decreasing Performance 10 +1 8 reverse the trend continue toward zero Move towards zero
Number of pedestrian fatalities (CY12-CY16 rolling average) Target Not Met - Decreasing Performance 79 +2 73 reverse the trend continue toward zero Move towards zero
Fatalities in roadway work zones (CY12-16 rolling avg/actual) - 5 0 5 0 0 Move towards zero
Healthy & Sustainable Transportation Daily vehicle miles traveled per capita (CY17) - 24.4 0 24.3 24.3 24.3 24.3
Number of municipalities registered for Complete Streets - 207 +40 - 250 275 351
Number of Complete Streets policies approved - 162 +32 - 200 250 275
Scorecard Legend
Target Met - Decreasing Performance
Target Met - Decreasing Performance
Target Not Met - Decreasing Performance
Target Not Met - Decreasing Performance
Target Met - Increasing Performance
Target Met - Increasing Performance
Target Not Met - Increasing Performance
Target Not Met - Increasing Performance
 

Customer Experience

photo credit: Santiago Nariño

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E-ZPass Payment Rate

All Electronic Tolling (AET) was introduced in October 2016 and replaces the previous tolling system of booths and paper tickets at turnpike entries and exits. The AET system relies on a system of in-vehicle E-ZPass transponders and free-standing toll gantries placed at various points along the turnpike travel lanes, as well as automatic license plate readers for customers who do not have transponders. AET is beneficial from both operational and administrative standpoints: AET eliminates the need for traffic to stop or slow significantly for tolls to be collected, and tolls collected via E-ZPass transponders do not have the same administrative burden or expense as tolls collected through automatic license plate readers. Customers using E-ZPass transponders are also subject to reduced turnpike tariffs.

In FY17, the first fiscal year with complete data, the E-ZPass payment rate was 86%.

This measure is calculated as the percentage of tolls paid using a transponder. Customers who do not have a transponder and therefore do not pay the toll automatically are identified via their license plate and mailed a request for payment. This is the basis for the AET program. While there will always be some tolls paid via the license plate identification system, a higher E-ZPass payment rate reduces MassDOT's administrative burden.

Average Commute Time

The time it takes Massachusetts residents to travel to work is the outcome of many factors, including roadway congestion (which itself is the product of economic and infrastructure conditions); land use patterns that influence where residents live and work; and the travel modes that people can choose from. While many of these factors are outside of MassDOT’s direct control, average commute time is a useful indicator of how efficient the entire transportation network is. Because this measure is situational, MassDOT has not defined an optimal commute time; a downward trend is desirable (from the standpoint of the health of the environment and quality of life for residents), but the average commute time has been steadily increasing for the past five years. The most recent estimate for the average commute time for the state is 29.0 minutes, although commute times vary across counties.

Commute time by mode

This measure shows how commute times vary by mode choice. On average, public transportation commuters spend the most time traveling to work. While a person’s mode choice is a balance of considerations, MassDOT has the ability to impact some of the factors that affect their decision. For example, decreasing the average commute time on public transit (e.g. by offering additional express transit service in key locations) could compel more commuters to choose public transit over driving, which in turn decreases congestion and reduces the commute times of those who continue to drive. MassDOT will continue its investigation into commute times to optimize investments that improve customer experiences across all travel modes.

The American Community Survey (ACS) is the best annually updated data source available for average commute time. The ACS surveys a sample of the US population on a range of topics each year, including average commute time overall and by mode. These data, reported by calendar year, allow us to track annual trends.

 

Number of Incidents That Have Caused a Delay or Closure per VMT

The number of traffic incidents that cause a delay or closure gives insight into the way that these incidents - and their handling - affect mobility in the state. The number of Level 2 traffic events - which are incidents that affect the flow of traffic in one or more lanes - per VMT stayed constant at about 0.04 in CY16 and CY17.

The Highway Operations Center (HOC) currently uses two systems to track incidents throughout the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, data regarding the duration of the delay and their impact on the roadway operations is not currently available due to issues with how the data is recorded. HOC is working to implement a new Integrated Traffic Management System (ITMS), which will provide a more robust dataset to monitor and report on traffic incidents beginning in FY20. Until then, a target has not been defined for this measure.

A Level 2 traffic incident is defined in the Event Classification System as any roadway disruption caused by an unanticipated incident, regardless of its magnitude, impacting the flow of traffic on any MassDOT roadway or abutting roadway. Whether a disruption is considered to have created traffic backups or congestion resulting in increased travel times and decreased speeds is based on Highway Operations Center traffic reporting tools, including but not limited to State Police, District Personnel, Highway Assistance Patrols, cameras, Media or other technologies. This measure is reported per VMT in order to control for how the number of incidents is partially a factor of an increase or decrease in the aggregate number of miles being driven during that time frame.

Safety

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Fatalities and Serious Injuries

Fatality data is measured in three ways: the total number of fatalities; the fatality rate (per 100 million VMT); and the number of non-motorist fatalities. Fatality data is one calendar year behind the reporting period, so 2018’s Tracker reflects data collected during CY2016.

This year, MassDOT is reporting the number of fatalities that occurred in CY16 in addition to the 5-year rolling averages that have historically been reported.

The number and rate of fatalities are critical performance measures to illustrate the safety of our roadway network. This year, MassDOT has set targets relating to both the numbers of fatalities that occur each year in addition to the five year rolling averages. While the yearly numbers provide more information about the occuances within a specific year, the five year rolling averages eliminate outliers and provide a more accurate picture of trends over time. In addition, MassDOT sets targets for fatality rates, where rates are calculated per 100 million VMT. The rates provides the context to show how the change in number of fatalities is partially a factor of an increase or decrease in the aggregate number of miles being driven during that time frame.

The measurements of VMT used in these safety calculations are different from the measurements used for other measures (number of incidents that have caused a delay or closure per VMT and average VMT per capita), because MassDOT submitted the latest safety data to the federal government prior to the revision of the VMT measurements. The VMT measurements used to calculate safety measures and targets will be updated to be alligned with the average VMT per capita measure in Tracker 2019.

In accordance with MAP-21, the FAST Act, and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)’s guidance, MassDOT also reports data and sets targets for the total number of serious injuries, the serious injury rate, and the number of fatalities in roadway workzones.

The number and rate of serious injuries are critical performance measures to illustrate the safety of our roadway network. This year, MassDOT has set targets relating to both the numbers of serious injuries that occur each year in addition to the five year rolling averages. While the yearly numbers provide more information about the occuances within a specific year, the five year rolling averages eliminate outliers and provide a more accurate picture of trends over time. In addition, MassDOT sets targets for rate of serious injuries, where rates are calculated per 100 million VMT. The rates provides the context to show how the change in number of serious injuries is partially a factor of an increase or decrease in the aggregate number of miles being driven during that time frame.

Total Fatalities

Although both the total number of fatalities in CY16 and the 5-year rolling average (that covers CY11-CY16) increased from 362 in CY15 to 367 in CY16, MassDOT believes that 2016 is an outlier. The number of fatalities is expected to continue declining - estimates suggest a 13% decrease in the 5-year rolling average by 2022.

Rate of Fatalities

Like the total number of fatalities, the rate of fatalities increased from CY15 to CY16, but CY16 is an outlier; namely, the 5-year fatality rate decreased by 0.01 deaths per 100 million VMT between CY15 and CY16. The target fatality rate is more aggressive than the target for total fatalities due to rising Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), which is expected to increase 0.3% annually.

Bike, Pedestrian & Motorcycle fatalities

There were small increases in both the total number of motorcycle and pedestrian fatalities and the 5-year rolling average number of motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian fatalities from CY15 to CY16. CY16 is considered an outlier, and the targets that have been set for 2020 anticipate a decline in fatalities across all non-vehicular modes.

Fatalities in roadway workzones

6 fatalities occurred in a workzone in CY16.  This in an increase from CY15, but the 5-year rolling average has been trending downwards for the past five years and has met the 2018 target of 5 fatalities in a workzone. MassDOT is continuing to explore opportunities to improve work zone safety elements with the goal of having zero deaths in a workzone.

Total Serious injuries

2,980 serious injuries were reported in CY16. This is an increase from CY15, but a decrease in the 5-year rolling average (3,132, from 3,252 in CY15); projections anticipate a continuation of this trend. In fact, forecasts show a 21% decrease in the 5-year rolling average by 2022.

Rate of serious injuries

Like the total number of injuries, the serious injury rate increased from CY15 to CY16, while the 5-year rolling average rate decreased (from 5.77 to 5.44). The rate is expected to decline by 36% by 2022. And like the fatality rate, the target for the serious injury rate is more aggressive than the target for the number of serious injuries because there is expected to be a 0.3% increase in VMT annually.

System Condition

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Pavement Condition (PSI)

A pavement condition measure is required by both MAP-21 and the 2009 transportation reform bill. However, reporting requirements vary by roadway type. Here, we report the Pavement Serviceability Index (PSI) on interstate and non-interstate (MassDOT-owned) pavement conditions for the last five federal fiscal years (FFY). The proposed targets are based on current conditions, apply to state-owned roadways, and consider both the percentage of roadway in “good” or “excellent” condition and the percentage of roadway in “poor” condition.

Explore on the charts and maps below.

Pavement Serviceability Index (PSI) is a composite pavement condition index that considers the severity and extent of cracking, rutting, and raveling on surfaces as well as ride quality. It measures the conditions of the pavement from impassable to perfectly smooth. The PSI thresholds “excellent,” “good,” “fair,” and “poor” are different for interstate highways vs other state highways and are fully developed within MassDOT’s Pavement Management System.

The condition thresholds for interstate highways are more stringent to support the higher speeds and volumes present on those facilities. Interstate pavement inspections are conducted annually and the remaining NHS inspection data is collected on a biennial basis.

Percentage of interstate lane miles by condition

The share of interstate pavement in “good” or “excellent” condition increased 12% in the past five years, rising from 80.9% in FFY13 to 92.9% in FFY17. In that same period, the percent of interstate pavement in “poor” condition decreased from 2.8% to 1.3%, which is well below the target and FHWA threshold (of no more than 5%).

Percentage of Non-interstate lane miles by condition

The share of MassDOT-owned non-interstate pavement in “good” or “excellent” condition fell 1.9% in the past five years, from 64.5% in FFY13 to 62.6% in FFY17. In that same time period, the percentage of non-interstate pavement in “poor” condition decreased from 14.2% to 13.4% in FY17.

Construction workers repairing highway pavement.

Pavement repair backlog

The pavement repair backlog lists the the lane miles that are in “fair” and “poor” (rather than “good” or “excellent” ) condition. Out of 9,599 lane miles overseen by MassDOT, 27% (2,619) are on the backlog. The backlog has remained relatively consistent across the last five federal fiscal years.

Bridge Condition

MassDOT currently measures bridge condition in three ways. The primary Highway Division measure has been the number of structurally deficient bridges (SD) within the state; the Bridge Health Index is a more comprehensive measure. MAP-21 has introduced its own requirements, including specific ways of reporting the condition of National Highway System (NHS) bridges.

To inform the investment plan required to achieve the target, the Highway Division is developing a model to predict performance by deck area. The new model will improve reporting accuracy and will eventually replace the current way performance is measured.

Structurally deficient bridge count

From FY17 to FY18, the number of structurally deficient (SD) bridges increased by 4, bringing the total to 471. Click the chart above to view data by district.

A bridge is rated as structurally deficient (SD) when the deck (driving surface), the superstructure (supports immediately beneath the surface), or the substructure (foundation and supporting posts and piers) are rated at condition 4 or less on a scale of 0-9. Structural deficiency does not necessarily imply that a bridge is unsafe. It does, however, mean that a structure is deteriorated to the point of needing repairs to prevent restrictions on the bridge.

Bridge Health Index

The Bridge Health Index (BHI) score increased by 2.5 in the past five fiscal years, from 82.7 to 85.2. Although bridge health increased during this period, it is still below the 2018 target.

Because some bridge elements will always be in need of repair, the BHI will never reach 100. OPMI worked with the Highway Division to define a target that is realistic, and determined that a target score of 88 is achievable.

The Bridge Health Index (BHI) provides a comprehensive overview of the condition of all bridge elements across the network. This measure, reported on a scale of 0 to 100, reflects element inspection data in relation to the asset value of a bridge or network of bridges. A value of zero indicates all of a bridge’s elements to be in the worst condition.

 

Condition of deck area (NHS only)

All DOTs are required to report the percent of bridge deck area in poor condition, per the National Performance Program outlined in MAP-21. States with more than 10% of their total bridge deck area associated with structurally deficient NHS bridges are required to allocate a certain percentage of funds to the Highway Bridge Program until this share falls below 10%. The 14% defined for this measure are based upon MassDOT’s strategy for meeting this threshold.

From FY14 to FY17, structurally deficient deck area was consistently 16% or 17%, but this percentage fell to 12% by the close of FY18, exceeding the 2018 target.

On the other hand, 16% of deck area was in good condition at the close of FY18. Because this is a new measure, a comparison to past years is not possible at this time.

The percentages of bridge deck area in poor and good condition provide a different assessment of bridge health by taking into consideration the size of the bridge spans. These measures are calculated by comparing the amount of deck area that is associated with a structurally deficient bridge and the amount of deck area that is associated with a bridge in good condition to the total area of bridge deck in the Commonwealth. For example, the traditional SD bridge measure assigns the same significance to the Longfellow Bridge as any other. In reality, the bridge is 15 times greater than an average NHS bridge in the Commonwealth.

Failed or Missing Curb Ramps

To meet our obligation to develop an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan, MassDOT has begun to reconstruct substandard curb ramps statewide. A 2012 inventory of all 26,000 curb ramps found 6,300 that were found to be failing or missing. In FY18, the number of failed or missing curb ramps was 5,097.

Failed or missing curb ramps is calculated using the baseline inventory conducted in 2012. Each year, the number is reduced as a result of the curb ramps that are added or updated.

Budget & Capital Performance

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Construction Contracts

Construction Contracts measures not only reflect the efficiency of current MassDOT procurement practices with respect to Highway projects, but communicates the scope of work the Highway Division handles over a fiscal year.

On-budget and on-time performance is measured as the percent of construction contracts that were completed within ranges of the estimated completion date and budget. Contracts are considered complete when the project has achieved ‘full beneficial use’ status. The percent of State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) projects advertised in the year is the percent of projects included in the Plan that were actually advertised to vendors.

Percent of contracts completed on/under budget

During FY18, 75% of all construction contracts were completed on time, and 89% were completed within 10% of the original budget. The Highway Division is in the process of taking a closer look at the reasons why projects exceed planned budgets.

Percent of contracts completed on/under time

During FY18, 59% of completed construction contracts were finished by their initial estimated delivery date. 76% of completed projects were finished within 120 days of that date, or what is typically considered one construction season. Projects are delayed for many reasons, but delays are typically due to utility relocation and unanticipated field conditions.

Percent of STIP projects advertised in year

The State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) lists all projects with federal funding during the federal fiscal year. Tracking the percent of projects listed on the original STIP that were advertised to vendors is a measure of how well the Highway Division and Office of Transportation Planning is working with regional partners in the MPOs (Metropolitan Planning Organizations) to plan, prioritize and deliver projects to construction. 80 out of 90 projects (89%) committed to in the original FFY18 STIP were advertised during the Federal Fiscal Year.

Number of contracts planned, in construction phase, and completed

During FY18, the Highway Division had 319 active construction contracts, 95 of which were completed to full beneficial use during the fiscal year. A total of 209 contracts are expected to become active during FY19.

Sustainable Transportation

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Daily Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) per Capita

Automobiles are not an inherently bad way to travel. At the same time, they produce adverse environmental impacts like greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

MassDOT provides public transportation services and promotes carpooling and car sharing options, each of which reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and associated vehicle emissions. The target of 24.3 daily vehicle miles per capita is meant to return daily VMT per capita to 2008 levels, when the Global Warming Solutions Act was passed. Although daily VMT per capita varies by county, statewide daily VMT per capita has remained constant at about 24.4 in CY15, CY16, and CY17.

Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) is the number of miles traveled by motor vehicles in the Commonwealth, calculated per capita, on an average daily basis. The data is obtained from the Office of Transportation Planning (OTP), which derives the information from FHWA Annual Highway Statistics Reports (part of the federal Highway Performance Monitoring System - HPMS), various HPMS state reports, and U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. Projected figures are based on modeled traffic growth, state population projections, and state and national VMT growth trends.

In 2015, MassDOT improved its capacity for estimating VMT with new software and updated data collection methods. These improvements resulted in higher estimates of average daily VMT, so pre-2015 data was scaled up by a constant factor to allow for comparison. Due to these improvements, both the data and the target for this measure are different from the numbers reported in previous versions of Tracker.

Complete Streets

The 2014 Transportation Bond Bill authorized MassDOT to launch a Complete Streets program, which rewards municipalities that demonstrate a commitment to embedding safe and accessible options for all travel modes in their communities. Municipalities that participate in Complete Streets are important partners in advancing MassDOT’s healthy and sustainable transportation goals.

By the end of FY18, 207 municipalities throughout the Commonwealth have registered for Complete Streets; 162 Complete Streets policies have been approved; and 73 Complete Streets municipal construction awards have been distributed.

Bike & Pedestrian Infrastructure

MassDOT strives to foster safe, comfortable, and convenient trips for individuals who choose to travel by bike or on foot. Sidewalks are a critical part of MassDOT’s multi-modal transportation network. Although there is no target set for the number of miles of new sidewalk paved or created, this measure is an important indicator for the growth of this part of the network. The number of miles of sidewalk paved or created has increased annually over the past five years. In FY17, 70 miles of new sidewalk have been paved or created.

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